USA Schutt Elite edged by Japan Elite 2-1
SURREY, B.C. USA Schutt Elite fell to 1-1 at the 2004 Canada Cup with a 2-1 setback to the Japanese Elite Team on Sunday afternoon. USA had grabbed a 1-0 advantage on an RBI single in the third by Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) before the Japanese squad pushed across single runs in the fourth and fifth stanzas to improve to 2-0 at the tournament. Brooke Mitchell (Pasadena, Texas) was charged with the loss after yielding three hits and two runs in three innings in relief of starter Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif.), who had given up three hits and recorded three strikeouts. Yuko Endoh collected her second victory in as many appearances by tossing three scoreless innings.
“We need to play better defense, as we made several mistakes that cost us runs,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “We just have to go out and keep improving as the tournament progresses. We are still trying to find the correct lineup to help us be successful.”
Rei Nishiyama opened the bottom of the first by poking Dodd’s first offering into right field for a single and Yuri Masuyama legged out a bunt to give Japanese Elite a couple of runners aboard. The right-hander struck out Satako Mabuchi and then catcher Emily Zaplatosch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) gunned down the lead runner attempting to swipe third. Following a walk to Erina Inoue, Zaplatosch fired a perfect strike to third baseman Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) as Masuyama tried to steal third base, ending the inning.
USA broke the ice in the top of the third on Galindo’s two-out single that bounced into right field. Catalina Morris (Sonoita, Ariz.) had been plunked by Maki Shoji with one down and advanced to second on a grounder from Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.). Galindo was able to slap a 1-0 pitch through the right side to score Morris with the game’s opening run.
Mitchell relieved Dodd in the circle to start the bottom of the fourth and issued a walk to Inoue. A wild pitch enabled pinch runner Sonomi Morishita to move into scoring position and Megu Hirose advanced her teammate to third with a sacrifice bunt. An RBI grounder by Motoko Fujimoto knotted the contest at a run apiece. Lowe reached on an infield hit with two down in the top of the fifth and raced down to second on a wild pitch from Yuko Endoh.
However, the hurler preserved the stalemate by having Galindo tap out to the second baseman. Haruka Fujunio started Japan’s portion of the fifth with an infield base-hit and took second on Yuka Suzuki’s bunt. A fielding error by shortstop Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) on Nishiyama’s grounder left the home team with runners on first and second. Masuyama then stepped to the plate and stroked a single up the middle to give the Japanese Elite a 2-1 lead. A fielder’s choice by Mabuchi erased Masuyama at second and left Nishiyama perched on third with two out. USA Schutt Elite escaped further damage when catcher Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) picked the runner off third to end the inning.
Galindo continued her torrid start to the Canada Cup by finishing 2-for-3, raising her average to .600 through two outings. USA Schutt Elite will be in action twice on Monday, taking on Triple Crown Force at 10:30 a.m. and the Buffalo Bison’s at 3:30 p.m.