Canada's World Cup-bound women's baseball team wins bronze at qualifier
Madison Willan's 3-run homer highlights Sunday's 11-1 drubbing of host Mexico
Edmonton's Madison Willan hit a three-run homer as Canada's women's baseball team beat host Mexico 11-1 to capture the bronze medal on Sunday at a World Cup qualifying tournament.
The top four teams at the eight-team regional tournament qualified for the 2020 women's baseball World Cup. Canada had already secured its berth in next year's tournament when Cuba upset the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
Sunday's bronze-medal game lasted just five innings with the mercy rule in effect.
"We knew this was a resilient team that could battle, but to see it unfold today with a beautiful game in all aspects of play is rewarding," first-year Canadian manager Aaron Myette said.
"When you see spurts of battling back during the tournament, in certain games, you know it's there. But they put it all together in a big game, the bronze-medal game. They were firing on all cylinders today. They came together at the right time, and I couldn't be happier for these girls."
Carrie Jespersen of Spurce Grove, Alta., Kelsey Lalor of Red Deer, Alta., and Stacy Fournier of Surrey, B.C., also homered. Veteran right-hander Amanda Asay of Prince George, B.C., threw all five frames, allowing just one run.
"It's so amazing to win bronze," Jespersen said. "I'm so excited we qualified, and then to win bronze too, it's awesome. It's not where we wanted to be, because we wanted to be in the gold-medal game, but bronze is pretty amazing."
The Canadians finished the tournament with a 5-2 record. They opened the qualifier with wins over the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba, but suffered back-to-back losses against the U.S. and Venezuela before beating Puerto Rico Friday to put them in the top four with a game to go.
Canada, ranked No. 2 in the world in women's baseball behind Japan, won the bronze medal at the last World Cup in 2018. Canada has six World Cup medals in total since the biennial tournament began in 2004.
Japan is the six-time defending champion.