Takasaki City, Japan — The USA Softball Women’s National Team took on Honda Reverta in a doubleheader exhibition as the team makes final preparations for the 2018 Japan Cup. Edging out Honda, a team within the professional Japan Softball League, Team USA claimed a 2-1 decision before closing out the day with a 1-1 tie.
Game One: USA 2, Honda Reverta 1
Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) had a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two RBI as the U.S. took game one of a doubleheader against Honda Reverta by a score of 2-1. Driving in the first run of the game with an RBI single to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth, Flippen followed with another single to center in the bottom of the sixth to give Team USA the lead.
With a scoreless game heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, a walk to Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) put the lead runner on for the U.S. until a sac bunt by Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) advanced Aguilar a bag. A strikeout kept Aguilar at bay at second base until Flippen hit a fly ball to center to give Aguilar time to score from second.
A solo home run by Honda in the top of the fifth tied up the game at one run each. Team USA looked to strike back in the bottom of the frame as a leadoff walk to Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) and single from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) put two on with no outs. A strikeout and double play quickly ended the inning with the game tied up at 1-1.
Retiring Honda in order in the top of the sixth, Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) singled up the middle and moved to second on an infield single by Aguilar. An out kept the runners at bay until Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour, Fla.) reached on an infield single to load the bases. On a 1-0 count, Flippen delivered a line drive up the middle to plate Reed and give Team USA the one-run lead.
Despite allowing a leadoff double, a strikeout, grounder and pop fly ended the game with Team USA earning the “W”.
Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) earned the win in the circle, tossing the final two innings with no runs, one hit and three strikeouts. Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) started the game in the circle, pitching the first two innings with no runs, one strikeout and one hit allowed. Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) fanned six with one run and two hits allowed in her three innings of work.
Game Two: USA 1, Honda Reverta 1
Team USA closed out their Japan Cup prep with a 1-1 tie in their second contest of the day against Honda Reverta. An RBI single by Aguilar in the top of the third gave the U.S. an early lead, but a solo home run by Honda in the bottom of the seventh resulted in a tie.
Two runners reached for the Red, White and Blue in the top of the first after Kretschman and Aguilar were both hit by a pitch with one out but a double play ended the threat. The offense followed with another pair of walks to Flippen and Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) in the top of the second, but failed to plate any runs.
The scoring drive in the third started with a single by Merritt before a fielder’s choice allowed two runners to get on base. A sac bunt by Kretschman advanced the runners a base until Aguilar dropped a fly ball into left field for the RBI single. A walk to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) looked to continue the rally, but back-to-back outs kept it at a 1-0 ballgame.
That score stood until the bottom of the seventh when a solo home run by Honda tied up the game. A pair of strikeouts and a ground out ended the game with the game tied 1-1.
Aguilar had a 1-for-2 game at the plate, driving in the sole run of the game. Merritt finished 2-for-3 with one run scored.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) got the start in the circle, delivering two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in the third inning, fanning one batter with one walk through three innings of work. Carley Hoover (Clemson, S.C.) tossed the final two innings, walking two with one hit and one run allowed while striking out four.
The U.S. will kick off the Japan Cup on November 2 with a doubleheader starting with Chinese Taipei at 10 a.m. JST (November 1, 8 p.m. CT) and Australia at 1 p.m. JST (November 1, 11 p.m. CT). The U.S. will close out round robin play against host country Japan on November 3 at 10 a.m. JST (November 2, 8 p.m. CT). On November 4, the teams with the third and fourth best records will play in the Bronze Medal game at 1 p.m. JST (November 3, 11 p.m. CT) while the Gold Medal Game between the No. 1 and No. 2 seed will take place at 4 p.m. JST (2 a.m. CT).
Games will be televised through BS Japan with no online live-streaming, but live stats can be accessed for free through 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 through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro 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 USA Softball National Team programs 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.