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Team USA Goes 3-1 to Claim Japan Cup

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The USA Softball program clinched its third gold medal of the 2010 season with a 5-0 victory over Japan on Sun., Aug.8 at the Japan Cup in Sendai City, Japan. The team went 3-1 at the Japan Cup earning wins over Chinese Taipei and Japan. 

Chinese Taipei 3, USA 4 – Aug. 6 
The U.S. opened play against Chinese Taipei on Aug. 6 with a 4-3 victory. Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif.) earned the win, working the complete seven-inning game with seven strike outs and three earned runs. Chinese Taipei took an early 3-0 lead, scoring one run in the second and two in the third. The U.S. came back to tie it up in the sixth, scoring two runs after scoring one in the fifth. Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) led off the fifth inning with a solo homerun to break up the shutout and a two-RBI single by Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) in the sixth tied up the game. With bases loaded in the seventh, Arioto drew a walk for a run and a 4-3 victory. 

USA 1, Japan 3 – Aug. 7 
USA Softball suffered its first loss to Japan of the summer with a 3-1 defeat. Canney took the loss working 3 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and three runs. Langenfeld worked the remainder of the game allowing no hits or runs. A solo Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) homerun in the first looked like it could be enough as Canney held the bats of Japan at bay until the fourth. However two errors on the USA defense allowed three runs to score. The U.S. mounted a comeback in the seventh with Arioto leading off with a walk and Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga.) reaching on a single but the comeback would be halted with a strikeout by Tammy Williams (Osceola, Mo.) 

USA 6, Chinese Taipei 2 – Aug. 7 
The U.S. evened its record for the day with a 6-2 victory over Chinese Taipei. Blaire Luna (Austin, Texas) made her first start on International soil, earning a win with seven strikeouts and allowing two hits. A single by Haber and a sac fly by Langenfeld in the first inning gave the team an early lead that they built on to hold the lead the entire game. Williams scored a run in the second off a throwing error and two more runs were scored in the third off two issued walks. After scoring a run in the top of the fifth off a homerun by Arioto to take a 6-0 lead, Chinese Taipei cut the lead to 6-2. A fielding error and a wild pitch allowed two runs to score however the U.S. held Chinese Taipei scoreless through two innings for the win. 

Japan 0, USA 5 – Aug. 8 
In a game that pitted the two best teams in the World against each other, it was not until the bottom of the fifth that runs were put on the board. Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) plated the first run of the game with a double to score Langenfeld who singled to reach base. A single by Holcombe allowed Jamia Reid (Buena Park, Calif. ) to score, who entered in to pinch run of Leles, and the U.S. took a 2-0 lead into the sixth. With bases loaded in the sixth, Langenfeld, who also was the winning pitcher, came through at the plate with a triple that would plate three runs. Langenfeld earned the win, working a complete game with four strikeouts and no runs allowed. Langenfeld led the team at the Japan Cup hitting .417 going 5-for-12. 

After clinching four gold medals, the USA Softball program has one more event left as the Junior Team are currently competing at the III Pan American Championship in Bogota, Colombia. They opened yesterday with a 9-1 defeat over host team Colombia in five innings. For complete coverage of the Junior Team at Bogota, Colombia, be sure to check out www.usasoftball.com. 

- Courtesy USA Softball