After four days, the torrential rains abated, and the USA University Team was able to play and win two run-rule games Monday afternoon at the 2nd World University Softball Championship games in T’ai-nan City, Taiwan. The games were moved to an alternate field, about an hour from the team hotel. With scarce practice time since leaving San Diego last Wednesday, the team performed at a high level for its first three outings.
USA 15, South Africa 0 (4)
Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Michigan) had a strong outing, striking out seven of the nine batters she faced in three innings. A five-run first inning served notice that the USA has explosive offensive power. Lindsay Schutzler (Monterey, Calif./Tennessee) opened the USA first with a triple.
Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn./Tennessee), Christina Clark (Santa Ana, Calif./Fresno State), Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./Michigan) who posted two RBI and Kristi Fox (San Diego, Calif./Arizona) all scored. The USA added six runs in the third, the big blow a triple by Katie Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif./Arizona State), and doubles by Schutzler and Fekete. In the 4th the score now 13-0, Fekete singled and scored on Clark’s home run – which ended the game, 15-0. Schutzler went 3-for-3 while Brianne McGowan pitched the 4th, retiring two of three batters on strikeouts.
USA 7, THAILAND 0 (5)
When the USA Junior World faced Thai pitcher Sasithorn Wilairak in Nanjing, the American batters run-ruled her in five innings. Two years later, the same result ensued. Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Arizona State) pitched the first three innings, striking out seven of nine batters, and allowing no hits. Angela Tincher (Eagle Rock, Va./Virginia Tech) pitched the last two innings, gave up one hit while fanning four. Courtney Bures (Haymarket, Va./Mississippi State) doubled in two runs in the 1st. In the 2nd, Lindsay Schutzler drove in two runs with a triple, and scored on Sarah Fekete’s (Maryville, Tenn./Tennessee) single. Tina Boutelle (Katy, T.X./Texas) tripled and scored in the 4th on a single by Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev./Stanford).
In other games in day one, Taipei defeated Australia, and Japan defeated South Africa, which is making its debut in international competition.
USA 4, JAPAN 2
While the USA National Team was defeating their Japanese counterpart and best pitcher Ueno, the USA World University team remained unbeaten at the 2nd World University Championship defeating Japanese ace Fujiwara 4-2.
USA went up 1-0 in the top of the third, when Callista Balko (Salinas, Calif./Arizona) jacked a solo homer off starter Uemura. For a brief shining moment, a golden opportunity seemed reachable when Samantha Findlay (Lockport, IL./Michigan) slashed a line drive down the left field foul line and both Norrelle Dickson (Orange, Calif./Oklahoma) and Christina Clark (Santa Ana, Calif./Fresno State) raced home. But, after considerable discussion, the umpires reversed the play and two would be stranded as Findlay struck out.
Japan tallied a run off USA starter Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Arizona State) in the fourth when Suzuki singled and scored on Nakano’s rbi.
The USA broke the tie with two runs in the sixth. Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif./Arizona) led off with a single and would score on a double by Cambria Miranda (Camarillo, Calif.) who pitch hit for Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif./Stanford). With two outs and Miranda on third, Dickson singled for an RBI. Japan added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Suzuki was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a passed ball.
The final USA run started with a single by Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev./Stanford) to open the seventh. Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas/Texas) drove Rinehart home with a two-out single.
Angela Tincher (Eagle Rock, Vir/Virginia Tech), who got the win, struck out two of three batters in the final inning.
Next, the USA faces Australia, which downed Thailand 17-0. Japan had just lost a tight 6-5 (8) game to Chinese Taipei – which finished second to the USA at the last World University Championships in Plant City. The USA meets host Taipei in the final pool game on Thursday.
Check out www.usasoftball.com for complete coverage of the event.
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