USA JWNT member Dejah Mulipola hit a grand slam in the team's 11-5 win over Mexico.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The USA Softball Women’s National Team offense pushed across eight runs in a 12-hit performance as the Red, White and Blue soared to an 8-2 win over Canada. USA’s Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) and Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) performed well in the circle for the U.S., allowing just two runs through seven innings of play. Also seeing action in the day was the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT), who went 1-1 as the JWNT defeated Mexico 11-5 before dropping a 6-5 decision to Australia.
USA JWNT 11, Mexico 5
It was a hitters game in the USA Softball JWNT opening contest as the Red, White and Blue turned 11 hits into 11 runs in an 11-5 win over Mexico. With the help of a seven-run fourth inning, the JWNT was able to overcome a late-inning push by Mexico en route to the win.
The scoring started early for the U.S.as Hannah Adams (Hoschton, Ga.) led off with a single to centerfield. Sis Bates (Ceres, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to put another runner on the bases for the JWNT before Alissa Dalton (Cypress, Texas) reached on a fielder’s choice as Bates was thrown out at second. With runners on the corners, Baylee Klingler (Houston, Texas) doubled on a fly ball to centerfield, plating both Adams and Dalton to put the U.S. ahead. The U.S. defense and starter Natalie Lugo (West Covina, Calif.) kept Mexico off the board in the bottom of the first inning despite a pair of base runners. With a leadoff single and a walk, a sac bunt, fly out and strikeout kept the U.S. lead at 2-0.
The JWNT looked to strike again in the top of the second inning as the offense would load the bases. An error on the defense put Bethaney Keen (Bradenton, Fla.) on as the leadoff batter and a single from Sydney Sherrill (Moore, Okla.) put two on. A sac bunt from Elissa Brown (Eclectic, Ala.) moved both runners up a base and a walk to Adams loaded the bases, but a hard hit lineout and a groundout kept the U.S. from doing any damage.
That score would stand until the top of the fourth inning when the U.S. bats came alive for a seven-run outing. Keen led off with a double, moved to second on a walk to Sherrill and the bases were loaded yet again with a single from Brown. A sac fly from Adams plated the third run of the game for the JWNT and a walk to Bates loaded the bases for the second time in the inning. Another walk to Dalton brought in run number four and a single from Klinger extended the lead to 5-0. Then, on a 3-1 pitch, Dejah Mulipola (Garden Grove, Calif.) slammed a ball over the left field fence, giving the U.S. a 9-0 cushion. Mexico cut that lead in the bottom of the fourth with a run of their own after a string of singles allowed one run to cross the plate to cut the lead to eight runs.
The U.S. tacked on another two runs in the top of the fifth inning after Bates drove in Brown, and Julia Cottrill (Stillwater, Okla.) plated Adams off a fielder’s choice. The game got interesting in the bottom of the fifth when Mexico drove in four runs with the help of a grand slam. Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.), who entered in relief for Lugo in the fourth, quickly got two outs in her first World Cup of Softball pitching appearance. A walk and back-to-back singles set up a bases loaded situation and a grand slam cut the U.S. lead to 11-5.
Lugo would reenter the game in the bottom of the sixth, and kept the score at bay with the JWNT walking away with the 11-5 win. At the plate, Mulipola picked up four RBI in her 2-for-3 outing while Klingler recorded three RBI. Lugo earned the win, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out four batters in her five innings of work. Nickles finished her two innings pitched with one walk and five runs allowed.
USA JWNT 5, Australia 6
The USA JWNT was on the opposite end of a walk off win as the team suffered a 6-5 loss at the hands of Australia in their second contest of the day. Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Australia captured the win with a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Brown started the two-run rally for the JWNT in the third inning with a one out single and moved to second on an Adams single. A ground out by Taylon Snow (Chino Hills, Calif.) moved the runners up a bag to set up Nickles, who doubled to right field to give the U.S. the 2-0 advantage. That lead held until the bottom of the fourth when a solo shot by Australia cut the lead to just one run.
The Red, White and Blue pushed across another two runs in the top of the fifth inning after the U.S. loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single. A sac fly from Klingler drove in a run and a single from Jessica Harper (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) to left field extended the U.S. lead to 4-1. Another run in the top of the sixth came after Brown tripled and was brought home on a single from Adams. With the Aussies down to their last at-bat and trailing 5-1, a single and walk put the first two batters on base before a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with one out. A fly out to Brown in left field kept the runners at bay before back-to-back walks from the U.S. pitching staff plated a run for Australia. With the bases still loaded, a grand slam by Taylah Tsitsikronis ended the game with Australia walking away with the 6-5 win.
Mariah Lopez (Saugus, Calif.) suffered the loss for the U.S., issuing two runs, while starter Holly Azevedo (San Jose, Calif.) pitched the first six and two-third innings with three strikeouts and four runs. In the batter’s box, Nickles picked up two RBI while Snow scored two runs in a 2-for-4 performance.
“We’re playing teams that have years of international experience under their belt versus our zero,” said Head Coach Laura Berg. “We just have to eliminate the mistakes and continue to learn.”
The USA JWNT will return for a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon. First up, the Red, White and Blue will face Philippines at 1 p.m. CT before taking on WNT at 4 p.m. CT.
USA 8, Canada 2
Team USA’s pitching continued to shine as the Eagles soared to an 8-2 win over Canada live on ESPN. The dynamic duo of Gourley and Carda limited Canada to just six hits while the two combined to strike out 11.
Team USA’s Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) led off the game with a walk and advanced to second base on a single from Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.). Despite putting two runners on with one out, the U.S. was unable to capitalize as Canada’s defense retired the next two batters with a pair of ground outs.
Canada put a runner on with two outs in the bottom of the first, but Gourley picked up a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to keep the game scoreless. That didn’t last long, however, as the U.S. offense pushed across three runs in the top of the second inning. A walk to Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) and a hit batter in Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) put two on with two outs when McCleney singled to center to drive in Takeda. Lilley and McCleney both advanced on a fielding error by Canada’s defense, and Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) drove in the two with a fly ball to center.
Canada struck back in the bottom of the third after a two-run home run by Erika Polidori with one out. Gourley retired the next batter with a fly ball before the U.S. switched pitchers by bringing in Carda, who issued a strikeout for the last out of the inning.
Two more runs scored for the U.S. in the top of the fourth inning to make it a 5-2 ballgame. Another two out rally began with a walk to Aguilar, a single from Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) and a walk to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.). With the bases loaded, Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) singled to centerfield to bring Aguilar and Stewart, who had entered as a courtesy runner for Chidester, home.
Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) singled to tack on another run in the sixth. Two more runs in the top of the seventh came after a sac fly from Aguilar and a single from Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W. Va.), leading to the U.S. capturing the 8-2 win over Canada.
Carda earned the win for the U.S., pitching four and one-third scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and only two hits allowed. Gourley fanned three batters and allowed two runs in her two and two-third innings. At the plate, Arioto was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks while Chidester went 2-for-4. Moultrie and Stewart each picked up two RBI.
“I think we’re taking a real simple approach by just getting the barrel to the ball,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “We’re not trying to do too much at the plate. We sent a lot of batters to the plate and I was very happy with our offense tonight and their execution. All in all, we are going in a good direction. We can’t start looking ahead, we have to take care of business one day at a time.”
Up next for Team USA is a Friday night doubleheader. First up, they will face the USA JWNT at 4 p.m. CT before taking on rivals Japan at 7:30 p.m. CT live on ESPN2.
Notable July 6 performances
Australia goes undefeated with a pair of one-run wins
After dropping a loss to No. 17 Philippines a night earlier, Australia came back strong in Day Two of the World Cup of Softball XII. After posting the 6-5 win over the USA JWNT, Australia followed with a 3-2 win over Puerto Rico to move to 3-1 in the tournament.
Japan continues to stay hot, moves to 4-0 in round-robin play
Japan showed why they are the top-ranked team in the world after posting two more run-rule victories to move to 4-0. Posting an 8-1 (five innings) win over Mexico to open the day, Japan followed with an 11-1 (four innings) win over Philippines. Up next for Japan is the highly anticipated No. 1 vs No. 2 rematch against Team USA.
Tickets are still available for the World Cup of Softball XII, and can be purchased outside the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex at the Ticket Booth. For complete coverage of the World Cup of Softball XII including bios, rosters, live stats, streaming and results log on to USASoftball.com.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.