Takasaki City, Japan — Fresh off a Gold Medal performance at the 2016 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship last month, the USA Softball Women's National Team landed in Takasaki City, Japan for the 2016 Japan Cup. Team USA will participate in an exhibition game against Team Honda, a Japan Softball League professional team, and practices before facing off against Australia on Friday at 12 p.m. JST (10 p.m. CT) for their first game of the Japan Cup.
Beginning on Friday, Team USA will join Australia, Chinese Taipei and Japan for the 2016 Japan Cup, a three-day tournament held at Jonan Baseball Stadium in Takasaki City, Japan. The U.S. will look to defend their 2015 Japan Cup title after defeating Japan 2-1 (eight innings) in last year’s finale. Team USA kicks off the Japan Cup on Sept. 2 with their 12 p.m. JST (10 p.m. CT) game against Australia. The Eagles will continue play on Sept. 3 against Chinese Taipei at 3 p.m. JST (1 a.m. CT) immediately followed by a 6 p.m. JST (4 a.m. CT) contest against Japan. On Sept. 4, the teams with the second a third best records will play in the Bronze Medal game at 2:30 p.m. JST (12:30 a.m. CT) while the Gold Medal Game between the No. 1 and No. 2 seed will take place at 5:30 p.m. JST (3:30 a.m. CT).
Representing Team USA at the 2016 Japan Cup are: Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.), Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.), Bianka Bell (Tampa, Fla.), Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.), Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.), Paige Halstead (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.), Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.), Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.), Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.), Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) and Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.).
Team USA is led by Howard Dobson (Baton Rouge, La./Asst. Coach at LSU), Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif./head coach at UT- Arlington) and Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ohio).
USA 5, Team Honda 2
The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) claimed a 5-2 win over Team Honda, a professional team in the Japan Softball League, in an exhibition matchup at Jonan Baseball Stadium. As the Eagles prepare for the start of the 2016 Japan Cup, the Red, White and Blue looked strong as the pitching staff issued just three hits while the offense combined for 11 hits.
Team Honda opeing the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a sac fly to deep center.
The U.S. grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the third off a string of hits. After Stewart doubled to right field with one out, Jackson knocked her in with a RBI triple. A batter later Arioto, who plays professionally in the Japan Softball League with Team Honda, drilled a hard single to left, plating Jackson with the go-ahead run.
Moore replaced Barnhill in the circle in the bottom of the third and retired the side in order with three ground outs. The U.S. padded their lead in the top of the fourth when Takeda singled home Cooper, extending the lead to 3-1. Team Honda cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the frame.
The Red, White and Blue answered in the top of the fifth as Stewart got the offense rolling with a leadoff double. Back-to-back illegal pitches would allow Stewart to score the first run before a solo shot by Arioto extended the lead to 5-2. That lead would hold through the next two and a half frames as Gourley, Traina and Carda would all three retire Team Honda in order to give the U.S. the 5-2 win.
Fans at home can follow along with live stats, recaps and more at ASAUSASoftball.com.