OKLAHOMA CITY – The USA Softball Women’s National Team pitchers were lights out in a 7-0 (six innings), no-hit win over Australia late into the evening at the World Cup of Softball XI. As the Eagles soared to a shutout victory over Australia, the USA Softball Women’s Elite Team also saw victory in the day as they picked up an 8-4 win over Canada thanks in large to three home runs.
USA Elite 8, Canada 4
Three home runs powered the USA Softball Women’s Elite Team to an 8-4 win over Canada in their sole game of the day at the World Cup of Softball XI. Powering the way for the USA Elite was Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.), who racked up three RBI in a 3-for-4 outing, including a home run.
“The team showed great resiliency today,” said Head Coach Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.). “It was great to see them punch back after getting hit a few times. That’s the make of a good team. They want to be here, they want to win this whole thing.”
Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) got the start in the circle for the USA Elite and issued a strikeout to get the game rolling. A ground out and then a fly out to Allexis Bennett (Corona, Calif.) brought the U.S. offense to the plate to do some damage.
After a leadoff double by Aguilar, Bennett reached on an infield single to put runners on the corner. A batter later, Hannah Flippen (Bonita, Calif.) hit a sac fly to left field to score the first run of the game. A single from Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) added another run for the USA Elite to give them a 2-0 edge over Canada through the first inning of play.
Canada got their first hit of the game with a leadoff double by Jenn Salling in the top of the second, but the USA Elite defense put in work to keep them off the board. The USA Elite offense continued to swing in the bottom of the frame, starting with a leadoff single from Gwen Svekis (Davie, Fla.). Brooke Vines (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) entered as the pinch runner, swiped second and then advanced to third on a single by Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W. Va.). With the top of the lineup back to the plate, Aguilar singled to right field to plate another two runs. Tacking on another run was Flippen, who singled to center field to plate Bennett, who had reached on a single earlier in the inning.
Canada would get on the board in the top of the third inning after a one-out triple from Larissa Franklin. A double by Victoria Hayward allowed Franklin to come home for the first run of the game for Canada. A single and a defensive miscue allowed the second run to cross the plate. The U.S. looked to get another rally going in the bottom of the third after a leadoff walk to Mysha Sataraka (Honolulu, Hawaii). Back-to-back strikeouts kept Sataraka at first until a deep fly ball for a double by Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.) put both runners in scoring position. The rally was halted, however, after a strikeout to end the inning.
After a leadoff single to Erika Polidori in the top of the fourth inning, a popup sac bunt attempt and a popup to Sataraka at third retired the next two batters before Hawkins fanned the third out of the inning. Getting the U.S. offense going again was Aguilar, who picked up her third RBI of the game with a solo shot over center.
The game was silent for both sides until the top of the sixth when Canada added two with a two-run home run by Polidori. The U.S. responded in the bottom of the frame with back-to-back bombs by Flippen and Fischer to put the U.S. up 8-4.
That would seal the game, as relief pitcher Paige Lowary (Grimes, Iowa) got the last three outs via a strikeout to keep the USA Elite undefeated. Hawkins earned the win for the USA Elite, going six innings with two strikeouts and three runs. Lowary finished the final frame, issuing three strikeouts. Canada’s Karissa Hovinga suffered the loss, going one inning with three hits, two strikeouts and two runs.
“No matter who’s up to bat, you know something’s going to happen,” said Fischer. “We know that somebody will get it done, no matter who it is. We’re a collective team, we work together as a unit, and every single person played a part in this team’s win.”
USA 7, Australia 0 (six innings)
Two U.S. pitchers combined for a no-hitter as Team USA soared to a 7-0 (six innings) win over Australia to stay undefeated at the World Cup of Softball XI. Starter Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) set the pace for the U.S., while Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) followed suit as the two allowed just two Aussie runners to reach on walks.
“Jess threw really great tonight and Munro called a heck of a game with a combined no-hitter,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “When you can keep the other team at zero as long as our pitching staff did tonight, and then have solid defense behind you, that’s a crucial aspect of continuing to win. Offensively, we’re going to continue to move the ball with runners on base. That’s the way we play, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
The U.S. took no time to get on the board as Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led off the game with a single. Australia’s starter Justine Smethurst retired the next two batters with a strikeout, but Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) was unfazed, dropping a ball into right field for a single to put the U.S. up 1-0. A walk to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) looked to extend the two-out rally for Team USA, but a strikeout ended the at-bat to bring USA’s Moore to the circle.
Moore came out with a mission as she issued a strikeout to her first batter faced. A pair of fly outs made it a three-up and three-down inning for the U.S. defense. Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) would get a two-out single in the top of the second, but would be caught on a stolen base attempt to retire the side in order.
Both pitchers took care of business in the circle as Moore and Smethurst retired the sides in order through the bottom of the third. Chidester got the U.S. offense going again with a leadoff single in the top of the fourth, and advanced to second after a ground ball from Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.). With two outs, Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) recorded her third home run of the World Cup of Softball XI with a two-run shot over right field fence to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0.
A few more three-up and three-down innings for both sides until Australia got their first runner on base in the game with a leadoff walk to Chelsea Forkin in the bottom of the fifth. Forkin would get as far as second after advancing on a sac bunt, but would be stranded after a strikeout and groundout.
Team USA got a two-out rally rolling in the top of the sixth inning as Arioto walked and advanced to second on a single from McCleney. Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) entered as a pinch runner for Arioto, and the two advanced a bag after passed ball. With two runners in scoring position, Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) singled to right field to plate two. Back-to-back hits from Moore, who entered the batting lineup and hit a double, and a Chavanne single plated another two.
Carda entered the circle in the bottom of the sixth for the U.S. After issuing a leadoff walk, Carda came back strong for a sac bunt out and two straight strikeouts to give the U.S. the 7-0 (six innings) shutout win.
Moore earned the “W” for Team USA, going five strong innings in the circle. Moore fanned five, allowing just one base runner to reach via a walk. Carda finished the final frame, issuing two strikeouts and a walk. Smethurst suffered the loss for Australia, issuing five strikeouts, two walks, four hits and three runs.
“Aubree and I connected really well tonight,” said Moore. “She was calling a great game, and we put a lot of our strategy together to make it happen. Our defense did a great job tonight and make some huge outs for us. Everything was working together.”
Team USA returns to action twice tomorrow, facing off against Venezuela at 5:30 p.m. CT and then the USA Elite at 7:30 p.m. CT.