Information and photo courtesy of USA Softball
IRVINE, Calif. – A hot day at the plate and one-hit performances in the circle kept both rosters ofthe USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) undefeated at the USA Softball International Cup. USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster) posted an 8-1 (five innings) win over Venezuela while USA Red (World Championship roster) earned a 2-0, shutout win over China.
USA Blue 8, Venezuela 1 (five innings)
Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) continued her hot-hitting ways, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored as USA Blue captured an 8-1 (five innings) win over Venezuela.
Flippen recorded her first multi-base hit of the game in the top of the first inning with a two out triple, but USA Blue was kept from scoring after a fly out to left field. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) dealt the heat in the bottom of the frame, fanning two batters while a groundout kept the game scoreless.
USA Blue got another runner on base in the top of the second when Courtney Gano (West Covina, Calif.) drove a ball to the right/center gap for a double, but was halted from advancing with a pop out for the third out of the inning. Moore continued to issue strikeouts, posting two along with inducing a pop out for a 0-0 game after two innings.
The offense got rolling for USA Blue in the third inning with back-to-back singles from Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour, Fla.) and Sis Bates (Ceres, Calif.) with one out. On her first pitch of the next at-bat, Flippen delivered big for the offense with a shot over the center field fence, putting USA Blue up 3-0. Venezuela cut the lead with a run of their own in the bottom of the third after a single and error put runners on the corners. A double play on a ground ball allowed the runner at third to score, putting the game at 3-1,in favor of USA Blue.
USA Blue struck back in their next at-bat after a one out walk to Gano. A sac bunt from Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) moved Gano to second for Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio), whose ground ball was mishandled to allow Gano to score on the play. With a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) entered the circle for Moore with two outs, issuing a strikeout to her one batter faced.
USA Blue broke the game open in the top of the fifth, securing the runs they would need for the ultimate run-rule victory. Bates led off with an infield single, swiped second base with a steal and scored on a single from Flippen for the fifth USA Blue run of the game. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) followed with a double to plate Flippen and make it 6-1, USA Blue,beforea single from Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.) put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Jackson dropped a fly ball in centerfield for a single, plating Chidester and Kylan Becker (Miami, Fla.), who entered as a pinch runner for Nickles.
Needing just three outs to secure the win, Paige Lowary (Dallas Center, Iowa) entered the circle for USA Blue and shut the Venezuela offense down.
At the plate, Bates and Kretschman joined Flippen with multi-hit performances. Moore showed her veteran leadership in the circle, dishing out five strikeouts while allowing just one hit in her three and two-third innings pitched en route to the win.
USA Red 2, China 0
With 16-of-21 outs recorded via the strikeout, Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) was simply lights out in the circle as USA Red picked up their second shutout victory of the USA Softball International Cup in a 2-0 win over China. USA Red capitalized on the timely hitting of Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) and Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.), who both picked up an RBI in the contest.
USA Red looked to strike early in the bottom of the first inning when Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) and Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) hit back-to-back singles with one out, but a pair of fly balls were caught by the China defense to keep the runners at bay.
A two-run outing in the top of the second would be all the offense USA Red would need, with Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) starting the rally with a walk. Stealing second base with one out, Merritt advanced to third on a single from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) and came around to score on a sac fly from Stewart. Stewart would come back into the game as a courtesy runner for Munro on second base before a double from McCleney allowed Stewart to use her wheels to scoot around the bases for the second run of the inning.
Another three-up, three-down inning by Abbott and the defense brought the potent USA Red offense came back to the plate. Aguilar and Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) would both reach on a pair of singles, but failed to cross the plate with USA Red keeping the 2-0 lead.
China broke up the no-hitter in the top of the fourth after a single from Chen Jia with two outs, but Abbott fired back with a strikeout to keep the two-run lead.
Three more USA Red batters reached the base paths through the next three innings, but the score remained2-0. A single from Reed in the bottom of the fifth and a Moultrie single in the bottom of the sixth followed by a walk to Merritt put runners aboard, but all three were kept from scoring.
Abbott earned the complete-game win, pitching all seven frames with just one hit allowed and 16 strikeouts. At the plate, Reed, Aguilar and Moultrie each had 2-for-3 performances while Merritt twice reached on walks.
Notable July 10 performances
Scrap Yard Fast Pitch joins USA Red as only undefeated team in Pool A
Scrap Yard Fast Pitch remained unbeaten after capturing a 3-0, shutout win over Chinese Taipei. Scrap Yard starter Alexis Silkwood picked up the win in the circle, pitching six scoreless frames with three strikeouts while a home run from Tori Vidales knocked in all three runs.
Mexico edges out Venezuela for first win at USA Softball International Cup
A three-run, sixth inning propelled Mexico to their first ‘W’ at the USA Softball International Cup. Edging out Venezuela 3-2, three different Mexico batters recorded an RBI in the contest while Venezuela capitalized on a pair of doubles for their two runs.
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.