USA Softball Defeats Japan, Loses To Australia At Canada Cup

July 9, 2001

Surrey, B.C., Canada - USA Red rallied for a run in the bottom of theseventh 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 NicoleGiordano (Saugus, CA), breaking a 2-2 tie and lifting the Red squad to thevictory and a 9-3 overall mark at the tournament. Watley, who joinedteammate Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA) with two hits in the game,started the frame with an infield single and stole second before scoring onthe hit from Giordano that dropped right behind the third base bag beforespinning into foul territory.

Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) picked up the win, her fourth of thetournament without a loss, throwing four innings of scoreless relief afterentering the game for starter Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX). Goerlfinished with two hits allowed, one walk and three strike outs. In her threeinnings, Osterman gave up two hits, two runs - one of which was earned - andtwo 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 thentied the game with another run in the fourth before Giordano and Watleyhooked up for the final-frame heroics.

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

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

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

In game two, USA Red looked to be in total control of itssemi-final game going into the seventh inning, but two costly errors, alongwith some timely hitting by Australia, led to a 4-2 defeat in theelimination game. USA Red ended the tournament in third-place, with anoverall record of 9-4.

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

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

Still in the seventh, with one out, Alisa Denne laid down a bunt that scoredWard from third on a close play at home. When it looked as if the USA wouldescape the inning with a tie, Natalie Shapiro hit a long fly ball to rightfield that was dropped, allowing two runners to score and give the Aussies a4-2 advantage.

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

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

Following the completion of the tournament, two USA players were honoredwith awards. USA Red shortstop Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) was named theMost Inspirational Player, while USA Blue outfielder Lauren Bauer (SantaAna, 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 playerswere also named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of round-robinplay.

courtesy of USA Softball

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