GB Women split a pair of games at rainy Worlds

Tue 7 Aug 2018


By Bob Fromer

Tuesday 7 August – It rained most of the day at the Women’s World Championship in Japan, but the GB Women managed to record a mercy rule win in the morning – their first of the tournament -- before suffering a mercy-rule rain-soaked defeat in the evening.

The win was a 10-0 four-inning drubbing of Botswana in which the GB offense scored its first runs in the competition and had nine hits, including two home runs. 

The loss was a five-inning 11-0 defeat to Australia in which GB managed only one hit, a single in the fourth inning by Lauren Evans, and otherwise went up and down in order to Australian left-hander Kaia Parnaby, while the Australian attack had nine hits and two home runs.  Symmetry of a kind….


Looking ahead

There is just one more day left in the round-robin phase of the tournament, and GB is scheduled to face Venezuela, weather permitting, on Wednesday at 12.30 pm local time (4.30 am in the UK).  Both teams are currently 1-5, and a win over Venezuela will give GB a sixth-place finish in Pool B, with placement playoff games to come on Friday and Saturday after a rest day for everyone on Thursday. 

The placement playoff will consist of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final, so GB will have to win to keep playing.

Tomorrow’s game against Venezuela, and all games for the rest of the tournament, can be accessed from this page: https://wswc.wbsc.org/schedule-and-results.  Plans to broadcast games in Europe via baseballsoftball.tv, the platform used for ESF tournaments, seems to have run into technical problems.

Here is how today’s two games unfolded.
 

GB v Australia

The start of this game, scheduled for 6.00 pm Japanese time at the NASPA Stadium in Narita City, was delayed by about an hour because rain had held up the previous game between China and Botswana, and it rained – sometimes quite hard – throughout the contest.  But the tournament officials were determined to get it played.

GB starting pitcher Georgina Corrick set the Australians down in order in the top of the first inning, getting a pop-up from Stacey Porter and striking out Leigh Godfrey and Chelsea Forkin – and that was as good as it was going to get.

Power

In the top of the second inning, the Australians turned on the power.  Jade Wall led off with a fly ball down the right field line that fell just fair and turned into a triple.  Wall had to hold at third when Samantha Poole bounced out to short, but Clare Warwick singled up the middle to score the run, and then two more came in when first base player Taylah Tsitsikronis belted a long home run over the fence in centre field to give Australia a 3-0 lead.

But the inning wasn’t over.  Carmelle Sorensen was thrown out on an attempted bunt for the second out, but Stacey McManus drew a walk and Stacey Porter, still one of the world’s great players at the age of 36, belted an even longer home run to left field that took the score to 5-0.

Australia went down quietly in the top of the third inning, and added an unearned run in the fourth, an inning that could have been worse if Georgina Corrick hadn’t struck out Chelsea Forkin for the third straight time to leave runners on second and third.

Meanwhile, the GB offense had done nothing at all against Kaia Parnaby over the first three innings.  Parnaby had struck out four and hadn’t allowed a ball out of the infield.

With two out in the bottom of the fourth, however, Lauren Evans broke up Parnaby’s no-hit bid by driving a single into right centre field.  It was to be GB’s only hit of the game, and the only ball that saw the outfield grass.

More power

Australia sewed up the game with another power outburst in the top of the fifth inning that drove Georgina Corrick from the circle. 

Jade Wall led off with a double to right field and GB failed to get an out on Samantha Poole’s sacrifice bunt.  That was followed by four straight hits – doubles by Clare Warwick and Taylah Tsitsikronis and singles from Carmelle Sorensen and Stacey McManus.

That brought a change of pitchers by Head Coach Rachael Watkeys, with Beth Fleming coming to the circle with four runs in and still no one out.  Beth did well to fight her way out of the inning with only one further run scoring on a sacrifice fly, but the writing was on the wall for GB.

A strikeout and two infield groundouts against Kaia Parnaby in the bottom of the fifth inning brought the game to a merciful close.
 

GB v Botswana

The GB Women’s Team finally got their first runs, their first home runs and their first win in the WBSC Women’s World Championship this morning at the NASPA Stadium, in a 10-0 four-inning mercy rule pounding of Botswana.

Carling Hare pitched a three-hit shutout in damp and windy conditions, striking out three, and GB broke the game open with seven runs in the top of the fourth inning as what had been some decent resistance from winless Botswana crumbled away.

On the board

GB loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning on a bunt single by Nerissa Myers, a Lauren Evans hit-by-pitch and a single to left field by Amy Moore and still couldn’t score, compounding their frustrations from Monday’s game against Italy.  Steph Pearce struck out against Botswana starter Oreabetse Mojeremane, and Chiya Louie flew out to left field.

But GB finally broke their scoring duck in the top of the second inning.  Hayley D’Avilar walked to lead off the inning, was bunted to second by Sydney Brown, took third when Aubrey Peterson slashed a single to left field, and scored on a wild pitch.  It wasn’t the most elegant way for GB to score their first run in five games – despite out-hitting the opposition in three of them – but they would take it.

In the top of the third inning, the GB hitters began to figure out the Botswana starter.  Lauren Evans opened up by lining a double to left centre field, then Amy Moore clubbed a high outside pitch over the right field fence and was mobbed by her teammates at home plate.  GB now had a 3-0 lead.

However, any thoughts of relaxation were banished in the bottom of the third inning when Botswana threatened to get back in the game.  With one out, lead-off hitter Boitshwarelo Sefo hit a long double to right centre field and Kelepogile Lesesere singled up the middle, with Sefo holding at third base.  But the pressure subsided when Lesesere was called out for leaving first base early, and Magdeline Mabutho grounded out to shortstop Sydney Brown to end the inning.

Explosion

GB then came up in the top of the fourth inning and put the game far out of reach.

Sydney Brown led off by driving a single between third and short, and Aubrey Peterson was hit in the helmet by a pitch, with no apparent damage.  Nerissa Myers, whose hits had mostly been gained in the infield, now turned on a pitch and ripped a line drive to right field that skipped past Kagiso Lowang and carried on all the way to the fence.  By the time Botswana got the ball back to the infield, all three runners had scored on an inside-the-park home run, and GB had a 6-0 lead.

After Kendyl Scott then doubled to left field, and scored all the way from second on a wild pitch to Lauren Evans when Botswana failed to retrieve the ball, that brought Gotlamang Sixpence to the circle for Botswana.  But the GB assault continued.

Lauren Evans eventually walked, as did Amy Moore.  There was then a brief hiatus, as Sixpence struck out Steph Pearce and got Chiya Louie to line out to first base.  But Botswana heads were dropping. 

Lauren Evans and Amy Moore pulled off an unopposed double steal, and when Botswana first base player Iponeng Molapong dropped the throw to first on a grounder by Hayley D’Avilar that should have ended the inning, Lauren Evans scored.

That brought Kirsten Mack to the plate, pinch-hitting for Sydney Brown, and Kirsten slashed a double down the right field line to bring in GB’s final two runs, taking the score to 10-0.

That meant the game would be over if Carling Hare could hold Botswana scoreless in the bottom of the fourth inning, and she did that thanks to a fine double play engineered by Nerissa Myers after Othusitse Molatheng had reached first on a one-out error -- the first error by the GB defense since the opening game against Canada. 

Onalenna Ntibe hit a hard ground ball to Myers, who got to second base for the force play and was able to make an off-balance throw to first that Lauren Evans stretched for and held to complete the game-ending double play.

Scores

Scores from Tuesday’s games are:

Pool A
Puerto Rico 4, New Zealand 1
Chinese Taipei 9, Philippines 7
Mexico 1, Netherlands 0
USA 7, South Africa 0 (5 inns)
Mexico 1, New Zealand 0

Pool B
GB 10, Botswana 0 (4 inns)
China 15, Botswana 1 (4 inns)
Italy 3, Venezuela 1
Australia 11, GB 0 (5 inns)
Japan 2, Canada 0


Standings

Below are the first-round pool standings at this point on Day 6 of the initial round-robin phase of the competition, with one day’s play still to come:

Pool A
Puerto Rico (6-0)
USA (6-0)
Mexico (4-2)
Chinese Taipei (3-3)
Philippines (2-4)
Netherlands (2-4)
New Zealand (1-5)
South Africa (0-6)

Puerto Rico and USA are definitely through to the playoffs, and the two teams will meet on Wednesday to determine who tops the group.  Mexico will probably join them, but three other teams – Chinese Taipei, Philippines and the Netherlands – are still in with a chance of grabbing a playoff spot.

Pool B
Japan (6-0)
Australia (5-1)
Canada (4-2)
China (4-2)
Italy (3-3)
GB (1-5)
Venezuela (1-5)
Botswana (0-6)

While Japan, Australia and Canada are guaranteed playoff places in Pool B, the fourth playoff team will be determined by Wednesday’s game between Italy and China.
 


Photos by Simon Mortimer

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