Team USA run rules Brazil to earn top seed in World Cup of Softball Championship
OKLAHOMA CITY – Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) picked up her third win of the 2012 World Cup of Softball as the USA Softball Women’s National team run ruled Brazil in five innings to finish pool play 5-0 and secure their No. 1 seed in the finals Monday night the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today.
Team USA jumped on Brazil early scoring five runs in the opening inning of Sunday’s international matchup. In the top half of the inning Thomas picked up two of her nine strikeouts and Samari Tanaka grounded out to USA shortstop Molly Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) to end Brazil’s first at-bat.
USA came out swinging in the bottom of the frame picking up the five runs on four hits. Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) got things rolling with a single from the lead-off position. A wild pitch from Brazil’s Camila Silva advanced Cochran to second. Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga.) followed it up with a single to move Cochran to third. Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) popped up to the catcher for the first out of the inning but advanced Taylor to second base in the process. Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) drew the walk in the next at-bat to load the bases for Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) who entered the game with three homers in the tournament. A walk from Silva scored the USA’s first run of the game. Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) singled from the six hole to score Taylor and Ricketts giving the USA a 3-0 lead.
A second wild pitch from Silva and an error on the throw back from the catcher brought in another USA run giving them a 4-0 advantage. After a Christi Orgeron (New Orleans, La.) walk, Johnson singled to score the final American run of the inning.
Thomas continued the rhythm she had in the first inning by sitting down the first three Brazilian batters that she faced in the second inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Taylor led off with a single and then stole second but the USA was unable to convert the base runner into additional runs and entered the top of the third still up by 5.
Thomas surrendered the first Brazilian hit in the top of the third to Hellen Chie Ikehara but two ground outs left her stranded as the game moved to the bottom of the third.
Jessica Shults (Valencia, Calif.) started the bottom of the third with a base-hit single to right field but three deep fly outs ended the inning, stranding her on first.
With two outs, Vivian Morimoto picked up Brazil’s second hit of the game in the fourth inning but Thomas struck out Martha Murazawa to end the inning and reserve the shutout. In the bottom of the inning a Taylor single, Gibson hit-by-pitch and a Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) single loaded the bases for Team USA newcomer Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.). On the first pitch Chidester blasted a grand slam over the left field fence giving the USA a 9-0 advantage.
“I was trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Chidester. “That’s what I did on that at-bat. I was just trying to have fun with it and see the ball and that was something I did up there.”
Canada needed three runs in the top of the fifth but Thomas dashed their hopes when she struck out the side giving Team USA their fifth win in pool play and locking them into the top overall seed in Monday’s World Cup of Softball championship game.
With the completion of pool play, the schedule for Monday has been set. In game one, the fifth seed Puerto Rico will play the fifth seed Brazil at 1:00 PM (CST). In the second game, the fourth seed Canada will face third see the Netherlands at 4:00 PM (CST). At 8:00 PM (CST) the USA Softball Women’s National team will play the Australian National team for the 2012 World Cup of Softball championship. The finals can be seen on ESPN2.
Other action at the World Cup of Softball presented by Lumber Liquidators
Australia 4, Netherlands 0
Justine Smethurst tossed a shutout to lift the Australia National Team (4-1) to a 4-0 win over the Netherlands National Team (3-2) at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in seven innings.
The Australia National Team’s Smethurst kept the Netherlands National Team off the scoreboard for all seven innings she was on the mound. She pitched a shutout, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out nine.
Brenda De Blaes paced the Australia National Team at the plate. De Blaes went 1-for-2, drove in one and scored one run. She homered in the second inning and singled in the sixth inning.
Lindsey Meadows couldn’t get it done on the mound for the Netherlands National Team, taking a loss. She lasted just four innings, walked one, struck out none, and allowed three runs.
Canada 7, Puerto Rico 0
The Canada National Team (1-3) beat the Puerto Rico National Team (0-5) 7-0 in five innings on Sunday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium after a six-run explosion in the second inning.
The Canada National Team’s Joey Lye was perfect at the dish, going 2-for-2. She singled in the second and third innings.
The Canada National Team’s Jenna Caira kept the Puerto Rico National Team off the scoreboard for all five innings he was on the hill. She pitched a shutout, allowing no opposing players to cross the plate on two hits while ringing up seven.
Lissette Garay was charged with his second loss of the year. She allowed six runs in two innings, walked three and struck out none.
Canada 13, Brazil 0
The Canada National Team (2-3) defeated the Brazil National Team (1-4) 13-0 on Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium after an eight-run rally in the first inning.
The Canada National Team was led by Victoria Hayward’s hitting. Hayward went 2-2, drove in one and scored three runs. She singled in the first inning.
The Brazil National Team couldn’t get anything going as long as Jocelyn Cater was on the mound for Canada. Brazil managed just one hit off of Cater, who allowed no earned runs, walked two and struck out seven during his four innings of work.
Nilze Higa (1-2) took the loss for the Brazil. She allowed 13 runs in 1 1/3 innings, walked three and struck out none.