Haarlem, Netherlands – The USA Softball Women’s National Team battled the wind and rain as well as Chinese Taipei on Sunday at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship and prevailed 5-1 thanks to a three-run first inning highlighted by Lauren Gibson’s (Pasadena, Md.) two-run double to centerfield. Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) earned the start for Team USA but lasted just two innings striking out four and allowing three hits during her time in the circle. Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered in the third and struck out six while also allowing three hits in the remaining five innings of the contest.
“We’ve told our players over and over that you have to be ready for anything at a World Championship,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Today we went from rain to sunshine, back to rain and ended with more sun. Through it all we stayed focused and made plays when we needed to.”
Hitting from the second spot in the lineup, Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) singled in the first inning and came around to score when Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) hit a line drive to center field two batters later. With Fischer standing on first a steady drizzle grew heavier and the game was delayed for a brief period.
Following the delay, Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) picked up where things had stopped when she singled to left field advancing Fischer to third. In the next at-bat, Gibson connected for her two-run double giving Team USA a 3-0 lead.
Chinese Taipei got a run back in the second but despite two more runners in scoring position the USA defense got out of the inning without allowing another run. Both teams were scoreless in their next at-bats until Fischer led off the bottom of the third with a solo homer over the left field fence to make it USA 4, Chinese Taipie 1.
Later in the third, Arioto reached by walk and three illegal pitches later, she crossed home plate making it 5-1. The score held the remaining four innings and Team USA moved to 3-0 in the tournament with the win.
The American’s finished the game with eight hits while striking out just twice. They will next face Great Britain at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. CDT) on Monday. Live streaming and live stats are available via www.USASoftball.com throughout the ISF World Championship. Log on and follow Team USA as they seek a tenth World Championship Gold.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.
Headquartered in Plant City, Florida (USA), the ISF is a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body for the sport which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women’s fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 127 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.