Summer Sports

Lawrie impressive as Canada beats Australia at world softball

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The Canadian Press
7/19/2012 2:49:41 AM
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WHITEHORSE -- Canada earned some redemption at the ISF Women's World Championships on Wednesday night.

Matching up against Australia for the first time since losing the bronze medal match to them at the Canadian Open in Surrey, B.C., Canada had one of their best outings of the tournament.

Star pitcher Danielle Lawrie and veteran short stop Jennifer Salling were absent in that loss but each of them were in town for Wednesday night's re-match.

Their presence provided an immediate impact for the team.

Lawrie, whose younger brother is Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, pitched a complete game, blanking the Aussies over seven innings and collecting 11 strike outs in a 2-0 win.

Lawrie said her transition back onto the team was made easy due to the play of veteran catcher, Kaleigh Rafter.

"I felt really comfortable with her, which is huge," she said.

"There wasn't one moment out there where she wasn't calling what I wanted and that's so important. As a pitcher, I can't stress that enough."

Salling was equally impressive, patrolling the infield and gunning out the speedy Australian team on the base paths. She also helped seal the win by bringing home the second run of the night in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"Australia is a very credible team," she said.

"They've got good pitching, good hitting and good defence. They're a scrappy team so it always good to get a win off of them."

Both Salling and Lawrie said they've been paying attention to the tournament while playing for their U.S. based professional teams and they're impressed with the way the Canada has performed.

"We've got a good combination of young and old players," said Salling.

"The young one have come in like they've been here before and they are fitting in really nicely."

With round-robin play wrapping up Thursday, the win helped solidify Canada's standing in Section B of the tournament.

Japan leads the division with a 6-0 record while Canada and Australia follow at 5-1 and 4-2.

Canada head coach, Mark Smith, described the win as a "statement game."

"We expected when we started the round robin that it would be between ourselves, Japan and Australia for first and second in the pool," he said.

"Historically we've been very close with Australia so this was an important game for us. It's a very good win."

Rafter brought in the first run of the game, sending Joey Lye home from second base a with a deep single to centre field.

Canada would add one more in the sixth inning. With Victoria Haywood on third with one out, Salling was able to bring the run across with a grounder down the first base line.

"Tonight we looked like the team we're capable of being," said Smith.

"We just need to carry that through in the next four or five days."

Canada will conclude round-robin play with a match up against Italy Thursday night.

Baseball (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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