Edmonton’s Nicole Luchanski had three extra-base hits and drove in two, and Amanda Asay of Prince George, B.C., pitched seven strong innings as Canada beat the Netherlands 7-1 on Monday to lock up a spot in the super round at the women’s baseball World Cup.
The win gives Canada (2-1) second place in Group B, while Japan (3-0) finished first. The fourth-ranked Canadians will open super-round play on Wednesday against No. 3 Australia.
Global Edmonton MVP: Nicole Luchanski
“Nicole provided the spark that we needed today,” said Canadian Manager Andre Lachance. “We were pressing a bit at the beginning, left the bases loaded twice (in the first three innings) and gave them a bit of momentum, but our offence kicked it into high gear after that and we never looked back.”
Canada took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as a Kelsey Lalor single cashed in Luchanski from third base.
Asay retired the first nine hitters she faced before giving up a lead-off single to start the fourth.
A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second and an infield single put runners on the corners before Asay got an infield pop out for the second out of the inning. The Dutch scored when their runner on third crossed the plate before a tag could be applied on stolen base attempt at second.
Asay allowed just a single the rest of the way and ended the game with eight strikeouts.
“Amanda had a tremendous effort today and had all her stuff working from the very first pitch of the game,” said Lachance.
Canada put up three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Luchanski drilled a triple to centre that brought in Niki Boyd from second base, then tagged and scored from third when Becky Hartley lifted a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to left. Jenna Flannigan then hit a fly ball to centre to allow Lalor to score from third.
Boyd and Luchanski hit back-to-back doubles in the fifth before Lalor belted a triple to centre that brought in two to give Canada the 7-1 lead.
Canada will carry its opening round loss against Japan with them to the super round to begin 0-1. Match-ups for gold- and bronze-medal games will be determined after four super round games.
“There will be no easy games in the next round,” said Lachance. “We’ve done some good things in the first round and I like where our game is headed.”