GB Slowpitch finishes fourth at World Cup

Mon 20 Nov 2017

A 17-5 loss to Canada in the Page Playoff at the WBSC Slowpitch World Cup in Florida on Sunday morning put paid to GB’s hopes of a medal and left them with a fourth-place finish in the tournament.

Canada went on to win the gold medal by defeating the USA 16-12 in the bronze medal game and then beating the defending champion Bahamas twice in the gold medal series, 20-15 and 23-22 in a thrilling final game.

"It was a tremendous effort by the Canadians on Sunday," Britain's Mike Jennings said, "winning those four games in a row against really tough opposition."

Great Britain had finished first in the standings after two days of round-robin play on Thursday and Friday, but put themselves in a hole after they lost their first playoff game on Saturday to the USA by a score of 21-5.

That meant one more loss would put GB out of the tournament, and it came at the hands of Canada on Sunday morning, when the GB offense could again muster only five runs.  

Since the ISF (now the WBSC Softball Division) revived the Slowpitch World Cup in 2014 and made it an annual November event at its headquarters complex in Plant City, Florida, the GB Slowpitch Team has won two silver medals (in 2014 and 2016) and twice finished in fourth place (2015 and 2017).


Scores

Scores from the final day’s Page Playoff games at what has been an exciting Wold Cup competition were:

1 v 2 Game
Bahamas 14, USA 11

3 v 4 Game
Canada 17, Great Britain 5 (GB is eliminated and finishes fourth)

Bronze Medal Game
Canada 16, USA 12

Gold Medal Series
Canada 20, Bahamas 15
Canada 23, Bahamas 22
 

GB v Canada

The Page Playoff game between GB and Canada was a tight, low-scoring contest for the first four innings.  Neither team scored in the first and second innings, and then Canada grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third.  But GB came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning when Annie Dubovec singled, Manny Estevez doubled and both scored.

Canada manufactured a run in the top of the fourth on just one base hit, but GB got that back in the bottom of the inning on hits by Chris Yoxall and Jeff Swindell to lead 3-2.  Which team was going to crack -- or break out -- first?

Sadly, the breakout came from Canada.  With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Ryan Jones homered, Erin Gee tripled and Brock Moburg doubled, and the Canadians were off and running.  Twelve batters came to the plate and six runs scored in the inning, and GB could only respond with a single run in the bottom of the fifth when Hannah Pitman reached on an error and came in on a double by Kelvin Harrison.

Two more Canadian runs in the top of the sixth inning made the score 10-4 and GB went up and down in order in the bottom of the sixth.  But this was slowpitch, so the game wasn't quite yet out of reach.

But it definitely was after Canada piled on seven more runs in the top of the seventh inning on five base hits to make the margin 17-4.  A lone GB run in the bottom of the seventh, scored by Kirstie Leach, was small consolation.

GB had beaten Canada 17-14 in pool play on Friday, but this was a different day and a very different result, and it left GB in fourth place in the Slowpitch World Cup for the second time in three years.
 

Gold medal showdown​

After their win over Great Britain, Canada faced another stern test against the United States.  The US had earlier lost 14-11 to the Bahamas, which meant the Bahamas were in the final and could watch their rivals slug it out for the right to join them.

Canada came through that game by a score of 16-12, but knew they would have to defeat the Bahamas twice to claim the title, while the Bahamas could gain their second Slowpitch World Cup gold medal with just a single win.

In the first game, the Bahamas took the early 5-2 lead.  But Canada roared back, scoring seven runs in the second inning to take the lead, and never looked back.  The teams traded runs the rest of the way and Canada was leading 20-15 when the game ended.  It was Canadian power that forced the decisive game, as five of Canada's 20 hits were home runs.

In the final game, Canada struck first, scoring eight runs in the first inning.  But the game became a slugfest, and the Bahamas took the lead in the third inning, 14-13.

In the fifth inning, with runs scoring everywhere, Canada led again, by 21-20 -- but not for long.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Bahamas scored two more runs to regain the lead for the final time at 22-21.  Both teams were punch-drunk by now but Canada had one more push left in them.

Justin Pennell led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double.  Two outs later, he was still on base -- but then the Canadian women won the game, as Melissa Reddy, David Battistella and then Alyssa Lee hit consecutive singles to push Canada in front, 23-22.

The Bahamas had one shot left, and only needed to score once.  But their women couldn't match the Canadians.  Reynaldo Russell, Rudy Fox and then Melinda Bastian all hit towering fly balls to the outfield, and the Canadians had won the WBSC Slowpitch World Cup for the first time.
 

Standings

Final standings at the 2017 WBSC Slowpitch World Cup were:

1 – Canada
2 – Bahamas
3 – USA
4 – Great Britain
5 – Bulgaria
6 – Curacao
7 – Turks and Caicos Islands

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