Canada’s Janet Leung, back right, steals second base behind Mexico’s Chelsea Gonzales during fifth inning playoff action at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier tournament in Surrey, B.C., on Saturday August 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Mexico hands Canada first loss at Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier

The victory secured Mexico’s spot at next summer’s Olympics

Coach Mark Smith says Canada’s women’s softball team knows their Olympic fate is in their own hands.

The squad dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 5-ranked Mexico at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier in Surrey, B.C., on Saturday, making the road to the Tokyo Games a bit more difficult.

“Certainly this wasn’t the route we wanted to go but at the end of the day, we just played seven innings and didn’t get the job done and there’s nobody to look at but yourself when that happens,” Smith said.

“They’ve now got 24 hours to think about it and mull it over. We need to be better for it.”

The victory secured Mexico’s spot at next summer’s Olympics.

Canada, ranked No. 3 in the world, went into Saturday’s game having won every game they’d played in the tournament while not giving up a single run.

That changed in the fifth inning when Canadian pitcher Sara Groenewegen gave up a runs to Mexico’s Brittany Cervantes and Marissa Bravo.

The bases were loaded with no outs when Groenewegen was replaced by Jenna Caira.

Smith said he would usually bring a reliever in earlier but made a coaching error by second-guessing himself.

“At the end of the day, that may have been the outcome of the ball game,” he said.

Caira allowed a hit and a walk before veteran Danielle Lawrie was brought in to finish the inning.

Smith said he tries to put pitchers in situations where they can thrive but that didn’t happen with Caira on Saturday.

“Jenna’s not a strike-out pitcher and when you bring her into a situation where you need a strikeout, it’s a bit of a flip of the coin because she has to rely so much on her off-speed pitch,” he said. “So that’s my fault for allowing it to get to the point where it could be a difference maker.”

Lawrie threw 15 pitches to finish the game, registering two strikeouts. She did not allow a single hit.

Dallas Escobedo pitched all seven innings for Mexico, allowing just three hits and one run. She also registered seven strikeouts.

Emma Entzminger scored Canada’s lone tally in the third inning after Victoria Hayward hit a double to deep centre field.

The Canadians had ample opportunities to add runs, Smith said, including in the sixth inning when they had a lead-off double.

“We didn’t have a lot of chances to score but they gave us a few and we didn’t capitalize, we didn’t execute when we needed to. Whether the moment got a little too big for some of them we don’t know, but better now that a year from now,” he said.

“Often times when you don’t get it done on your end of it, the other team just needs one opportunity. And they capitalized and hats off to Mexico because they did.”

Canada will play No. 14-ranked Brazil Sunday in the final game for both sides. A win for Canada would secure the national squad’s spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

Despite Saturday’s result, Smith isn’t planning to make any major changes when his team faces Brazil.

“Today’s a bit of a hiccup and I think if I do things a little differently, we win the ball game 1-0. So that’s on me,” he said.

Canada last faced the Brazilians in the preliminary round of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. The Canadians took a 6-0 victory and eventually captured gold in the tournament.

Brazil will play No. 4-ranked Puerto Rico on Saturday night.

The South Americans surprised many on Friday, edging No. 17-ranked Cuba 6-5.

Canada isn’t underestimating Brazil heading into Sunday’s match up.

“They’re scrappy. They keep coming at you,” he said. “They seem to show up and play hard against every body they play against. So we cannot afford to take anything for granted.”

READ MORE: Team Canada step closer to Olympics after beating Puerto Rico

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

RCMP disrupt Castlegar-Trail-Salmo drug flow

Bust on Nov. 6 leads to two arrests

Castlegar woman aiming to get rid of take-out containers

The Bring Your Own to Go Box movement is gaining momentum.

Equipment arrives for Kalesnikoff mass timber facility

The $35 million facility near Castlegar will produce glulam beams and cross-laminated panels.

Waterbridge, union cut new deal for ferry and manufacturing workers

Union says it achieved its goals in the contract talks

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Most Read