Former Cats Combine for Win in Canada
July 14, 2009
SURREY, B.C. -- Former Wildcat Jennie Finch hit a walk-off single that plated former UA star Caitlin Lowe to give the U.S. National Team a 3-2 win over host Canada in the Championship Game of the Canada Cup on Sunday.
USA Softball finished with an undefeated mark (12-0) in the tournament.
With Canada just two outs away from beating the U.S. on their home soil, a sac fly by Kaitlin Cochran and a the aforementioned single gave USA Softball the come-from-behind win. Cat Osterman earned the win for the U.S., allowing no earned runs with 14 strikeouts.
'It didn't start out as the best night but (Lauren) Lappin and I worked well together in keeping the Canada hitters off balance. We got in a groove and wanted to keep us in the game and keep the damage to a minimum when runners did get on. The team did a great job of staying in the game and fighting back,' said Osterman. 'This is a great building block for our team as the new kids were tested and it was good for them to see some tough international competition. We are looking forward to going home to Oklahoma City and bringing some great softball in front of our home crowd.'
Cat Osterman made her sixth appearance of the Canada Cup and would allow two runners to reach the base paths in the first inning. Megan Timpf was hit by a pitch and Jen Salling hit a single to right field that advanced Timpf to third base, all with only one out recorded. However the U.S. defense would not allow any runs to score.
Canada started pitcher Danielle Lawrie allowed two hits through two innings. However in the third, the USA offense loaded up the bases off three straight singles by Ashley Charters, Natasha Watley and Caitlin Lowe. Three would be left stranded off a double play with a lineout to third by Alissa Haber, with Charters out on the play.
Canada tried to mount their own scoring run in the fourth when leadoff batter Jen Salling hit a double to right field. Two outs later, a strikeout and groundout, Kaleigh Rafter was the second runner to reach this time off a walk. A foul pop up to Andrea Duran stopped the scoring attempt and left the game tied at 0-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Duran made it happen in the fifth, leading off the inning with a triple off the wall to right centerfield. Duran would be lifted in favor of Chelsea Bramlett to pinch run. Bramlett scored off a sac bunt by Charters to break the tie and give the team a 1-0 lead.
Canada countered with their own two runs in the top of the sixth off no hits and one USA fielding error. With one out on the board, Salling walked and would move to second on a Jen Yee fielder's choice. First baseman Jennie Finch threw to Watley to get Salling out at second but overthrew sending the ball into the outfield. Yee advanced to third on the play while Salling tied up the game at 1-1. Yee scored the go ahead run when Osterman went for the out at home but Yee slid it under the tag for Canada to take 2-1 lead over the U.S.
Lawrie left the game with one out left in the sixth and was replaced by Jenna Caira who would face the top of the USA Softball lineup in the seventh. The team evened up the score when Watley, who singled, scored on a sac fly by Kaitlin Cochran. For the second time of the Canada Cup in game against Canada, the outcome of the game would come down to a play at the plate. With runners at first and second and two outs, Finch would come up to the plate with the opportunity to take back the run she gave up earlier. Finch hit a single to the shortstop and Lowe's speed was too much for Canada as she was safe at home plate.
'Tonight was a great battle and I have to give some credit to Canada who played a great game. I think it's a good step in the right direction as we have a lot of new players so tonight was a good test. We had a come from behind win and I am just glad I was able to contribute back,' said Finch. 'We are looking forward to going to Oklahoma City and defending our World Cup title.'
USA Softball picked up the Hardware with four players earning Tournament Awards. Watley received the Canada Cup MVP award as well as the Offensive MVP Award. Lauren Lappin received the Suzy Brazney Award for the Most Outstanding Catcher while Osterman was named the Lori Sippel Award winner for the Most Outstanding Pitcher.
With the Canada Cup in the record books, the team will now look to the KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags, July 16-20, in Oklahoma City. The team will take on three opponents from the Canada Cup in Australia, Canada and the Netherlands as well as Italy and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists Japan. Tickets are available at http://www.softballoutlet.com/ while complete coverage of the World Cup can be found at http://www.usasoftball.com/. For those fans that can't make it be sure to check out the ESPN schedule as all USA games will be televised LIVE on ESPN.
(Information from usasoftball.com was used in this release)