How many people can say they’ve played in almost 10 world cup events in their respective sport?
Maybe not a lot, but for a Prince George woman, she’ll get an eighth chance at winning a championship title with Canada’s national women’s baseball team after they officially booked their ticket to the 2020 World Cup this past weekend.
The Canadians were ranked second going into the qualifier tournament, the Pan-Am Women’s Baseball Championship, but after a few bumps along the road, they rallied to bronze by defeating host-Mexico 11-1 in the third-place game with Amanda Asay on the mound.
"We've had a lot of positives, which has been excellent," Asay said, crediting her team’s defensive play from start to finish. "Having a lot of balls in play and getting the chance to play some good defence, which we've seen, has been really great. We're going to see more of that, and more powerful contact, so it was good to have a little bit of defensive play to get us ready."
.@baseballcanada’s bomb squad from this #WNTWorldQualifier tournament! Carrie Jespersen, Amanda Asay, @kelsey_lalor, @stacylaf22 and @MadisonWillan each launched homers to help Canada to its bronze-medal finish. 💣🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/I2PVl4MBmw— Baseball Canada Women's National Team (@BaseballCANWNT) August 25, 2019
Asay is the reigning 14-year veteran on the squad at 31 years old and has played on the national team at the Women’s Baseball World Cup every year since the biennial tournament began, except its inception year of 2004.
She has earned six medals with her country including two slivers in 2008 and 2016, but she has never been able to capture the gold as the event has been dominated by the Japanese in the last six tournaments.
Highlights for the Prince George baseball, softball, and hockey product at this year’s qualifier included a hot bat in the final round-robin game against Puerto Rico, where she hit a single, double, and a home-run, scoring four players in total throughout the contest.
She could not, however, get the triple to complete ‘the cycle.’
She also hit the go-ahead two-run double in the final frame of Canada’s third preliminary match versus Cuba, which solidified their 7-5 victory and a 3-0 record at the time.
Asay pitched the first three innings in the red and white’s game against the United States, allowing four runs on four hits, three earned, with three strikeouts.
"I can't say enough good things about Asay," said Canadian Manager Aaron Myette. "She pitches, she's a leader, and then we know we're going to get good at-bats from her. We know she's not intimidated by any situation or any pitcher, and we know she can hit the ball hard like she did today, bringing in those two runs for us."
Overall, Asay and Canada finished 5-2 at the tournament in central Mexico and by finishing in the top four, they qualified for the 2020 World Cup.
The location of the event is still being determined by the World Baseball-Softball Confederation (WBSC).
In 2018, Canada settled for bronze medal, beating the U.S. 8-5 with Asay on the mound for over five innings.
- with files from The Canadian Press