USA Schutt Elite downs Storm USA, 4-0
IRVINE, Calif. - On the strength of a two-hit shutout and 13 strikeouts by Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.), USA Schutt Elite advanced to the semifinals of the Champions Cup with a 4-0 triumph over Storm USA on Saturday afternoon. The Red, White and Blue will next face the winner of tonight’s game between Australia and Chinese Taipei at 9 a.m. tomorrow, with the title game being contested at 2:30 p.m. The U.S. team fell to the Aussies in pool play, 5-2, and edged the Chinese, 1-0, in 10 innings on Friday.
“Staking Monica to a four-run lead made it comfortable for us,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “I was disappointed that we were not able to put them away earlier since we had several opportunities. The clutch double by Emily (Zaplatosch) in the fourth iced the game for us. Our slap hitters did a nice job in the first inning to put us in scoring position right away.”
“This victory puts us in great shape for tomorrow. We had originally thought we would see either Australia or Chinese Taipei in the finals so the kids are looking forward to another shot at whomever we play. We still need to be more consistent with our offense but our goal has remained to come out and improve each time we step on the field. This trip has been a great learning experience for these young kids.”
Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) and Norrelle Dickson (Orange, Calif.) opened the game with consecutive singles before Vicki Galindo’s (Union City, Calif.) infield hit and subsequent throwing error resulted in a 1-0 lead. Galindo stole second to give USA a couple of runners in scoring position but a fielder’s choice by Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) resulted in Dickson being tagged out after a run-down. A grounder by Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) left her teammates stranded.
Back-to-back fielding errors to start the fourth inning by Storm USA allowed Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) and Dean to reach. Although a fielder’s choice from Duran forced Dean, Duran swiped second base for a couple of runners on the pond. Emily Zaplatosch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) roped a two-run double for a 3-0 advantage and chased pitcher Christine Doyle from the circle. Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, Ariz.) poked an RBI single into left to plate pinch runner Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev.) and Lowe slapped a hit for runners on second and third. Dickson would line out to short to end the frame. Lowe finished 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a run for USA, which totaled seven hits.