GB Women glide past Ireland in final warm-up

Sat 24 Jun 2017

By Bob Fromer

Bollate, Italy: 24 June – The GB Women played their last warm-up game before the start of the European Championship today on Field 2 at Bollate, cruising to a 14-0 whitewash of Ireland in a seven-inning match-up where the teams ignored the mercy rule.

The game, played on a wickedly hot afternoon, was a contest at the start, because Irish starter Christine Campbell from Lehigh College in the United States made good use of an excellent change-up to keep GB hitters off balance, and GB only led by 1-0 after two innings of play.  The run came in the top of the second inning on a walk to Chiya Louie and a line drive triple to left field by Georgina Corrick that just missed being caught by the Irish left fielder.

However, Ireland made a pitching change in the top of the third inning, bringing in slow-throwing Siobhan Hayes, and she only lasted for six batters, during which time GB had four hits and a walk, including a two-RBI double by Amy Moore, and scored five runs.

Back came Christine Campbell to finish the inning, but by the time it was over GB had a 7-0 lead and the game was over as a contest.  The rest was practice.


More runs​

GB added two runs in the fourth inning, three in the sixth and a final two runs in the top of the seventh, all coming off Ireland’s third pitcher, Shawna Walsh, who pitched the last four frames.

Notable hits were a triple and double by Kendyl Scott, a triple by Steph Pearce and a two-RBI single by Amie Hutchison.

In all, GB finished with 13 hits, and Ireland gave them four walks, a hit batter and three errors.  This is a better Irish team than the one that played in the 2015 Europeans and the 2016 World Championship, but they will struggle here for lack of pitching depth.


Defense

Speaking of defense, it was an excellent afternoon for GB starting pitcher Georgina Corrick, who threw a no-hitter during her four innings of work, walking one and striking out seven, mostly on rise balls.

Amie Hutchison also pitched a tidy three innings in relief, allowing just two hits, one in the infield, plus a walk, and Amie struck out Shawna Walsh to end the game.

GB also pulled off a picture-perfect 3-6-4 double play in the fifth inning and generally played good defense, with just one error.


Looking ahead

It was a good way to end what has been eight days of preparation – far more than usual – by the GB Women’s Team, including nine scrimmage games in France and in Italy.

The real thing starts tomorrow (Sunday) and GB will be looking for wins over Belgium in the morning and Russia in the afternoon to keep the momentum going.  Two wins on opening day will go a long way towards ensuring that GB will win their first round group, though as Head Coach Rachael Watkeys cautioned the team, “we have to treat every opponent with respect”.

And Russia, always in or around the top four places in Europe, will definitely not be easy.

This ESF seems to have two basic schedule formats for European Championships – too many games, or too few.  This is one of the former, and most teams – especially those that proceed to the Championship rounds after the first round-robin -- will be playing two games a day all week.

In this kind of heat, that can be punishing, and it rewards the teams with the greatest amount of pitching depth.

GB can’t match the Dutch in that respect, but Georgina Corrick, Carling Hare and Amie Hutchison have all thrown well over the past eight days, and all will make a contribution.

GB may well have one of the best offensive and defensive outfields in the tournament, and Aubrey Peterson, Kendyl Scott, Tori Charters and Hayley D’Avilar will be expected to set the table.  For GB to be successful in the chase for a medal, the hitters behind them will need to find a way to drive those runners in.

Photos by Simon Mortimer

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