OKLAHOMA CITY - The USA Softball Women’s National team scored four runs in the opening inning of their matchup with Canada on day three of the World Cup of Softball on their way to a 9-0 run-rule victory that lasted just five innings. Earlier in the day Team USA faced an undefeated Netherlands team in a tight game that saw the Red, White and Blue trail for the first time in the 2012 season. USA was able to rally from behind, scoring two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to squeak out the 2-1 win.
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Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) got her first 2012 World Cup of Softball start in the circle for Team USA going the full-five innings. She recorded six strikeouts while giving up just four hits on the night.
“Last night wasn’t our best and Australia gave us a tough game,” said Ricketts. “We didn’t feel like we were representing USA like we should. We definitely responded to that and came out with a fire under us today.”
In the first inning, Ricketts surrendered base hits to Canada’s Melanie Matthews and Jennifer Yee but was able to get out of the inning without giving up a run. Ricketts retired three batters in the opening inning.
In the bottom of the first, Team USA put up four runs on three hits capped off by a three-run homer from designated player Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.). Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) got things started with a walk from the lead-off spot and Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nevada) moved her to second two batters later with a single. With a runner in position, Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) singled to score Moultrie. In the next at-bat, Arioto picked up the third straight hit for Team USA with her homerun.
Ricketts gave up a two-out base-hit single to Joey Lye in the top of the second but followed it with her fifth strikeout of the game to end the inning. Team USA went three-up, three-down in the bottom half of the inning and the score remained 4-0 after two.
Melanie Matthews picked up her second hit of the game when she led off the top of the third for Canada but Ricketts retired the next three batters stranding Matthews on base.
Team USA’s bats got hot again in the bottom of the third as they recorded five hits and padded their lead with four more runs. Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga.) started things with a single followed by a single from May-Johnson. A fielder’s choice on the next at-bat put runners at first and third. Arioto picked up her second hit of the game and her fourth RBI. In the next at bat, Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) sent a three-run homerun over the fence.
Trailing 8-0 in the fourth, Ricketts retired Canada’s five, six and seven hole batters putting the sticks back in the hands of the USA. Moultrie led off the bottom of the fourth for Team USA. A double gave her two hits for the game. In the next at-bat Taylor singled to move Moultrie to third. A sacrifice fly from Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) scored Moultrie giving Team USA a 9-0 lead that they would take into the fifth inning.
Needing to score three runs to avoid being run-ruled in the fifth, Canada’s eighth batter in the lineup stepped to the plate to face Ricketts. Three batters later Ricketts retired her ninth straight and the USA walked away with the 9-0 win.
Earlier in the day, Team USA fell behind late against the Netherlands but were able to come from behind to capture the 2-1 win. Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) got the start for Team USA going five innings giving up four hits and only a single run. On the other side, Netherlands pitcher Dagmar Bloeming held the American’s bats in check for the first four innings of the game giving up just three hits and no runs.
The Netherlands scored their lone run in the top of the fifth when Nathalie Timmermans homered to centerfield. Facing their first deficit in 2012 Team USA rallied to score two runs in the fifth and sixth innings. On the defensive side, Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) entered the circle in the top of the fifth. Thomas surrounded just one hit, striking out three of seven batters she faced to capture her second win of the World Cup of Softball.
“Today we finally accomplished one of the big things for the tournament which was to get through the Saturday morning game,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Coming back early today, to get a performance out of Jackie Traina like we did was great. I’m very excited about the future that she holds in a USA softball uniform.”
Each team picked up a hit in the first inning but neither could capitalize with a run. The defensive battle continued into the second inning with Bloeming and Traina each retiring the first three batters they faced. The Netherlands picked up two hits in the top of the third on a single by leftfielder Nathalie Gosewehr and a double from Meike Witteveen but again came up short stranding two runners.
A Netherlands error and Lauren Gibson single in the bottom of the inning gave the USA two runners but again they came up short in the run category. The score remained 0-0 until the top of the fifth when Timmerman belted her solo shot off the top of the wall giving the Netherlands a one-run lead.
USA countered in the bottom half of the inning when Rhea Taylor reached on an error and third baseman Stacy May-Johnson picked up the RBI to tie it at one.
Entering the sixth inning Thomas replaced Traina in the circle. She gave up one hit to Britt Vonk in the inning but was able to retired the side before the Netherlands could capitalize on the base runner.
Valerie Arioto led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo homerun over the left field wall to give Team USA the 2-1 lead. Samantha Fischer followed the homerun with a single, her second hit of the game. Rhea Taylor also singled but the USA again stranded the two base runners entering the seventh with the 2-1 lead.
In their last opportunity to tie the game, Thomas retired the first three Netherlands batters to give Team USA the 2-1 win.
Other action at the World Cup of Softball presented by Lumber Liquidators
Australia 6, Puerto Rico 2
The Australia National Team (3-1) beat the Puerto Rico National Team (0-4) 6-2 in seven innings on Saturday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium behind Melinda Weaver, who collected three hits.
She singled in the second, fourth, and sixth innings.
The Puerto Rico National team couldn't get anything going as long as Justine Smethurst was in the circle. Smethurst held the Puerto Rico National team hitless over two innings, allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out two.
Aimee Murch improved to 1-0 in the World Cup by picking up the win for the Australia National team. She allowed two runs over three innings. Murch struck out five, walked one and gave up five hits.
Kaylyn Camacho (0-1) was the game's losing pitcher. She lasted just two innings, walked one, struck out none, and allowed no runs.
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 76 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 nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed five World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.
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