Team Canada flexed its muscles early, with a decisive 17-0 win over Cuba in the opening game of the 2019 Softball Americas Qualifier.
Canada took an early lead against Cuba Sunday evening on the first day of action for the Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 tournament.
The game fell apart for Cuba in the second, after a series of errors allowed Canada to score a third run.
With a runner on first, Canada’s Janet Leung laid down a bunt that bounced to Cuban pitcher Anisley Lopez, who underhanded it to first base. Cuba’s Leanneyi Gomez fumbled the catch as Canada’s Emma Entzminger touched down on third.
In the meantime, Cuba catcher Rosangela Jardines left home plate to cover third base. After a pause, Entzminger noticed the vacant home plate and ran in for the point.
Following the missed play, Canada spent nearly 40 minutes in the second inning, crushing pitch-after-pitch – with Cuba switching pitchers multiple times – for a score of 17-0 before the third.
The game was called under the mercy rule in the third inning.
According to the official schedule, which can be found at olympicsoftball.wbsc.org, Canada will play Guatemala on Tuesday evening, followed by Puerto Rico on Wednesday (Aug. 28) at Softball City, with the first pitch to be thrown at 6 p.m.
The top two teams from the World Baseball Softball Confederation-sanctioned event will earn a berth in the 2020 Olympics, which will run from July 24 to Aug. 9 in Tokyo.
Team Canada is currently ranked third in the world for women’s softball. Cuba is ranked 17th.
Canada’s most challenging opponents they may face during the week-long tournament are expected to be Puerto Rico (ranked fourth); Mexico (ranked fifth); and Brazil (ranked 14th).
The United States is not playing in the softball tournament, as that team has already secured a spot in the 2020 Tokyo games.
The tournament features 10 national teams.
Back in April, a random, lottery-ball system was used to determine which teams were placed in which pools. Canada ended up in Pool A alongside Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cuba and Guatemala. Pool B consists of Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
Argentina and British Virgin Islands pulled out of the tournament before it began. Canada was scheduled to play Argentina on Monday, but were given a win by default.
The rest of Canada’s games this week begin at 6 p.m.
After teams play each other in the pool round, the top three in each group move on to a ‘Super Round.’
Back in July, Canada won the Canada Cup, which was fielded at Softball City.
More information is available at softball.ca