China eliminates USA Schutt Elite from Canada Cup, 4-2
SURREY, B.C. – Team China avenged Friday’s loss to USA Schutt Elite with a 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Canada Cup. With the triumph, China (6-4) stays alive to meet the survivor of the contest between New Zealand and the Japanese Elite Team that will be played at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, USA’s action at Softball City is completed with a 7-3 mark. The squad is scheduled to be back on the diamond again on Wednesday when it begins action at the Champions Cup in Irvine, Calif.
"I thought we struggled early offensively, since we had a few situations where we needed to drive in a run," said Head Coach Jay Miller. "We swung the bats well later in the game but it seemed whenever we hit a shot, it was right to someone. I thought Brooke (Mitchell) did a great job coming into the circle, her performance gave us an opportunity to stay in the game. Sara Dean also came through with a couple of big hits in her last two at bats. Still, we made some mistakes that happen when you haven’t been together for a long time. These kids are great athletes and will get better. Hopefully, we can take the lessons learned from this tournament with us next week at the Champions Cup."
After Guo Jia smacked a home run to left off Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) with two down in the first for a 1-0 advantage, the USA put two runners aboard in the top of the second inning. Emily Zaplatosch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was hit by a pitch and Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) ripped a double to left center, putting the squad in prime position with just one out. However, China hurler Lu Wei caught Vanessa Iapala (San Diego, Calif.) looking on strikes and had Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) line out to right.
Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) opened the fourth with a two-bagger into the gap in right center field before Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, Ariz.) popped up a bunt attempt and the duo of Zaplatosch and Duran flew out. In the bottom of the stanza, China tacked on two runs on three hits to assume a 3-0 lead. Tao Hua singled to right and Li Chunxia later drew a one-out walk to push pinch runner Wu Di into scoring position. A base-hit from Deng Xioling filled the
bases and Hollowell whiffed pinch hitter Mi Renrong for out number two. The pitcher was then a victim of some tough luck, as Luo Li’s poke ricocheted off the All-American’s leg to bring across two runs.
USA Schutt Elite got on the board in the fifth on an RBI single up the middle by Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) that plated Dean, but left two more runners on base. Dean legged out an infield single and the Chinese committed a fielding error on a bunt by Catalina Morris (Sonoita, Ariz.) to set up Galindo ’s hit. Reliever Li Qi came in from the bullpen and had Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) line out and Fox ground out to keep her club in front, 3-1. China countered with an insurance run soon after, as Zhou Yi scored on Hua’s RBI grounder. Yi had reached on an error by Benyi, took second on Jia’s sacrifice and moved to third on a wild pitch by Brooke Mitchell (Pasadena, Texas).
Dean started the seventh with a smash through the left side but was forced at second on Morris’ fielder’s choice. Galindo’s grounder was then booted by the second baseman, giving USA a pair of runners aboard with one down. A grounder by Lowe erased Morris at third and an RBI single by Fox scored Galindo to pull the Red, White and Blue to within 4-2. However, Lowe was gunned down trying to take third on the hit to end the game.
Hollowell (2-2) was on the hook for the loss after yielding five hits and three runs, with five strikeouts. Mitchell threw two scoreless frames in which she registered two K and gave up a single. Dean was 2-for-3 with a run and Fox went 2-for-4 for USA Schutt Elite. Wei worked 4.1 frames for the win, with Qi collecting the save.