Team USA to Start International Play in Canada
COLUMBIA - The United States Women's National Team is set to begin International competition at the 2011 Canadian Open FastPitch International Championship, held in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada from July 9-17.
Missouri's Rhea Taylor and Chelsea Thomas, along with the rest of Team USA, recently wrapped up exhibition play with the Women's Junior National Team. The two squads played six games in three different states over the last two weeks, with Team USA posting a record of 6-0 and winning by a 51-3 margin. In their final two contests, held in Bowie, Maryland, the Women's National Team won by an 11-0 final in game one before coming out ahead 7-0 in the finale.
Taylor started game one of the final doubleheader in center field and batted second in the lineup, where she went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and three runs scored. In the second game, Taylor came in to pinch run and scored another run for Team USA. The Buford, Ga., native finished exhibition play with a .353 batting average (6-for-17) with 10 runs scored and five stolen bases.
Thomas appeared in three games, and compiled a record of 2-0 with a 0.00 earned run average. In 11 innings, she scattered 12 hits, walked just one batter and struck out seven. In her last appearance, Thomas came in relief and threw two shutout innings with a strikeout and a walk.
The Canadian Open FastPitch International Championship consists of five national teams in the International Division and five club teams in the Elite Division. After completion of preliminary round play, all five teams from the International Division and the top three squads from the Women's Elite division will advance to the Women's International Championship Round. The championship round is a double elimination format with a sudden death championship final.
Joining Team USA in the International Division are Team Australia, Team Canada, Team Japan and Team Venezuela. Team USA will play each International squad twice during the preliminary round. Action begins at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, July 9 against Team Australia. Team USA will face off against Team Japan later that evening, starting at approximately 10:30 p.m. CT. Preliminary round play runs through July 14, with the Championship round beginning on Friday, July 15.