Canadians open Softball Americas Qualifier with dominant win over Cuba
Canada knocks in 17 runs to end game after only 3 innings
Kaleigh Rafter had a home run and five RBIs as Canada opened the Softball Americas Qualifier tournament on Sunday with a 17-0 route of Cuba that lasted just three innings.
The Canadians opened with two runs in the bottom of the first inning before exploding for 15 in the second.
Eujenna Caira pitched the top of the third for Canada, allowing a single to No. 9 hitter Leannelys Zayas for Cuba's only hit, before recording the final out. The two sides called it a game before the Canadians went back to bat in the bottom half.
WATCH | Canada defeats Cuba:
Jennifer Gilbert added a double and four RBIs while all nine starters crossed home plate at least once apiece in the one-sided tilt.
Starter Sara Groenewegen pitched the first two innings for Canada, allowing no runners aboard with four strikeouts.
At No. 3 in the world, Canada is the top-ranked team at the Olympic qualifiers and is grouped with Puerto Rico (4), Cuba (17), Guatemala (18), Argentina (25) and Bahamas (39) for the preliminary round.
The top two teams at the qualifying tournament will punch their tickets to Tokyo 2020.
Softball hasn't been included in the Games since 2008 when Canada finished fourth in Beijing. While the sport is in for Tokyo, softball has already been nixed from the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
The other group includes: Mexico (5), Brazil (14), Venezuela (16), Dominican Republic (19), Peru (20) and the British Virgin Islands (57).