Seven-run fifth inning sends Canada to Gold Medal Game

By: Adam Morissette

Canadian Baseball Network

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – As Team Canada’s starting pitcher Ann-Sophie Lavallée was getting stronger, Mexico’s pitching staff fizzled, and a seven-run fifth inning propelled the undefeated Canucks to the gold medal game of the inaugural Women’s International Cup with an 11-1 mercy rule victory at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.  Canada will face the Dominican Republic, who edged Cuba 9-8 in the other semi-final, at 2pm ET Sunday for the championship.

Lavallée had just struck out the side on ten pitches in the top of the fifth, allowing her team to come to the plate in the bottom half with a 4-1 lead. Heather Healey and Emma Carr drew bases on balls, and Claire Eccles dropped a perfectly placed bunt single to load the bases.  Marie-France Castillo walked to score Healey, and Marie Roy drove a two-run single to make it 7-1. 

Mia Valcke’s grounder to short forced Roy at second while Castillo scored, Gélinas walked, and Pascale Jalbert hit a deep two-run triple to the left field wall to give Canada a nine run lead.  Heather Healey smashed the final blow almost as far as Jalbert’s blast, but it went into the scorebook as a single since Jalbert’s run iced the win.

Canada scored one in the first, two in the second, and one in the fourth leading up to the game-ending rally.  Topping it off, Valcke walked and was stealing when Gélinas ripped a double into the right-centre field gap to score the game’s first run and chalk up the first of four runs batted in on the day. 

In the second, Castillo reached first on an error by the shortstop, and an overthrow awarded her second base.  Raelea Nickerson dropped a textbook sacrifice bunt to move Castillo to third, and a pitch hit Valcke.  Valcke and Castillo then pulled off a perfect double steal, with Valcke moving to third while Mexico tried to nail Castillo at the plate, and scored on Gélinas’ baseball-savvy ground out to second, making it 3-1.  In the fourth, Nickerson singled, pinch runner Roy swiped second, advanced to third on Valcke’s ground out, and scored on Gélinas’ sacrifice fly to deep right field.

Mexico scored its lone run in the second when first baseman Valcke fielded a grounder to her right threw but threw behind Lavallée as she covered first base.  Lavallée hit the next batter and gave up a double to the right field gap that Emma Carr almost pulled off a Kevin Pillar-type grab on.  In all, Lavelle’s spectacular outing went into the books as five innings pitched, allowing one run, no earned runs, two hits, striking out four, walking one and hitting one batter.

“Like we’ve done all tournament, we’ve pitched well and come up with some big run innings that’s led to our success,” said Manager André Lachance. “Even though we’ve won all four of our games it comes down to just one (game) in the gold medal contest, and we know the Dominican’s will bring their best effort on home soil.”

You can follow all of the action in tomorrow’s gold medal contest on Twitter: @Team_C_Updates.

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Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.