OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) earned her first win in the Red, White and Blue as USA Softball shutout Italy 12-0 in five innings tonight at the KFC World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) continued her offensive prowess at the World Cup going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Burkhartearned the start in the circle, making her first appearance at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium since winning the 2008 NCAA WCWS. She hit the lead off batter, Veronica Fontana, but two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice later, Fontana would be stranded on second.
The U.S. jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first off of four hits, capitalizing on two Italy errors. The team went through the batting order with the speed of the lineup showing through with a combined five stolen bases. Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.)led off the inning and was 1-for-1 with a walk and two stolen bases in the first inning. Also highlighting the inning was a two-run homerun by Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) who blasted a shot over left field to score.
Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) who singled up the middle, advanced to second on the throw. After making a big impact todayplaying first base with a two-run home run, Finch is looking forward to another competitive dayon Saturday.
“We’re looking forward to a good day. We’re not looking past Canada early in the morning. They’ve been giving us a good game,” said Finch. “They gave us quite a few games in Canada that have been really close so we’re looking forward to a tough competition at noon and then we’re looking forward to the rematch (with Japan).”
Burkhart allowed a single in the second but a strikeout and a groundout again left an Italian runner stranded.USA tacked on two more runs in the second off an RBI single by Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) and a bunt single by Chelsea Bramlett (Cordova, Tenn.).
Leles repeated her performance from Thursday evening with a shot over the center field fence for a three-run homerun. Leles now leads the USA team for the summer with three home runs.Scoring on the long ball from Leles was Ashley Charters (Beaverton, Ore.) who walked and Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) who singled. The other run came during Leles at bat when Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) advanced home on a wild pitch.
“Wearing this uniform, a lot comes with it, and I just wanted to do my part and contribute. I think there's a little added pressure, but I think I'm a little more comfortable now playing with my teammates and my coaches,” said Leles. “I have been breathing and being a little more confident at the plate, knowing that I can do it. I think I found my job a little bit.”
With a 12-0 lead in the third, the team maintained it through five with the game being called due to the run-ahead rule. Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) threw the final two innings, allowing no hits or runs with one strikeout.
Burkhart worked three complete innings with four strikeouts and one hit.
Also in KFC World Cup Action:
Australia 6, Netherlands 1
Kylie Cronk and Stacey Porter paved the way for Australia’s 6-1 win over the Netherlands on the second day of the KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. Porter and Parry each contributed two RBIs to improve Australia’s record to 2-0.
Netherlands (1-2) took the lead in the second inning. Chantal Versluis doubled to right center, bringing in Areke Spel for an unearned 1-0 advantage. Spel reached earlier in the inning on a fielding error by the Aussie third baseman Clare Warwick and advanced to second on a Virginie Anneveld sacrifice bunt.
Bowering hit a solo homer to tie it up for the Aussies in the bottom of the second. In the third, Warwick, who singled earlier in the inning, stole home to give Australia their first lead of the game. The Aussies extended it to a 6-1 game with a four-run performance in the bottom of the sixth off Cronk and Porter two-RBI doubles.
Canada 3, Australia 2
Canada (1-0) topped Australia (2-1) 3-2 at the KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., despite struggles from starting pitcher Danielle Lawrie, USA Softball’s 2009 Collegiate Player of the Year.
Canada scored two unearned runs in the first inning but the Australians responded with two runs of their own in the fourth. Australia’s designated player Danielle Stewart hit a two-run homer to left field, chasing Lawrie, who threw three and 1/3 innings for the Canadians. Lawrie struck out four of 14 batters she faced, allowing one hit.
Second baseman Jennifer Yee homered to right center in the top of the fifth to put Canada back in control of the game. Her offensive prowess was backed up by Jennifer Caira on the mound. In her three and 2/3 innings, she struck out four of 13 batters, allowing two hits and no runs.
Canada improved to 1-0 with the win. On Thursday, the Canadians were playing the Italians but the game was postponed until Saturday at 9 a.m., with Italy leading 3-0 in the bottom of the first, because of an approaching thunderstorm. The Aussies dropped to 2-1 at the World Cup.
Japan 7, Italy 0
Six Japanese players contributed RBIs on Friday night at the World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags, giving Japan (1-1) a 7-0 win over Italy (0-3) at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Haruna Sakamoto gave Japan the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a single to shortstop that brought-in Maki Tanigawa, who led-off the inning with a triple to right field. A fielding error on Italy’s right fielder later in the inning allowed Sakamoto to score an unearned run, putting Japan up 2-0.
The game concluded in the fifth when Shizuyo Hamamoto hit a two-RBI single to right field, giving the team the seven run advantage needed for a run-rule victory. Hamamoto’s single plated Yukiko Fujisaki, who signed up the middle, and Tanigawa, who singled through the right side.
Tomorrow is a big day for USA Softball as they will take on Canada at noon in a pink out to bring awareness of breast cancerresearch. The team will be outfitted in pink with the uniforms later being auctioned off to support breast cancer awareness. The team will then take on Japan at 7:00 p.m. in the first game since the2008Olympic Gold Medal game where Japan defeatedthe USA totake home Gold. Also on Saturday theinaugural Border Battle between the USA Men’s National slow pitch teamand the Canada National slow pitch team.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 83 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the 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 eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.
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