Canada improves medal hopes at women’s baseball World Cup


Pitcher Claire Eccles comes within 2 outs of no-hitter


Claire Eccles of White Rock, B.C., came within two outs of a no-hitter while Kate Psota of Burlington, Ont., went 4-for-4 and drove in a run as Canada defeated Venezuela 8-1 at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup on Thursday.

The win improved Canada’s record to 2-1 in the playoffs, known as the Super Round.

Canada still has two more games against South Korea and Taiwan before Sunday’s medal games that will see the top two seeds meet for gold and the third and fourth seeds play for bronze.

“Claire fought it a bit early on with some walks, but once she settled it she was very good,” said Canadian manager Andre Lachance. “As a group, we’ve been getting better each game so I’m pleased with the direction we’re taking.”

After fielding a groundout to start the bottom of the seventh, Eccles hit a batter before Venezuela’s Sor Malis Brito singled to centre on the first pitch to break up the no-hitter.

‘Pitch my game’

“I didn’t even realize I had [a no-hitter]¬†until right before I gave up the hit,” explained Eccles after the game. “It would have been nice to have but we got the win and at the end of the day that’s the main thing.”

From the third on, Eccles allowed just two walks and kept her defence involved, inducing 10 groundouts in a stretch that saw her retire eight in a row at one point.

“I was a little nervous at the start given the situation of the game,” she said. “But I found I relaxed a bit and was able to pitch my game.”

Lachance is happy with his team’s effort but knows that there is still plenty of work to do.

“Korea hasn’t won a game yet this round, but they’ll have a big crowd so we need to be ready to play in that type of environment,” he said. “It will be important for us to have a good start and hopefully keep things rolling.”

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