Americans thump Canada 21-4 in women's baseball World Cup qualifier

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico — Megan Baltzell and Brittany Schutte each drove in five runs and Alex Hugo had a home run and four runs batted in as the United States thumped Canada 21-4 Wednesday in a women's baseball World Cup qualifier.

Canada, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Japan, had no answer for the fourth-ranked Americans as they belted 23 hits and posted a pair of eight-run innings.

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Canada fell to 3-1 at the eight-team tournament, while the U.S improved to 4-0.

"It's a wake-up call," Canadian manager Aaron Myette said. "We were chatting before the game about how we came out flat yesterday (a 7-5 win over Cuba), and then we came out a little flat today, lacking intensity. As a group, what we can take away from that is that we need to be on point for every game.

"We've got to be prepared and not just come in and hope that we get things started later in the game. We've got to start from the minute we show up to the park, be mentally prepared and focused on each game."

Canada had eight hits behind multi-hit games from Ellie Jespersen of Spruce Grove, Alta., and Kelsey Lalor of Red Deer, Alta., but couldn't solve the American pitching any further. Marti Sementelli opened with two shutout innings, allowing just one hit, to pick up the win.

The U.S. also capitalized on five walks and four errors from the Canadians.

"They're a fantastic team," Myette said of the Americans. "They have a ton of good arms and a very strong lineup. The runs and hits speak for themselves. They hit balls hard today, and you have to give them credit for hitting pitches hard.

"We made a lot of mistakes and got away from our strengths and our game plan, and pitched into their strength and their game plan. That's an adjustment we have to make."

Amanda Asay of Prince George, B.C., got the start for Canada and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts. The U.S. opened up the game after Asay left, as Elizabeth Gilder allowed eight earned runs on eight hits over two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the fourth. Katie Hagen pitched the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs (seven earned) over 11 hits.

"Luckily, this came in the middle of the tournament," Asay said. "It may be a devastating loss because of the score, but not so devastating in the standings."

Canada next faces Venezuela on Thursday. The top four teams at the regional tournament advance to the World Cup.

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