USA Softball Rallies For 4-1 Win Over China At 2001 U.S. Cup

June 25, 2001

Honolulu, Hawaii - It wasn't pretty, and it was probably somewhat painful forTairia Mims (Tucson, AZ), but the U.S. rallied in the top of the seventhinning to defeat China 4-1 in the final game of the day at the U.S. Cup atUniversity of Hawaii's Wahine Softball Stadium. With the win, the U.S.emerges as the only unbeaten team remaining in the four-team field,improving to 2-0, and secures its spot in Sunday's gold medal game. China isnow 1-1.

With the bases loaded, Mims was hit by a pitch to force Nicole Giordano(Saugus, CA) home with the eventual winning run. The U.S. tied the gameearlier in the inning when Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) scored on a bloopsingle from Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA).

Watley ignited the game-winning rally when she legged out an infield single.Giordano followed with an infield single that allowed Watley to advance allthe way to third base when China's first baseman dropped the ball after ansuccessful try on Giordano. Mendoza followed with the team's thirdconsecutive hit, and the surge continued as Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) laterdrew a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Mims.

The final two runs of the inning came on another China error, as the secondbaseman dropped the ball on an attempted force out at the bag on a ball hitby Toni Mascarenas (Garden Grove, CA). That play allowed both Mendoza andFreed to cross the plate.

Prior to capitalizing on the bountiful seventh inning, Team USA had left thebases loaded two previous times, and also had runners on third base in threeadditional innings.

China scored its run in the bottom of the first when Zhang Chunfang scoredfrom third on a double-steal. Chunfang started the inning with a single,moved to second on an error and advanced to third on a botched pick-off playinvolving a runner at first base. Chunfang scored when Lin Li, who hadreached on a fielder's choice, stole second, drawing a throw from thecatcher.

An attempted rally from China in the bottom of the seventh was snuffed by astellar Team USA defensive play. With one out and Xu Jian on second, sheopened the frame with a double, U.S. second baseman Lovieanne Jung(Westminster, CA) made a diving stop on a ball hit into the right-side gapby Ye Xiaohe. Jung then made a throw to catcher Stacey Nuveman (La Verne,CA), who put the tag on Jian trying to score from second and then promptlywhipped the ball to Watley, who chased down Xiaohe who was trying to advanceto second.

Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) picked up the victory, working a completegame four-hitter with one walk and seven strikeouts. Zhang Yanquing got theloss for China, also pitching a complete game, allowing eight hits with twowalks and seven strikeouts.For China, Xiaohe finished with two hits. Watley finished the game withthree hits for the U.S., including a double, while Giordano picked up a pairof hits.

Team USA closes out the round-robin portion of its schedule Saturday at 11p.m. (EST) against Australia. China will play Japan at 9 p.m. (EST). Medalgames will be played Sunday, with the bronze-medal game starting at 7 p.m.(EST), followed by the gold-medal game at 9 p.m. (EST).

courtesy of USA Softball

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