WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DAY 6 RECAP
Report from ISF
ONE DAY LEFT IN ROUND ROBIN PLAY
Eight more games were played today at the ISF XII Women’s World Championship, drawing the participants closer to the end of round robin play on Tuesday.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA – The sixth day of games at the International Softball Federation’s XII Women’s World Championship here started with a shutout, ended with a shutout, and had lots of offense in between.
All 16 countries were in action again today in the ten-day event that culminates with Friday’s medal games (July 2).
Cuba began the day with a 5-0 victory over Argentina. After a run in the bottom of the first they scored four more times in the next inning to provide all the offense that Marlen Bubaire Benitez would need. She pitched a complete-game four-hitter, walked none, and recorded three strikeouts as the team evened its won-lost record at 3-3.
Argentina dropped to 1-5 despite a 3-for-3 performance at the plate from Agustina Godoy.
Meanwhile, Australia pitcher Justine Smethurst allowed just one hit over six complete innings as her team bounced back from a 9-2 defeat yesterday at the hands of Team USA to shut out New Zealand this morning, 10-0.
The Aussies scored at least one run in every inning except the top of the sixth and pounded out 15 hits en route to a 4-2 won-lost record.
Outfielder Lara Andrews hit what would be a meaningless single in the fourth inning to break up Smethurst’s no-hitter as New Zealand dropped to 1-5.
Aimee Murch came on in relief for the seventh and final inning and surrendered two hits.
Asked why coach Fabian Barlow lifted her despite having surrendered just one hit, Smethurst said, “Just variation, I think. It wasn’t anything to do with my performance on the field. I think it was just to get pitchers through because we are reaching (the round robin) end and you don’t know what’s going to happen and everyone’s going to see the diamond, so I think it’s about getting the pitchers through and getting them game time.”
On what helped her turn in today’s performance, she said, “I was hitting my spots today and I was really throwing with control, which makes a difference to the game and just throwing what the catcher called.”
The Netherlands saw their three-game winning streak snapped, falling to Chinese Taipei, 6-3. Chung Hui Lin struck out three and walked none in a complete-game three-hitter. The Dutch used three pitchers but, after a 2-1 lead after three-and-a-half innings, couldn’t stop the Taipei offense, which scored three times in the bottom of the fourth and twice more in the bottom of the fifth. The winners had a whopping 14 hits, including three alone from Lai Meng Ting (in four at-bats). Eight other Taipei players had at least one hit each.
The Netherlands falls to 4-2 with the loss while Chinese Taipei improves to the same mark.
Team USA’s record remains perfect through six games as they toppled the Dominican Republic today, 10-1. The Americans got four runs in the (top of the) first two innings and a pair in the fourth, with the Dominicans replying with their only tally in the bottom half of that inning. Team USA had eight hits, three of which were triples, and pitcher Jennie Finch picked up her second win of the tournament, striking out seven and allowing just one hit.
Hannah Penna pitched all five innings (the game was shortened/deemed official by the ISF’s run-ahead rule), walking five batters and striking out none. Her team’s record now sits at 1-5.
Like the Aussies, Canada suffered a tough defeat yesterday (2-1 to Japan), but came back in a big way today, dumping South Africa, 12-0 in four innings (run-ahead rule).
Melanie Matthews (three-run shot) and Jennifer Yee (her fourth of the tournament) each hit a home run and pitcher Tina Andreana made her first (national team) career start, allowing just one hit and striking out two as Canada improved to 4-2. Five Team Canada players had two hits each. The first inning saw eight runs scored with the other four tacked on in the bottom of the second.
China’s bats were hot as well as they registered an 8-1 decision over the Czech Republic. The winners scored in four of six innings and were helped by four Czech Republic errors. Three China pitchers combined for eight strikeouts and Li Chunxia went 3-for-4 at the plate while Yuan Wang and Lin Miao both homered. The victory puts China at 4-2 while the Czech Republic falls to 3-3.
The Czechs did manage seven hits in defeat, including two players with two each.
Japan stayed unbeaten (6-0) thanks to a 7-0 victory over Great Britain (1-5). In a six-inning affair (ISF run-ahead rule), Great Britain was held to just one hit by Japan’s Sayuri Yamane, who struck out eight and walked just one.
The winners scored all their runs in the opening (four in the top of the first) and final (three in the sixth) innings.
The evening closed with a big 10-0 win by Venezuela (5-1) over Botswana (0-6). Twenty-year old Anyibel Ramirez pitched five innings of no-hit ball as the game was ended due to the run-ahead rule (a game becomes official if a team is leading by 15 runs after three innings, ten after four, or seven after five).
The top of the third was the big inning for Venezuela as they scored six times then, en route to a ten-run, 14-hit night in front of the home fans and another national TV audience.
Tomorrow round robin play concludes, with the following games (times local to Caracas):
1 pm – Japan (6-0) vs. South Africa (0-6)
1 pm – Botswana (0-6) vs. Australia (4-2)
3 pm – USA (6-0) vs. Czech Republic (3-3)
3 pm – Argentina (1-5) vs. Great Britain (1-5)
5 pm – Dominican Republic (1-5) vs. New Zealand (1-5)
5 pm – Chinese Taipei (4-2) vs. Cuba (3-3)
7 pm – China (4-2) vs. Venezuela (5-1)
7 pm – Canada (4-2) vs. Netherlands (4-2)