Canada Suffers Softball Setback;  small presence at the opening ceremony

Canada Suffers Softball Setback; small presence at the opening ceremony

Canada Suffers Softball Setback;  small presence at the opening ceremony

TOKYO – Sara Groenewegen’s strong performance both on the mound and at the plate was not enough to help Canada overtake their south-of-the-border softball rival.

Monica Abbott pitched a one-hit complete game, and the United States beat Canada 1-0 in Fukushima, Japan on Thursday in a free-for-all game in softball action at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Groenewegen pitched two scoreless innings, allowing three hits, striking out four and walking a batter, while also providing Canada’s only hit of the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning.

“Obviously I hit him well, but sometimes that’s not good enough because they make a good play,” Groenewegen said.

Canada is now 1-1 in the tournament after opening with a 4-0 win over Mexico on Wednesday.

The Canadians will face Australia on Saturday. Four players remain on team Canada from a crushing loss to Australia at the 2008 Beijing Games that prevented Canada from winning a medal.

Groenewegen, who was also dominant on the mound in the win over Mexico, is making his Olympic debut three years after spending approximately 10 days in a medically induced coma with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia.

The competition will resume on Friday, when the Games officially begin with the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said Thursday that a small contingent of 30 to 40 athletes would be present, including flag bearers Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama.

“Due to the arrival rules at the Olympic Village outlined in the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, athletes only arrive at the Olympic Village five days before competing,” said Eric Myles, COC sports director, in a statement. “This means there are fewer athletes in the Village and most are about to compete.”

Tokyo is in a state of emergency due to complications from COVID-19 that will remain in place during the games.

The first medals will be awarded on Saturday, and Ottawa rider Michael Woods will have a good chance of reaching the podium in the men’s road race.

Canada has a team of 370 athletes in Tokyo, which is the largest since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.