SURREY, B.C. — The Canadian women are cruising into the Super Round as the team to beat at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier.
Eujenna Caira allowed one hit and struck out eight over four innings, and Jennifer Sallings and Erika Polidori had four RBIs apiece as Canada pummelled Bermuda 18-0 on Thursday to finish the preliminary round undefeated.
Polidori went 3 for 4 on the night with three doubles, while Larissa Franklin was a home run short of the cycle to go along with three RBIs as Canada forced the mercy rule for the third time in the tournament.
Canada enters the Super Round having yet to give up a run through four preliminary-round games, outscoring its opponents 57-0 in the process.
Canada opened the tournament on home soil Sunday by routing Cuba 17-0 in a game that lasted just three innings, then was 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.
Canada faced its toughest test on Wednesday against Puerto Rico, but came away with a 3-0 victory that guaranteed it first place in Group A.
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 4-0 and were set to play the final game of the night on Thursday. The other teams are No. 16 Venezuela, the Dominican Republic (19) and Peru (20).
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.
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.
The Canadian Press