USA Softball beats Canada and Japan to earn top seed in the Canadian Open playoffs
Surrey, B.C. – The USA Softball Women’s National team defeated Canada and Japan on Saturday to earn the top seed in the playoffs of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. In game one Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) picked up the win over Canada in a 14-2, six-inning run rule. In the second game of the day for the USA, Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif.) went 3.2 innings picking up the victory over Japan in the first meeting between the two teams this year.
Click here to find box scores of both games
USA 14, Canada 2
To begin the day, the USA faced Canada for the third time this year. Michelle Moutrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) started the game with a triple to right field for Team USA. Later in the inning, with Moultrie still standing on third base, Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nevada) hammered a deep sacrifice fly ball that sent Canadian center fielder Victoria Hayward to the wall for an over-the-fence reaching grab. Taylor tagged and made it home giving the USA a 1-0 lead.
Keilani Ricketts got the start in the circle for the American team and surrender a base hit to the first Canadian batter she faced. During the next at-bat, the Canadian base runner attempted to steal second and USA catcher Jessica Shults (Valencia, Calif.) threw her out for USA’s first out of the inning. A strikeout and fly out ended the inning with USA still holding a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning Team USA picked up their second run after a couple of walks put runners at first and second and Molly Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) hit an RBI blooper to left field. Ricketts retired the side in the bottom of the inning and after two the score was USA 2, Canada 0.
With one out in the top of the third, May-Johnson and Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) hit back-to-back singles and the USA had runners in scoring position as Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) stepped to the plate. Having hit a homerun in each of Team USA’s previous two games, Arioto kept the streak alive sending a deep fly ball over the right field fence to give USA a 5-0 lead.
Canada jumped on the board in the bottom of the third A walk and an error gave them two base runners and Jennifer Yee took advantage with a two RBI single. After three innings the score was USA 5, Canada 2.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning. With Cochran on base, Jenae Leles (Sacrament, Calif.) grounded back to the pitcher but an error on the throw sent the ball flying past first base and Cochran scored USA’s sixth run. Canada again failed to score in the bottom half of the inning and after five it was USA 6, Canada 2.
Having run ruled their previous three opponents in five innings the USA National team entered the sixth inning of a game for the first time since their tournament opener. Molly Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) opened the inning by reaching on an error. A groundout and strikeout from the next two batters gave Team USA two outs but May-Johnson followed with a single that started a rally for the Americans. In the next seven at-bats USA picked up six hits and a walk. When the third out was recorded USA had scored seven runs on eight hits in the inning to make the score USA 14, Canada 2.
Jackie Traina entered the game in a relief effort for Team USA in the bottom of the sixth. The USA rookie sandwiched two strikeouts around a fly ball to second base and the USA National team defeated the Canadian National team by a final of 14-2.
Keilani Ricketts struck out four picking up her fourth win of the year for Team USA. As a team, USA hit .424 in the game with 14 hits and 13 RBI. Valerie Arioto had five RBI in the game giving her 17 for the tournament and 24 for the year.
This game marked the third time the USA National team had defeated Canada in 2012, the first a 9-1 (five innings) win in the Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration game on June 23 and the second a 9-0 (five innings) win on June 30 in the World Cup of Softball.
USA 4, Japan 3
In game two of USA’s doubleheader they faced the Japanese National team for the first time in 2012. Jordan Taylor got the start and the win in the circle going 3.2 innings and giving up two runs on five hits. Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) recorded the save for Team USA as she entered the game in the middle of the fourth and held onto the lead for the remaining 3.1 innings.
Japan jumped on the board first scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the second inning. In the bottom half, Team USA got a run back as Cochran, Fischer, Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) and Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga.) all singled in the inning. At the end of the second Japan had a 2-1 lead.
In the third inning USA held Japan scoreless in the top half and picked up two runs on three hits in the bottom half to take the 3-2 lead. Samantha Fischer got up her second and third RBI of the game on a base hit to left field.
Both teams went scoreless in the fourth and the one-run game was carried over to the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth Fischer came through again for Team USA with a double that scored Stacey May-Johnson from second. At the end of four innings USA held a 4-3 lead.
The Japanese countered in the top of the sixth when Chelsea Thomas threw a wild pitch scoring a runner from third. USA went three-up, three-down in the bottom of the inning and held on to their 4-3 lead as they entered the seventh.
Japan needed one run to extend the game past the top half of the inning but Chelsea Thomas refused to give in as she retired the first three batters she faced in the inning securing the victory for the USA.
With the 4-3 win, the USA National team locked the number one overall seed heading into the playoff portion of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship. In their six games in the tournament USA has outscored its opponents 45-9. The team has extended its 2012 record to 13-0. Next up for USA is a rematch with Australia in the first round of the playoffs at 6:30 PM (PST) on Sunday, July 8. With a win over Australia, the Americans would advance to the championship game on Monday, July 9, at 7:30 PM (PST). With a loss, Team USA would fall to the third-place game on Monday at 7:00 PM (PST).
Please visit USASoftball.com/ to follow live stats from all of the USA’s games at the Canadian Open FP International Championship.
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/.