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Cathi Aradi

Team USA Settles For Silver, As Japan Repeats As ISF World Champion

HAARLEM, Netherlands –- After defeating Australia 8-1 in six innings to advance to the Gold Medal game of the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship on Sunday, the USA Softball Women’s National Team lost for the second time in as many days to Japan, which scored three opening-inning runs in a 4-1 victory that delivered its second straight world title.

Japan completed an unbeaten run to the title, including relagating Team USA to its second straight ISF silver medal. The Americans navigated through pool play perfectly, suffering their only two losses to Japan in the playoff round.


Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) earned the start but gave up three early runs resulting in Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) entering to close out the first inning. Japan tallied three runs on two hits and three walks in the opening inning.

Offensively, Team USA put the ball in play regularly but couldn’t convert runners to runs. Stewart singled in the bottom of the first and Chidester did the same in the second but both runners were stranded and the 3-0 score held through two innings of play.

Nevins pitched well through the third but finally surrendered a run in the top of the fourth. With two down, three straight singles resulted in the fourth run of the game and Japan took a 4-0 lead into the fifth.

Team USA started the fifth inning with its second pitching change of the contest when Jackie Traina entered the circle. Two ground outs and a fly out preserved the 4-0 score as Team USA came to bat in the bottom of the fifth.

After drawing a walk to open the USA at-bat, Stewart advanced to second on a Moultrie single to shortstop. Two batters later, Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) hit into a fielders’ choice that score Stewart as Team USA cut into the Japan lead.

In the sixth, Moore re-entered to pitch after a five-inning break and despite giving up back-to-back singles, managed to keep Japan scoreless in the inning.

A three up, three down inning for the USA batters in the bottom of the sixth left one more opportunity for the Americans to get back into the game. In the top of the seventh Moore walked the opening batter but retired the next three in order. Down to their last at-bat, Chavanne singled to start the bottom of the seventh but a fly out and two strike outs drew the game to a close and secured Japan’s third ISF World Championship Gold.

The conclusion of the World Championship also means the conclusion of the 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team season. The senior squad finished the year with a 28-6 record in international tournament play. Chavanne led the way offensively on the year with a .464 batting average and Nevins notched the best ERA at a .869 clip. Following a four month break, Team USA will regroup in January with a selection camp to choose the roster that will compete in the 2015 Pan-American Games among other events.

-- courtesy ASA/USA Softball