Luchanski, Flanigan lead Canada over Cuba
* Jenna Flanigan (Cornwall, Ont.) laid out for a foul ball and dove on top of bullpen mounds, just missing making a spectacular catch as Canada thumped Cuba 12-2 moving to 6-0. Showing the same extra-base pop her father John Flanigan had with the Brockville Bunnies or the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, she doubled in a pair of runs. Photo: Adam Morrissette ….
By Adam Morissette
EDMONTON — The Canadian offensive juggernaut continues to roll at the fifth IBAF Women’s World Cup as Canada smashed-out 16 hits to record their third mercy-rule victory of the tournament with a 12-2 thumping of Cuba.
Canada improves its record to 6-0 which is good enough for first place in the round-robin standings and sets-up a showdown against Japan (5-1) with first place on the line next.
“We started out really strong tonight which allowed us to save our pitching a bit,” said Canadian Manager André Lachance. “We slowed up a bit as the game went on, but when you look up at the scoreboard and see sixteen hits you have to be happy.”
Four of the 16 hits came off the bat of second baseman Nicole Luchanski (Edmonton, Alta.) who had a triple and three singles to go along with two RBIs and two runs scored.
“I tried to swing at good pitches tonight and I had success,” said Luchanski. “Tonight was a team win, we’re really confident right now and I’m glad we’re in this position.”
After starter Kate Psota (Burlington, Ont.) tossed a scoreless first inning Luchanski led the bottom of the first off with a single and came around to score the game’s first run on a Stéphanie Savoie (Québec, Que.) double. Ashley Stephenson (Mississauga, Ont.) also scored on the play after following Luchanski’s single with a base-hit of her own.
Canada scored four more runs in the first inning which included a two-run double from Becky Hartley (White Rock, BC).
“The game plan was to get a big lead which allowed us to use some more pitchers,” explained Lachance. “We were fortunate to do that which sets us up nicely for tomorrow night against Japan.
Psota tossed three scoreless innings giving up only three hits while striking out one. In the fourth Heidi Northcott (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) came on for her first action of the tournament.
Northcott tossed two innings and allowed an unearned run off a Canadian error in recording the win.
Canada committed two errors on the evening which is rare for the normally strong defensive club.
“Those errors happened when we had a big lead, so I think the girls will re-focus and be ready for tomorrow,” added Lachance. “I’m not concerned at all.”
With Canada leading 9-2 in the bottom of the sixth Jenna Flannigan(Cornwall, Ont.) doubled to right-centre to bring home two runs and later scored the game’s winning run on an RBI single from Luchanski. Flangan is hitting .526 (10-for-19) with five doubles.
Canada will now focus its attention on two-time defending World Champion Japan in tomorrow night’s final round-robin game.
A win guarantees Canada first place in round-robin standings and match-up with the fourth seed in Saturday night’s semi-final.
“This is why you play the game,” said Lachance. “We hope to face Japan at their best tomorrow because we want to beat them when they’re good.
“I know I keep saying this but we have to play well defensively and can’t afford mistakes because Japan is a team that will take advantage of it.”
Notes: Tomorrow’s game against Japan will begin at 9:30pm ET and will be steamed LIVE on You Tube: … The game can also be heard can be heard live on-line: …. LIVE tournament scoring of all games, standings, stats and rosters can be found at: … Make sure to follow Baseball Canada on Twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballcanada) for up-to-date news and information.