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Canada blasts Cuba as women’s baseball debuts at Pan Am Games

Canada blasts Cuba as women’s baseball debuts at Pan Am Games

Posted by PanamericanWorld on July 21, 2015

Women’s baseball made its Pan American Games debut on Monday night. When the U.S. took on Venezuela at the President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark, it marked the first time the sport has taken place at a multi-sport event.

Canada had to wait another four hours after that to get its tournament started against Cuba. But four hours was nothing compared to the wait they faced leading up to the Games.

 

“We couldn’t wait (to get started),” said head coach Andre Lachance. “We started on July 8 so it’s been 10 days of playing exhibition games and practicing.

“We could feel the girls wanted to start playing for real. We’re happy it’s done now.”

It took the team a while to get going, but once they started hitting, there was nothing the Cubans could do to stop them.

Most of the damage done in the 13-1 rout occurred in the sixth inning when Canada sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring eight runs.

“As you can see, we didn’t come out swinging at the beginning of the game,” said shortstop Bradi Wall, who cashed three runs with a double in the inning. “It was a 2-0 game for the longest time.”

Against a side like Cuba, the flat offence wasn’t exposed. But Wall knows that down the road, the bats will need to come alive much earlier.

“We know that we have to hit from inning one,” said the Swift Current, Sask., native. “With the tougher teams coming up – and every single team – we have to play our best and know that we can hit from inning one all the way up to inning seven.”

Starting pitcher Vanessa Riopel was called on to start Canada’s first ever game in the Pan Ams. She was solid, throwing five innings of shutout baseball, allowing two hits and letting one Cuban base runner advance past second.

After the game, she told reporters how grateful she was for the opportunity.

“It was historic for women’s baseball, so it was an honour that Andre asked me to throw the first pitch, but I think I can do better,” said the 25-year-old right-hander. “I wasn’t nervous, and I like to be nervous, so I’m going to try to set up my warmup and everything correctly for the next outing.”

Women’s baseball at the Pan Am Games is just one milestone the sport has reached in 2015.

Earlier this year, France’s Melissa Mayeux became the first female to ever be added to Major League Baseball’s international register. That means that as of July 2, the shortstop has been eligible to sign with a major league team.

Wall had a chance to coach Mayeux in Cuba when she went down to help Lachance at an annual development camp that Baseball Canada runs every February.

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