CAPE TOWN, South Africa - The 2011 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team overcame the rain to run rule Czech Republic 15-0 in three innings Tuesday in Cape Town, South Africa. With the win, the Americans improve to 6-0 at the 2011 International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championships.
Catcher Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.), batting with two outs, finished the Czechs with a double to left field that scored designated player Lauren Haeger (Phoenix, Ariz.), who singled to shortstop, and third baseman Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.). Cordes, who went 2-for-2 in the game, drove in the other two runs when she reached on a single to center field and advanced on an error by the center fielder.
“When I came to the plate in the third, I was soaking wet from playing in the pouring rain,” said Freeman, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI. “[Petra Sudolska] threw me the pitch that I was looking for so I just took a swing, hoping that it was enough to end the game. I wanted to keep my teammates from having to go back out there.”
The Americans took a 1-0 lead in the first when the fifth batter, Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif. ), was hit by a pitch with bases loaded. With bases loaded, Haeger took a ball before rain temporarily suspended play. The action continued about a half-hour later with two runs scoring on catcher Ivana Malkova’s mistakes. Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) scored on a passed ball then on the same play, Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) advanced home a throwing error.
With a 3-0 lead, Haeger hit a single to left center that scored Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.), who was pinch running for Carda. Freeman lined into a double play to end the inning.
Seven more runs scored in the second with the first coming when Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch. With Sudolska in to pitch for starter Petra Zvolankova, Lahners doubled to score Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.), who reached base on a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Lahners later scored on another wild pitch.
A Damico RBI single scored Chamberlain to make it an 8-0 contest. Haeger singled to left field to move Damico to third. Tarango reached on an error that scored Damico. Freeman followed with an RBI single to left that scored Erin Gabriel (Poland, Ohio), the pinch runner for Haeger. Tarango and Freeman moved on a passed ball. Coyle hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left field. With an 11-0 lead, Wilson flew out to left field.
Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) picked up the win, striking out nine.
The United States plays its final pool play game Wednesday against Puerto Rico at 2 p.m. SAST/6 a.m. CT. No matter the outcome, the Americans will head into the playoffs on Thursday and Friday as the No. 1 seed in Pool A. The Canadians are currently 5-1 with one game remaining but were run ruled by Team USA earlier in the tournament. All other teams have two or more losses.
Should the U.S. advance from the playoffs, the medal rounds are Saturday. The Bronze Medal game is at noon SAST/4 a.m. CT with the winner advancing to the Championship Game at 3 p.m. SAST/7 a.m. CT.
Live stats for all of the U.S. games in Cape Town are available at USASoftball.com. Selected playoff action and the medal rounds will be streamed live through the tournament website (http://jwwc2011.co.za/).
-Courtesy of ASA/USA Softball