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Team USA Shuts Out Venezuela to Begin General Tire World Cup of Softball IX
IRVINE, Calif. – Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) was lights out in the circle for the U.S. in their opening match at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced. Henderson kept Venezuela off the board during her six innings of work, giving up just one hit while striking out three. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in relief in the final inning, collecting one strikeout and two groundouts to close out the game.
"I think the team came out really strong," said Henderson. "We really built a wall defensively and then came up big offensively, which is what we are really trying to do. We want to keep our opponents at zero so we can get the chance to put up the runs productively. Our defense was just phenomenal making plays today."
Game Seven: USA 5, Venezuela 0
Team USA pieced together nine hits and five RBI to capture a 5-0 win in their opening game of the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX Tuesday evening. It was a huge night offensively for Jessica Plaza (Huntington Beach, Calif.) as the catcher racked up two RBI on one home run in the sixth inning to propel the U.S. forward against Venezuela.
The Red, White and Blue struggled against Venezuela's starting pitcher Maria Gomez, who pitched two consecutive three-up and three-down innings. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) broke up Gomez's flawless performance in the top of the third with a two-out single, but was left stranded on first base. The U.S. would add another base runner in the top of the fourth after Hallie Wilson (Tustin, Calif.) singled to center field, but another groundout kept the U.S. off the board. Defensively, the U.S. saw a lot of action throughout the game as Venezuela grounded out 11 times and also collected four outs via fly balls.
It wasn't until the top of the fifth inning that the U.S. would score their first run after Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) singled to left field with two outs. A stolen base put McCleney at second and an errant throw by Venezuela's catcher put McCleney on third for Moultrie, who singled to left field to put the first U.S. run on the board. Team USA would tack on another two runs in the top of the sixth inning after Plaza connected for the two-run home run to put the U.S. up 3-0.
From the circle, Henderson retired every Venezuelan batter through the first five innings before a single by Maribel Riera gave Venezuela their first hit of the game. The U.S. defense continued to shine as Henderson connected with shortstop Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) for a double-play to end the inning.
Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off the top of the seventh inning with a single to center field. Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) then followed with an RBI double to left field to plate Stewart and extend the lead to 4-0. Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) advanced Gibson to third with a fly ball to center before Wilson connected for her second hit of the game to bring Gibson home. Entering the bottom of the seventh, the U.S. kept the lead at 5-0, which Moore held in tact as she retired three-straight batters to end the game and capture Team USA's first win at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX.
For Venezuela, Gomez took the loss, giving up six hits and three runs through five and two-third innings. Alondra Perez entered in relief for Gomez during the middle of the sixth inning and gave up three hits and two runs.
Up next for the U.S. is a matchup against the Philippines at 7 p.m. PDT on July 9.
**courtesy of ASA/USA Softball