Haarlem, Netherlands – The USA Softball Women’s National Team defeated Australia 8-1 (six innings) to advance to play Japan in the Gold Medal game of the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship on Sunday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of American/USA Softball announced today. In the finals, the defending World Champions scored three opening-inning runs and Team USA never could recover as Japan went on to win the Gold by a final of 4-1.
USA 8, Australia
1 (Six Innings)
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With a spot in the World Championship Gold Medal game on the line, Team USA wasted little time building a lead on Australia in its first game of the day. Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.) earned the start and helped the USA win the first inning by retiring the first three batters in the Aussie lineup. In the bottom half of the innings, Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led off with a single but Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) took her place when she grounded into a fielders’ choice in the next at-bat. With Stewart at first, Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) grounded to second and a fielding error resulted in both base runners advancing safely. In the next at-bat, Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) singled to left field plating both Stewart and Moultrie and giving Team USA a 2-0 lead after one.
The lead lasted through the second as Traina walked the first batter but Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) threw the base runner out as she attempted to steal second. Two Traina strikeouts kept the Aussies scoreless through two.
In the bottom of the third, with the USA still leading 2-0, back-to-back singles to left field from Chavanne and Stewart gave Team USA runners and Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) took advantage. The first baseman lined her opening pitch to left field scoring two and adding to the USA lead. After three innings the score was USA 4, Australia 0.
The score held through the fourth inning but Australia tripled to start the fifth, resulting in a pitching change as Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered the circle. The runner eventually scored but Henderson held the visiting team to one and a 5-1 USA lead carried into the bottom of the fifth.
Stewart and Moultrie again teamed up in the fifth to add to the USA lead. With a 2-1 count, Stewart found a pitch she liked and sent it to deep right field as she came around for a standup triple. In the next at-bat, Moultrie put the ball in the play and Stewart came home from third to make it USA 5, Australia 1 after five innings.
Henderson kept Australia scoreless in the sixth and Team USA needed three runs in the bottom half to secure a run-rule victory. A walk followed by a Hallie Wilson (Santa Ana, Calif.) single gave the USA runners in scoring position and Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) came through with a double to center field that scored Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) from third. In the next at-bat Chavanne delivered the final blow with a single to center field that scored two, ending the game and sending Team USA to the Gold Medal Final.
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Three runs in the first inning proved too much for the USA Women’s National Team to come back from in the finals of the ISF World Championship. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) earned the start but gave up three runs early resulting in Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) entering to close out the opening Japan at-bat. When the sides finally changed, Japan had tallied three runs on two hits and three walks.
Offensively, Team USA put the ball in play regularly but couldn’t convert runners to runs. Stewart singled in the bottom of the first and Chidester did the same in the second but both runners were stranded and the 3-0 score held through two innings of play.
Nevins pitched well through the third but finally surrendered a run in the top of the fourth. With two down, three straight singles resulted in the fourth run of the game and Japan took a 4-0 lead into the fifth.
Team USA started the fifth inning with their second pitching change of the contest when Traina entered the circle. Two ground outs and a fly out preserved the 4-0 score as Team USA came to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
After drawing a walk to open the USA at-bat, Stewart advanced to second on a Moultrie single to short stop. Two batters later, Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) hit into a fielders’ choice that score Stewart as Team USA cut into the Japan lead.
In the sixth, Moore re-entered to pitch after a five-inning break and despite giving up back-to-back singles, managed to keep Japan scoreless in the inning.
A three up, three down inning for the USA batters in the bottom of the sixth left one more opportunity for the Americans to get back into the game. In the top of the seventh Moore walked the opening batter but retired the next three in order. Down to their last at-bat, Chavanne singled to start the bottom of the seventh but a fly out and two strike outs drew the game to a close and secured Japan’s third ISF World Championship Gold.
The conclusion of the World Championship also means the conclusion of the 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team season. The senior squad finished the year with a 28-6 record in international tournament play. Chavanne led the way offensively on the year with a .464 batting average and Nevins notched the best ERA at a .869 clip. Following a four month break, Team USA will regroup in January with a selection camp to choose the roster that will compete in the 2015 Pan-American Games among other events. Follow all USA National Team news year round at www.USASoftball.com.
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.