7-7-2013 Japan Takes Junior World Title From USA

Japan Defeats USA for Junior World Title

SPY NOTE:  Spy presents two versions of the same event.  While the release by the Oregon Ducks revolves around Ducks stars Cheridan and Mercado, it is better written and more balanced than the USA Softball version, which begins by blaming the rain. Both teams played and endured the heavy rainfall.  The fact is that the USA, which had defeated Japan 4-0 on Saturday, couldn’t hit Kana Nagano, who pitched a one-hitter on Sunday.

It must be noted  that the USA defeated Japan 4-1 in Capetown in 2011 after losing 9-0 in pool, thus successfully defending the title the USA won in 2007 in the Netherlands.  Japan had defeated the USA  in Nanking in 2005.

The principal lesson from all this is that Brampton saw the two best Junior World teams – historically  the best with an ever-changing roster during this century.

USA Softball falls to Japan 4-0 in at the ISF Junior World Championship Finals

Brampton, Ont. – Heavy rainfall proved to be a foe for the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team as they fell 4-0 to Japan at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championship (JWWC) the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. The game was called in the top of the seventh inning due to the inclement weather after two rain delays halted the game.

“I’m proud of this team and how far they’ve come,” said Head Coach Tairia Flowers. “They have so much talent and personality and it showed during our time together.  For us to only give up runs in one inning out of the entire tournament, I think it says a lot for our team and what we’re capable of.  Unfortunately we fell short, but we fought back.  Up until the game was called, we were ready to compete and take the game back, but unfortunately that opportunity didn’t happen.”

Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) got the start in the circle for the USA. The left hander threw four and a third innings, giving up four run on four hits. Hawkins, who’s JWWC record moved to 4-1, struck out six Japanese batters in the game. Erica Nunn (Apex, N.C.) entered in relief in the fourth, issuing two strikeouts and no hits.

Kana Nakano went the complete game in the circle for Japan only giving up one hit while striking out nine USA batters.

The game was scoreless through the first five innings of play. Japan’s Enomoto put their first base runner on in the top of the first on a miscue by the U.S. offense.  Okuda followed with a single but Hawkins closed the top half of the inning with the two runners stranded.  Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) would respond in the bottom of the first with a walk, but two groundouts and a strikeout retired the inning.

Japan would go down in order in the second inning via two strikeouts and a groundout.  The Red, White and Blue would get another base runner in the bottom of the second when Jessica Plaza (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was hit by a pitch, but once again the U.S. offense failed to produce and Plaza was left stranded at first.

Japan would put another two runners on base in the third inning as two singles put a runner in scoring position, but Hawkins produced a strikeout and Mysha Sataraka (Honolulu, Hawaii) caught a pop up to end the Japanese threat for the second time.

The top of the fifth inning proved to be the downfall for the U.S. defense as Japan put two runners on via the bunt.  With a runner on first and second, a groundout pushed the two runners into scoring position.  Okuda then sent a single to center to score the two runners and put Japan up 2-0.  Aoki then sent a long ball over right field fence to extend the lead to 4-0.  With the home run, Nunn came into the game with one out, and retired the Japan offense.

The U.S. would load the bases in the bottom of the fifth as Plaza, Danica Mercado (Temecula, Calif.) and Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) received a walk, hit-by-pitch and another walk put the first runners in scoring position for Team USA, respectively.  Nakano then pitched three-consecutive strikes to bring her team back to the plate.  Nunn would retire Japan in order, bringing the U.S. up-to-bat for what would be their last time.

From the plate, the USA struggled for the first time in the JWWC as they failed to produce a hit until the sixth inning when Crane connected for a single.  Sataraka followed with a walk, but the U.S. couldn’t get anything going as two strikeouts and a pop up ended the inning.

As heavy rain started to pour for the second time in the game, ISF officials and the field crew met to discuss the possibility of continuing the game with another rain delay.  Unfortunately for the U.S., that opportunity didn’t happen and the game was called after the sixth inning with Japan walking away with the default 4-0 win.

With the loss the 2013 USA Softball Junior Women’s season comes to a close. USA finished the World Championships with a 9-1 record (Venezuela dropped out of the JWWC so the U.S. won that game via forfeit), outscoring their opponents 70-4.

Crane finished the season with the highest batting average (minimum of 10 plate appearances) for the USA at .583. As a team the USA batters hit for a .443 average on the year.

From the circle the USA pitching staff finished with a combined 0.47 ERA, with Hawkins receiving only 2 earned runs in the JWWC for a 2.33 ERA.

“Coming in to this summer I was really nervous,” said Emily Crane. “I’ve made some lifelong friendships and being able to play with these girls made it so much more fun.  The opportunity to represent my country is something I’ll never forget, and although I wish the outcome was different, I’m proud of how much we accomplished as a team in such a short amount of time.”

USA will now turn its sights toward the 2015 ISF Junior Women’s World Championships, which are scheduled to be held in Oklahoma City, Okla. at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex.  To find out more information on how to become a member on the 2015 Junior Women’s National Team, please visit USASoftball.com for details.

Ducks’ Hawkins & Mercado Help USA Softball to Silver Medal in Junior World Champs

BRAMPTON, Ont. – University of Oregon freshmen Cheridan Hawkins and Danica Mercado capped action in the Softball Junior World Championships Sunday as Team USA lost to Japan, 4-0, in the gold medal game.

Thanks to a four-run fifth inning, Japan (9-1) turned the tables on Team USA (9-1) with an identically reverse score after USA won their prior meeting on Saturday.

Giving up her first runs of the tourney, Hawkins (4-1) allowed more than one hit for the first time in her five appearances of the tourney as Japan ended with eight in the contest.

In her 4.1-inning start, the Anderson, Calif., native struck out six, walked one, and hit one batter.

Erica Nunn finished the game, pitched 1.2 innings, struck out two, walked one, and allowed no hits or runs.

Mercado made her sixth start of the tournament, and the second baseman went 0-for-1, and reached base via a hit by pitch in the fifth inning.

Japan scored all of its runs in the fifth inning. The first two came after three straight singles, and were followed by a one-out, two-run homer by Mayuki Okuda off of Hawkins.

The USA’s best chance to score came in the fifth inning when a walk, hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning.

An inning later, the Americans’ lone hit came from Emily Crane to open the sixth inning on a 2-2 count.

Japanese pitcher Kana Nakano pitched the six-inning complete game, struck out nine, walked three and hit two batters.

Sunday marked the USA’ eighth appearance in the tournament’s championship game in as many editions, and included wins over China (1987) and Japan (1995, 2007, 2011), and losses to Japan (1991, 1999, 2003).

Last week in pool play, Team USA beat Great Britain (10-0 (4)), the Czech Republic (13-0 (4)), Puerto Rico (15-0 (3)), Canada (4-0), Korea (10-0 (4)) and New Zealand (7-0 (5)).

In playoff action over the weekend, the U.S. topped Australia (7-0 (5)) and Japan (4-0) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

In earlier games Sunday, Japan beat Australia, 9-1, and Mexico beat the Czech Republic, 5-2.

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