Haarlem, Netherlands – The USA Softball Women’s National Team ended pool play at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship by defeating Italy 7-0 (five innings) on Friday. Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.) and Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) combined to throw a no hitter with Traina pitching the first four innings and earning the win. Offensively Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) paced a hot USA lineup going 3-4 with two runs scored.
“We did what we had to do in pool play,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “We played consistently well and earned the top seed. Now we just have to carry it over to the playoffs. We’re going to have to keep playing at a high level to finish where we want to finish.”
Following a three up, three down inning for Traina and the USA defense in the top of the first, Chavanne broke open the scoring when Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) doubled to bring her around from second. Four pitches later, Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) singled to right field bring Gibson around for the second run of the opening at-bat.
A fly out and back-to-back strike outs for Traina ended the top of the second and Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) added a third run to the lead when she hit a fly ball to right field that got under the defenders glove resulting in an inside-the-park home run in the bottom half. Two batters later, Chavanne singled to short stop and then advanced to third on a Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) double. With runners in scoring position, Gibson hit a hard ground ball to short resulting in an error and a fourth USA run as Chavanne crossed home.
In the top of the third, Traina matched her effort from the first two innings by getting the first Italian batter to ground out to Arioto at first base and then striking out the No. 8 and No. 9 hole batters.
Consistency was the key as Team USA scored two more runs in the third inning. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) lead off the bottom of the third with a solo homer to center field and Hallie Wilson (Santa Ana, Calif.) followed her with a triple to right field. Two batters later, Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) plated Wilson when she singled to third. At the end of the inning, Team USA led Italy 6-0.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Italy managed their first base runner when Grifigano earned a walk but a ground out and strike out in the next two at-bats stranded her at second.
A fly out and two ground outs in the bottom of the fourth from the USA batters kept the score at 6-0 entering the fifth. Nevins entered the circle to start the inning and picked up where Traina had left off by striking out the side.
In the bottom of the fifth Team USA needed just one run to end the game by run rule and Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) delivered. With the bases loaded, the speedster singled to right field scoring Fox from third for the seventh and final run of the game.
Team USA finished with 13 hits in the contest including five for extra bases. In the circle, Traina and Nevins combined for 10 strikeouts in just five innings of action.
With the win, the USA moves to 7-0 in the ISF World Championship and will be the No. 1 seed from Pool B entering Friday’s playoffs. They will take on Canada, the second place team from Pool A. The game time is still to be determined and will be announced following the completion of all pool-play games. 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.