USA Softball wins big at International Cup Championship Sunday

July 16, 2018, 3:45 a.m. (ET)

IRVINE, Calif. – It was a Championship finish for USA Red (World Championship roster) as the team soared to a 10-5 win over Japan in the grand finale of the USA Softball International Cup.  This marked the first time since the 2013 Canada Cup that a U.S. team had put 10 runs on the board against Japan and won.  For USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster), a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over China earned the team a Bronze Medal finish.

Click here for box scores from the USA Softball International Cup

USA Red 10, Japan 5

Click here for a box score

Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) proved why she is one of the most respected hitters in the game as USA Red claimed the USA Softball International Cup title with a 10-5 win over Japan.  Arioto went 3-for-3 with each hit a home run, leading the USA Red offense with five RBI and four runs scored.

USA Red got on the board early, striking in their first at-bat with a two out rally.  Back-to-back walks to Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) and Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.) put two on for Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), who recorded an infield single to plate Merritt while a throwing error by the Japan defense allowed Cooper to score.

Japan struck back in the top of the second inning to cut USA Red’s lead to one run.  After a leadoff walk, a sac bunt moved the runner up a base before a single to left field put runners on the corners.  A groundout to Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) gave the runner at third enough time to score making the game 2-1, in favor of USA Red.

Arioto led off the bottom of the third with her first home run of the game, a solo shot, over the centerfield fence to pad the USA Red lead to two runs.  Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) followed two batters later with her own solo home run, making it 4-1, USA Red.

The game came within one run in the top of the fourth as Japan plated two after a pair of singles and a walk allowed two runners to cross the plate. Aguilar responded in the bottom of the fourth with the third USA Red home run of the game, putting USA Red up by two.

A two-run home run by Japan in the top of the fifth tied up the game at five runs each, but not for long as USA Red took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame.  Arioto started the hit-rally with her second home run of the game and then Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed suit with a solo home run. 

With the Red, White and Blue leading by two heading into the bottom of the sixth, a three-run blast from the bat of Arioto sealed the 10-5 win for USA Red.

Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) earned the win after entering in the top of the fifth inning.  Abbott finished the contest with four strikeouts with one earned run while starter Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) fanned one batter in her three and one-third innings in the circle.  Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) and Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) both saw time in the circle, with Garcia striking out one batter.

In addition to Arioto’s five RBI, Moultrie also had a multi-RBI game with a 2-for-3 outing. 

USA Red will take a brief break before reuniting for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship, slated for August 2-12 in Chiba, Japan.

USA Blue 7, China 6 (eight innings)

Click here for a box score

USA Blue claimed the USA Softball International Cup Bronze in dramatic fashion after a 7-6, extra-inning win over China.  USA Blue overcame a one run deficit in the bottom of the seventh before eventually capturing the win with three runs in the bottom of the eighth.  

Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) continued her hot-hitting ways, driving in the first run of the game with a single in the bottom of the third to drive in Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour, Fla.)   Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) drove in the second run of the inning after reaching on a fielder’s choice, and a squeeze play at the plate by Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.) allowed the third run of the at-bat to score.

China took the lead in the top of the sixth after a leadoff single followed by a walk.  A double plated two runs before a two-run home run gave China the 4-3 edge.

Down to their final at-bat and trailing by one, USA Blue forced the game into extra innings after Chidester singled with one out.  A fielder’s choice resulted in Chidester being put out at second base, but a single to right field by Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) put runners on the corners with two outs.  Mo Mercado (Temecula, Calif.) delivered on a 1-1 count, singling through the left side of the infield to tie the game up at four runs each.

With the international tie-breaker (ITB) in effect, China quickly plated two runs after back-to-back doubles.  Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.), who started the game in the circle for USA Blue, re-entered the game and quickly did work in the circle, retiring the next three batters with strikeouts.

With Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) on second base as USA Blue’s ITB base runner, Sis Bates (Ceres, Calif.) singled to put runners on the corners before swiping second base to put two runners in scoring position with one out.  Kretschman came up big with a hard single through the left side to bring the game within one run before a wild pitch allowed Bates to score and tie up the game.  Needing one run to win the game, Nicolette Udria (Covina, Calif.) delivered with a single up the middle to plate Kretschman for the win.

The win over China concluded the 2018 international season for USA Blue as the team finished with a 6-4 record, having competed at the Japan All-Star Series this past June.

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.