Canada no longer perfect

July 4, 2013

Brampton, ON


Canada split a pair of 4-0 decisions at the Junior Women's World Fastpitch Championship at the old Fairgrounds in Brampton on Wednesday, downing Puerto Rico and falling to the top-ranked USA. Brampton native Mirdanda Castiglione and her teammates are 5-1 with one preliminary round contest remaining.



Brampton Guardian

ByStuart McComish

BRAMPTON – On a perfect night for a ball game, Cheridan Hawkins was almost perfect for the United States.

The American lefthander pitched a seven-inning complete game, allowed only one hit, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter as the United States beat Canada 4-0 in day three action at the ISF Junior Women’s World Fastpitch Championships in front of a huge, pro-Canada crowd at the old Brampton Fairgrounds.

The win pushed the Americans’ record to 5-0 atop Section A. The Americans, who have yet to allow a run, join the Japanese, the top team in Section B, as the only unbeaten teams in the tournament.

Canadian starter Sara Groenewegen produced a fine effort, going all the way while allowing six hits, no walks and striking out seven.

"I told the girls I was absolutely proud of our effort tonight," said Canadian head coach Melissa Basilio. "It’s a lot of pressure to play in front of a big crowd like this and with all the hype that went with this game. The girls played great defensively and Sara had a great game against some good hitters. Sara wants the ball every game, she doesn’t give in. Our defence kept us in the game. The Americans drove the ball hard, but our girls were behind Sara all the way. We just need to make some adjustments at the plate and we’ll get them when it counts."

The Canadians lost for the first time in the event and fell to 5-1. Canada, second in Section A, wraps up section play against New Zealand (4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

"We’re happy with where we are right now," said Basilio. "We’ll forget about this game in a bit. We have a big game tomorrow and we’ll regroup for whoever is coming after that."

Both pitchers were perfect through the first three innings. Lauren Young opened the Americans’ fourth with a single and Danica Mercado followed with a base hit. Two batters later Haylie McCleney drove a double over leaping Canadian shortstop Janet Leung to score both runners and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kelsey Stewart. The Americans tacked on a final run in the sixth when Mysha Sataraka cashed in Stewart’s leadoff triple.

The Canadians didn’t get a baserunner until the sixth inning when Holly Speers battled through an eight-pitch at-bat and banged a solid single through the middle. Canada’s only other runner came when Groenewegen reached with two outs in the seventh after being hit by a pitch.

"The crowd really stuck with us tonight and I am so grateful to have such a supportive hometown crowd," said Basilio. "We were down, but the girls didn’t let up and neither did the crowd. We can’t ask for more than that."

Basilio said her team wouldn’t have any trouble getting its intensity level up for the Kiwis.

"It can be tough as a coach to get that into them, but when we talked to them after the game we looked at their faces and they are still ready to go. They believe the Americans are beatable and they still have the energy and the confidence."

In Canada’s opener Wednesday, Speers went 2-for-2 at the plate with a home run and a double and knocked in two runs in a 4-0 win over Puerto Rico. Pitcher Madison Schreyer pitched a complete game to pick up her second win of the tournament. Schreyer scattered five hits, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

In Wednesday’s other action at the Fairgrounds, New Zealand beat the Czech Republic 3-1, Great Britain shaded the Czech Republic 3-2, the United States routed Puerto Rico 15-0 and New Zealand blanked Korea 7-0. Korea and Great Britain each earned forfeit wins against Venezuela.

At Fletcher’s, Japan beat Brazil 8-2, China defeated Singapore 10-1, Australia beat Mexico 5-3, the Netherlands downed Botswana 7-2, Brazil shutout Singapore 6-0 and Japan routed Botswana 15-0.

GAME NOTES: Brampton’s Miranda Castiglione went 1-for-3 with a run scored against Puerto Rico. She was 0-for-2 against the Americans … Mississauga’s Leung was 1-for-2 at the plate against Puerto Rico and 0-for-2 against the United States … Right fielder Victoria Charters ended the first inning with a sliding catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Sierra Romero … Third baseman Sataraka had to react quickly to snare a hard line drive from Chelsea Jenner in the seventh … Jenner leads Canada in hitting with a .500 average. She has seven hits in 14 at-bats through five games. Aspen Searle has produced a team-high eight hits in 19 at-bats. Groenewegen leads the team with five runs batted in. Schreyer has pitched complete games in both her starts and has an earned-run average of 0.50 … Bal Gosal, Member of Parliament for Bramalea-Gore-Malton and the Minister of State for Sport, took in the game as did Brampton mayor Susan Fennell … The crowd packed the bleachers along both base lines, ringed the outfield and clambered up the first and third-base bleachers on the adjacent diamond which was not in use.