Aussie Spirit knock off Canada to guarantee a podium finish
22 July 2012
The Aussie Spirit team lifted another level today on Day 9 of the ISF XIII Women's World Championships beating home team, Canada to secure a place in the medal rounds. Captain, Stacey Porter showed why she is a born leader for the Aussie Spirit sending two balls over the outfield fence on the way to a 3-1 victory for the Aussie Spirit.
Facing Canada's best pitcher, Danielle Lawrie, Porter sent the third pitch of the game over the centrefield fence to give her team a 1-0 and the Aussie Spirit girls never looked back despite being challenged by a tough Canadian team. Aussie Spirit collected six hits in the first two innings, including an RBI single to Leigh Godfrey to give the Aussie Spirit a 2-0 lead. After a dominant round game performance earlier in the week by Lawrie (only giving up two hits in seven innings), the Aussie Spirit team forced Canada to replace their ace in the 3rd innings. Aussie Spirit went on to collect nine hits for the game, including Porter (2), Godfrey (2), Chelsea Forkin (2), Belinda White (2) and Brenda De Blaes (1). Porter then sealed the victory in the 7th innings, by sending the ball again over the fence for Aussie Spirit's third run, showing why she is considered the best hitter in world softball.
The Aussie Spirit defense was again sublime to shut down significant pressure put on them by the Canadian offense. Kaia Parnaby, who just hours earlier shut down China, earned the start for the Aussie Spirit. Parnaby did a fantastic job throughout three innings only giving up one hit and conceding Canada's only run. Aimee Murch replaced Parnaby to hold out Canada and the threat they presented in the 5th and the start of the 6th innings. Vanessa Stokes then came on the mound for the Aussie Spirit, ptiching the final innings to close out the game and give the Aussie Spirit a guaranteed medal.
Head Coach Kere Johanson was extremely proud of his team and how they handled the pressure situations and challenges presented during the game. Johanson simply said 'it was a great effort from a great team'. The hero of the day was Stacey Porter and in her post game interview highlighted that her team stayed positive and everybody did their job for the team, something that will need to continue tomorrow.
Aussie Spirit will now face Japan in the bronze medal match tomorrow with the winner advancing to the Gold Medal game agianst the USA. The Aussie Spriit lost to Japan in the opening game of the World Championship but nine days is a long time and the Aussie Spirit are certainly on top of the game at the business end of the championship.
The schedule for the final day of play in the 2012 ISF XIII Women's World Championships:
- Bronze Medal Match - Aussie Spirit v Japan (6am AEST)
- Gold Medal Match - USA v winner (Aussie Spirit v Japan) (9am AEST)
Some facts you may not know about the Aussie Spirit this World Championship:
- Aussie Spirit hitter, Brenda De Blaes is the leading hitter in the playoffs for all team's batting 0.700
- Chelsea Forkin is hitting 0.556 in the playoffs
- Stacey Porter is hitting 0.500 in the playoffs
- Aussie Spirit has collected 29 hits, including 4 home runs in three play off games
- Aussie Spirit had a team batting average of 0.289 during the round games, with Stacey Porter hitting 0.412
- Aussie Spirit surpasses in 6th place position in the 2010 World Championships courtesy of their win against China today
- The record number of home runs by an Australian at a World Championship is 4. Stacey Porter currently sits on 3 home runs
For live updates follow Softball Australia on Facebook.
To watch the game live go to Sports Canada TV and click on the Women's Fastpitch 2012 link and then the game link.
Photo courtesy Joanne McManus
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