Canada’s softball team narrowly falls against USA in second game at Tokyo Olympics

Canada’s softball team narrowly falls against USA in second game at Tokyo Olympics

Canada’s softball team lost 1-0 to the top-ranked United States in their second game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday in a close game at Fukushima Stadium.

Canada, ranked third in the world, came off a 4-0 victory over Mexico in the opener, while the United States beat Italy 2-0 in its opener.

Starting pitcher Monica Abbott led the Americans with nine strikeouts while allowing just one hit.

Canada nearly tied the game in the sixth inning when Abbott walked Jen Gilbert to open the inning, but pinch runner Joey Lye was sent off at home plate after Sara Groenewegen doubled up. Groenewegen was third, but Abbott finally ended the threat with a strikeout from Kelsey Harshman.

Despite the loss, Groenewegen’s inspirational story continued with another chapter. The starting pitcher took command early on, striking out four batters while allowing just three hits as the game went scoreless for the first two innings.

Groenewegen fought to return to the sport after spending 10 days in a medical coma and nearly died of Legionnaires’ disease in 2018.

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Jenna Caira replaced Groenewegan to start third and set up a clean back-to-back innings, but the Americans got on the draw in fifth when Amanda Chidester lined up a right-field single that gave Valerie Arioto a goal.

Lauren Bay-Regula came in to pitch for Canada atop the fifth and helped her team escape the inning with goals loaded.

WATCH | Canada blanks Mexico in opening Tokyo Olympics:

Canada blanks Mexico 4-0 in their opener at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 1:37

Groenewegen returned as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and found a way to solve Abbott. Groenewegen kicked the ball against the back wall and made his way to third, but Abbott then managed his seventh strikeout to keep his team unscathed.

Haylie McCleney scored first in the seventh inning before a sacrificial sacrifice from Janie Reed saw her move up to second. Canada’s Danielle Lawrie got her first strikeout of the game to prevent the Americans from scoring, but the Canadian hitters failed to get their stick to get the tie.

The six teams in the tournament will face off once in the round robin phase before the top two teams meet for the gold medal on July 27 at 7 a.m. ET.

Canada then takes on Australia on Friday at 9 p.m. ET, while the United States faces Mexico on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast live on the CBC TV network and streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports Tokyo 2020 website.

WATCH | Groenewegen’s incredible trip to Tokyo:

Watch CBC Sports’ The Olympians on Sara Groenewegen. 2:11

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