Canada Cup Softball Update

USA Red suffers first loss at Canada Cup, falls 6-3 to Australia

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- After sparring back and forth through the first five innings of their game Tuesday night at the Canada Cup, Australia delivered the knock-out punch to USA Red in the sixth, eventually posting a 6-3 victory. It was the first loss of the tournament for the U.S. Red team, which is now 4-1.

The Red squad jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but Australia countered with one run in both the second and third to turn the table. The U.S. tied the game again in the bottom of the third and took a brief one-run lead in the fourth, but a four-run sixth from Australia was the difference in the contest.

In the bottom of the first, Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) and Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA) legged out infield singles and Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA) drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) followed with a single up the middle of the infield, scoring Watley from third. Giordano had a big night at bat for the U.S., knocking out three hits in four trips to the plate.

Lead-off singles in both the second and third innings set the stage for Australia runs in the second and third. A soft grounder behind first started the top of the second, followed by a bunt single to third to put runners on first and second. The ensuing batter hit a grounder to second and the Red defense tried to turn two but was unsuccessful, allowing the runner from second to score on the play.

A single to first also initialized the action in the third. U.S. Pitcher Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX), who had just entered the game in relief of starter Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) threw a wild pitch to advance the runner, and a bloop single to left field pushed the runner across the plate.

Freed delivered another RBI-hit, this one a double she roped to center field, to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA), who had walked and then stolen second, scored on the play. Nuveman pushed the U.S. ahead, 3-2, with her two-out single through the left side of the infield to score Mendoza in the bottom of the fifth, but thelead was short-lived.

A power-packed top of the sixth, featuring a pair of homers, netted four runs for Australia, making the score 6-3. Peta Edebone cracked a shot over the center field fence to start the frame, while Alisa Denne added a two-run shot to close it out. In between the home runs, a botched pick-off attempt at second allowed the other run to score. Nuveman, working behind the plate for the U.S., seemed to have the Australian runner picked off, but herThrow was mishandled and it rolled into the outfield allowing the runner to come all the way home.

USA Red made things interesting by putting two runners on base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Giordano was thrown out at home trying to score on a short single to center from Nuveman. Osterman, one of three U.S. pitchers to see action in the game, was given the loss. She worked four innings, allowing four hits, two walks and four runs, two of which were earned, while striking out three. Goerl finished with two innings, four hits, two runs, both earned, and one strike out. Freed came in to work the final frame and didn't allow a hit, walking one and striking out one.

USA Blue cruises past NJCAA All-Stars at Canada Cup

Surrey, B.C., Canada---USA Blue used a five-run fifth inning to get past the NJCAA All-Stars, 5-1, at the Canada Cup Tuesday afternoon. USA pitcher Courtney Dale (Fresno, CA) picked up her second win of the tournament, going five innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight.

NJCAA pitcher Dottie Cupp scattered three hits over the first four innings until the explosive fifth inning. With two outs in the fifth, USA Blue put together its rally. Keri McCallum (Port Orchard, WA) singled through the left side and stole second to get in scoring position. Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) then singled to center field and advanced to third on a fielding error.

Following a walk to Nichole Thompson (Irvine, CA), Jenny Topping (Whittier, CA) singled to left field to score Bauer and give the USA a 2-0 lead. Nina Lindenberg (Anaheim Hills, CA) took care of the rest with a blast over the left field fence, her third home run of the tournament, to give the USA a comfortable 5-0 lead.

Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) relieved Dale in the sixth and battled control problems. Tiffany Weight struck out swinging but advanced to first on a wild pitch and then advanced to second on another wild pitch before scoring on a single by Blaine Teasley, giving the All-Stars their lone run. Bauer led all USA Blue hitters by going 3-for-3, and she has now hit safely in five consecutive games. Dale also shined at the plate, going 2-for-3.

USA Red rebounds with 8-1 win over Phoenix Storm

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- USA Red improved to 5-1 at the 2001 Canada Cup with an 8-1, five-inning win over the Phoenix Storm Wednesday afternoon.

U.S. starter Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) held the Storm hitless during her four innings of work, striking out one, as she improved to 2-0 at the tournament. Three defensive errors permitted the only baserunners for Phoenix during Goerl's time inside the circle.

Catherine Osterman (Houston, TX) worked the fifth inning, allowing two hits, one unearned run and one walk while recording four strike outs.

A three-run first and a five-run fourth comprised the U.S. scoring, while the Storm brewed up its run in the fifth.

Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) hit a triple to left-center field to start the bottom of the first, and later scored on an RBI-fielder's choice from Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA). One out later, Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) hit a home run to center field, her third homer of the event, to spot the Red squad a 3-0 advantage.

The Red team batted around in the fourth and took advantage of three defensive errors to tack on five more runs.

Michelle Gates (Chowchilla, CA) led off the frame with an infield single and later scored on a double to left field from Lindsay Gardner (Katy, TX). A fielding error on a ball hit by Watley scored Lindsey Collins (Fountain Valley, CA), who had also reached base via an error, and a single back up the middle from Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA) scored Gardner to make the score 6-0. Watley eventually scored on an error on a ball hit by Mendoza, and Giordano scored the final Red run of the game on a ground-out from Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, CA).

After being effectively denied in its previous at-bats, the Storm pieced together a mini-run in the fifth against Osterman.

A lead-off single, followed one out later by another single and then a dropped third strike loaded the bases before a walk forced home a run.

USA Blue continues unbeaten streak with 2-0 win over the California A's

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- Fast-forward to the bottom of the fifth inning, and you have the nucleus of Wednesday's Canada Cup game between USA Blue and the California A's, which resulted in a 2-0 Blue victory. The win keeps the USA National Team perfect at the event, sporting a 6-0 record.

U.S. pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, CA) kept the A's offense quiet, throwing a complete game two-hitter with nine strike outs and no walks allowed. She was carried to the victory by her team's two-run fifth, which was buoyed by a lead-off home run from Jaime Clark (Tustin, CA).

Clark's home run cleared the right field fence and spoiled a pitcher's duel between Sharron and the A's Lindsay Chounirad. Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA), who has now hit safely in all six games at the Canada Cup, drove in the game's other run with a single through the right side of the infield that scored Missy Hixon (Scottsdale, AZ), who was pinch-running for Toria Auelua (Garden Grove, CA). Auelua had reached base after an infield error at shortstop.

Sharron retired the side in order in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings and gave up lead-off singles in the second and seventh to account for the only productive A's offense. The only other runner to reach base safely against Sharron, who improved to 2-0 at the tournament, was a hit batter in the fourth.

USA Blue will continue action at the Canada Cup Thursday at 6 p.m. versus the Netherlands.

USA Blue remains unbeaten, secures #1 seed in Canada Cup playoffs

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- USA Blue used a two-run third inning to defeat Japan Red 2-1 and secure the No. 1 seed in the playoff round of the Canada Cup.

USA pitcher Britni Sneed (Houston, TX) was spectacular in the circle, allowing only one run on four hits, while striking out 13 batters. With the win, Sneed approves to 2-0 on the week.

Three consecutive infield singles by Missy Hixon (Tucson, AZ), Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) and Nichole Thompson (Irvine, CA) in the top of the third inning set up a prime scoring opportunity for the USA. Jenny Topping (Whittier, CA) capitalized on the opportunity with a double to left field that scored Hixon and Bauer.

Japan looked to respond in the bottom of the third with a single up the middle by Yumi Iwabuchi and a double by Haruka Saito, but Sneed culled the rally by retiring the next two batters.

Japan's lone run came in the bottom of the sixth when Naomi Arai hit a solo home run to left field.

USA Blue will wrap up pool play action on Thursday at 7 p.m. (EST) versus the Netherlands, and will begin the double-elimination playoff round on Friday at 8 p.m. EST.

Live scoring of the U.S. games at the Canada Cup, as well as box scores and game stories, can be found at .

USA Red falls to 5-2 at Canada Cup with 1-0 loss to Japan

Surrey, B.C., Canada -- Taking advantage of the opportunities presented it - a lead-off walk and a defensive error in the same inning - Japan White held on for a 1-0 win over USA Red Wednesday night at the Canada Cup. It was the first shutout suffered by USA Red at the tournament, and it left the squad at 5-2.

Starting pitcher Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) threw a solid game, going the full seven innings with three hits allowed, three walks and nine strike outs, but an unsupportive offensive cast left her out to dry. The one run Freed gave up was unearned, as she dropped to 1-1 at the event.

Japan scored the lone run of the game in the fourth inning, as lead-off hitter Emi Naito drew a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on an error at third base before scoring on a fielder's choice.

The Red squad packed the bases full in the bottom of the sixth and got the lead-off batter aboard in the seventh, but couldn't pull out any late-inning heroics. Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA) and Michelle Gates (Chowchilla, CA) finished with two hits each on the U.S. side, while Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) added the other hit.

USA Red concludes the round-robin portion of the tournament Thursday with a game against Italy at 2 p.m. (EST). Live scoring of the U.S. games at the Canada Cup, as well as box scores and game stories, can be found at

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