Surrey, B.C. – The U.S. performed in typical fashion backed by solid defense, an explosive offense and stellar pitching as the USA National Team beat the Australian National Team, 11-0 in four innings, at the 14th Annual Canada Cup International Fastpitch Tournament in Surrey, B.C. The team is 3-0 as they enter the second half of pool play of the tournament.
Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) made her second start of the tournament against Australia, keeping runners off the bases through the first and second including a three-strikeout second inning.
The U.S. offense broke the game open in the second inning, scoring eight runs off six hits. Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) walked but was called out at second with a fielders’ choice by Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.). Back-to-back singles by Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) loaded up the bases for the top of the lineup. With Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.), known for her speed and short game, the Australian defense moved in their right fielder to the infield, leaving a gap in right field. Lowe took advantage of the area and roped a triple to right field, putting up the first three runs of the game.
“It was a good win today. Offensively, Caitlin broke the bat out when the Australian special defense came in, and she pulled it down the line. That really got us going,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “I was also very impressed with the way (Jennie) Finch threw today. She controlled the game and it was good to see. She has a tendency to rush the game but she was methodical with keeping the batters in the box longer. It was a great game today and we expected that.”
The red, white and blue loaded up the bases again in the second with Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) reaching on an error, a single by Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) and a walk issued to Crystl Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.). Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) put up two RBIs with a stand-up double down the right field line that pushed the US to a 5-0 lead. Australian pitcher Felicity Witt entered the game, relieving starting pitcher Jocelyn McCallum. Kretschman and Bustos scored the final runs of the eight-run inning off a double by Topping.
Witt kept the U.S. runners off the base paths in the third, but the U.S. adjusted in the fourth to plate three runs and end the game 11-0 due to the run-ahead rule. Mendoza led off with a single to left field and was followed by a single from Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.) who pinch-hit for Bustos. With two runners on, pinch-hitter Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) repeated yesterday’s performance with a homerun to center that scored three runs. Lappin is 2-for-3 on the tournament with two homeruns and a team-high five RBIs.
Finch was dominant in the circle, allowing only one hit in four innings of work. She posted eight strikeouts and issued one walk for her first win of the tournament.