Canada won its first-ever Olympic medal in softball, beating Mexico 3-2 in the bronze-medal game on Tuesday at Yokohama Baseball Stadium just outside of Tokyo.
Danielle Lawrie, a 34-year-old who led the University of Washington to its lone NCAA title in 2009, pitched the final 2⅓ innings and got the win. She struck out four, including the last two batters of the game.
"Honestly, when I went out in the sixth inning ... like I had a moment where I looked at the scoreboard where I literally thought like, 'If I can't get through this and we don't win a medal and I have to get off the plane and see my two little girls and not have that,' like that broke my heart in that moment," Lawrie said. "'No one's getting past me, one pitch at a time,' focused on that.
"I was nervous in the seventh, I was shaking a little bit, I was hearing people talk to me, had to remind myself to like take a breath and how hard we had all worked for this moment. ... I've sacrificed a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this sport, and I just think the game rewarded me in that moment and I'm proud to be the one that was in it."
Former San Jose State star Emma Entzminger opened the scoring for Canada in the second inning with a two-out, two-run single to left off former Arizona star Danielle O'Toole.
With steady rain falling throughout, Mexico tied it at 2-2 in the top of the fifth when former Oklahoma All-American Sydney Romero scored her second run of the game.
Canada responded with a run in the bottom of the inning when Kelsey Harshman's sacrifice fly to left scored Janet Leung from third.
Former University of Minnesota star Sara Groenewegen got the start for Canada and went three innings, giving up one run on three hits. Groenewegen might have had the most unlikely of all journeys to the Olympics. Three years ago, while her teammates played in the world championships in Japan, Groenewegen spent 10 days in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.
Lawrie also represented Canada at the 2008 Olympics, when Canada was eliminated with a loss to Australia in the semifinals.
"I think being able to make history for your country and being a part of the first to do that, for women's softball, for Canada, you're doing it for something so much bigger than yourself," Lawrie said. "And to know that you're inspiring little girls at home. I got two little girls at home that are watching me do this and it's just going to open up their belief and that they can compete at this level."
O'Toole, a former member of Team USA who switched to Team Mexico when Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman rejoined the national team, gave up three runs, just one earned, in six innings of work.
Softball, which made its return to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, will not be part of the Games in Paris in 2024.