Canada Cup Softball Wrap-Up

July 9, 2001

FRIDAY

Britni Sneed tosses no-hitter to lead USA Blue past Phoenix Storm

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- Britni Sneed (Houston, TX) pitched a no-hitter and struck out seven of the nine batters she faced to lead USA Blue to a 10-0 three-inning victory over the Phoenix Storm in the opening round of playoffs at the Canada Cup.

USA Blue scored seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a commanding lead. The scoring outbreak was highlighted by a grand slam by Jenny Topping (Whittier, CA). Five other USA players collected hits in the inning including Kim DePaul (Houston, TX), Courtney Dale (Fresno, CA), Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) and Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA).

The Storm only put two balls in play in the three innings, but did break up the perfect game with a walk in the top of the third inning. In the third, Finch reached on a walk, advanced to second on a single by Toria Auelua (Garden Grove, CA) and to third on a walk issued to Bauer.

Nichole Thompson (Irvine, CA) drew a bases loaded walk to score Auelua. The final blow came when Topping singled up the middle to collect her fifth and sixth RBI of the game and give the USA a 10-0 mercy rule win. Bauer stretched her hitting streak to nine games with a single in the second inning.

USA Red falls 1-0 to Japan Red in opening round of playoffs at Canada Cup

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- Unable to generate any type of threatening offense, USA Red lost 1-0 to Japan Red in eight innings Friday afternoon during the opening playoff round of the Canada Cup.

The Red squad, which is now 6-3, will play the California A's Saturday at 3 p.m. (EST). A win would keep the U.S. alive in the playoffs, while a loss would eliminate them from the tournament.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Naomi Arai drove a ball over the fence in straight-away center field for a solo home run, ending the game. Pitcher Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX), who relieved starter Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) with one out in the sixth, took the loss. Osterman, now 2-2 at the tournament, worked 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and one earned run while striking out five. Goerl gave up five hits and two walks and struck out four during her five innings.

The game opened with promise for the U.S., as Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) and Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA) hit back-to-back infield singles in the top of the first, but a line out on a bunt attempt was followed by Watley being thrown out trying to steal third and a foul-out to the catcher.

Giordano added another hit in third inning to emerge as the only U.S. player with a multi-hit game, while Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA) had a single in the fifth for the only other Red hit of the game.

USA Red put runners on base in six of the game's eight innings, but was never able to advance anyone past second. Japan Red was also able to get runners on base, but it to suffered from a lack of timely hitting - until Arai's homer in the eighth. Japan Red advances in the winner's bracket to face its counterpart, Japan White, Saturday afternoon.

SATURDAY

Australia blanks USA Blue, 3-0, in Canada Cup playoffs

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- A lack-luster offensive effort by USA Blue in its game versus Australia led to a 3-0 defeat in second-round playoff action at the Canada Cup.

Australia put together a two-out rally in the first inning to net its first run. Peta Edebone walked, advanced to second on a single by Sally McCreedy and scored on a single by Natalie Ward.

In the top of the fifth inning, Australia put together a string of hits to increase its lead to 3-0. Danica Howlett led off with a single to right field, followed by singles from Natalie Shapiro and Kerry Wyborn to load the bases. Peta Edebone reached on a fielder?s choice that scored Howlett from third and Natalie Ward doubled to left-center to score Edebone for the final run of the inning.

USA Blue tried to muster a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) singled to left field and Nichole Thompson (Irvine, CA) singled through the left side to bring the tying run to the plate. Jenny Topping (Whittier, CA) then lined a ground ball down the third base line, but Howlett made a diving stab on top of the bag for the force-out to end the scoring threat.

USA starter Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, CA) pitched five innings, allowing three runs on nine hits before exiting the game in the sixth inning. Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, CA) finished the final two innings for the USA, allowing only three hits while striking out three.

A bright spot for USA offensively came in the sixth when Bauer extended her hitting streak to 10 games.

USA Red advances in Canada Cup playoffs with 5-0 victory

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX) threw a two-hitter and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, TX) and Tairia Mims (Tucson, AZ) had three hits each as USA Red defeated the California A's 5-0 to advance in the playoffs at the Canada Cup Saturday afternoon.

USA Red scored twice in the fourth and fifth innings and added one more run in the sixth to secure the victory.

Consecutive singles from Mims, Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA) and Lindsey Collins (Fountain Valley, CA) initiated the scoring in the fourth, as Mims came home on the hit from Collins. Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) followed one out later with a fielder's choice that scored Mascarenas.

In the fifth, Mims hit a two-run homer to right field that scored Trena Peel (Aurora, CO), who was pinch-running for Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA). Nuveman had reached base via single.

Lindsay Gardner (Katy, TX), pinch-running for Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, CA), who reached base on an error, scored in the sixth off a ground-rule double to center from Mendoza.

The A's packed the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of three straight walks from Osterman, but the ensuing batter popped up to first to end the contest.

Osterman finished the complete game with two hits and five walks allowed and nine strike outs.

USA Red eliminates USA Blue from 2001 Canada Cup

Surrey, B.C., Canada---In a game that was being touted as the rubber match, USA Red defeated USA Blue, 4-3, to advance at the Canada Cup Saturday night. The teams had split their six meetings during the USA Softball Shootout, and this game would decide which team would have bragging rights for the year.

With the loss, USA Blue was eliminated from the tournament. USA Red advances in the playoffs and will play Sunday at 1 p.m. (EST) against the winner of the Phoenix Storm-Japan White playoff game.

USA Red used three hits and exploited three errors by USA Blue to explode for three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Tairia Mims (Tucson, AZ) led off with a home run to left center, her third of the tournament. Mascarenas, who reached on a fielder's choice, scored on a fielding error in center field, and Lindsay Gardner (Katy, TX), who reached base on a single up the middle, scored on a fielder's choice by Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA).

With a comfortable 3-0 lead, USA Red pitcher Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) was relieved by Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA). Freed pitched two complete innings, allowing one hit, two walks and recording two strike outs.

With Goerl in the circle, USA Blue cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth when Courtney Dale (Fresno, CA) walked and later scored on a home run by Kim DePaul (Houston, TX). The home run was DePaul's third of the tournament.

In the fifth inning, Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a lead-off single to left field. Nichole Thompson (Irvine, CA) then reached on a fielder's choice and Bauer was out on the play. After a stolen base by Thompson and a walk to Nina Lindenberg (Anaheim Hills, CA), Goerl was relieved by Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX) who got the next batter on a strike out.

Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) added what turned out to be a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning, with her lead-off home run to center field.

Following the home run, USA Blue pitcher Britni Sneed was pulled and replaced by Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA). In four innings of work, Sneed allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits, while striking out six.

USA Blue, along with some help from Osterman inside the pitching circle, made the seventh inning an interesting affair. Thompson drew a one-out walk, Topping singled up the middle and Lindenberg walked to load the bases. Jaime Clark (Tustin, CA) then singled to center to bring USA Blue within one run. Following a strike out, Osterman took the count full on Dale, but was able to get a ground out to second base to end the game.

Although USA Blue is eliminated from the Canada Cup, its season is not over, as it will travel later this month to the Pan Am Qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela.

SUNDAY

USA Red rallies to defeat Japan White, 3-2, in Canada Cup playoffs

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- USA Red rallied for a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Japan White, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at the Canada Cup, keeping the Red squad alive in the playoffs.

Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) scored from second on a bloop single from Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA), breaking a 2-2 tie and lifting the Red squad to the victory and a 9-3 overall mark at the tournament. Watley, who joined teammate Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA) with two hits in the game, started the frame with an infield single and stole second before scoring on the hit from Giordano that dropped right behind the third base bag before spinning into foul territory.

Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) picked up the win, her fourth of the tournament without a loss, throwing four innings of scoreless relief after entering the game for starter Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX). Goerl finished with two hits allowed, one walk and three strike outs. In her three innings, Osterman gave up two hits, two runs - one of which was earned -And two walks, with three strike outs.

Japan White opened the game's scoring with one run in the top of the first, but U.S. Red countered with a pair in the bottom of the inning. Japan then tied the game with another run in the fourth before Giordano and Watley hooked up for the final-frame heroics.

A lead-off walk, followed by a fielder's choice where runners were safe at both first and second, set the stage for Japan's first run in the opening inning. An ensuing ground ball to shortstop was flipped to second for the force out, but the throw to first for the try on a double-play was in the dirt and made its way to the dugout fence, allowing the runner from second to score on the play.

A defensive error also assisted the U.S. squad with its first-inning offensive success. With one out, Giordano reached base on a fielding miscue inside the pitching circle and later scored when Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) hit a ground-rule double to right-center field. Mendoza moved to third on a ground out from Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA) and scored on an RBI-single from Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA). Freed's hot shot up the middle ricocheted off the pitcher's glove past the shortstop, allowing Mendoza to score.

Japan's Noriko Yamaji hit a lead-off home run in the top of the fourth to tie the score, 2-2, and Osterman came out of the game one batter later after giving up a bunt single.

Australia ends USA Red's run at the Canada Cup

Surrey, B.C., Canada --- USA Red looked to be in total control of its semi-final game going into the seventh inning, but two costly errors, along with some timely hitting by Australia, led to a 4-2 defeat in the elimination game. USA Red ended the tournament in third-place, with an overall record of 9-4.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the USA put together a rally to plate two runs. Lindsey Gardner (Katy, TX), pinch-running for Lindsey Collins (Fountain Valley, CA) - who had walked - scored on a single by Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA). Lovie Jung (Westminster, CA), who walked and advanced to third on Watley's single, scored on a wild pitch.

Down to its last three outs, Australia came up with clutch hits and was assisted by a couple of errors and a costly walk. Sally McCreedy led off with a single through the left side and advanced to second on a walk to Natalie Ward. Both runners were moved along by a sacrifice bunt by Simmone Morrow. McCreedy scored Australia's first run on an error to shortstop that allowed Marissa Carpadios to reach safely and allowed Ward to advance to third.

Still in the seventh, with one out, Alisa Denne laid down a bunt that scored Ward from third on a close play at home. When it looked as if the USA would escape the inning with a tie, Natalie Shapiro hit a long fly ball to right field that was dropped, allowing two runners to score and give the Aussies a 4-2 advantage.

Australian reliever Kellie Hardie struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to pick up the save.

Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA), who was strapped with the loss, went the entire game, allowing only two hits, two earned runs, four walks and six strike outs. With the loss, Freed dropped to 1-2 in the tournament.

Following the completion of the tournament, two USA players were honored with awards. USA Red shortstop Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) was named the Most Inspirational Player, while USA Blue outfielder Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) was named as the Top Offensive Player of the tournament. Bauer hit .531 for the tournament and out together an 11-game hit streak. Both players were also named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of round-robin play.

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