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Arioto's Five RBIs Power Team USA Past the Philippines at the World Cup of Softball IX
IRVINE, Calif. – Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) sent two out of the park, including a base-clearing grand slam, to propel the U.S. past the Philippines 13-1 (five innings) in Wednesday's final game at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX. Arioto went 2-for-4 in the game with five RBI and two runs scored.
"The last couple of games we got kind of a slow start," said Arioto. "Our pitchers have done a great job of keeping our opponents at zero and giving us the opportunity to win. It was huge for us to come out and jump on top quickly, and that's what we've been working on at practice. I felt like I was missing the ball during my at-bats on Monday, so it felt good to produce and do something for my team and my teammates."
Game Eleven: USA 13, Philippines 1 (5)
Three U.S. pitchers combined for a one-hit win over the Philippines in their second game of the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX in Irvine, Calif. The U.S. pitching staff combined for seven strikeouts with one hit and one run through five innings of work.
The offense exploded for the USA in the top of the first inning as Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) singled before Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) connected for a two-run home run to give USA an early 2-0 lead. Arioto quickly followed with a solo home run to left field to push the lead to 3-0.
A walk to Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.), a single by Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) and another walk to Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) loaded the bases for the U.S. before Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) plated two on a single to center field. The U.S. offense didn't stop there as a walk to Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) loaded the bases for the second time in the inning. A sac-fly from Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) led to another runner crossing the plate for Team USA, putting the Red, White and Blue up 5-0.
A double-steal from Stewart and Martinez put two runners in scoring position for Chavanne, who hit her second single of the inning to bring the two base runners home and give the U.S. an 8-0 lead after a half inning of play. Despite a strong showing in their first at-bats, the U.S. was kept off the board through the next two innings as a series of fly outs and ground outs kept Team USA off the bases.
Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) got the start in the circle for the U.S., going lights out from the circle through two complete innings. Moore collected one strike out, while getting five Philippine batters to groundout. Sara Nevins (Pineallas Park, Fla.) entered the game in the bottom of the third, issuing a walk to her first batter faced and giving the Philippines their first base runner of the game. A bunt advanced the runner to second and a strikeout from Nevins kept the runner put before a single from Gabrielle Rodas allowed the first run to cross the plate for the Philippines. Nevins quickly got out of the jam with her second strikeout of the game to end the inning.
The U.S. saw a bit of an offensive resurgence in the top of the fourth as Hoagland doubled to left field, but the Philippine third baseman caught a hard hit ground ball from Arioto to catch Hoagland in a rundown. Nevins retired the Philippine batters in order in the bottom of the fourth to keep the U.S. lead at 8-1 entering the fifth.
Team USA's bats came alive again in the top of the fifth after Stewart dropped down an infield single and reached second base safely on a fielder's choice from Martinez. McCleney loaded the bases with another infield single before Chavanne hit the third infield single of the inning to score Stewart. With two outs, Arioto stepped up to the plate and connected for the long ball to clear the bases and further the U.S. lead to 13-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.) entered the circle for the U.S. and continued the strong showing for the U.S. pitching staff. Traina faced just three batters, collecting two strikeouts and getting a groundout.
Nevins earned the win for USA while Veronica Belleza took the loss for the Philippines. Belleza faced nine U.S. batters in her one-third of an inning and gave up five hits and seven runs. Rizza Bernardino entered in relief in the top of the first inning, getting one strikeout while allowing six hits and six runs in the final four and two-third innings.
Up next for the U.S. is their first televised game of the 2014 season as they face off against Canada at 6 p.m. PDT on July 10. The game, which is the "pink out" game, will be televised on ESPN.
***courtesy of ASA/USA Softball