Canadian softball star Sara Groenewegen pitches perfect game at Pan Ams

Sara-Groenewegen

Canada's pitcher Sara Groenewegen reacts after recording the last out to beat the United States in extra innings to win the gold medal in women's softball at the Pan American Games. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

Sara Groenewegen pitched a perfect game to lead the Canadian women’s softball team to an 8-0 win over Venezuela on Monday at the Pan American Games.

The native of White Rock, B.C., struck out 10 in five innings as Canada improved to 2-0 at the tournament.

"I had no idea honestly. When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone," said Groenewegen. "Someone could say something and I would be in a completely different world."

Larissa Franklin of Maple Ridge, B.C., drove in three runs for Canada.

Groenewegen was also a key player for Canada when the team beat the United States in the 2015 Pan Am final in Ajax, Ont.

Canada faces the reigning world champion Americans on Tuesday.

Softball is back in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being kept off the schedule the past two Summer Games.

The Pan Ams are not an Olympic qualifier.

Canada will return home for the Americas Olympic Qualifier, Aug. 25-Sept. 1 in Surrey, B.C.

TRAMPOLINE

Canada had a strong day on the trampoline, taking gold in both men’s and women’s competition.

Samantha Smith followed in the footsteps of those before her by capturing gold.

Smith follows Karen Cockburn and Rosie MacLennan, who combined to win the previous three titles.

"I had big shoes to fill. It feels really good. I have had the pleasure to train with the other two Pan American champions so I am happy to be able to put out a big performance as well," said Smith.

And Jeremy Chartier beat out American rivals Jeffrey Gluckstein and Ruben Padilla for the top spot on the podium.

"I was pretty nervous. I am not going to lie, those are not the best trampolines I have ever jumped on. But I think everyone had a solid routine. It was a really tight competition," said Chartier.

DIVING

Jennifer Abel captured two gold medals — women’s three-metre springboard and women’s three-metre synchronized springboard alongside partner Francois Imbeau-Dulac.

"I learned a lot to calm myself. I’ve been working very, very hard with my coach. I was prepared. I didn’t want to miss, I had a lot of pressure. But I took one dive at a time and I was focusing on what I was doing now and I was not thinking about the future," said Abel.

WATER POLO

The Canadian women’s water polo team improved to 2-0 with a 28-2 win over Peru.

Axelle Crevier of Montreal and Emma Wright of Lindsay, Ont., led Canada with five goals apiece.

Monika Eggens, Shae Fournier, Hayley McKelvey and Kyra Christmas each had three goals for Canada.

The Pan Am water polo tournament serves as an Olympic qualifier. The men’s and women’s winners both advance to Tokyo 2020.

The Canadian women return to action against Mexico on Tuesday, wrapping up preliminary-round play.

Canada won silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

Canada’s Natalie Garcia won a silver medal in the clubs discipline.

Americans Camilla Feeley and Evita Griskenas took gold and bronze, respectively.

"I am so beyond excited and so happy," said Garcia. "I’m happy that I was able to do this for Canada, and I know that I worked really hard for this."

Garcia, from Mississauga, Ont., was second in the clubs at this year’s Canadian championships. She took gold in the discipline at last year’s Junior Pan American Championships.

RACQUETBALL

Two Canadians were knocked out in the men’s singles quarterfinals.

Coby Iwaasa of Lethbridge, Alta., lost 2-0 (15-14, 15-13) to Mexico’s Alvaro Beltran.

Meanwhile, Samuel Murray of Baie-Comeau, Que., fell 2-0 (15-7, 15-10) to Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico.

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