Team USA Wins World Cup of Softball
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - The United States Women's Softball Team captured the World Cup of Softball VI crown on Monday evening with a 6-4 win over Japan. The win marks the fifth straight time that the U.S. has won the World Cup, and the fourth time they have defeated the Japanese National Team to earn the title.
With a squad made up of 16 rookies, Team USA overcame some defensive miscues and took advantage of some early wildness from Makiko Fujiwara to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning despite not recording a hit. With one out, Rhea Taylor took a full count walk and swiped second base to get into scoring position. Fujiwara then issues walks to Stacy May-Johnson, Kaitlin Cochran and Valerie Arioto, bringing Taylor in to score. May-Johnson scored on a Brittany Schutte sacrifice fly to go up 2-0. A two out triple by Cochran and a base hit down the line in right by Arioto made it 3-0 in the third.
Japan would get their first run of the game in the fifth, scoring an unearned run off starter Jordan Taylor after she issued a leadoff walk and botched a chopper back to the circle to put runners on the corners. A groundout by Rie Nagayoshi made it 3-1.
However, the United States answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom half, extending their lead back to three runs. Michelle Moultrie led off the inning with a single, and after stealing second base, would come around to score on a pinch hit single by Megan Langenfeld.
A leadoff single in the top of the sixth, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a fielding error allowed Team Japan to tack on another run, cutting the lead to 4-2. Chelsea Thomas was brought in to pitch and worked out of the jam by getting a lineout and a ground out.
Team USA extended their lead in the bottom half of the inning with a two run home run off the bat of Taylor Hoagland, making it 6-2. Hoagland delivered the blast with two outs and a full count.
In the seventh, Thomas got a first pitch ground out but worked into some trouble following a single up the middle and a walk. Keilani Ricketts was brought in to pitch and got a strikeout for the second out, but a dropped fly ball in left field allowed two unearned runs to score, making it 6-4. However, Ricketts got a pop out bunt back to her to end the game and give the United States the World Cup crown.
Team USA will have some time off before reuniting in October for the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico from Oct. 17-23.