Unbeaten Australia nips USA Schutt Elite, 1-0
SURREY, B.C. Australia made a first-inning run stand and used a combined four-hit shutout from pitchers Brooke Wilkins and Melanie Roche to secure a 1-0 decision over USA Schutt Elite on Friday night at Softball City. USA (7-2) now drops into the losers’ bracket for an elimination game tomorrow at 1 p.m. against the winner of the 8 a.m. game between Chinese Taipei and China. Australia (9-0) awaits the winner of tonight’s matchup between Japan and the Japanese Elite Team tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. for the right to reach Sunday’s championship tilt.
“I thought that Alicia (Hollowell) pitched a wonderful ballgame,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “We had several opportunities but could not come through with the key hit. Melanie Roche came on and pitched very well for Australia. We competed throughout and were able to learn some things that we can take with us into tomorrow’s action.”
Australia opened the scoring in the top of the first on a two-out single by Marissa Carpadios that scored Sandra Allen. Allen had begun the game with a single up the middle off Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) and later stole second base with two down. Carpadios sent a 3-2 pitch into left and advanced to second when the relay throw home by Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) was too late. Hollowell struck out the dangerous Stacey Porter to end the inning.
USA Schutt Elite’s bid to tie the game in the second was thwarted when Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on Duran’s single to right center. Benyi led off with a base-hit and raced down to second on a wild pitch by Brooke Wilkins. Duran sliced a single that was scooped up by Kerry Wyborn, who fired a perfect strike to catcher Carapadios that beat Benyi with ease. Duran had taken second on the throw home and moved over to third on another wild pitch. Wilkins kept her team in front by fanning Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif.).
Peta Edebone started the fourth for the Aussies with a single into left and was replaced by pinch runner Leah Quackenbush. A sacrifice by Carpadios advanced Quackenbush to second and the runner reached third on Porter’s fly ball to deep center field. Hollowell would induce a pop-up by Natalie Titcume to bring her squad to the plate. Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) drilled a one-out double to the fence, chasing Wilkins in favor of reliever Melanie Roche. Benyi stroked a single into left to give USA runners on the corners with one down, but Roche rose to the challenge with consecutive strikeouts of Zaplatosch and Duran to preserve the one-run lead.
Allen poked an infield single to begin the sixth but was erased trying to take third on Wyborn’s bunt on a random relay from third baseman Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) to Zaplatosch covering the bag. From there, Hollowell induced pop-ups by Edebone and Carpadios.
USA could not get its offense going, as Wilkins and Roche combined for 11 strikeouts. Roche earned the victory by allowing one hit with six K over 3.2 frames, while Wilkins gave up three hits over 3.1 innings. Hollowell (2-1) fanned six batters and yielded five hits and Benyi was 2-for-3 for USA Schutt Elite.