CAL U SOFTBALL: Natalie Wideman ‘ 14, Team Canada claim bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics


Former Vulcan softball standout Natalie Wideman ’14 helped Canada claim bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Matthew Kifer, Sports Information Director

Former California University of Pennsylvania standout Natalie Wideman ’14 and Team Canada recently captured the bronze medal in softball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Canada earned its first-ever softball medal in Tokyo after previously finishing as high as fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which was the last time the sport was sponsored at the Olympics. Canada posted a 3-2 record in the opening rounds before claiming a 3-2 victory against Mexico in the Bronze Medal Game. The only losses by Canada were 1-0 defeats to both Japan and USA, who faced each other in the Gold Medal Game.

Canada opened play with a 4-0 win against Mexico on July 21 after scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. A trio of Canadian pitchers combined to allow just three base runners in the shutout victory over Mexico. Canada then suffered a 1-0 loss versus USA on July 22 with the Americans breaking a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth.

Following an off day for the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Canada responded with a 7-1 victory over Australia on July 24 after scoring three runs in both the first and second innings. Canada then dropped a 1-0 contest to host Japan in extra innings on July 25, as Japan scored the game’s lone run in the bottom of the eighth.

Wideman made her Olympic debut on July 26 in an 8-1 win over Italy in the final game of the opening round. Canada held a 2-1 lead before scoring three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings versus the Italians. Wideman entered the game off the bench at catcher and registered an at-bat in the sixth.

In the Bronze Medal Game, Canada scored twice in the bottom of the second before Mexico tied the score in the fifth. The Canadians answered in the bottom of the inning by scoring the eventual game-winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Wideman started all 174 games in her collegiate career with the Vulcans from 2011-14. She was selected the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Player of the Year and the PSAC Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2014 after helping the Vulcans win the first of back-to-back league titles. Also as a senior, Wideman was chosen the Diamond Sports NCAA Division II Catcher of the Year and was selected a College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American for the second time in her career.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Wideman was the third former Cal U softball player to represent Canada at the Olympic Games, as Meaggan Wilton (2000 Sydney) and Megan Timpf (2008 Beijing) received the prestigious honor. Wideman also joins former baseball pitcher Rick Krivda (2000 Sydney) as the only former Cal U student-athletes to earn a medal at the Olympic Games.