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Team USA Beats Canada to Win General Tire World Cup of Softball IX
IRVINE, Calif. – Team USA reclaimed the World Cup of Softball title on Sunday, defeating Canada 5-2 at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX.
A strong performance from pitcher Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) and from the bat of Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) who led the U.S. offense going 3-for-4 with two RBI allowed the Red, White and Blue to claim top prize.
"Sara was spot on today and was throwing the ball really well," said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. "Not everybody gets to win the World Cup of Softball and our team did a heck of a job. We've still got a long way to go and we still have some things we need to tighten up on, but our communication was great today on the field."
Championship Sunday Results:
Game One - USA 5 - Canada 2 - USA wins Gold
Game Two - Venezuela 7 - Philippines 4 - Venezuela advances to Game Three
Game Three - Venezuela 4 - Mexico 0 - Venezuela takes 5th
Game Four - Chinese Taipei 3 - Japan 1 - Taipei takes 3rd
Championship Game: USA 5, Canada 2
USA reclaimed the World Cup of Softball Gold in Sunday's Championship game, defeating Canada 5-2 to remain undefeated in General Tire World Cup of Softball play. Capitalizing on a three-run fifth inning, USA combined for eight hits against their northern neighbors.
It was another slow start for the U.S. offense as its batters were retired in order in the top of the first inning. Nevins issued her first strikeout of the game to Joey Lye to lead off Canada's at-bat. USA's defense was tested by the next two batters with a groundout to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Nevins.
Both sides retired in order in the second inning to keep the game tied at 0. In the top of the third, Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) led off with a walk but was out at second after a fielder's choice from Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) to Lye at shortstop. The speedy Stewart recorded her second stolen base of the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX and then advanced to third on a walk pitch from Canada's starting pitcher Jenna Caira. Another wild pitch plated Stewart to and give USA a 1-0 lead.
Two strikeouts from Nevins and a groundout to Stewart at second brought the Red, White and Blue back to bat. Chavanne led off with a single and stole second base to put a runner in scoring position with no outs, but a series of groundouts kept Chavanne from scoring.
Canada got their first hits of the game in the bottom of the fourth as back-to-back infield singles put two runners on base with no outs. A sac-bunt advanced the runners on base, but Nevins fired back with two strikeouts to end the threat and keep Canada off the board.
USA tacked on another three runs in the top of the fifth inning as Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) led off with a line drive to left field. Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) entered as a pinch runner for Fischer and advanced to second base on a fly ball to center field from Hoagland. A wild pitch advanced the runners a base before Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala) hit a chopper to shortstop to plate Martinez and stretch the lead to 2-0. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) recorded her first hit of the game with a double to left field to score Hoagland, prompting a pitching change for Canada as Sara Plourde entered in relief for Caira. With a runner on, Chavanne singled to plate Moultrie and give USA a 4-0 lead.
Nevins retired Canada in order in the bottom of the fifth with a strikeout, pop fly and ground ball to give USA another opportunity to score. Plourde effectively kept the U.S. off the bases in the top of the sixth with a line out, fly out and strikeout.
Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered the circle for Team USA in the bottom of the sixth, and issued back-to-back singles to Lye and Victoria Hayward. A walk to Jennifer Yee loaded the bases for the second time of the game for Canada, who capitalized on a hit batter to score their first run of the game. With the hit batter, Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) took over as pitcher for the U.S., but an infield single from Megan Gurski allowed another Canadian runner to cross the plate and close the lead to 4-2. The bases were still loaded with no outs before a line drive back to Henderson resulted in a double play as she connected with Chavanne at third to get Yee for the second out. The second hit batter of the inning brought Nevins back to the circle for the Red, White and Blue with the bases loaded, until a groundout to Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) recorded the third out of the inning.
USA rebounded in the top of the seventh inning as McCleney singled to left field with one out and stole second base. A deep fly ball to right field from Moultrie moved McCleney to third until Chavanne hit an infield single to score McCleney and change the lead to 5-2.
Just three outs away from the Gold, an error by Fox at shortstop put Larissa Franklin on first to start the at-bat for Canada, but a ground ball to Arioto at first base got Franklin out at second to record the first out. Nevins issued a walk to Hayward to put two runners on base for Canada. Yee hit a ground ball to Fox at shortstop, who made a heads up play to get Hayward out at second base for the second out of the inning. With runners on the corner, Kaleigh Rafter hit a fly ball to Martinez in left field, who made the catch to end the game and earning the U.S. their seventh World Cup of Softball title.
Nevins picked up the win for USA, pitching six and one-third innings with eight strikeouts and two hits allowed. Caira took the loss for Canada, issuing four strikeouts in four and two-third innings pitched with four hits and four runs allowed.
As a whole, Team USA finished the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX with a team batting average of .361 with Arioto leading the team with 12 RBI and five home runs. Chavanne followed with nine RBI and led the team with 13 hits. For the pitching staff, Nevins collected two wins, leading the staff with 20 strikeouts and an ERA of .525.
Up next for Team USA is the Canadian Open Fast Pitch Invitational in Surrey, B.C. July 15-21. The team will get short break before reuniting in Waldorf, Md. for an exhibition series, after which they will head to Azzano, Italy for Italian Softball Week. All of these events, including the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX, are in preparation for the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women's World Championships, which is August 12-24 in Haarlem, Netherlands.
Follow along with Team USA on their quest for gold at USASoftball.com.
**courtesy of ASA/USA Softball