USA Softball Women’s and Elite Teams dominate in opening games of the World Cup of Softball XI; USA Softball Slow Pitch National Team earns 25-24 win in Slow Pitch Showdown
OKLAHOMA CITY – The World Cup of Softball XI action officially kicked off today as teams battled each other and the heat at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex – OGE Energy Field – INTEGRIS Field. Highlighting the day was a 13-2 (four inning) run-rule victory by the USA Softball Women’s Elite Team and a 11-1 (four inning) win for the USA Softball Women’s National Team. Also seeing action today during Border Battle VIII, the USA Softball Slow Pitch National Team and the USA Softball Men’s Futures Slow Pitch National Team faced off in the fourth-annual Slow Pitch Showdown, with the Slow Pitch National Team earning the 25-24 win. For the day, the Slow Pitch National Team went 1-1, while the USA Futures also went 1-1.
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USA Elite 13, Czech Republic 2 (four innings)
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The USA Softball Women’s Elite Team utilized a nine-run, second inning to catapult them to a 13-2 (four inning) win over Czech Republic in their first competition of the 2016 season. Behind the hot bat of Hannah Flippen (Bonita, Calif.), the U.S. hit three home runs en route to the win.
“The team did a good job of coming out and being ready to go,” said Head Coach Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.). “It’s the first true international game for a lot of these athletes, so I was excited to see some great defensive plays and at-bats during the game. We had a few jitters in the first inning, but they did a great job of locking in and making something happen in that second inning.”
Paige Lowary (Grimes, Iowa) got the start in the circle for the U.S. and her defense put in work with a pair of groundouts to record the first two outs. A walk put the first runner of the game on base, but was caught stealing as Madeline Jelenicki (Santa Clarita, Calif.) fired the ball to second to get the final out in the top of the first. Team USA would put a runner on base in the bottom half of the frame as Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) reached on a two-out walk, but a fly ball to center kept the game tied at 0-0 through one inning of play.
The Czech Republic would get two runners on base in the top of the second off a defensive miscue and a double, but Lowary fired back with a pair of strikeouts to end the threat and keep Czech Republic off the board. The scoring got started for the Red, White and Blue in the bottom of the second, as Flippen led off the at-bat with a solo shot. A walk to Mysha Sataraka (Honolulu, Hawaii) put the next runner on for the U.S., before Jelenicki hit the second home run of the inning to plate another two runs.
“Today went really well and we hit the ball like crazy,” said Flippen. “Getting to wear the USA jersey is a huge accomplishment, and then to come out and win our first game, it was a great feeling.”
A walk to Bailey Landry (Prairieville, La.) would prompt a pitching change for the Czech Republic as Martina Blahova entered in relief for starter Veronika Peckova. Facing her first batter, Blahova walked Allexis Bennett (Corona, Calif.) and Astin Donovan (Guilford, Conn.) bunted for a single to load the bases. Three more runs for the U.S. would score as an illegal pitch would bring home Landry before Bennett and Donovan scored on a passed ball. Three-straight walks to Aguilar, Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Flippen loaded the bases for the second time in the inning as Sataraka hit a sac-fly to plate Aguilar for run number seven. The U.S. would plate their last run of the inning when Fischer took advantage of a passed ball. After two innings of play, the USA Elite team led 9-0.
It was a three-up and three-down inning for Lowary in the circle as she recorded a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to bring the U.S. back to the plate. Landry led off the bottom of the third with a single to right field, and Bennett cleared the bases with a blast over right field.
The Czech Republic would score two runs in the top of the fourth inning as Tereza Jakesova and Tereza Pochobradska came around on a single and a fielder’s choice. Leading 11-2 entering the bottom of the fourth, the U.S. would earn the win via the run-rule as Bennett tripled to center to score Brooke Vines (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Landry.
USA 11, Philippines 1 (four innings)
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Team USA jumped out to an early lead in their first game of the World Cup of Softball XI as the Eagles captured an 11-1 (four inning) win over the Philippines. The U.S. rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first, combining for 12 hits, including home runs from Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.).
“It’s a work in progress and we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “It’s nice to get the first game under your belt. Our defense did a great job of getting out of the first inning with only one run allowed. Jess Moore did a fantastic job of bearing down on that third out, and Raven Chavanne came up and got things going for our offense. The team felt good today.”
The Philippines would jump on the board in the top of the first inning after a walk and hit-by-pitch put two runners on base with one out. A single to center loaded the bases, and a ground ball brought in a run. The U.S. responded in the bottom half of the frame when Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) got the offense going with a leadoff double and advanced to third on a throwing error. Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) put runners on the corner, beating out a high throw to first base before swiping second to put both runners in scoring position. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) tied up the game with a ground ball, plating Chavanne and advancing McCleney to third. A walk to Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) put runners on the corners again for the U.S., before Arioto cleared the bases with a blast over the left field fence.
Not to be outdone, Moultrie followed with a solo shot to plate run number five of the inning. A single from Spaulding continued the momentum and an Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) double scored the last run of the at-bat for the U.S. After one inning of play, Team USA held a 6-1 lead.
“The energy that we had in the dugout, especially coming from behind, was great,” said Chidester. “We went through the entire lineup and everyone did their part. The team really came together to put up six runs to set the tone. We kept up the energy and fought all the way through.”
Philippines was retired in order in the top of the second to bring the U.S. back to the plate. The Red, White and Blue would get base runners on in the bottom half of the inning, but were kept from adding to their lead. The U.S. had a pitching change in the top of the third, as Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered for U.S. starter Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.). Carda continued to stifle the Philippines offense, letting her defense work behind her to keep the game at 6-1, USA.
Spaulding sparked the offense in the bottom of the third inning with a leadoff solo home run. Another two runs would get added to the U.S. lead as Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) and Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.) came around to score on a double from Stewart to extend the lead to 9-1.
After retiring the side in order in the top of the fourth, Team USA came back to the plate needing just two runs to capture the win. The U.S. did just that, as Arioto and Bianka Bell (Tampa, Fla.) scored on a single from Cooper to give the Eagles the 11-1 (four inning) victory.
Slow Pitch Showdown
USA 25, USA Futures 24
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The USA Softball Slow Pitch National Team utilized four home runs in the bottom of the seventh to keep bragging rights over the USA Futures as they earned the walk-off 25-24 win.
The USA Futures struck first in the top of the first inning before the Slow Pitch National Team took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame. A string of singles in the top of the second inning gave the USA Futures a 4-2 lead, 4-2 before a pair of two-run home runs by the Slow Pitch National Team regained the lead for the Slow Pitch National Team, 6-4.
Kyle Pearson (Stonewall, La.) hit a solo shot in the top of the third to bring the game within one, but a four-run third inning by the Slow Pitch National Team extended their lead to 10-5. Both teams exploded offensively as the USA Futures plated five runs and the Slow Pitch National Team put up six runs in the fourth inning.
Both sides were held scoreless in the fifth, with the Slow Pitch National Team entering the sixth with a 16-10 lead. The USA Futures would respond, capitalizing on six home runs to go up 22-16. The Slow Pitch National Team would get within two on a home run from Steve Whaley (Richardson, Texas) and an RBI single from Kevin Kennington (Lake City, Fla.).
Jeremy Yates (Lake City, Fla.) hit a two-run shot in the top of the seventh inning to extend the USA Futures lead to 24-20. Trailing by four, the Slow Pitch National Team put up five runs with the help of four long balls to earn the 25-24 win.
The USA Softball Slow Pitch National Team and the USA Softball Men’s Futures Slow Pitch National Team return for the final day of Border Battle VIII action tomorrow, including the highly-anticipated Border Battle matchup between the USA Softball Slow Pitch National Team and Team Canada.
Notable July 5 performances
Australia 7, Netherlands 2
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Erin Thras had two extra base hits, sparking Australia to a 7-2 victory over the Netherlands in their opening game of the World Cup of Softball XI. Vanessa Stokes put together a nice outing in the circle for the Aussies, issuing just one hit and two walks while striking out three during her four innings of work. Offensively, Australia’s Stacey Porter, Rachel Lack and Thras combined for six hits and four RBI.
The game was never in doubt after the second, as Australia scored one run on a groundout by Stacey McManus. Australia also pushed one run across in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings. Two runs in the top of the sixth helped the Netherlands close its deficit to 4-2. An RBI triple by Soclania Van Gurp and an RBI single by Jessie Van Aalst put the Netherlands within two of Australia, but Australia quickly matched Netherlands’ strong inning with a three-run inning of its own in the sixth. Australia scored on an RBI single by Chelsea Forkin and a two-run home run by Thras.
Puerto Rico 3, Venezuela 2
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Puerto Rico outlasted Venezuela on Tuesday after five lead changes to earn the 3-2 win thanks to a strong sixth inning. Puerto Rico’s Meghan King was strong in the circle, stifling Venezuela’s offense and allowing just two hits while striking out four batters in her three innings of work.
In the bottom of the first, Venezuela grabbed the early lead, 1-0. Venezuela’s threat began with a single by Maria Soto. A single by Yuruby Alicart then moved Maria Soto from first to third before a ground ball plated the run. Puerto Rico tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI single from Luz Feliciano.
The game stayed tied at 1-1 until the fifth inning, when Venezuela’s Yaicey Sojo hit a solo home run to give Venezuela a 2-1 lead. A key sixth-inning rally gave Puerto Rico the lead for good, as Karla Claudio hit an RBI single. Elicia D’Orazio would also come around to score on a defensive miscue to give Puerto Rico the eventual 3-2 win.
Great tickets are still available for the Border Battle VIII and World Cup of Softball XI, and can be purchased outside the ASA Hall of Fame Complex at the Ticket Booth. For complete coverage of Border Battle VIII and the World Cup of Softball XI including bios, rosters, live stats, streaming and results log on to ASAUSASoftball.com.
About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.2 million. ASA/USA is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit http://www.asausasoftball.com/.
About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland — the Olympic Capital — the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 213 National Federation and Associate Members in 142 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually.
The WBSC also governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships (Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women), Premier12, World Baseball Classic, and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women’s).
For further information, please go to www.WBSC.org or follow the WBSC on Twitter at @WBSC.