After defeating Venezuela in the semifinal, Fruitvale’s Ella Matteucci and Team Canada women’s baseball team would settle for silver at the Pan Am Games on Sunday in Ajax, Ont. After falling to rival U.S.A in the gold-medal match up.
CBC’s controversial coverage of the Games was never more in question than on Sunday when the network ran a re-run of the Canadian men’s volleyball team’s bronze medal match against Puerto Rico, as Team Canada women’s baseball team battled the U.S. for gold in the sport’s very first appearance in the Games.
Unfortunately for Canada, the U.S. Would finish the Pan Am Games undefeated, topped off by a convincing 11-3 victory over Canada on Sunday.
The U.S. Jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, as Canadian starter Vanessa Riopel took it on the chin, going just one-third of an inning and giving up four runs on three hits and a walk. After going up 5-0 in the third, Canada would reply, scoring three times in the fourth inning against ace Sarah Hudek to cut the lead to 5-3.
After trailing 1-0 against Venezuela in the semifinal on Saturday, the Canadians erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on their way to a 6-1 victory. However, any late-inning heroics was not in the cards in Sunday’s final, as Anna Kimbrell hit a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to open up a close game as the Americans tacked on three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to crush Canada’s quest for gold.
Hudek, who hit in the clean-up spot, also drove in three runs, and gave up three runs on four hits while walking five and striking out two over 3 1/3 innings. Stacy Piagno pitched 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball the rest of the way. Michelle Snyder had two runs batted in and Samantha Cobb and Jenna Marston added an RBI apiece for the U.S.
Jenna Flannigan, Kelsey Lalor and Amanda Asay had RBIs for Canada, while Matteucci came into pitch hit in the seventh for Team Canada and kept the team’s hopes alive when she was awarded first after being hit by a pitch.
Meanwhile, Thea Culley and Canada’s Field Hockey team won it’s first bronze medal at the Pan Am Games since 1999 with a 1-0 defeat of Chile on Friday night at the University of Toronto.
Brienne Stairs scored at 5:02 of the fourth frame to net the winner on a deflection off a corner from veteran Kate Gillis.
The victory wasn’t enough to secure Canadia a berth at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio — they had to win this event to qualify — but Stairs said it was important to come away with a medal before a loud, boisterous home crowd.
“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t make the gold medal game but this is still awesome for us,” the 25-year-old Stairs said to reporters after the game. “It’s absolutely incredible having all the fans behind us.
Canada and Chile were relegated to the bronze medal game after losing their respective semifinals, Canada a 3-0 decision to the United States, while Chile lost 5-0 to Argentina.
“It’s always a little tough (to play after semifinal loss),” Stairs said. “But we knew we had another real important game coming up and we knew we wanted to be on the podium so we moved forward and focused in and came out with the result we wanted.”
However, it came with some anxious final moments as Chile had three penalty corner attempts over the final five minutes, forcing Canadian goalie Kaitlyn Williams, 25, of White Rock, to come up with some big saves to preserve the narrow lead.
For Culley and the other veterans, the win was a measure of revenge since losing to Chile in the bronze medal match in the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mex.