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Delta's Harshman delivers game-winning hit as Canada earns first-ever Olympic softball medal

Second baseman breaks 2-2 deadlock with Mexico
Olympic Softball
Canada has its first-ever medal in Olympic women's softball after a 3-2 win over Mexico on Tuesday in the bronze medal game. Delta's Kelsey Harshman drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth. Softball Canada/Facebook

Delta’s Kelsey Harshman had a leading role in Canada capturing its first-ever Olympic medal in women’s softball.

The 24-year-old second baseman drove in the game-winning run as Canada trimmed Mexico 3-2 in today’s bronze medal game at Yokohama Stadium.

Canada’s best previous finish was fourth place in 2008 in Beijing. Softball was not included at the Summer Games in London (2012) and Rio (2016).

With Janet Leung and Victoria Hayward on the corners with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Harshman delivered a clutch sacrifice fly to left field to score Leung and break a 2-2 deadlock. Veteran pitcher and Langley native Danielle Lawrie, who was superb in relief, sealed the medal with a pair of strikeouts in the top of the seventh.

Harshman, who was a fixture in the three-hole of the batting order, earlier helped Canada go 3-2 in round-robin play. She went 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs in a 7-1 victory over Australia. She also went 1-for-4 with an RBI in an opening 4-0 win against Mexico.

The University of Wisconsin graduate’s mom is former national team player and North Delta native Shannah Biggan. Her aunts Jodi and Alison also represented the country in the sport.

The Canadians came ever-so-close to advancing to the final, dropping a 1-0 extra inning heartbreaker to eventual gold medal winner Japan on Sunday. They also fell 1-0 to silver medalist United States in round-robin play.