Canada’s softball team was unable to get a repeat win on Thursday during the second day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, falling 1-0 against the United States.
The tough battle saw Canada let in just one run in the fifth inning, while U.S. pitcher Monica Abbott proved to be a formidable challenge the Canadian team just couldn’t get past.
Canadian starter Sara Groenewegen pitched two shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out four and walking one batter, while also supplying Canada’s only hit of the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning.
Canada threatened in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t come through with the tying run.
Canada wins Tokyo Olympics softball opener as Games get underway amid COVID-19
Jen Gilbert was walked to lead off the inning before Groenewegen followed with a double to right field. Pinch-runner Joey Lye attempted to score from first on the play but was tossed out at home plate.
Abbott struck out nine Canadian batters while giving up just the lone hit and three walks.
Caira took over in the third and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, one earned run with two strikeouts for the loss.
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The U.S. marked its second win after defeating Italy 2-0 the day before. Canada won its opening game Wednesday 4-0 against Italy.
The Canadians will face Australia next on Saturday.
Tokyo Olympics: Canada wins softball opener as Games get underway
Coach Mark Smith has expressed confidence in his team going all the way in these Olympics, which are the first to feature baseball since 2008.
“We’ve got a wonderful mix of youth and experience, a great chemistry, a championship culture, women who are highly committed to their craft,” he told Global News.
“We’re going to win a gold medal. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but that’s our intention.”
Canada is the only team out of five that have played in each of the four Olympics tournaments to have never won a medal.
All six teams face each other once over six days before the top four advance to the medal games. The first two days are at a baseball stadium in Fukushima, a region badly affected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The Canada-U.S. meet-up will be followed by matches between Mexico and Japan, and Italy versus Australia later Thursday.
–With files from the Associated Press
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