Canada will play Venezuela on Tuesday to open the second round at the women’s baseball World Cup in Viera, Fla.
The Canadians will start the super round in third place in the standings at 1-1 following a first-round loss to No. 1 Japan and a win against the Dominican Republic. Teams carry their records against other second-round squads into the crossover phase of the tournament, where they will not play teams they already faced in Round 1.
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Venezuela, which booked its spot in the second round by beating Puerto Rico 9-6 on Monday, starts the second round at 0-2 following losses against the United States and Taiwan in the opening round.
The top two teams of six after the super round will play for gold while the next two battle for bronze on Friday.
Canada, ranked No. 2 in the world, capped the first round of the tournament with an 18-1 win over the Dominicans in five innings on Sunday, giving Canada its fourth win in five games and sealing second place in Group B. They also beat Australia, Hong Kong and Cuba in the first round.
Canada’s team has been buoyed by its balanced roster of youth and veterans. Kate Psota of Burlington, Ont., and Ashley Stephenson of Mississauga, Ont., competing in their eighth World Cups since the tournament started in 2004, batted .667 and .444 respectively through round robin while 17-year-old Kaitlyn Ross of Redcliff, Alta., had four hits in seven at-bats and served as the starting catcher for two games.
Right-hander Anne-Sophie Lavallee of Boucherville, Que., was Canada’s top pitcher through the first round. The 22-year-old opened the tournament with a five-inning no-hitter against Hong Kong — the game was called early because of lightning — and allowed just two hits total over 7 2/3 shutout innings.
Outfielder Kelsey Lalor was 7-for-14 with six runs batted in and one home run. The 20-year-old from Red Deer, Alta., also made an impressive diving catch in left field during Canada’s close 9-6 win over Australia.
Canada is the defending silver medallist at the biennial tournament. The Canadians lost 10-0 to Japan in the 2016 final in South Korea, giving the Japanese a fifth straight women’s World Cup title.
Canada has two silver medals and three bronze from the first seven World Cups.
The United States, ranked third in the world, won the first two tournaments in 2004 and 2006 before Japan rattled off its five straight championships.
Group B winner Japan and Group A winner Taiwan lead the second-round standings at 2-0. The U.S. is 1-1 and the Dominican Republic is 0-2.
The No. 4-ranked Australians did not advance to the super round and will instead play in the consolation bracket with Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Cuba and the Netherlands.
The Canadian Press