Women’s National Team picks up 7-0 victory over Chinese Taipei after Ricketts throws complete game shutout

Aug. 04, 2018, 8:35 a.m. (ET)

Chiba, Japan — Behind the arm of Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.), the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) soared to a 7-0 (five innings) victory over Chinese Taipei in Game 2 of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship. Ricketts pitched a complete game, while a five-run second inning got the U.S. offense on the board and put them in control early.


“It was great to see the hard work Keilani Ricketts has done the last month pay off today with a stellar performance,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “No walks and controlling the at-bats. If we get the type of performances in the circle that we have gotten the last two days, combined with the defense and the timely hitting, we can be a fun team to watch.”


The Red, White and Blue looked to strike early in the top of the first inning after leadoff hitter Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) singled and second baseman Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) was issued a walk. McCleney advanced to third one out later despite Aguilar out at second after Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) grounded into a fielder’s choice. Chinese Taipei escaped unscathed after another groundout stranded the two U.S. runners.


Chinese Taipei also placed a runner in scoring position after Meng-ting Lai led off with a single and one out later, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt but was kept from scoring after a groundout concluded the first frame.


The U.S. bats came alive in the top of the second inning, with Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) setting the tone with a first-pitch double to right field. Merritt would advance to third before touching home thanks to a RBI single from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) to put Team USA on the board. Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) and McCleney followed with walks to load the bases for the Red, White and Blue. Aguilar doubled to right field to plate all three runners and extend the U.S. lead, 4-0. A double by Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) to right would score Aguilar to tack on another run and make it 5-0.


Both sides went three-up, three-down until the bottom of the third inning when Chinese Taipei’s Lai connected for a two-out single to get on base but was called out advancing after Aguilar made the play at second.


The Red, White and Blue added some insurance runs in the top of the fourth inning. Reed led off with a single to right and reached second before Spaulding blasted a two-run home run to put Team USA up, 7-0. A pair of groundouts and fly out by the U.S. defense ensued to keep Chinese Taipei off the board.


In the top of the fifth inning, Merritt picked up her second hit of the game on a one-out single to left field and stole second before Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.) was issued a walk. Both would be stranded and kept from scoring any additional runs after a fly out brought Chinese Taipei back to the plate.


Ahead 7-0, the WNT would complete the shutout victory after stranding Chinese Taipei’s Yi-hsuan Su with Ricketts’ fourth strikeout to close out the game.


Spaulding went 2-for-3 and Aguilar finished 1-for-2, with both tallying 3 RBI apiece for the offense. Ricketts picked up the win after throwing the five-inning shutout, allowing only three hits and issuing four strikeouts.


The U.S. is back in action tomorrow, August 5 at 10 am JT (August 4, 8 pm CT) to face Netherlands before returning to the diamond later that day to face New Zealand 6 pm JT (4 am CT). Live stats will be available through USASoftball.comwhile streaming can be accessed by WBSC broadcast and live stream partners.


The softball flagship competition will feature 73 games across 10 days of competition. The top four finishers from each group will advance to the double page playoff round, while nations not advancing will compete in the placement round. The World Championship finale will take center stage on August 12 at 7 pm JST following the bronze medal match at 2 p.m. JST. The top nation will claim the first of five available softball spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with Japan qualifying automatically as the host country.


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 69 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.


About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland -- the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 202 National Federation and Associate Members in 143 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually. 


The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships (Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women), Premier12, World Baseball Classic, and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's).


For more information, visit: www.wbsc.org.