WHITEHORSE, Y.T. – The USA Softball Women’s National team defeated the Venezuelan National team 7-0 in their first pool-play game of the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship on Friday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) picked up the win from the circle while Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) each homered twice for the USA.
“This is a great way to start the tournament,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “A pitching performance like that from Ricketts and some timely hitting from Gibson and Arioto, we’ll take that. I like that we came out today with a mission to try and keep the other team at zero. I thought we played very well. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Ricketts pitched the complete game shutout for Team USA picking up her sixth win of 2012. The left hander gave up only one hit while collecting six strikeouts in the game. In 37.2 innings pitched for Team USA this year, Ricketts has a 0.56 ERA.
On the offensive side, Arioto and Gibson led the way picking up all seven of the team’s RBI. Combined, the duo was seven-for-eight with four home runs, and three singles. Gibson improved her 2012 batting average to .552 with Arioto just behind her at .543.
“Offensive and defensively we came out ready to play today,”said Gibson. “I was seeing the ball well. I’ve been working on some things with Coach Eriksen and it’s getting better.”
Team USA picked up three runs in the first two innings on eight hits. Gibson collected her first solo home run in the first inning and Arioto followed it with an RBI single to score Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.). In the second, it’s was Gibson with the RBI single scoring Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.).
USA jumped on the board again in the fifth inning with Gibson’s second solo home run of the game. Three batters later, Arioto matched the effort with a solo shot of her own. USA would score once more in the top of the seventh when Gibson singled to start the inning and Arioto followed it up by tagging her tenth homer of the year.
The Red, White and Blue will return to action at the ISF World Championships on Saturday, July 14 where they will play Czech Republic at 4:30 PM (PDT). Please visit www.USAsoftball.comfor links to live stats and live streaming of all Team USA’s games at the World Championships.