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Canada eliminated from World Fastball Championships after loss to Australia

Canada's Danielle Lawrie, sister of Toronto Blue Jays' third baseman Brett Lawrie, pitches against the United States at the 2012 Women???s World Fastpitch Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, Friday, July 20, 2012.

Vince Federoff/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada's run at the ISF Women's World Fastball Championships ended Saturday night after falling 3-1 to Australia.

Australia faces Japan tomorrow for a spot in the final against the United States. Meanwhile, Canada finishes at 7-3, good for a fourth-place finish.

Australia's leadoff hitter, Stacey Porter, took Danielle Lawrie of Langley, B.C., deep to centre field on the first at-bat of the game. The Aussies made it 2-0 in the second before Porter added an insurance homer in the seventh.

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Canada pulled one back in the fourth when Jennifer Yee of North Delta, B.C., drove in Toronto's Joey Lye, but it was all the offence the Canucks could muster after playing their second game of the day and their tenth in nine days.

Lawrie, ace of Canada's pitching rotation and sister of Toronto Blue Jays star Brett Lawrie, lasted only two innings, giving up six hits and two runs. Toronto's Jenna Caira entered the game in the third and kept Australia guessing with a series of fastballs, change-ups and movement pitches.

Caira collected four strike-outs in five innings of relief, holding Australia to only three hits and one run.

"It hurts obviously," said Caira. "It's not what you want to finish with but Australia played a really great game and so did we. We fought from the very first pitch the very end. Unfortunately, that's just how the game goes sometimes."

Smith said he was happy with the tournament despite the loss to Australia.

Overall, I'm very proud of the way the team played," said Smith. "It is extremely difficult to play in your own country with the inherit pressure that comes with that and not succumbing to it."

Head coach Mark Smith was unhappy with the umpires on Saturday, claiming both teams suffered from an inconsistent strike zone.

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"I thought the home plate umpire was horrible both ways," he said. "He was very inconsistent ... and that should not happen at a semifinal at a world championship."

Earlier in the day, Canada knocked out the Netherlands in a 4-0 win to move into the game against Australia. Caira and Lawrie combined for a three-hitter while Yee, Calgary's Sheena Lawrick and Caitlin Lever each had an RBI for Canada.

Canada will retain much of the same core next year. But veteran Melanie Matthews, one of the best offensive players in the world, has played her last tournament with the team.

"It's definitely a tough loss for those of moving on from the program but there's a lot of young talent that's only going to improve," said Matthews. "The sports given a lot to me so I'd like to eventually give back at the grassroots level."

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