USA Softball News USA beats Canada in ...

USA beats Canada in playoffs

By Codi Warren | July 20, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

WHITEHORSE, Y.T. – The USA Softball Women’s National team defeated the Canadian National team by a final of 4-2 in round one of the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship playoffs on Friday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of American announced today. USA will move on to the second round in the winners bracket on Saturday where they will face Japan who defeated China 1-0 on Friday.

KeilaniRicketts (San Jose, Calif.) got the win for the USA in the circle. The left hander threw five complete innings giving up two runs on six hits and striking out four Canadian batters. Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) and Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla) each pitched one inning of relief in the sixth and seventh innings to close the game out for the USA.

“It was a pretty gutsy performance by Keilani Ricketts today,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “She did a phenomenal job facing a tough lineup in front of a very partisan crowd. She gave us an opportunity to jump out and when Canada responded I thought her teammates did a great job of responding back. Ricketts got out of a major jam in the fifth inning with runners at first and third and one out. It showed me a lot about Keilani growing up as a USA pitcher.”

From the plate, USA picked up their four runs off of seven hits against Canada pitcher Danielle Lawrie. Christi Orgeron (New Orleans, La.) led the way going two-for-three with two singles and one run scored. Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nevada) drove in three of the American runs.

“Lawrie threw a nice game for Canada,” said May-Johnson. “She’s definitely an intelligent pitcher and has good stuff. It was kind of fun to get out there and compete against really good, intelligent pitching but we came up with the big hits when we needed them.”

Canada got the first hit of the game in the top of the second but couldn’t convert any runs as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third. Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Orgeron each singled to begin the inning. Two batters later, May-Johnson singled for her first two RBI of the game. After three innings, USA held a 2-0 lead.

Canada responded in the top of the fourth with two runs on three base hits. Jennifer Yee and Kaleigh Rafter each singled to get things going for Canada in the inning and back-to-back RBI from Jennifer Salling and Megan Timpf completed the comeback for Canada.

The tie wouldn't last long as USA responded in the bottom half of the inning with two more runs on three hits. Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) hammered a ball to right field that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. A Holcombe walk and Orgeron single loaded the bases for the USA just in time for their lead-off hitters to return to the plate. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) singled to score the USA’s third run of the game. In the next at-bat Stacy May-Johnson grounded to short stop for the second out but it was enough to score Holcombe from third. When the inning was complete USA held a 4-2 lead.

Canada got two runners on in the top of the fifth but Ricketts closed out the inning with a strikeout and groundout to first base, stranding the runners and securing the two-run lead for the USA.

Lawrie kept the American bats contained in the sixth inning surrendering just one hit and no runs. Unfortunately for Canada, USA relief pitchers Thomas and Traina did the same in the tops of the sixth and seventh innings. Thomas entered the circle to start the sixth and didn’t allow a hit. In the top of the seventh, Traina matched her performance retiring the first three Canadian batters she faced securing the win for the Red, White and Blue.

With the 4-2 win, Team USA moves on to face Japan for the third time this year. In two previous matchups earlier this summer at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International, USA and Japan split wins with USA taking the first 4-3 and Japan the second 9-6. The winner of Saturday’s rubber match will have earned a spot in Sunday’s ISF World Championship finals.

Canada will now face the Netherlands who defeated Chinese Taipei 4-3 earlier in the day on Friday. China will take on Australia who was also an early-day victor defeating Puerto Rico 12-0. The winners of those games will compete in the final game on Saturday for an opportunity to face the loser of USA-Japan for the final spot in the championship game.

Please visit www.USAsoftball.comfor links to live stats and live streaming of all Team USA’s games at the World Championships.