Haarlem, Netherlands – Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) earned the start and the win for the USA Softball Women’s National Team at the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship but it took all four USA pitchers to close out the Aussies following a 9.5 hour, overnight rain delay the Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball announced today. The contest began at 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening but lasted just an hour and a half before rain put a stop to play for the evening with the Americans leading 4-0. Teams returned Wednesday morning to resume action in the top of the fourth and it was the USA pitching staff that came up big as they held Australia to just two runs to get the win.
“Our bullpen was a huge reason we won this game,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “After an overnight delay and an early morning, we needed all four of our pitchers and each were ready to go when their name was called.”
Moore lasted 4.2 innings and allowed just one Australian run on five hits and walked two. She struck out five in the process.
The largest chunk of USA scoring came in the top of the second inning. With two outs and facing a full count, Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) hit a solo home run that started the rally. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) followed her lead with a single and Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) added a second USA base runner with a single to center field. With runners on, Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) added to the lead with a two-run triple to center field putting USA up 3-0 heading into the bottom of the second.
Australia again struggled to get much going offensively and the USA added to their lead in the third. With one out, Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) drew a walk and Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) took advantage belting a 1-0 pitch to deep left field. Moultrie scored on the hit and Team USA lead 4-0.
An inning later, with one out and Fox in the batter’s box, the sky opened and a heavy downpour of rain began. Teams were pulled off of the field just before a thrown breaker cut the stadium lights off on the field. A decision was made to break action and resume playing the next morning.
Following a short night, both teams returned to the field Wednesday morning to resume action. Continuing her at-bat, Fox struck out and was followed by a McCleney fly out ending top of the fourth. Australia put a runner on in the bottom of the inning but Moore cut it off there and USA held their lead entering the fifth.
Team USA had no trouble putting the ball in play as the game progressed but were unlucky with placement as Australia continued to find outs. Three hits in the bottom of the fifth loaded the bases for the Aussies and when De Blaes grounded to short stop the USA defense opted for the easier second out rather than making an attempt at home. Australia was on the board for the first time as they cut the USA lead to 4-1. Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.) entered the circle for Team USA with two outs and threw three strikes to end the scoring threat.
Both teams turned in three up, three down innings in the sixth and the USA got its first base runner of the day in the top of the seventh when McCleney reached on a second baseman error but a ground out in the next at-bat ended any chances of additional runs.
Down to their last at-bat, Australia needed three runs to extend the game or four to win. Traina surrendered back-to-back singles to start the half inning and Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) was called on to enter the circle. The Florida native recorded two outs but gave up a second Australian run on a ground-out back to the pitcher.
Leading 4-2 with runners on second, Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered to close out the contest and it took her just one pitch. Australia’s De Blaes grounded the first pitch she saw to third base for the final out of the contest.
The American’s finished the game with five hits and four walks.. The four pitchers combined to strike out eight Australian batters and walked just two. USA will next face Dominican Republic at 5:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. CDT) on Wednesday. A win would guarantee a number one seed entering the playoff portion of the World Championship. Live streaming and live stats are available via www.USASoftball.com throughout the ISF World Championship. Log on and follow Team USA as they seek a tenth World Championship Gold.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.
Headquartered in Plant City, Florida (USA), the ISF is a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body for the sport which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women’s fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 127 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.