OKLAHOMA CITY –The USA Softball Women’s National Team found themselves on the losing side for the first time in the 2013 Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship on Sunday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Americans dropped a 5-0 decision to Japan and now must move on to play Monday at 7 p.m. CT against the winner of a Canada vs Australia matchup taking place later in the evening on Sunday. The winner of Monday’s game will move on to face Japan for the tournament championship at 9:30 p.m. CT on Monday.
Pitching dominated from the start in USA’s Sunday night matchup with Japan. Aside from a Misa Okubo single in the top of the second, both teams failed to get anything going offensively through the first three innings of play. Another three up, three down inning for Team USA in the top of the fourth preserved the scoreless game entering Japans fourth at-bat.
The biggest scoring threat came at that point in the game came in the bottom of the fourth when back-to-back Japan singles were followed by an intentional walk to load the bases. The rally prompted a pitching change for Team USA as Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) entered the circle and managed two straight outs to end the threat.
In the top of the fifth, Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) lead off with a base hit that ended any hopes of a third straight Yukiko Ueno no hitter. Two batters later, Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) singled for the second USA hit of the game and gave the Americans runners on the corners but Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga.) was picked off at third to end any chances of a USA run coming in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Japan exploded for five runs off of four hits and a USA error to open up the game. When the dust settled and the inning came to a close, Team USA found themselves trailing 5-0.
Following the huge Japan scoring run, the sixth inning resumed to a pitching duel with both teams failing to record a hit. The Americans found themselves in need of five runs in the top of the seventh if they wanted to extend the game any further but two strikeouts and a fly out dashed any chances and Team USA fell to Japan 5-0.
With the lose, the Americans move to 6-1 in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship and will now face the winner of Canada and Australia who played later in the evening on Sunday. The elimination game will take place at 7 p.m. CT on Monday. You can follow all of the action live by visiting www.USASoftball.com.