Olympic softball: Canada seizes on Australian gaffes in 7-1 win

Veteran Lauren Regula mopped up in the seventh inning and didn’t give up a hit. Starter Sara Groenewegen struggled early and was pulled after just one inning

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Playing errorless eight-hit ball, Canada’s Olympic softball team romped to a 7-1 win over Australia on Friday in Yokohama.


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The impressive victory, keyed by a three-run first inning and two Australian errors, gives the Canadians a 2-1 record in round-robin play, with host Japan up next. The top two nations in the six-team tournament will play for gold and silver medals on July 27. The third and fourth place teams battle for bronze earlier that day.

Erika Polidori and Kelsey Harshman had a pair of hits apiece for the Canadians on Friday, while relief pitcher Jenna Caira allowed just two hits and struck out three Aussie batters through five innings. Veteran Lauren Regula mopped up in the seventh inning and didn’t give up a hit. Starter Sara Groenewegen struggled early and was pulled by head coach Mark Smith after just one inning, as the Australians hit some deep balls on her.

Australia’s offensive failings left one of their coaches tossing his arms over his shaking head.

The United States and Japan are 2-0, Canada 2-1 and both Mexico and Italy are 0-2.

Saturday’s games were being held at a cleaned-up 43-year-old downtown stadium stripped of any sign that it houses Japanese baseball’s BayStars club. No one watched from roofs of squat offices and hotels beyond the outfield, nor balconies of a towering glass building further out. Hammering and welding from a new tower going up cut over chants from teams’ benches.

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With barely two dozen people sitting in an ocean of 34,000 bright-to-dark blue seats because of COVID-19 restrictions, the only lines inside were players standing order for national anthems.

Clouds resting nearby failed to spare the field from harsh sun, forcing teams to cover their metal benches with towels.

Dan Barnes
With files form Reuters

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