USA Schutt Elite thrashes Bloomington 10-0
SURREY, B.C. USA Schutt Elite plated three runs in the third and erupted for six more runs in the fourth on its way to a 10-0 triumph over the Bloomington Lady Hearts on Tuesday afternoon at Softball City. The game was shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule. A barrage of 14 hits, including a 4-for-4 performance by Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) and a 3-for-3 outing by Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.), was more than enough offense for left-hander Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.), who went the distance with a two-hitter and eight strikeouts to improve to 3-0 at the 2004 Canada Cup. With contests remaining against New Zealand and Canada, USA Schutt Elite upped its record to 4-1 at the event.
“I think we’re getting better,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “In the past when we have struggled it was because adjustments were not made. Although we were not able to score early in the game, we did a much better job of putting the hits together. Monica pitched very well and we came through with timely hits.”
USA threatened in the top of the second, as Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) and Fox poked consecutive singles to give their team runners on the corners with one out. Pitcher Nicole Kurth worked out of the jam for the Lady Hearts by having Emily Zaplatosch’s (Scottsdale, Ariz.) grounder erase Duran at the dish before the hurler coaxed a grounder from Catalina Morris (Sonoita, Ariz.) to retire the side.
Lori Day drew a leadoff walk from Abbott in bottom of the inning and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice by Stephanie Hieser. A two-out single by Erin Bravo looked to score Day but right fielder Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, Calif.) fired a bullet to Zaplatosch to nail the runner at the plate.
USA Schutt Elite broke into the scoring column with three runs on three hits and a critical Bloomington error in the third to seize a 3-0 lead. Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) singled, stole second and took third on an infield hit by Lowe. After Lowe swiped second, Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif.) walked to load the bases with none out. Kurth caught both Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Legaspi looking on strikes before Duran’s grounder to second base was misplayed, allowing both Galindo and Lowe to come across. Fox rifled a single to center to plate Dodd before Zaplatosch tapped to Kurth to close the frame.
The next inning, Galindo earned a free pass and Lowe collected her third hit of the game to put USA in business. The duo pulled off a double steal and Dodd walked to fill the sacks. Benyi atoned for her previous at bat by lofting a single into shallow left field, scoring Galindo, but Lowe was out after colliding with the umpire and being tagged out by the catcher. Legaspi and Duran followed with a run-scoring singles and Fox added a two-run triple to clear the bases and make the count 8-0. A two-bagger by Zaplatosch to deep left field gave the USA five consecutive hits and a nine-run margin.
Lowe opened the fifth with another single and scored all the way from first base on a double by Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) to complete the 10-0 rout. In addition to the success enjoyed by Arizona teammates Fox and Lowe, Duran wound up 2-for-4 and the tandem of Galindo (1-for-3) and Dodd (0-for-1, two walks) scored twice. USA Schutt Elite will next meet New Zealand at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. Entering tonight’s game against the Triple Crown Force, New Zealand was even at 2-2.