IRVINE, Calif. – Only three teams remain undefeated at the USA Softball International Cup after four complete days of play. Both USA Softball Women’s National Teams, USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster) and USA Red (World Championship roster), along with Japan have gone perfect through pool play thus far. For USA Blue, a 6-1 win over Canada continued their winning ways while USA Red pushed across an 11-5 win over Scrap Yard Fast Pitch.
USA Blue 6, Canada 1
Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) had a day at the plate as the U.S. veteran went 2-for-3 with two RBI to help USA Blue to a 6-1 win over Canada. Televised live on ESPN, USA Blue combined for 10 hits in the contest while two USA Blue pitchers held the Canadian offense to just four hits.
Canada got their leadoff batter on base after Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) issued a walk, but the USA Blue defense quickly retired the next three batters to bring their offense to the plate. A leadoff single by Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour, Fla.) quickly put one on board the bases. Swiping second base, Kretschman advanced to third on a Sis Bates (Ceres, Calif.) single to put runners on the corners.
Kretschman would be called out trying to take home on a sharply hit ground ball from Hannah Flippen, but one batter later Chidester drove a line drive up the middle to plate two runners and make it a 2-0 lead for USA Blue.
That score would stand until the bottom of the third inning when USA Blue added two to their lead. Kretschman led off with her second single of the game and moved to second on a grounder from Bates. A wild pitch allowed Kretschman to advance to third before Flippen drove a line drive through the left side for an RBI single. Another run crossed the plate after Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.) singled to plate Flippen, who entered as a courtesy runner for Chidester who had been hit by a pitch.
Canada got on the board in the top of the fourth with a solo home run by Holly Speers, cutting USA Blue’s lead to 4-1. The team in blue tacked on another two runs in the bottom of the sixth for the final two runs of the game after an error on a bunt from Nicolette Udria (Covina, Calif.) put the leadoff batter on. Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) brought Udria home with a single up the middle and Carda herself
would scored on a single from Bates.
Gourley earned the win in the circle for USA Blue, pitching five and one third innings with three strikeouts, four hits and one earned run. Paige Lowary (Dallas Center, Iowa), who entered in the sixth inning, earned the save after tossing one and two third innings with one strikeout. At the plate, Bates finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored while Kretschman went 3-for-4 with one run scored.
USA Red 11, Scrap Yard Fast Pitch 5
Twenty-four hits were distributed between both offenses but it was USA Red who walked away with an 11-5 win over Scrap Yard Fast Pitch. With the help of home runs by Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) and Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), USA Red overcame an early 3-0 deficit to remain the only undefeated team in their pool.
Both teams put up seven combined runs in the first inning of play. Scrap Yard Fast Pitch took an early 3-0 lead in their first at-bat of the game, hitting three singles with a walk and hit batter. USA Red did not let the deficit phase them as McCleney and Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) both reached on back-to-back singles. A ground out moved both runners a base before a shot by Arioto over the center field fence tied up the game at three runs apiece. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) would also come around to score in the bottom of the first on a mishandled single from Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.).
A solo home run by McCleney in the bottom of the second extended USA Red’s lead to 5-3, but the scoring did not stop there. Singles from Reed and Aguilar followed, before a hit batter in Arioto and a bases loaded walk to Taylor Edwards (Murrieta, Calif.) made it 6-3, USA Red.
Scrap Yard brought the game back within one run in the top of the fourth inning after a two-run, Tori Vidales home run.
The game broke open in the bottom of the frame as USA Red tacked on an additional four runs to their lead. Courtesy of an Arioto double and Spaulding home run, USA Red held a five run lead through four complete innings.
The final run of the game for USA Red came in the bottom of the fifth when McCleney scored on a groundout from Arioto.
Arioto had a day at the plate, having two multi-base hits including a double and a home run. Reed finished the game 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Spaulding was 2-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored. In the circle, O’Toole picked up the win, fanning three batters in her three innings in the circle. Abbott earned the save, issuing six strikeouts in three innings pitched while Ricketts fanned one batter in one inning in the circle.
Notable July 12 performances
Czech Republic outlasts Venezuela in extra-inning thriller
Czech Republic moved to 2-2 at the USA Softball International Cup after edging out Venezuela 2-0 in an extra-inning day opener. Veronika Klimplová was the hero of the game after hitting a two-run home run in the top of the eighth. Veronika Pecková earned the win after pitching all eight innings while allowing zero runs and limiting batters to just two hits with 15 strikeouts.
Tickets are still available for the USA Softball International Cup, and can be purchased outside of Deanna Manning Stadium at the Bill Barber Park Ticket Booth. For complete coverage of the USA Softball International Cup, including rosters, live stats, streaming and results log on to USASoftballInternationalCup.com.