Canada’s Lauren Bay-Regula from Trail celebrates with her team and their bronze medal win over Mexico at the Tokyo Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Team Canada wins bronze at Tokyo Olympics

Trail native and three-time Olympian, Lauren Bay-Regula gets her Olympic medal

Trail native Lauren Bay-Regula finally got her Olympic medal.

A veteran of three Olympic Games, Bay-Regula didn’t see action in the final bronze-medal win over Mexico, but came in to shut down Italy to secure Team Canada’s berth into the medal round.

Bay-Regula earned the win over the Italians on July 26, with a mercy-rule 8-1 victory.

She came on in the fourth inning in relief for Danielle Lawrie. Bay-Regula struck out five with two walks and gave up no hits, as Canada scored three runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings, propelling the team into the bronze medal match.

Then late Monday night in Yokohama, Japan – host site of women’s softball at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics – Canada defeated Mexico 3-2 in the bronze-medal game.

Lawrie came into the game in relief of Jenna Caira – who, in turn, came into the game after two innings, relieving Semiahmoo Peninsula resident Sara Groenewegen, who struck out three herself while allowing one run.

Groenewegen, 26, made four starts for Canada over the course of the Olympics, and also managed a few key hits at the plate throughout the six-team tournament.

Canada’s gold-medal hopes were dashed late last week, after back-to-back heartbreaking losses to the United States and Japan – both by 1-0 scores, with the latter game taking extra innings to decide – but they rebounded with a win over Italy to secure a spot in the bronze-medal game.

“I’m pretty sure there is no better way to leave the game I love … with a team I LOVE to play FOR and WITH, at the Olympic Games on a WIN and with an Olympic Medal around our necks.” said Bay-Regula on Instagram.

“I don’t have the words right now to really express what this team, this year, and this ending has meant to me and what it has done for me.

“When I do, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. For now though, I’m just reveling in all the feels and thinking about my family back home.”

Japan defeated the United States in the gold-medal game, successfully defending their Olympic title from 2008. Despite making its return after 13 years off the Olympic docket, softball is set to be cut again from the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, though it may return for the ’28 Games, which will be held in Los Angeles.

Against Mexico, Canada took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Victoria’s Emma Entzminger’s two-out single scored Jenn Salling and Erika Polidori.

Mexico cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning, but Canada nearly extended the lead in the bottom half of the frame but Victoria Hayward was cut down at the plate while trying to score.

In the fifth, with Caira in the pitcher’s circle, Mexico tied the game after a two-out single scored a runner from third, but Canada pushed back in the bottom of the inning, when Janet Leung – who started the inning with an infield single – scored on a sacrifice fly from Delta’s Kelsey Harshman.

Lawrie took over from there, retiring the side with relative ease in the sixth – striking out two while allowing one single – and in the seventh, struck out two more to end the game.

“What you saw today was character and culture step up when it had to and get the job done,” said Canadian coach Mark Smith. “We got a lead. We gave up that lead. We had an opportunity to score a go-ahead run. They made a great play at the plate. That would have been enough for a lot of teams to pack it in.”

– with files from The Associated Press

OlympicsSoftballTokyo 2020 Summer Olympics