SURREY, B.C. USA Schutt Elite tallied a tournament-high 12 hits and rode the one-hit pitching of Brooke Mitchell (Pasadena, Texas) and Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) to a 6-0 blanking of the Buffalo Bison’s on Monday afternoon at the 2004 Canada Cup. With its third shutout in four outings, the USA boosted its record to 3-1 with three pool games remaining. Mitchell collected six strikeouts and surrendered one hit over three innings, while Abbott earned her second win of the event by fanning 10 of the 13 batters she faced over four frames.
“When the pitching staff records 16 strikeouts, it makes things a lot easier for our defense,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “Brooke and Monica were each dominating on the mound, a positive sign as the tournament moves along. I was disappointed that we had not take advantage of an opportunity in the first inning to break the game open early. However, once we were able to put a few runs on the board, we kept chipping away. We are continuing to make strides of getting better each game.”
After Mitchell struck out the side to begin the game, Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) and Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) delivered consecutive singles off Christine Keleher. A fielder’s choice by Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif.) forced Galindo at third before Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, Calif.) each flew out to strand the runners.
Kim Dodson scratched out a bunt to start the second for Buffalo and was later safe at second base when the relay from Liz Borawski’s bunt did not arrive in time. A sacrifice by Nikki Thompson gave the Bisons a pair of runners in scoring position before shortstop Dodd cut down Dodson at the plate with a perfect strike to catcher Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) for the second out. Still with runners on the corners, Mitchell closed the door by retiring Brianne Hout on a ground ball.
Powered by four straight hits in the bottom of the third, USA Schutt Elite was able to build a 3-0 lead. Galindo ripped a base-hit up the middle to begin the rally and promptly stole second base. Lowe slapped a single to give her club runners on first and third with none out and Dodd deposited a single into left to drive in Galindo. A double steal by Lowe and Dodd set the table for Benyi, who roped a two-run single and managed to take second on the relay throw.
USA Schutt Elite put the game out of reach with three runs on three hits and a couple of Buffalo errors in the sixth. Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) smashed a leadoff double but remained at second when Vanessa Iapala’s (San Diego, Calif.) grounder was misplayed by the third baseman. Hurler Amanda Herberger induced a pop-up by Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev.) before Norrelle Dickson (Orange, Calif.) dropped down a bunt. As Dickson raced down to first, the relay throw wound up in right field, enabling Duran to score USA’s fourth run. Catalina Morris (Sonoita, Ariz.) ripped a double just inside the first base line to plate Iapala and Dickson and finalize the margin.
The trio of Benyi (2-for-4, two RBI), Galindo (2-for-2, one run) and Lowe (2-for-3, one run) turned in multiple-hit efforts, while nine different players contributed at least one hit. USA Schutt Elite (3-1) continues pool play on Tuesday afternoon when it meets the Bloomington Lady Hearts at 1 p.m. at Softball City.
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