USA secures a spot in the World Cup of Softball Championship
OKLAHOMA CITY The USA Softball Womens National
Team has secured a spot in the Championship Game of the 2010 KFC World Cup
of Softball in Oklahoma City, despite a Sunday outing that saw the ISF 2010
Womens World Champions fall to Canada.
The Americans lost 5-2 at the Amateur Softball Association
(ASA) Hall of Fame Stadium but still clinched the No. 1 tournament seed when
Japan topped Canada 4-0 in the night cap. The Womens National Team,
now 4-1 in the tournament, will seek a fourth consecutive World Cup title
Monday at 8 p.m. against either Japan or the Futures, a seeding to be determined
following the one remaining pool play game, the Womens National Team
against the USA Softball Womens Futures National Team at noon Monday.
Futures has a record of 2-3 heading into the match-up.
Japan finishes pool play at 3-3 with Canada at 2-4. Rain delayed Team USA's
game against Canada for more than three hours, causing a change in the World
Cup schedule. The USA and Futures game, originally scheduled for Sunday at
7 p.m., was rescheduled for noon.
The third place game will take place Monday at 4 p.m.
followed by the Championship.
For the first time in the 2010 World Cup, Team USA found
themselves trailing, when starting pitcher Eileen Canney (Pleasanton, Calif.)
allowed five earned runs in the third inning to Canada, the 2010 ISF
Womens World Championship Bronze Medalist.
She was replaced by Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.)
in the third, after walking Sheena Lawrick. Erin Cumpstone singled through
the right side to lead off the top of the third. Pinch runner Victoria Hayward
advanced to second with a Heather Ebert sacrifice bunt. After Canney walked
Joey Lye, Melanie Matthews doubled up the middle, scoring Hayward and Lye.
Caitlin Lever then doubled to left center to bring in Matthews.
With Lever at second, Jen Yee, a Top 3 Finalist for the
USA Softball Collegiate of the Year Award, homered to center field to make
it a 5-1 game. In the seventh, with two outs, Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.)
singled to left field to bring in Ashley Charters (Beaverton, Ore.), who
also hit a single. It looked to be the start of a rally for Team USA. With
bases loaded, trailing 5-2, Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.), who homered
three times over three days, came up to the plate. Cochran hit a single into
right field that seemingly brought around two runs.
However, the ball had hit base runner Jessica Mendoza
(Camarillo, Calif.) on the foot, so she was called out, ending the game.
I think its good every now and then to have games like today,
for the betterment of ourselves and of the sport, Mendoza said.
Every team has a chance to beat us on any given night and this team
has the chance to come back on any given night. I think thats what
makes the victories that much better Hey they could beat us but they
arent going to.
In the first game of the day, it was another late game
decision for the USA Futures team as they waited until the sixth inning to
put two runs up against Japan for a 2-1 victory at the KFC World Cup of Softball.
After falling in the bottom of the seventh inning in last nights nightcap,
the Futures were able to hold off Japan allowing only one run when Japan
put two runners on base. Blaire Luna (Austin, Texas) made her first appearance
of the World Cup, never allowing one consecutive hit for the Japanese.
In her six innings of work, she allowed six hits while
striking out one and walking one. Both Japan and the USA Futures accounted
for seven hits a piece with two of the Futures coming in the third where
it looked like the zero all tied would be broken. Brittany Lastrapes (Laguna
Niguel, Calif.) doubled to left field and was followed by a Raven Chavanne
(Thousand Oaks, Calif.) walk. A groundout by Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, Ariz.)
put runners at second and third for the first time of the game. However one
more out came off a lineout by Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif. ) leaving
runners stranded. In the top of the sixth, the United States took a 2-0 lead
when lead off back-to-back singles by Chavanne and Boyd got the momentum
going for the Red, White and Blue.
A sac bunt by Arioto put the runners at second and third
again but this time it would amount to runs scored as pinch hitter Megan
Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) when a throwing error by shortstop allowed
her to reach and Chavanne and Boyd to cross home plate. In the bottom of
the Japans Maki Tanigawa reached on an error by shortstop Molly Johnson
(Tucson, Ariz.) and Naoko Matsumoto singled through the left side to result
in a Futures pitching change. Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif.) came in for
the save after Luna worked 6.0 innings with one strikeout and a walk. Taylor
allowed another hit but with the help of her defense no more runs were scored.
Japan scored single runs in four different innings as the Japanese downed
Canada, 4-0, in Sundays nightcap. Japan stranded 13 runners but got
help in the form of five fielding errors by the Canadians.
With the loss, Canada can finish no better than third,
and Japan remains in the hunt for the Championship Game. Naoko Matsumoto
and Kasumi Mizoe reached on back-to-back singles in the top of the second
and Matsumoto scored on Ayumi Karinos groundout to give Japan a 1-0
lead. Japan tacked on another run in the second when Eri Yamada walked and
later scored after Kaoru Oyanagi reached on an error. Evelyn Pare registered
Canadas first hit of the game with a two-out single in the third. Melanie
Matthews followed with a single to center field but both were stranded to
end the frame. Japan capitalized on two Canada miscues in the fourth to plate
an additional run as Rie Nagayoshi scored on a base hit by Haruna Sakamoto.
Yamada scored her second run of the game in the sixth
after coming around on Satoko Mabuchis single up the middle. Mabuchi
and Maki Tanigawa each ended the game 2-for-4 for Japan. Makiko Fujiwara
retired the first eight Canadian batters she faced en route to moving to
2-0 at the event. Fujiwara allowed just three hits and Sayuri Yamane registered
her first save. Matthews hit 2-for-3 and starter Tina Andreana went four
innings, allowing three runs. Andreana issued three walks and struck out