Team Canada has won gold at the Canada Cup at Softball City in Surrey, BC!
Team Canada has won gold for the second consecutive year at the Canada Cup at Softball City in Surrey, BC. The Canadians took a commanding 6-0 lead after three innings in the championship game and never looked back, putting away Texas-based Scrapyard International 8-4.
Tournament MVP Jennifer Gilbert had two hits and one run-batted-in in the win, and Canada’s Sara Groenewegen, who took home top-pitcher honours for the tournament, pitched a complete game, striking out 5. Groenewegen acknowledged that she felt confident early and often in today’s championship game.
“It’s a good day when you can have your pitches working in all four quadrants,” says Groenewegen. “I had some good plays behind me, and it’s more comfortable when you have an early lead like we did.”
The Canadians were fresh off an extra-inning victory against Chinese Taipei earlier in the day to book their place in the finals – a game they were forced to play thanks to a 2-0 loss on Saturday against the very same Scrapyard International team they beat this evening.
Team Canada Head Coach Mark Smith chalks up some of his team’s 2-0 defeat on Saturday to a grueling schedule leading up to and including the Canada Cup tournament. “It’s been a long summer for us (…) we’re coming from a professional league schedule where the athletes played nine games in eight days, had basically a day-and-a-half-off, and this was our ninth game of the week,” says Smith. “They’re tired, they’re pushing through some injuries (…) but they came out and answered the bell and did what they needed to do tonight.”
The 2019 edition of the Canada Cup included a record, 106-teams, competing in five divisions, all playing exceptional ball over the course of the 10-day tournament, in front of some of the most appreciative softball fans you will find anywhere in the world. It was also just Canada’s second gold medal in 23 years at this event.
But Canada Cup Chairman Greg Timm sees last year and this year’s victories auguring very well for the future of Canada Women’s Softball. “It’s a product of building up towards the Olympics and training and playing in the pro league – our players think they can play with anyone now,” says Timm. “We had 2000 young people involved in the tournament this week (…) so we’re trying to inspire the next round of athlete here at Canada Cup – maybe even light the fire for some future national team players.
This is an exciting time for women’s softball given the sport’s long-awaited return to the Olympic stage for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Team Canada will have a chance to qualify for those very-same Games on home-soil later next month when Softball City in Surrey plays host to the Americas Softball Olympic Qualifier from August 25th – September 1st. In the meantime, the Canadians will face some more international competition at the Pan-Am Games in Lima, Peru, which opens July 24th.
Preparations will now begin for the 2020 edition of the Canada Cup International Softball Championship. Updates, including specific dates, will be posted at www.CanadaCup.com details are finalized.
Featured photo:Team Canada poses with the 2019 Canada Cup Championship trophy.