Canada beats Puerto Rico, stays undefeated to secure first in group play

Canada 3 Puerto Rico

SURREY, B.C. — The Canadian women got their first real test at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier and passed with ease.

Sara Groenewegen went four innings and got the help from two relieves for the shutout as Canada downed Puerto Rico 3-0 on Wednesday at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier.

Both teams entered the night atop Group A with 3-0 records, but the Canadians secured themselves first place and a spot in the Super Round with the victory.

Jennifer Salling had a double and two RBIs as Canada’s offence was held in check for the first time all tournament.

Canada opened the tournament on home soil Sunday by routing Cuba 17-0 in a game that lasted just three innings, then were handed the victory against Argentina on Monday after the South Americans forfeited the contest before hammering Guatemala 19-0 in a four-inning game on Tuesday.

Argentina and the British Virgin Islands were expected to make it a 12-team event, but withdrew from the competition citing unexpected circumstances in their own countries, according to the tournament website.

At No. 3 in the world, Canada is the top-ranked team at the regional Olympic qualifier and is in Group A with Puerto Rico (4), Cuba (17), Guatemala (18) and Bahamas (39).

The top two teams at the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

No. 5 Mexico and No. 14 Brazil lead Group B at 3-0. The other teams are No. 16 Venezuela, the Dominican Republic (19) and Peru (20).

Canada plays the Bahamas on Thursday.

Softball is being included in the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, when Canada finished fourth in Beijing. The sport has already been nixed from the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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