Monday, 3 August 2015

Women's hockey alums bring home silver in baseball at Pan Am Games

As the host country for the 2015 Pan Am Games, Canada was hoping to capture the first-ever gold medal in women’s baseball. Of all the feel-good stories that the Games produced, no other sport enjoyed as remarkable a connection to women’s hockey as baseball.
From York Lions hockey alum Samantha Magalas serving on the coaching staff, she was joined by five former women’s hockey players on the roster. Autumn Mills, who played for Dan Church at York University as a forward brought experience to Canada’s team as a third baseman.
Heading into the Pan Am Games, Mills was named to the roster as a pitcher, a decision that would pay remarkable dividends. Statistically, Mills provided the best all-around pitching performance. Mills faced 50 batters and appeared in 13 innings, tops amongst all hurlers in Pan Am Games play. In addition, Mills was one of five pitchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Along with US hurler Stacy Piagno, they were the only pitchers to enjoy a 2-0 mark.
Having won national hockey championships at the CIS level, along with the former Esso Women’s Nationals, Ashley Stephenson was an invaluable leader for Canada. Along with former Laurier Golden Hawks hockey player Katie Psota, the two were the only Canadian players to have played in every IBAF World Cup of Baseball.
Competing at third base for Canada, Stephenson’s field percentage of .833 ranked fourth among all third basemen at the Games. Ranking second on Canada with a .369 batting average, Stephenson also ranked third with a .455 on-base percentage. As a side note, she ranked second on the team behind second baseman Nicole Luchanski in hits and runs scored.
During Canada’s first game of preliminary round play, a 13-1 win against Cuba, Stephenson went 2-5 with a run scored. Amanda Asay, a former player at the NCAA and CIS level served as the designated hitter. Going 1-3 with an RBI, earning two walks, she was not the only women’s hockey alum to see playing time. Mills would be inserted as a pinch runner, scoring a run.
While Asay and Stephenson each managed one hit in the second game of the preliminaries, prevailing 9-3 against Venezuela, with Stephenson scoring twice, Psota was named the starting pitcher for Canada.
Both Asay and Stephenson endured struggles in the following game. Emerging with a narrow 3-2 win against Puerto Rico, both went hitless, although Stephenson managed one RBI. While Stephenson managed a 2-3 performance with 1 run scored in the fourth and final game of the preliminary round, the result was a loss against the United States.
Despite said loss, Canada qualified for the medal round. Competing against Venezuela, the losing team would be awarded the bronze medal while the victor earned the opportunity to avenge their preliminary round loss to the United States for the first-ever gold medal in women’s baseball at the Pan Am Games.
Once again, Mills shone on the pitching mound for Canada. Throwing a complete game against Venezuela, she was helped by Stephenson, who logged two hits, while scoring a run. Asay would go 1-3, logging an RBI in the victory against Venezuela.
Against the United States, such success was not duplicated. With the US enjoying a 4-0 lead after just one inning of play, it set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Making an appearance as a pinch hitter in the game was Daniella Matteucci, who helped Clarkson University capture the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. As a side note, her only other appearance in the Pan Am Games was in a pinch running role during preliminary round play.

Asay managed one single and Stephenson went 0-3, while Psota struck out in the final inning of play. Despite the heartbreak of the loss, four women’s hockey heroes earned the opportunity to play in the historic gold medal. Taking into account their role as pioneers in both women’s hockey and women’s baseball, the silver medal signifies a legacy that future generations of Canadian women will hope to emulate, while providing a solid foundation for women’s baseball to build upon.
Statistics

Batting
Player Position Avg Games At-Bats Runs Hits 2B 3B RBI SLG % OB% SO BB
Asay, Amanda 1B/DH 0.222 6 18 2 4 0 0 4 0.222 0.391 2 4
Matteucci, Daniella PR 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 0 0
Mills, Autumn Pitcher 0 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Psota, Katherine Pitcher 0 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.333 1 1
Stephenson, Ashley Third Base 0.369 6 19 5 7 0 0 1 0.369 0.455 1 0

Pitching

Player Throws Wins Losses Saves Games ERA Hits Runs Earned Runs Walks Strikeouts
Asay, Amanda Right 0 0 1 2 1.50 5 1 1 0 0
Mills, Autumn Right 2 0 0 2 0.54 8 3 1 0 6
Psota, Katherine Right 0 0 0 1 6.01 4 2 2 1 2
Denotes team leader

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