VIERA, Fla. — The Canadians are in a must-win situation at the women's baseball World Cup.
Jade Gortarez hit a three-run home run in the second inning as the United States downed Canada 5-1 on Wednesday in the super round of the tournament.
Anne-Sophie Lavalee took the loss, going 2 1/3 innings while giving up four earned runs and eight hits.
"They have some power in their lineup and they certainly showed that tonight," said Canadian manager Andre Lachance.
"Anne-Sophie has been great for us all tournament but tonight wasn't her night."
The loss sets up a must-win situation for the Canadians (2-2) when they face Taiwan (3-1) on Thursday. Canada has to win just to have a chance to make the championship, while Taiwan can go straight to the final with a victory.
Canada also needs some help from the Dominican Republic (0-4) to avoid a potential three-way tiebreaker in the super-round standings. The Dominicans play the Americans (2-2) Thursday in their final game.
Katherin Psota cashed in Nicole Luchanski from third on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the first inning to put Canada ahead 1-0, but the Americans came alive at the plate soon after.
Gortarez took the first pitch she saw from Lavalee and smashed it over the fence in left field for a 3-1 lead in the second.
Megan Baltzell hit a 2-1 pitch over the centre-field wall in the top of the third to make it a three-run lead for the Americans. An error later in the inning by third baseman Ashley Stephenson led to a fifth run and the end of Lavalee's night.
She was replaced by Allison Schroder, who allowed just two hits over 4 2/3 innings of relief.
"Allison proved tonight that she has what it takes to compete at this level," Lachance said of the 16-year-old hurler.
The Canadians finished the first round of the tournament in second place in Group B with a 4-1 record. Their only loss was a 2-1 defeat against five-time defending champion Japan (4-0), which has already secured a berth in the final.
The super round is the crossover phase of the tournament featuring the top six teams from the round robin.
The Canadian Press