CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Pitcher Lauren Haeger set the tone Saturday as the Americans bested New Zealand 7-0 in six innings at 2011 International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championship in Cape Town, South Africa. The Phoenix native, who tossed four innings of no-hit ball before she was relieved by Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.), knocked a two-RBI double to left field in the first to put the first Red, White and Blue runs on the board.
“The pitches were a little slower so we had to stay back on it but when I got my pitch, I swung at it as hard as I could,” Haeger said of the double, which almost cleared the fence. She currently leads the team with six RBI in the tournament.
Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) scored Haeger on the next play when she singled up the middle. Chamberlain stole second then advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.) walked and stole second, Chamberlain scored on a throwing error from catcher to put the United States up 4-0 in the first.
“The team played some excellent softball today against New Zealand, especially in the beginning of the game,” Head Coach Karen Johns (Whippany, N.J.) said. “I think they lost a little bit of their focus at times, allowing a stolen base, but they were able to get back on track.”
In the third, Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) hit a single to right field then advanced to the next two bases on wild pitches. She scored off a Chamberlain sacrifice bunt. An RBI double from Salvarola in the fifth put Team USA up 6-0.
Salvarola, hitting .778 in the tournament to lead the team, ended the game with another RBI double that scored Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.). Freeman led off the sixth with a single through the right side then advanced to second on a passed ball.
Only Taylor Stewart, who was walked, reached base with Haeger in the circle. Escobedo, the winning pitcher in the Thursday contest with Canada, allowed Te Reo Powhiri Matautia to single to center field in the fifth. In the sixth, Kingsley Avery also singled to centerfield. Escobedo finished with five strikeouts while Haeger had four.
Following earlier wins versus Canada and China, the contest with the Kiwis improves Team USA to 3-0 in pool play at the Junior Women’s World Championship. The next opponent is the host country South Africa at 4:30 p.m. SAST/8:30 a.m. CT on Sunday. Live stats for all USA Softball games played in Cape Town are available at USASoftball.com.
-Courtesy of ASA/USA Softball