WWC ELIMINATION ROUND BEGINS
June 30, 2010
DUTCH & TAIPEI ELIMINATED; FINAL SIX MOVE TO SECOND-LAST DAY
What started out on June 23rd as 16 teams is now down to six as the playoffs opened today with four games.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA — The International Softball Federation’s XII Women’s World Championship being played here hit the playoff stage today with three of the four games being decided by a combined total of just four runs and one of them having needed an extra inning.
The results today set things up for tomorrow’s second-last day and also eliminated two teams, adding to the eight that didn’t make it to the playoffs.
Coming off of a perfect round robin performance (7-0 won-lost record), Japan continued their winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Venezuela, who had gone 6-1.
USA (7-0) exploded offensively in a victory over Canada (6-1 in round robin play), 16-1.
Fourth-seeded China (4-3) from Pool B eliminated the number three seed from Pool A, Chinese Taipei (5-2), with an eight-inning 1-0 victory.
And Pool B 3-seed Australia (5-2) eliminated Pool A 4-seed (4-3) the Netherlands, 3-2.
Tomorrow (all times local to Caracas) Venezuela will play China at 1pm with the loser going home. Canada will take on Australia at 3pm in another game that will see the losing team eliminated. Japan and USA will go head-to-head at 5pm with the winner going directly to Friday’s gold medal game (the loser will go to Friday’s “bronze medal game”). Thursday at 7pm the Venezuela-China winner will face the Canada-Australia winner.
Japan’s victory today came courtesy of a two-run fourth inning against losing pitcher Mariangee Bogado, who threw a complete game but struck out only one batter while walking three and hitting two batters. One of the walks and both hit batsmen came in that fourth inning.
Winning pitcher Mika Someya went the distance for Japan, striking out eight and allowing just three hits.
Next up came the Canada-U.S. game that got out of hand quickly.
The Americans sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning alone, scoring four runs, as Canada went through three pitchers.
Jenna Caira got the start but was pulled in favor of Ashley Lanz, who promptly left the game after getting hit on her pitching hand with a batted ball. Tina Andreana came in to go the rest of the way, but the game lasted just five innings under the ISF’s run-ahead rule.
The teams played a scoreless second inning before Team USA put up four more runs in the top of the third, this time sending ten batters to the plate.
Canada responded with their only run of the game in the bottom half of the inning, but then the red, white, and blue blew the game wide open. After a single tally in the top of the fourth, the reigning ISF women’s world champions scored seven times in the top of the fifth, including a three-run home run by Jennie Finch, her third home run of the tournament.
After that it was just a matter of winning pitcher Monica Abbott setting the Canadians down, 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the inning to close things out.
Abbott finished with five strikeouts and no walks. Designated player Katie Cochran went 3-for-4 with a single, double, and triple.
China and Chinese Taipei went through regulation (seven innings) scoreless before Jia Guo hit a one out single to center field to score Yuan Wang in the eighth inning of a game that at times had very light rain.
Chinese Taipei had just four hits while the winners doubled that total. Each team used two pitchers with Li Qi and Lan Wang striking out four and walking no Taipei batters.
In the nightcap, Australia scored all three of its runs in their first at-bat and Justine Smethurst turned in a complete-game, seven strikeout performance to stay alive in the world championship chase. The Aussies were the bronze medalists at the last edition of this event (2006).
Tracey Mosley led the way offensively, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Lindsey Meadows took the loss for the Netherlands, pitching all six innings. Her team got both of their runs in the top of the third inning but couldn’t overcome Smethurst and the Australia defense.