WHITEHORSE, Y.T. – The USA Softball Women’s National team beat Argentina 14-1 (four innings) in their final pool-play game of the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championships on Thursday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. With the win USA extended their record to 7-0 in the tournament capturing the Pool-A No. 1 seed and a first-round playoff matchup with Pool-B No. 2 seed Canada on Friday.
Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) got the start for the USA at pitcher on Thursday. She went four innings striking out seven of the 16 batters she faced and only allowing one run on three hits. With the win, Thomas extends her record in the tournament to 2-0 and her 2012 USA record to 6-1.
Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) lead the Americans from the plate. She was three-for-three in the game with a signle and two home runs including a grand slam. The Michigan native finished with six RBI.
“Coach Eriksen always says the home runs are extra. If line drive the turns into a home run that’s great,” said Chidester. “He’s been working with me to see the ball in and it’s been successful so far. I just have to keep working and keep seeing the ball.”
Argentina picked up their only run in the top of the first inning after getting two runners on base by way of a lead-off single and a USA infield error. With the runners in scoring position, a passed ball scored the first run against USA in the tournament.
The Americans responded in the bottom of the first with 12 runs on 10 hits. The was capped off by two Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) home runs.. Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) led off with a double and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.). With Gibson on base Chidester hit her first home run to give USA the 3-1 advantage. The homer extended Chidester’s streak of consecutive games with a home run to four.
Six hits and two walks later in the inning, Chidester found herself back at the plate with the bases loaded and still just one out. With an 8-1 lead, Chidester connected on a pitch sending a second home run out this time clearing the 270 foot permanent fence that stands beyond the outfield bleachers. When the first inning came to an end, USA held the 12-1 lead.
Argentina picked up two more hits in the top of the second inning but Thomas and the USA defense closed the inning without allowing any additional runs.
USA got on the board again in the bottom of the third. Chidester led off with a single for her third hit of the game. A walk and a fielder’s choice gave the USA two base runners with two outs in the inning. Back-to-back RBI singles from Christi Orgeron (New Orleans, La.) and Molly Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) scored two more runs and the USA held a 14-1 lead after the third.
Argentina needed four runs in the top of the fourth to avoid being run ruled but a three up, three down inning for Thomas secured the win for the Red, White and Blue.
“I was happy with the way we responded to a rough first inning defensively,” said USA Head Coach Ken Erikson. “You could stick your tail between your legs and start worrying about the ‘what ifs’ and I don’t think our team did that. Kaitlin Cochran got us off to a great start from the plate in the first inning and we executed some plays with bunts and pretty good base running. Our response in the first inning was crucial to the success of the team and I’m happy with the way we responded.”
USA’s first round play-off matchup with Canada is scheduled for Friday at 5:00 PM (PDT). Please visit www.USAsoftball.com for links to live stats and live streaming of all Team USA’s games at the World Championships.