Lawrie, Canada Advance to Medal Round

Aug. 19, 2008

BEIJING, China - For the first time since softball made its debut at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Canadian softball team has advanced to the Olympic medal round, thanks in part to University of Washington All-American pitcher Danielle Lawrie.

Canada had previously finished fifth in 1996 in Atlanta, eighth in 2000 in Sydney and fifth in 2004 in Athens, but can finish no worse than fourth this year in Beijing. After Canada lost 6-0 to Japan on Monday, all the attention turned to the final preliminary round game between Venezuela and Australia, as a Venezuelan win would have knocked Canada out of the tournament. Australia came through with a 9-2 win to eliminate Venezuela.

In the game between Canada and Japan, the Canadian bats once again made frequent contact off Japanese starting pitcher Yukiko Ueno and reliever Mika Someya, but only managed four hits. On the defensive side, Canada made three errors that led to four Japanese runs.

Lauren Bay Regula allowed one earned run in two and a third innings of work, allowing three hits and four walks while striking out three Japanese batters. Robin Mackin pitched four and a third innings of relief, also allowing one earned run on six hits and three walks, also striking out three batters. Lawrie was called on to retire the final out.

Canada finished the preliminary round with a 3-4 record and will face third-place Australia (5-2) in the third versus fourth semifinal game at 9 p.m. PT Tuesday evening. The first-place United States (7-0) will meet second-place Japan (6-1) at 6:30 p.m. PDT Tuesday night, with the winner advancing directly to Thursday's final, while the losing team will meet the winner of the three versus four game in the Bronze medal game (2:00am PDT Wednesday).

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