By Kyle Koso
WESTMINSTER -- One game in, the Canada White team was one loss down in Friday’s action at the inaugural International Challenge, with one last chance to get it right.
That’s when the player wearing No. 1 for the squad, Jorde Chartrand, cured the concerns.
Chartrand allowed just two hits and struck out 13 batters in six innings as Canada White posted a 4-0 victory over Team USA Red at the Christopher Fields complex. That helped ease the sting of an early loss to South Korea, as Chartrand worked out of some early trouble and kept USA Red off the board thanks to her baffling changeup and an ability to spot the high fastball and make it constantly tempting to batters.
All the offense for Canada came in the bottom of the second inning, with Makalia Schneider driving in two runs on a well-struck single to right-center to get things started. A single from Avery Terpsma brought in a run, and a double from Hailey Bethune earned run No. 4, which was more than enough for Chartrand.
The Central Arkansas signee from Saskatchewan worked around a hit, two walks and an error in the first inning, which ended on a bang-bang grounder to shortstop. The defense didn’t have to do much the rest of the way.
“It’s all about adjusting to what’s going on in the game, and it’s a different environment from Canada to Colorado. Focusing in on your catcher then is pretty important,” Chartrand said about the first inning. “I was feeling pretty comfortable, getting to playing with everyone. The offense gave me some insurance, which was really helpful, knowing that they had my back and I had theirs.
“You not only want to represent your country and do well, but also just win and compete with these bigger teams and countries. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Canada White head coach Ashley VanBoxmeer appreciated how her team moved past the loss to South Korea and gave itself time to make a push in Game 2.
“You want to come back strong after a not-so-hot start, but they rebounded. This is a team of all Canadians who are young,” she said. “They haven’t played in a year and a half because of COVID, and we told them to leave it all on the field. Jorde struggled some in Game 1, but she came back and gave us what we needed.”
Schneider, who just finished her freshman year in high school, showed the savvy of a grizzled veteran in her at-bat in the second inning. Much of it was spent with two strikes as she fought off numerous pitches; she eventually measured up the perfect swing, driving the ball to the gap and getting two runners home with ease.
“I was thinking abut what I need to do mechanically, looking at the release point and being aggressive. A couple swings were maybe mistakes, but I was looking for the outside high pitch so I could drive it and get the runners home,” Schneider said.
“This is really nice. I like having the Canada leaf on my chest. It’s exciting to play for this team, and excited to see how we do in this tournament.”
“We always say, ‘Pass the bat, Pass the bat.’ Be a spark, and she was a spark for us. We’re learning, and we see how those big swings get you fired up,” VanBoxmeer said. “It was a fighting at-bat, and to win it gives her team confidence … the next one wants to step up and pass the bat as well.”
Team USA Red won its first game Friday against Mexico White, and in Game 2 got a stellar relief effort from Brianna Lopez (Corona Angels), a University of Hawaii signee. She went four innings and allowed three hits while notching eight strikeouts.
Weather permitting, games will continue Friday, with bracket play taking over Saturday and championship day wrapping up Sunday before the start of Triple Crown’s Colorado 4th of July tournament.