Canadians take game off American world champs

The American women's national fastpitch team won gold at the last seven world championships, including a couple weeks ago in Venezuela.

The American women’s national fastpitch team won gold at the last seven world championships, including a couple weeks ago in Venezuela. But if there’s one thing the two exhibition games played this week in Whitehorse prove, the continuation of a win streak is never guaranteed.

Canada and America’s national women’s softball teams were in town for a pair of games Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pepsi Softball Centre. The Canadians, who won bronze at the ISF Women’s World Championship, managed to split the two-game series with the world champs, losing 5-4 Tuesday, winning 5-1 Wednesday.

“It was a good game – last night was too, we just started a bit late,” said Team Canada head coach Mark Smith. “Tonight we started early and played with the type of intensity we’re capable of and the result was a lot more to our liking.”

Canada drew first blood on Wednesday, scoring three runs in the third. With runners on second and third, Calgary’s Sheena Lawrick hit a line drive just over the second-base bag, making it 2-0. Guelph, Ontario’s Kaleigh Rafter then put in Lawrick with a sacrifice fly to left field. Rafter went on to make it 5-1 in the sixth with a solo shot to centre field.

“I think yesterday we were a little tired and came out a little flat in the first three innings – it’s always tough to play that team coming from behind because they’re a really good team and pitching has always been their strength,” said Rafter. “Today we were able to get out in front of them early and force them to make plays and make hits, and we just kept pressure on them all game. It worked for us today.”

On Tuesday, it was the Canadians playing catch-up, going down 3-0 in the second but getting the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Down 5-2 to start the final inning, Jennifer Yee, from North Delta, BC, put a deep shot off the left field wall before Lawrick smacked a two-run homer. Canada’s Caitlin Lever from Buffalo, New York, hit a homerun in the third inning.

Helping keep the American bats quiet – pitching all of Tuesday’s game and four innings on Wednesday – was Canadian pitcher Danielle Lawrie from Langley, BC. Lawrie, who recently graduated from University of Washington (where she became the only Canadian to win a NCAA Player of the Year award – in both 2009 and 2010) registered eight strikeouts Tuesday and six in her four innings the following night.

“She throws a lot of innings with her University of Washington team, where she just graduated from in June,” said Smith. “She’s been their workhorse there and has thrown 300 innings a year. So she’s used to a lot of work and tonight was an example of her throwing a game last night and then being able to come in here tonight for four innings and pitch just as well, if not better, than she did last night.”

After leaving the world championships, the two teams stopped in Vancouver for four exhibition games. Like the games in Whitehorse, which attracted 1,500 spectators in total, the series was split, two wins apiece.

“This past year our hitting has really picked up,” said Rafter. “Our whole lineup, from top to bottom, isn’t easy outs. And obviously our pitching on the mound with Danielle (Lawrie) and Jenna (Caira) as well – that’s been a strength in the past, but now we’ve solidified both aspects. We keep getting better as a group.”

Although the two teams, which were said to be made up from first-time visitors to the territory, did not have time to go sightseeing, both said they enjoyed their stay and determined Whitehorse to be a great location for when it hosts the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship in 2012.

“It’s a great facility – you have that great advantage where lights aren’t an issue, so that a very unique advantage to have,” said Smith. “George Arcand (executive director of Softball Yukon and chair of the 2012 organizing committee) is known throughout Softball Canada as a great organizer and administrator and doing a great job. We knew coming in here we’d be looked after and things would be well prepared.

“I’m sure, with two years to prepare, it will be a world-class event.”

“It’s been cool. It’s definitely an interesting place to see and the people have been awesome,” said Rafter. “Walking into Tim Hortons this morning, everyone was saying hi and wishing us good luck, so it has that nice small-town feel where everyone is rooting for you and you can feel the crowd behind you when you’re playing.

“It was a great experience.”

After seven weeks on the road and away from family and friends, Team Canada has returned to their hometowns where they will have a few days off before going to World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City in a week.

“This is obviously a different place than I’ve ever been. So chalk it up as another place we get to go and see,” said Lawrie of Whitehorse. “They’ve done a great job hosting us and I think it’s a good spot for in two years when we come here because it’s different.

“I think to have it in our country is definitely an advantage.”

Whitehorse played host to the ISF Junior Men’s World Fastpitch Championships in 2008 where Canada came within an out of winning gold but had to settle with silver after a last inning surge by the Australians.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abigail Jirousek, left, is tailed by Brian Horton while climbing a hill during the Cross Country Yukon January Classic in Whitehorse on Jan. 23. Jirousek finished second in the U16 girls category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Cross Country Yukon hosts classic race

Cross Country Yukon hosted a classic technique cross-country ski race on Jan.… Continue reading

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. The Yukon government said Jan. 25 that it is disappointed in a decision by the federal government to send the Kudz Ze Kayah mining project back to the drawing board. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Territorial and federal governments at odds over Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

The federal government, backed by Liard First Nation, sent the proposal back to the screening stage


Wyatt’s World for Jan. 27, 2021

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man facing two tickets violating the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em>. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Arrest warrant issued for CEMA violation

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ansh Dhawan over two tickets for violating CEMA

The office space at 151 Industrial Road in Marwell. At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members voted to sign off on the conditional use approval so Unit 6 at 151 Industrial Rd. can be used for office space. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Marwell move set for land and building services staff

Conditional use, lease approved for office space

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

Most Read