12-15-2011 USA Outlasts Aussies to Face Japan

USA OUT LASTS AUSSIES IN CAPETOWN

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 15, 2011

Americans outlast Aussies to stay undefeated at ISF Junior Women’s World Championship

CAPE TOWN — The United States overcame a two-run deficit Thursday to beat Australia 7-4 in the first round of playoff action at the 2011 International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championship in Cape Town, South Africa. On Friday at the 5:30 p.m. South African Standard Time/9:30 a.m. CT, Team USA (8-0) will play Japan with the winner advancing to Saturday’s Gold Medal Game.

Australia, the No. 2 seed behind Japan in Pool B, challenged the U.S., the top seed in Pool A, from the start. To lead off the first, left fielder Taylah Tsitsikronis hit a fly ball that landed between left field, center field and shortstop after it was lost in the sun. Tsitsikronis advanced to second on a passed ball and then third baseman Megan Home reached with a walk. Second baseman Georgia Casey slapped one to center field.

With bases loaded, Stacey Webber hit a two-run single to left field that scored Tsitsikronis and Home. It was the first time the U.S. trailed  in the entire tournament.

“The start of the game was not what was expected,” Head Coach Karen Johns (Whippany, N.J.) said. “I am incredibly proud of these young women for not letting that bad start result in a bad finish. It would have been easy to give up but they kept their heads in the game. Their ability to make mistakes and then move forward is what made the difference.”

The U.S. went scoreless in the bottom half of the inning. Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) sacrifice bunt. Wilson moved to third on a Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) ground out but first baseman Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) struck out to end the inning.

Catcher Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.) put the Americans back on track in the second with the first home run of her USA Softball career. With the score even at two runs  after the long ball over the center field wall, shortstop Cheyenne Coyle  (West Hills, Calif.) singled to left field and stole second before center fielder Wilson walked for the second time. Salvarola drove in a third run with a grounder.

“Basically I was just thinking about my pitcher Dallas and how we were down two runs,” said Freeman, who went 2-for-3 against Australia. “I wanted to get the runs to get us back in the game.”  In the team’s five home run performance Wednesday against Puerto Rico, Freeman went hitless, hitting two fly outs and later grounding into a double play. “I had a talk with my dad and he told me ‘You can do better’,” Freeman said. “I knew that I didn’t want yesterday to get me down so I used it as motivation for today’s game.”

Wilson and Salvarola scored when a Lahners fly ball was  dropped by center fielder Jess Bahn. In the fourth, Team USA took a 6-2 when Coyle scored on a Lahners single up the middle. Wilson scored the seventh run on  a passed ball.

Webber, who plays first base for Australia, collected her third and fourth RBI of the game with a home run in the seventh. She went 2-for-3 on the day with one walk.

The four Aussie runs marked the first earned runs of the tournament for Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.), who improved to 3-0 with her eight strikeout performance. She leads the six member Team USA pitching staff with 25 strikeouts in the tournament.  

“I started off a little shaky and I really just had to pace myself. I had to gather my thoughts and slow the game down,” said Escobedo, who has pitched 15 innings over four games in Cape Town. “I feel like as the game went on, I did much better than I did in the first inning. It just took me a few batters to get in my zone and focus mentally.” Escobedo pitched the entire outing for the Americans, allowing 10 hits. She walked two batters in the first, one in the third and another in the seventh.

The U.S. returns to action with a semi-final match up against undefeated Japan. The winner of the Japan/USA game will advance to Saturday’s Gold Medal Game while the loser advances to the Bronze Medal Game. The Bronze Medal Game winner will advance to the championship.

Team USA came to Cape Town as the reigning Junior Women’s World Champions, having went 10-0 at the 2007 tournament in Enschede, The Netherlands. In the Championship Game, the U.S. topped Japan 3-1. Team USA has played in each of the six previous Championship Games held, defeating China for the inaugural title in 1987, losing to Japan in 1991, defeating Japan in 1995 and losing to Japan in 1999 and 2003 before reclaiming the top spot from Japan in 2007.

Live stats for all of the U.S. games in Cape Town are available at USASoftball.com. Playoff games are also streamed live through the tournament website (http://jwwc2011.co.za/).

 Other Games

C1

12:00PM

A3 New Zealand

VS

B4 Brazil FLD 1

 8-0

Commentary
C2

2:30PM

B3 Chinese Taipei

VS

A4 China

FLD 1

 5-0

Commentary
C3

5:30PM

A1 United States

VS

B2 Australia

FLD 1

 7-4

Commentary
C4

7:30PM

B1 Japan

VS

A2 Canada

FLD 1

 7-1

Commentary

Friday

C5

12:00PM

WINNER C1

VS

LOSER C3

FLD 1

 
C6

2:30PM

WINNER C2

VS

LOSER C4

FLD 1

 
C7

5:30PM

WINNER C3

VS

WINNER C4

FLD 1

 
C8

7:30PM

WINNER C5

VS

WINNER C6

FLD 1

 

 

 

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