IRVINE, Calif. – Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) was lights out in the circle for the U.S. in their opening match at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today. Henderson kept Venezuela off the board during her six innings of work, giving up just one hit while striking out three. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in relief in the final inning, collecting one strikeout and two groundouts to close out the game.
"I think the team came out really strong," said Henderson. "We really built a wall defensively and then came up big offensively, which is what we are really trying to do. We want to keep our opponents at zero so we can get the chance to put up the runs productively. Our defense was just phenomenal making plays today."
Game Seven: USA 5, Venezuela 0
Team USA pieced together nine hits and five RBI to capture a 5-0 win in their opening game of the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX Tuesday evening. It was a huge night offensively for Jessica Plaza (Huntington Beach, Calif.) as the catcher racked up two RBI on one home run in the sixth inning to propel the U.S. forward against Venezuela.
The Red, White and Blue struggled against Venezuela's starting pitcher Maria Gomez, who pitched two consecutive three-up and three-down innings. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) broke up Gomez's flawless performance in the top of the third with a two-out single, but was left stranded on first base. The U.S. would add another base runner in the top of the fourth after Hallie Wilson (Tustin, Calif.) singled to center field, but another groundout kept the U.S. off the board. Defensively, the U.S. saw a lot of action throughout the game as Venezuela grounded out 11 times and also collected four outs via fly balls.
It wasn't until the top of the fifth inning that the U.S. would score their first run after Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) singled to left field with two outs. A stolen base put McCleney at second and an errant throw by Venezuela's catcher put McCleney on third for Moultrie, who singled to left field to put the first U.S. run on the board. Team USA would tack on another two runs in the top of the sixth inning after Plaza connected for the two-run home run to put the U.S. up 3-0.
From the circle, Henderson retired every Venezuelan batter through the first five innings before a single by Maribel Riera gave Venezuela their first hit of the game. The U.S. defense continued to shine as Henderson connected with shortstop Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) for a double-play to end the inning.
Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off the top of the seventh inning with a single to center field. Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) then followed with an RBI double to left field to plate Stewart and extend the lead to 4-0. Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) advanced Gibson to third with a fly ball to center before Wilson connected for her second hit of the game to bring Gibson home. Entering the bottom of the seventh, the U.S. kept the lead at 5-0, which Moore held in tact as she retired three-straight batters to end the game and capture Team USA's first win at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX.
For Venezuela, Gomez took the loss, giving up six hits and three runs through five and two-third innings. Alondra Perez entered in relief for Gomez during the middle of the sixth inning and gave up three hits and two runs.
Up next for the U.S. is a matchup against the Philippines at 7 p.m. PDT on July 9.
Game Six: Canada 3, Chinese Taipei 2
Larissa Franklin went 2-for-4, helping Canada to a 3-2 victory over Chinese Taipei. Franklin doubled in the third inning and singled in the fifth inning to help the Canadian offense. Jenna Caira stunted the Chinese Taipei batters, striking out five through five complete innings. Sara Plourde entered in relief in the top of the sixth, giving up one hit and two earned runs.
Canada jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third after Franklin doubled. Jennifer Yee singled, scoring Franklin, and putting Canada up 1-0. The two would connect again in the bottom of the fifth to extend the Canadian lead to 2-0.
Chinese Taipei responded in the sixth inning as Hui Wen Huang racked up two RBI on a home run to tie the game at 2-2. Canada would not let the lead last for long, as they secured the win in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off RBI single to center field from Carey-Leigh Thomas.
From the circle, Su Hua Lin took the loss for Chinese Taipei, pitching to two batters with one hit and one walk. From the circle, Chinese Taipei utilized three pitchers as Ying Hsin Lin entered in relief for Lin, pitching two and one-third inning with two hits, two walks and one run allowed. Hui Lin Chung pitched the final three and two-third innings, giving up four hits, three walks and two runs.
Game Five: Mexico 7, Philippines 0 (5)
Mexico opened up play in the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX with a big win over the Philippines after a 7-0, five-inning run rule in game two of the day. The hot bat of Brandi Melero provided the offense for Mexico as she racked up six RBIs on two hits including a double in the third inning and grand slam in the fifth inning.
Mexico's Erika Bennett kept Philippines off the scoreboard for all five innings from the circle. She pitched a shutout, allowing just two hits while ringing up four batters. Veronica Belleza took the loss for Philippines, giving up three walks and three runs in three innings.
Game Four: Japan 8, Venezuela 1 (5)
Japan captured their first win of the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX with an 8-1, five-inning win over Venezuela. Japan capitalized on a six-run fifth inning with a walk, three-run double and two-run home run by Yukiyo Mine.
For Japan, Eri Yamada went a perfect 3-3 at the plate, doubling in the first inning and punching in a single in the third and fifth innings. From the circle, Kana Nakano recorded the win for Japan, allowing one run over three innings while striking out three with two hits.
Alondra Perez was charged with the loss for Venezuela. In her two and two-thirds innings she walked two and allowed two runs.
Follow along with the entire General Tire World Cup of Softball by visiting USASoftball.com, where live stats, streaming and game times can be found.
Headquartered in Plant City, Florida (USA), the ISF is a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body for the sport which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women’s fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 127 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.