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Three-Run First Helps Team USA Roll Past Chinese Taipei at ISF Women's World Championship, 5-1
HAARLEM, Netherlands – The USA Softball Women’s National Team battled the wind and rain as well as Chinese Taipei on Sunday at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship and prevailed 5-1 thanks to a three-run first inning highlighted by Lauren Gibson’s (Pasadena, Md.) two-run double to centerfield.
Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) earned the start for Team USA but lasted just two innings striking out four and allowing three hits during her time in the circle. Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered in the third and struck out six while also allowing three hits in the remaining five innings of the contest.
“We’ve told our players over and over that you have to be ready for anything at a World Championship,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Today we went from rain to sunshine, back to rain and ended with more sun. Through it all we stayed focused and made plays when we needed to.”
Hitting from the second spot in the lineup, Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) singled in the first inning and came around to score when Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) hit a line drive to center field two batters later. With Fischer standing on first a steady drizzle grew heavier and the game was delayed for a brief period.
Following the delay, Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) picked up where things had stopped when she singled to left field advancing Fischer to third. In the next at-bat, Gibson connected for her two-run double giving Team USA a 3-0 lead.
Chinese Taipei got a run back in the second but despite two more runners in scoring position the USA defense got out of the inning without allowing another run. Both teams were scoreless in their next at-bats until Fischer led off the bottom of the third with a solo homer over the left field fence to make it USA 4, Chinese Taipei 1.
Later in the third, Arioto reached by walk and three illegal pitches later, she crossed home plate making it 5-1. The score held the remaining four innings and Team USA moved to 3-0 in the tournament with the win.
The Americans finished the game with eight hits while striking out just twice. They will next face Great Britain at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) on Monday. Live streaming and live stats are available via www.USASoftball.com throughout the ISF World Championship. Log on and follow Team USA as they seek a tenth World Championship Gold.
**courtesy of ASA/USA Softball