Surrey, B.C., Canada -- USA Red rallied for a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Japan White, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at the Canada Cup, keeping the Red squad alive in the playoffs.
Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) scored from second on a bloop single from Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA), breaking a 2-2 tie and lifting the Red squad to the victory and a 9-3 overall mark at the tournament. Watley, who joined teammate Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA) with two hits in the game, started the frame with an infield single and stole second before scoring on the hit from Giordano that dropped right behind the third base bag before spinning into foul territory.
Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) picked up the win, her fourth of the tournament without a loss, throwing four innings of scoreless relief after entering the game for starter Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX). Goerl finished with two hits allowed, one walk and three strike outs. In her three innings, Osterman gave up two hits, two runs - one of which was earned - and two walks, with three strike outs.
Japan White opened the gameís scoring with one run in the top of the first, but U.S. Red countered with a pair in the bottom of the inning. Japan then tied the game with another run in the fourth before Giordano and Watley hooked up for the final-frame heroics.
A lead-off walk, followed by a fielderís choice where runners were safe at both first and second, set the stage for Japanís first run in the opening inning. An ensuing ground ball to shortstop was flipped to second for the force out, but the throw to first for the try on a double-play was in the dirt and made its way to the dugout fence, allowing the runner from second to score on the play.
A defensive error also assisted the U.S. squad with its first-inning offensive success. With one out, Giordano reached base on a fielding miscue inside the pitching circle and later scored when Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) hit a ground-rule double to right-center field. Mendoza moved to third on a ground out from Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA) and scored on an RBI-single from Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA). Freedís hot shot up the middle ricocheted off the pitcherís glove past the shortstop, allowing Mendoza to score.
Japanís Noriko Yamaji hit a lead-off home run in the top of the fourth to tie the score, 2-2, and Osterman came out of the game one batter later after giving up a bunt single.
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