USA Softball Women’s National Team falls 2-0 to Japan in USA vs Japan All-Star Series finale

June 23, 2018, 9:32 a.m. (ET)

Fukushima, Japan — The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) fell short as they dropped a 2-0 decision to Japan in Game 3 of the USA vs Japan All-Star Series at Fukushima Azuma Stadium, USA Softball announced. Japan’s two-run shot in third inning ended up being the difference maker in what was a closely-contested matchup between the top World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) ranked teams in the world.


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“Our chemistry has gotten better over the course of this trip,” said Head Coach Laura Berg (Corvallis, Ore.). “Our pitchers and catchers are working better together, and our offense is getting better at-bats."


With two outs in the top of the first inning, Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) reached first after singling up the middle, but a groundout to shortstop stopped her from advancing any further. Highlighting the bottom half of the inning was Mo Mercado (Temecula, Calif.) who, after Japan singled, converted an infield hit into a double play. U.S. starting pitcher Carley Hoover (Clemson, S.C.) kept working from the circle and issued a strikeout to keep the game scoreless.


Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.) stepped up and connected for a two-out single in the second but was left stranded after a groundout brought the U.S. defense back out. It wouldn’t be long as Japan was retired on a fly out, groundout and strikeout. 


The game was kept scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when Japan sent a two-out two-run shot over the centerfield fence to take a 2-0 lead. The Red, White and Blue managed to put two runners aboard after Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.) walked and Courtney Gano (West Convina, Calif.) reached on an error by Japan’s shortstop Mana Atsumi. Japan would then call for a pitching change to Yukiko Ueno, who induced a strikeout to close out the inning.


Fans saw Japan quickly load the bases in the bottom of the fourth frame with two outs, resulting in Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) taking the circle. Getting out of the jam was Gourley, who caught Japan’s Nozomi Nagasaki swinging on a 1-2 count to end the inning. Japanese pitching ace Ueno continued to stymie the U.S. defense, retiring the side in the final three innings to eventually shutout Team USA, 2-0. 

Hoover suffered the loss for the U.S., pitching three and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on three hits and issuing three strikeouts, while Gourley fanned three batters and allowed one hit in two and one-third innings of work. Fujita earned the win for Japan, pitching three and two-thirds innings with one strikeout and allowing zero runs on two hits, while Ueno earned the save, pitching the final three and one-third innings with four strikeouts.


The Japan All-Star Series roster, also referred to as USA Blue, will be back in action and join the World Championship roster (USA Red) at the USA Softball International Cup from July 9-15, 2018. General Admission tickets ($15) and Stadium seating tickets ($25) are on sale and links to purchase can be found on the tournament website at


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,