Mexico and Canada advanced today in the playoffs of the WBSC Softball World Championship, defeating Italy and Netherlands respectively, and remain in the fight For the Title of World Champion and the berth in the Olympic Games.

Mexico 1-0 Italy

Mexico won the first knockout game of the WBSC Softball World Championship as they defeated, 1-0, Italy at the end of a game that required two extra innings.
Dallas Escobedo went the distance for Mexico, striking out an impressive 16 and allowing only four hits and a walk. Cacciamani and Cecchetti were nearly as good for Italy.

Mexico stranded three runners in bottom of the second. With one out, Brigette Delponte doubled off Italy starter Ilaria Cacciamani and Victoria Vidales followed with a base hit. Cacciamani walked the bases loaded, but Suzie Gonzalez lined, to shortstop, into a double play.

After Mexico ace Dallas Escobedor got on strikes the first six out of the game, only Erika Piacastelli (base hit) reached base, Italy tried with the short ball. Elisa Cecchetti was safe at first on a defensive error, but Mariel Bertossi failed to bunt her to second and Escobedo got out of the inning striking out Amanda Fama.

Laura Vigna led off the fourth bunting for the base hit but never went beyond first.
Greta Cecchetti relieved Cacciamani in the bottom half of the frame.
Koral Costa led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right, turned into a double by a misplay in the outfield and officially ruled a double. Cecchetti got out of the inning striking out Eliya Flores and using some help from catcher Piancastelli and shortstop Fama, who caught Costa stealing.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Suzie Gonzalez hit a ground rule double in the gap to right center. Cecchetti struck out Brittany Cervantes and then hit Sashel Palacios. Italy failed to get the third out on a pop fly in foul territory as third baseman Longhi and catcher Piancastelli collided. On a full count, Koral Costa lined out to right, thus sending the game to extra innings.

Mexico advanced the tie break runner to third both in the eighth and in the ninth inning.
In the eigth Erika Piancastelli picked off Costa at third and helped Greta Cecchetti get out of the inning.
In the ninth Cecchetti (walk, hit by pitch) loaded the bases and Suzy Gonzalez singled through the right side to win the game for Mexico.

Dallas Escobedo pitched another gem for Mexico

Canada 8-1 Netherlands

Larissa Franklin carried her team’s offense today at ZOZO Marine Stadium, with two homeruns and 7 RBIs, to lead Canada to an 8-1 knockout victory over Netherlands and advance in the playoffs at the WBSC Softball World Championship. The center fielder went 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored.

Canada took control of the game since the beginning. Victoria Hayward drew a walk to leadoff the game, then stole second base, and took advantage of a bad throw from catcher Dinet Oosting to advance to third base. Finally she scored with an RBI single off the bat of Kelsey Jenkings, to put the score 1-0.

In the top of the third Netherlands tied the game with only one swing. Danielle Lawrie had retired four batters in a row, including two strikeouts, before Soclaina Van Gurp came to the plate. But Netherlands’ second baseman hit a solo homer to left field to tie the game. That would be the only hit that Lawrie allowed for the remainder of the game.

Canada’s answer came in the bottom of the second inning. Larissa Franklin found Janet Leung on base, and hit a homer to center field to retake the lead, 3-1, her first two RBI’s of the afternoon.

Two innings later Franlkin again made some damage with her bat. Erika Polidori doubled to left field to leadoff the fourth inning, and Jennifer Gilbert followed with a walk, to chase Eva Voortman from the game. Rebecca Soumeru came in relief, and Janet Leung sacrificed to advance the runners. Then, Franklin found a pitch in the middle of the zone to hit it deep over the center field fence, for a three run shot, her second home run of the game.

The game came to an end in the fifth, with a 2-RBI single by Franklin. Jenn Salling walked, then pinch runner Emma Entzminger went to second on a hit and run play, and Holly Speers hit a grounder to third base, Virginie Anneveld assisted to second base, but the throw was not in time, and both runners were safe. Canada loaded the bases with a hit by pitch to Jennifer Gilbert, and then Franklin hit hard through the line of first base for a walkoff double.

Lawrie was the winning pitcher for Canada, with 7 strikeouts, no walks and 1 hit. The loss went to Voortman in 3 innings of work, with 3 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks and 1 strikeout.

Canada advances to the next round of the playoffs, and tomorrow will play at 12:00 local time, against the loser of the game between Japan and Puerto Rico, to be played tonight.

With this loss Netherlands ends its participation in the WBSC Softball World Championship.