Canada continues to show some impressive offensive punch at the ISF Women’s World Fastpitch Championships.
Carey-Leigh Thomas went 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs on Saturday as Canada thumped Mexico 8-0 to improve to 2-0.
“She had a big night at the plate,” said Canadian head coach Mark Smith, whose team won its opener, 6-0 over Taiwan on Friday. “We got our runs in bunches and we made the adjustments we needed to make. We had a good day offensively.”
After facing a trio of high-speed pitchers the night before in a match-up against Taiwan, Canada had to adjust to the slower speed and increased movement of Mexico starter Cynthia Valenciano.
Valenciano blanked the Canadians over the first two innings, allowing only one hit until Thomas started the third with a solo shot to left field.
The momentum carried over to the fourth inning, where Canada collected five runs on four hits.
Sheena Lawrick and Kaleigh Rafter got things going with back-to-back singles. With Victoria Hayward brought in to pinch run for Rafter, Caitlin Lever brought her home on a single to left field.
Another single by Jennifer Gilbert brought in Hayward and with runners on the corners, Thomas stepped up and crushed her second home run of the evening, this time to straight away centre field.
“The team is starting to find their rhythm offensively,” Smith said. “In an event like this we have to get better each game. We’re getting it from everybody and I think that’s the most important thing.
“It’s seldom that you have nine hitters seeing the ball well at the same time but if you have three or four you’re going to score some runs and that’s what’s working for us.”
Thomas said after struggling earlier in the day at batting practice she was able to find her focus during the game.
“Coach gave me a few words of encouragements and some pointers and said to be patient,” she said. “I just waited for the right pitch and took the opportunity.”
After Thomas broke opened in the top of third with her first home run, Canada gained more confidence at the plate.
“As a team that’s what starts it,” said Thomas. “Once one person gets a bit hit, everyone starts getting that confidence and that energy and everyone does their part.”
The Canadians will face their first real test tomorrow night when they take on Japan (2-0).
The Japanese team was unbeatable last week, winning gold at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International in Surrey, B.C., after defeating the U.S. 9-6 in the final.
Canada placed fourth overall after losing the bronze medal game to Australia, 7-0.
“We’re going to have to play probably our best game of the tournament tomorrow night,” said Smith. “The Japanese are very masterful at putting the ball in play and our defence knows they are going to have to be up to the task. Their pitching will be as good as there is in the tournament so we’re going to have to make adjustments at the plate as well.”
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