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USA Elite Falls to Australia in Canada Cup Gold Medal Game

Melanie Roche's outstanding pitching performance combined with Team USA miscues guided Australia to a 3-0 win over the USA Elite squad Sunday evening in the gold medal game of the Canada Cup. 

With a final record of 10-1, the U.S. connected on just two hits and recorded nine strikeouts in the game that came a day after they knocked off Australia 10-2. Committing five errors in the field, the U.S. left three runners stranded and saw no runners reach scoring position. Jocelyn Forest suffered the loss for Team USA, allowing one run in 2.1 innings of work. 

“The game is about making the plays and tonight we didn’t,” said head coach Carol Hutchins. “I have to give Australia a lot of credit. They got it done and we didn’t. It’s been a long week, and our team just gave all they had. If there is one thing they did do, it was becoming much better as a team. I tip my hat to these ladies. They brought a great spirit this week.” 

Mackenzie Vandergeest and Gina Oaks combined for Team USA’s only hits of the game, while Australia put up three runs on nine hits despite leaving 13 runners on base. 

Australia had an opportunity to jump on top in the second as it loaded the bases on a pair of base hits and a United States throwing error. Dana Sorensen worked out of the jam, however, getting a pop out to catcher Heather Scaglione to end the threat. 

The Aussies did jump on top three innings later as Kylie Cronk led off the fifth by reaching on a U.S. throwing error. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch, and she scored on Oaks’ flip to the plate that hit the runner and allowed her to score. 

That would be all the offense Roche would need, but her teammates provided additional insurance in the sixth when Stacy Porter singled to left field to put the Aussies up 2-0. 

Australia made the final 3-0 margin in the frame via a walk from Sorensen, who re-entered the contest. Jennie Ritter issued a base on balls to Natalie Titcume and a single to Natalie Ward. Sorensen re-entered and walked Danielle Stewart to load the bases. She then issued the third walk of the inning to score Ward. 

Roche shut down a United States offensive attack that hit .291 for the tournament with three home runs, two grand slams, while out-scoring opponents 47-18. Nicole Giordano hit .447 for the tournament to pace the U.S. Lindsay Schutzler hit .400, while Vandergeest led the squad with 11 RBIs. 

The USA Elite squad will take 10 days off before heading to the Inter-Continental Cup July 20 in Madrid, Spain.