OKLAHOMA CITY – The USA Softball Women’s National Team improved to 4-0 in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship on Thursday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA softball announced today. The Americans won back-to-back games on the evening, the first a 5-4 decision over Australia and the second an 8-1 run rule over Venezuela. With the wins, Team USA now has the best record in the tournament and will look to finish pool play unblemished when they play Canada tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. CT.
USA 5, Australia 4
Both USA and Australia managed a pair of base runners in the first inning on Thursday night but couldn’t convert them to runs. The scoreless game remained until the bottom of the second when second-year USA National Team infielder Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) sent a 2-1 pitch sailing over the fence for a homer that gave the Americans a 1-0 lead.
USA starting pitcher Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) kept the Australian batters in check in the top of the third and Team USA added to their lead in the bottom half of the inning. Back-to-back singles from Tennessee Lady Vol alums Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) gave the USA a runner in scoring position and an Australia fielding error eventually brought her home. After three innings of play, Team USA held a 2-0 lead.
The score held for two more innings until Australia evened it up in the sixth. Two singles to start the inning gave the Aussie’s runners at first and second and with two outs, Georgia Casey doubled to score them both. Following the two-RBI hit, Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) entered the circle for Team USA and closed out the Australia at-bat.
Nevins picked up where she left off in the sixth retiring three straight Australian batters in the top of the seventh and the score remained 2-2. In the bottom half of the inning, Team USA managed to move runners to second and third but an Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.) strikeout left them stranded and sent the game to extra innings.
Australia started the top of the eighth with a runner at second per the international tie breaker (ITB) rule and an RBI single followed by a wild pitch later in the at-bat gave them their first lead of the game. At the end of the half inning, Australia led 4-2.
Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) began the bottom of the seventh on second base for Team USA and back-to-back singles from Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) got one run back for Team USA. An Australian error in the next at-bat loaded the bases for Jessica Moore who wasted no time hitting a two-RBI single to secure the 5-4 win for the Red, White and Blue.
USA 8, Venezuela 1
The scoring started earlier in Team USA’s second game of the day versus Venezuela. The visiting team on the scoreboard, Venezuela put up the first run of the game in the top of the first off of two hits and a USA error but the lead didn’t last long. In the bottom half of the first, Chidester doubled with two runners on to score two and give USA the 2-1 lead.
The score held through the second despite two base runners for the Americans. The game opened up in the bottom of the third with Team USA adding six runs to their lead off of five hits and two Venezuelan errors. When the dust settled, the USA held an 8-1 lead entering the fourth.
Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla.) entered the circle for Team USA in the fourth to relief starting pitcher Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) who went three complete innings allowing just one run on three hits and striking out four.
Neither team could generate a great deal of offense in the fourth and as the game moved to the fifth, Venezuela needed at least one run to avoid been run ruled. Despite a two-out single, the top of the fifth inning came to a close with a fly out to center field securing the win for Team USA.
With the wins, the Americans moves to 4-0 in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship. They will return for their final pool-play game at 8:30 p.m. CT on Friday when they face Canada in their fifth game of the tournament. You can follow all of the action live by visiting www.USASoftball.com.