USA Advances to Championship Game
July 07, 2007
USA Opens Championship Round
July 06, 2007
USA Continue Win Streak
July 06, 2007
USA Softball Completes Pool Play
July 05, 2007
USA Use Base Hits To Shut out Absolute Blast
July 03, 2007
USA Softball Run Rules Australia
July 02, 2007
USA Rocks Puerto Rico
July 01, 2007
June 30, 2007
World Champs! USA Softball Junior Women capture gold with 3-1 win over Japan
ENSCHEDE, Netherlands – As a lazy fly ball landed in the glove of Brittany Lastrapes, the third base dugout emptied onto the field in celebration as the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team defeated Japan 3-1 Saturday afternoon to become the new world champions. The win capped off a perfect 11 days as the Americans went 10-0 to capture the championship of the ISF Junior Women’s World Championship at the Tex Town Complex.
The win didn’t come easy as the USA had to fight from behind early. Japan scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning to mark just the second time in 10 games the USA has trailed. But the Americans took the lead back in the second inning thanks to a two-run, five-hit effort.
Tiffany Huff (Saugus, Calif.) got the rally going with a single to center field. Ashley Brignac (River Ridge, La.) singled up the middle to put two on with two out. Bianca Mejia (Sylmar, Calif.) came through with a big RBI single up the middle to tie the game. And later in the inning, Lastrapes (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) singled through the right side of the infield to drive in Brignac and give the USA the lead.
The USA tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning when Monica Harrison (Garden Grove, Calif.) reached on a fielder’s choice, driving in Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) to make it 3-1. The Japanese team had several chances, putting runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t capitalize. In the seventh, Japan got the leadoff runner on and moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Donna Kerr (San Diego, Calif.) got a strikeout and then got Yuki Hayashi to fly out to Lastrapes in left field to set off a wild celebration.
“Obviously, we’re all very excited,” Lastrapes said. “I’m really proud to represent my country and to be the first USA Junior team to win the gold in 12 years. Even when we fell behind today, we kept battling and we never gave up. We knew we could do it; we just want to panic.”
Brignac got the start in the gold medal game and went 3.1 innings. She allowed one unearned run on six hits while walking one and striking out one. Megan Elliott (Prince Frederick, Md.) picked up the win in relief, throwing two strong innings while giving up four hits. Kerr pitched the final 1.2 innings, striking out two, to pick up the save.
“I thought we fought back after falling behind early to put some runs on the board to go ahead,” said head coach Jay Miller. “We gave ourselves a chance every inning and I knew it was just a matter of time before we broke through. But Japan did the same thing. We really stepped up defensively and got great pitching from all three girls. They got us out of jams. It was just a great team effort and a great job from the pitching staff to shut down an outstanding Japan team.”
At the plate, the USA had five players – Lastrapes, Haber, Ashley Hansen (Chandler, Ariz.), Harrison and Mejia - record two hits apiece, while Huff and Brignac each had one.
Lastrapes was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and was also named to the all-tournament team as the tournament’s best left fielder. She batted .548 with 17 hits, six RBI and five stolen bases. Viefhaus was named the tournament’s best third baseman, earning all-tournament honors. She batted .429 with nine hits and six RBI
“I can’t explain how I felt when they called my name,” Lastrapes said. “I was completely in shock, but I was also so excited. I’ve never felt that before.”
The championship game marked the USA’s sixth consecutive time in the gold medal contest, winning in 1987 in Oklahoma City, Okla., 1995 in Normal. Ill., and now 2007 in Enschede, Netherlands. For the tournament, the Red, White and Blue outscored its opponents 88-4.
“I’m just really proud,” Miller said. “The kids bought in to what we were trying to do from day one and came together as a ball club. I’m very proud of the way they represented the United States and USA Softball. This was a great group to work with. The coaching staff – Suzy Brazney, Barbara Jordan and Cheri Kempf – did a wonderful job in terms of scouting our opponents and preparing our team to play. It was just a great team effort by everyone involved.”
USA Softball Escapes
June 30, 2007
USA Softball Escapes with 1-0 Victory
Surrey, B.C., - Japan Elite kept the red, white and blue offense at bay as the USA National Softball team escaped with a 1-0 victory over Japan Elite today in the opening game of the 14th Annual Canada Cup International Women’s Fastpitch Tournament at Softball City in Surrey, B.C. Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) earned the win for the team striking out seven of the nine batters she faced.
Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) got the start in the circle for the red, white and blue in the team’s first outing of the season. After the No. 1 and No.2 batters reached with hits, Finch responded with two strikeouts to keep the runners stranded.
Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) led off with a single in the first and that would be the only hit for the U.S. until the third when Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) struck with a single down the third baseline.
Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich.) came at the top of the fourth after Finch threw three complete innings, allowing two hits. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) provided solid defense for Ritter in left field chasing down two hard hit balls, shutting down any potential extra base hits.
Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour, Fla.), in her first appearance with the National Team since 2005, put up the team’s third hit with a single to third base but was left stranded on second leaving the score at 0-0 heading into the 5th-inning.
During the fifth, the U.S. escaped a run as Mendoza threw in a blooper hit over the head of third baseman Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) into catcher Amanda Topping (Whittier, Calif.) for an out at home. After allowing two hits in the fifth, Ritter was taken out of the game and Abbott came in with a runner in scoring position at second and one out. Japan Elite continued to battle the pitching staff as the first batter Abbott faced, laid down a bunt to put runners at first and third with one out. However two strikeouts by Abbott left two runners stranded and the score at a stand still.
The U.S. offense came alive in the fifth with Lowe leading off with her second hit of the day followed by a single by Watley. Mendoza flied out to center but the bases were loaded off a single by Crystl Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.). Kretschman was hit by a pitch and plated Lowe for the first and only run of the game.
Abbott kept runners off the base paths through the sixth and seventh, striking out five of the six batters faced in the final two innings.
June 2007 Rule Clarifications and Plays
June 30, 2007
Should Umpires Call “Time” to Rotate Back to Their Basic Starting Positions After End of Playing Action?