Venezuela claims the Gold in the XXV COPABE Pan American Championships for 12-U 2011

31/10/2011

Venezuela won the title at the XXV COPABE Pan American Championships for 12-U 2011, with a resounding victory over Brazil 13-0 at the Estadio Enrique “Rag” Torrebiarte in Guatemala City, achieving the feat undefeated and reaching their fifth straight gold in the category.

Venezuela won the title at the XXV COPABE Pan American Championships for 12-U 2011, with a resounding victory over Brazil 13-0 at the Estadio Enrique “Rag” Torrebiarte in Guatemala City, achieving the feat  undefeated and reaching their fifth straight gold in the category.

Venezuelans attacked with no mercy the tired brazilian pitching meanwhile Avelino Marquez (Aragua) and Luis Ovalles (Miranda) managed to close the shutout with a flourish an impressive performance of the Venezuelan pitching corps, which was undoubtedly the most solid point of success of the team throughout the tournament. The lefty starter worked for 5 innings striking out 9 while the righty in relief finished the game with a perfect last inning getting 2 strikeouts.

On the offensive side: Peterson Plaz (Capital District) 4 for 4, earning him the batting title in the final day over the impressive Panamanian Miguel Amaya, ending with an astronomical average of .695, with 2 RBI’s, 2 Runs and a BB; Harvin Mendoza (Miranda) 3 for 3, 2 RBI’s, CA, Jose Rivero (Portuguesa)2 for 4, an RBI, 2 Runs; Rafael Marchán 2 for 2, 3 Runs, 2 BB and Luis Ovalles of 1for 1, with a homer, 3 RBI’s and Run.

Venezuela also took some individual recognition in the Overall Stats Leaders: Peterson Plaz (Betting Champion), Josver Blanco (Champion Pitcher by Games Won), Harvin Mendoza (Champion Pitcher for Best ERA). Making the tournament All-Star: Harvin Mendoza (Pitcher), Sergio Arreaza (Left Field) and Peterson Plaz (Center Field). Additionally, Venezuela also took home the awards for Best Manager in the hands of Rafael Herdé and the Best Umpire that went to Edwin Moscoso.



MLB players warm up for exhibition series in Taipei

31/10/2011

The all-star team of MLB (U.S. Major League Baseball) players showed off their home run power for Taiwanese fans on Monday.

The all-star team of MLB (U.S. Major League Baseball) players showed off their home run power for Taiwanese fans on Monday.

In the scheduled day for work-out, the major league players took to the field for an afternoon of hitting and other practice sessions at Shinchuang Stadium in New Taipei City.

The MLB players got warmed up with pitching, fielding, and batting practices at the ballpark facility yesterday. When the big sluggers came to bat, they wowed the local fans by repeatedly blasting shots over the fence into the outfield bleachers.

These home run balls at batting practice became much sought-after souvenirs for the spectators in the outfield.

Coming here to play exhibition game series this week, the MLB squad includes some of the biggest names in the game, such as Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees), Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants), LaTroy Hawkins (Milwaukee Brewers), Michael Morse (Washington Nationals), Phil Coke (Detroit Tigers), Dillon Gee (New York Mets), and others.

They will face Taiwan’s national team, headed by Wang Chien-Ming (Washington Nationals) and Ni Fu-Te (Detroit Tigers), for a five-game competition, known as the “2011 Taiwan All-Star Series”.

First game is going to place at this Shinchuang Stadium on Tuesday (Nov. 1) for the fans in Taipei, capital city of Taiwan. Then the series move to Taichung and Kaohsiung, the two big cities in central and southern regions, for the other four games later this week.

Highlight of the MLB work-out day was a designated charity event – a home run derby just for Yankees’ Robinson Cano.

It was to re-create Cano’s winning performance in the home run derby at the MLB All-Star Game earlier this year. For this event in Taiwan, Robinson Cano got service from his favorite feeding pitcher, the same as at the MLB event – his father Jose Cano.

This was quite a treat for baseball fans here, because Robinson Cano is a highly popular star in Taiwan for being a good friend and long-time teammate of Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-Ming when they were both in the farm system together and they came up to the big league with the NY Yankees to play together from 2005 to 2009.

Even more historically significant for the locals was the return of Jose Cano, Robinson’s father, back to Taiwan. Seeing Jose Cano pitching again at Shinchuang ballpark was a memorable moment for many fans and members of the media.

Jose Cano was a starting pitcher in Taiwan’s CPBL pro league for five seasons in the 1990’s and he was one of the crowd favorites.

The elder Cano was known as “Ah-Q” when he played with the President Lions from 1992-1994. He came back to Taiwan for a second time to contribute vital roles in winning two consecutive championships with the Weichuan Dragons in 1998-1999. When with the Weichuan club, the elder Cano was known as “Chiang Lung” – which means “Strong Dragon” in Mandarin Chinese.

For this charity event, Robinson Cano cranked 4 homers to the delight of the crowd. For his efforts and the 4 homers, sponsors of the event will donate NT$ 200,000 (about USD 6,600) to charity organizations in Cano’s home country of Dominican Republic.

When asked about his experience in Taiwan, Jose Cano said, “The fans were great, I can feel the passion for baseball everywhere I go. People came up to me to say “Hello” and wanted to talk to me….. It’s wonderful to came back to this ballpark (Shinchuang). I won a championship game here with the Weichuan Dragons, and I still have the game ball from that game at my home.

After the practice session, MLB All-Star team manager Bruce Bochy announced his line-up for Tuesday’s first encounter against the Taiwan national squad – with starting assignment given to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles.



Aussies near perfect for 1st Men’s World Championship Gold

26/07/2009

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Two walks issued were all that separated pitcher Adam Folkard from a perfect game here in today’s 5-0 win over New Zealand. The fact that the lanky hurler not only no-hit three-time defending International Softball Federation men’s world champion New Zealand, but did so in the gold medal game of the twelfth edition of the event, probably will set just as well with him on the flight home to Australia.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Two walks issued were all that separated pitcher Adam Folkard from a perfect game here in today’s 5-0 win over New Zealand. The fact that the lanky hurler not only no-hit three-time defending International Softball Federation men’s world champion New Zealand, but did so in the gold medal game of the twelfth edition of the event, probably will set just as well with him on the flight home to Australia.

At the last ISF Men’s World Championship, the Aussies medaled for the first time ever, winning bronze. Folkard’s ten-strikeout performance today leaves them sitting on top of the men’s fast pitch softball world following a ten-day tournament that began with 16 countries competing.

After a single run in the bottom of the second inning, Australia reignited their offense in the bottom of the fourth when a Jeff Goolagong sacrifice fly to center field gave the Steelers a 2-0 lead, with a runner still on third base and just that one out, prompting New Zealand coach Eddie Kohlhase to replace starting pitcher Heinie Shannon with Jeremy Manley. However, his first pitch resulted in an RBI single to left field by Aaron Cockman.

With one out in the next inning, centerfielder Zenon Winters smacked an RBI single to left field to up the lead to 4-0.

In the bottom of the sixth it was another single tally for the green and gold, coming on a two-out solo home run to center field by Cockman.

After that it was just a matter of putting away the Kiwis in the seventh inning and awaiting the medal ceremony.

New Zealand had advanced to the gold medal game with an 8-5 win over Canada.

Canada jumped out to quick 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first, but New Zealand came up to bat and responded by scoring twice.

Canada added a single tally in the top of the third to tie the game at two. Then in the fifth inning, with one out and runners on second and third, shortstop Ian Fehrman hit a single to right field that enabled Canada to regain the lead, 4-2.

New Zealand came to bat to close out the fifth inning and, with one out, got back-to-back solo home runs from shortstop Nathan Nukunuku and first baseman Jarrad Martin to tie the score. When pitcher Todd Martin walked the next batter, Canada coach Mark Smith lifted him in favor of the team’s third pitcher of the game, Dean Holoien. The new hurler’s first pitch was promptly sent over the centerfield fence by New Zealand’s Donny Hale for a 6-4 Black Sox lead.

The next batter singled and Smith was quick with the hook on Holoien, turning instead to righty Trevor Ethier. The hurting continued as the first batter that Ethier faced, catcher Patrick Shannon, hit an RBI single to center field. One more run would score before the inning would end, and the Black Sox were on their way to the title game against the Aussies.

Jody Eidt doubled in a run for Canada in the top of the sixth, but the host team couldn’t get any closer and recorded their second ISF men’s world championship bronze medal finish (1988).

The next ISF world championship will be the women’s, next July in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA). That will be the first time that any of the ISF’s four world championships (men’s, women’s, junior men’s, junior women’s) will have taken place in the U.S. since the IX Men’s World Championship in 1996 in Midland, Michigan.



Aussies guaranteed their best Men’s World Championship finish

25/07/2009

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — At the last edition of the International Softball Federation’s Men’s World Championship, Australia won a medal at the event for the first time when they came in third place. Here they are going to do even better, having guaranteed themselves a spot in tomorrow’s gold medal game with a 2-0 victory tonight over Canada.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — At the last edition of the International Softball Federation’s Men’s World Championship, Australia won a medal at the event for the first time when they came in third place. Here they are going to do even better, having guaranteed themselves a spot in tomorrow’s gold medal game with a 2-0 victory tonight over Canada.

Steelers pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick threw a 14-strikeout complete game and held the host team to just two hits, setting up a 3:00 game tomorrow against the winner of the Canada vs. New Zealand matchup at 12 Noon.

The Aussies got all the offense they needed in the top of the second inning, with an insurance run tacked on in the top of the fifth. Catcher Mike Harrow led the way offensively with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, driving in one run.

The day began with New Zealand overcoming a Japan comeback to post a 9-6 extra inning victory to keep their championship title defense hopes alive.

The Black Sox had jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one-and-a-half innings and were up 5-1 after three-and-a-half, but Japan scored four times in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. After each team scored once in the seventh inning, the two clubs headed to an extra inning, when New Zealand was able to bring a trio of runs across the plate that Japan could not answer. The loss eliminated Japan from the tournament. Thomas Makea paced the winners, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

The USA and Venezuela then took the field for a game that went from being scoreless after four innings to 1-0 in favor of the South Americans after four-and-a-half to the red, white, and blue winning via the run-ahead rule. Team USA scored eight times in the bottom of the sixth for the game to be declared final. Under ISF rules, a game is considered official/complete if one team is leading by 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or seven after five.

Blake Miller and Kyle Magnusson each had two hits for the victors and Matt Palazzo had a three-run home run.

New Zealand earned a spot in tomorrow’s ‘bronze medal game’ against Canada with a 7-3 win over USA in tonight’s last game. (Bronze medal game meaning that the loser will get the bronze medal and the winner will advance to the gold medal game against Australia.)

New Zealand got on the board with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning but Team USA answered back with two of their own in the bottom half of that frame. The Kiwis regained the lead in the top of the fourth with a run off of a wild pitch, then increased the lead to four on a three-run homer by Daniel Milne.

They would bring one more run home that inning to – other than a meaningless U.S. run with one out in the bottom of the seventh – finish off the scoring and advance to the showdown on Sunday with Canada.



First New Zealand loss at Men’s World Championship

24/07/2009

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Just 24 hours after teammate Andrew Kirkpatrick threw a (five inning) perfect game, pitcher Adam Folkard tossed a one-hitter as Australia blanked New Zealand, 7-0, in six innings at the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship being played here.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Just 24 hours after teammate Andrew Kirkpatrick threw a (five inning) perfect game, pitcher Adam Folkard tossed a one-hitter as Australia blanked New Zealand, 7-0, in six innings at the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship being played here.

The loss was the first for the Black Sox, who had won all seven of their round robin games. Australia was 6-1 and now advances to a game tomorrow night against Canada, who topped USA in tonight’s final game, 6-4.

New Zealand is still alive but will have to beat Japan in tomorrow’s first game (1 p.m. local time) if their quest to successfully defend their ISF men’s world championship title is to continue since the loser of that game will be eliminated from the tournament.

Third baseman Jeff Goolagong sealed Australia’s win this evening with a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning.

In other action Friday, the first playoff game saw Japan come from behind to eliminate Argentina, 7-6. The South Americans had leads of 3-1 and 6-2 but Japan put together a five-run (top of the) sixth inning to emerge victorious and stay alive while Argentina was eliminated.

That game was followed by another elimination game. Venezuela stayed alive with a big 10-3 triumph over Great Britain. Acacio Arturo led the way for the victors, going 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring a run, and driving in two on a fourth inning triple. Winning pitcher Erick Alvarez threw a complete game, striking out nine.

The evening finished with Canada coming from behind to defeat Team USA, 6-4. The Americans had built up a 4-0 lead after five innings, only to see their rivals from north of the border tie it with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth inning, followed by two more in the top of the seventh.

Ian Fehrman, who’d hit a two-run home run one inning earlier, drove in what would prove to be the winning run when he hit a ball down the first base line in the top of the seventh that home plate umpire Leigh Evans called fair, and it stood up despite vehement protest from U.S. coach Pete Turner. The run that scored on the play was allowed to stand following a brief umpires conference, giving the red-and-white a 5-4 lead.

Saturday’s schedule:

1:00 p.m. – Japan vs. New Zealand
3:30 p.m. – Venezuela vs. USA
6:30 p.m. – Australia vs. Canada
8:30 p.m. – Japan/NZ winner vs. Venezuela/USA winner



Eight head for Men’s World Championship playoffs

23/07/2009

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — After 56 games played there are only ten more left as the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship (fast pitch) heads for playoff weekend.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — After 56 games played there are only ten more left as the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship (fast pitch) heads for playoff weekend.

The tournament began one week ago today with 16 countries participating – the most allowed under ISF Code – and now there are just eight still alive as round robin play concluded tonight.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, USA, and Venezuela have all advanced at the marquee 2009 event. Botswana, Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and South Africa were all eliminated.

New Zealand is the defending ISF men’s world champion.

Organizers are expecting overflow crowds tomorrow night, projected to exceed 7,000 when the host team takes on Team USA.

Tomorrow’s schedule (times local to Saskatoon) is as follows (won-lost record from round robin play in parenthesis):

1:00 p.m. Japan (4-3) vs. Argentina (4-3)
3:30 p.m. Venezuela (5-2) vs. Great Britain (3-4)
6:30 p.m. New Zealand (7-0) vs. Australia (6-1)
8:30 p.m. Canada (7-0) vs. USA (6-1)



Men’s teams readying for World Championship

29/05/2009

The first pitch at the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship is – as of today – just 50 days away. The 16 teams that will play in the marquee tournament are well aware of that, and showing as much by getting in some final warm-up games.

The first pitch at the International Softball Federation’s XII Men’s World Championship is – as of today – just 50 days away. The 16 teams that will play in the marquee tournament are well aware of that, and showing as much by getting in some final warm-up games.

This past weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the host country for the upcoming ISF event made a prominent statement, going undefeated in their six games. Canada outscored their opponents 41-4 over their half-dozen games. The team started out in fine form, getting a pitching performance from Derek Mayson that saw him strike out 14 and allow just one hit in five innings of play in a big win over the British Virgin Islands All-Stars. In their second outing of the day, the red-and-white defeated Team USA thanks in part to three Canadian pitchers combining for 13 strikeouts.

One member of that trio, Grant Patterson, pitched a no-hit, eleven-strikeout, shutout win the next day over the Dominican Republic.

Canada continues preparing for the Men’s World Championship with games in mid-June in Ontario.

The U.S. team finished 3-2 at the games in USVI. Two of their victories were by shutout, including a five-inning, eleven-strikeout no-hitter by pitcher Travis Price.

The ISF Men’s World Championship takes place July 17-26 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Besides Canada and the U.S. the other teams that will compete are: Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and Venezuela. The defending ISF men’s world champion is New Zealand.

Australia is planning to compete in lead-up games in Ontario in early July before moving on to Saskatchewan.



Japan dethroned as World Champions

30/06/2007

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands — After many days in a row of rain, it was fitting that very light precipitation tried to fall in the middle of today’s final game at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) VIII Jr. Women’s World Championship (19-and-under, fast pitch) here. As it passed though, so too did the end of Japan’s quest for a three-peat after they fell, 3-1, to Team USA.

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands — After many days in a row of rain, it was fitting that very light precipitation tried to fall in the middle of today’s final game at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) VIII Jr. Women’s World Championship (19-and-under, fast pitch) here. As it passed though, so too did the end of Japan’s quest for a three-peat after they fell, 3-1, to Team USA. The event is played every four years and Japan had won the 2003 & 1999 editions of the tournament after the U.S. had taken the 1995 title.

Sixteen countries competed in the 2007 version, which saw Japan take a quick 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first inning in today’s gold medal game. However, Team USA tallied twice in the bottom of the second and three pitchers combined to hold off the Japanese, who they had defeated by almost the same score (3-0) in a playoff game one day earlier. The Americans cemented the gold medal game with a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Five different U.S. players had two hits apiece while Japan got a 3-for-3 effort at the plate from Yu Yamamoto. Winning pitcher Megan Elliot came on in the fourth inning in relief of starter Ashley Brignac. Tomo Yasufuku took the loss for Japan, going the first three-and-a-third innings.

Earlier today Japan had advanced to the gold medal game with a big 10-1 win over Australia that resulted in the latter taking home the bronze medals. The winners scored in every inning except the second and took advantage of four Australian errors.

The U.S. finished with a perfect 10-0 won-lost record. Japan (9-2) was unbeaten in their first eight games of the event. Australia finished up 8-3.

The tournament’s other participants were (alphabetically): Argentina (3-4), Botswana (0-7), Canada (6-3), China (3-4), Chinese Taipei (4-4), Germany (1-6), Italy (2-5), Netherlands (5-3), New Zealand (2-5), Puerto Rico (5-4), Russia (1-6), South Africa (0-7), and Venezuela (7-3).

The ISF’s next world championship will be the junior men’s (19-and-under, fast pitch), to be held next year in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada) (June 21-29, 2008).



USA wins 2006 Women’s Softball World Championship

05/09/2006

BEIJING, CHINA – Team USA repeated as champions tonight at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship here, defeating Japan, 3-0.

BEIJING, CHINA – Team USA repeated as champions tonight at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship here, defeating Japan, 3-0. Cat Osterman, pitching her second game of the day, threw a complete game one-hitter and Jessica Mendoza & Crystl Bustos hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth inning to lead the Americans to victory.

The 15-nation tournament, which began on August 27 and took place at the new softball venue built for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition, was also the sport’s Olympic Test Event. In addition, four teams (plus the host) are now set for the eight-team field at the Games to be held just under two years from now.

In tonight’s grand final, Natasha Watley reached on a bunt single with one out in the top of the sixth inning before Mendoza’s hit just cleared the right field wall to open the scoring. Bustos came up next and hit a solo shot to left field for the game’s final run.

Mendoza and Bustos each finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Japan’s Yukiko Ueno pitched the first six innings, striking out six, before giving way to Mariko Masubuchi. The victory by the U.S. avenged a 3-1 loss to the Japanese from the day before.

Team USA had advanced to the gold medal game with a 5-1 defeat of Australia just a few hours earlier. The score was a repeat of the outcome of the 2004 Olympic Softball gold medal game but this time left the Aussies with the bronze medals.

Australia jumped out to a 1-0 lead today on a two-out, solo home run by Stacey Porter in the top of the first inning. That would be all for the green and gold, however, as they managed just one other hit the rest of the game off of USA pitcher Cat Osterman.

Offensively for the Americans, Jessica Mendoza and Crystl Bustos led the way, each going 3-for-4 at the plate. Team USA got single runs in the bottom of the second, third, and fifth innings before Bustos hit a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth to seal the victory.

Osterman went the distance and struck out ten batters for her fifth win of the tournament.

Canada and Italy started things off this morning with a game to decide fifth place. Since the top four finishers at the ISF women’s world championships gain berths in the Olympics but the fourth place team here was the host, the game was necessitated to determine who would get the other 2008 berth. (The other three spots in the next Olympic Softball competition will be determined at regional qualifying events next year.)

Canada shut out Italy, 3-0, to gain a spot in their fourth straight Olympics. Italy, a 2000 & 2004 Summer Games participant, will get the first option on hosting the Africa/Europe region Olympic qualifier. The Italians were undone by four errors, and Canadian pitchers Lauren Bay and Robin Mackin combined on a no-hitter.

The winners scored single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Of note was the middle tally, in which outfielder Alison Bradley tripled to right field, with the Italy outfielder then overthrowing her teammate at third base, allowing Bradley to score all on the same play.

Erin Cumpstone and Jennifer Salling each went 2-for-3 at the plate for Canada.

The next ISF world championship will be the Jr. Women’s (19-and-under) in 2007 in the Netherlands (June 20-30).



Medals await as Softball World Championship concludes Tuesday

04/09/2006

BEIJING, CHINA – Australia, Japan, and USA have each earned a berth in the 2008 Olympic Softball competition. They, along with the host China, will be joined by another team after a special fifth place game on Tuesday morning, as the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship heads into its final day here.

BEIJING, CHINA – Australia, Japan, and USA have each earned a berth in the 2008 Olympic Softball competition. They, along with the host China, will be joined by another team after a special fifth place game on Tuesday morning, as the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship heads into its final day here.

Canada will take on Italy at 11:30 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday to determine which of the two will join the list of confirmed competitors for the 2008 Games. (Regional qualifiers will take place in 2007 to determine the other three teams to round out the eight-team field for the next Summer Olympics.) Later on, Australia will play USA for the right to advance to tomorrow night’s world championship gold medal game against Japan. (The loser of the Australia-USA game will take home the bronze medals.)

The 2006 Women’s World Championship is being played at Fengtai Softball Field, site of the 2008 Olympic Softball competition. As a result, this is also the sport’s Olympic Test Event.

This morning, Australia broke open a game against Canada to win 7-2 and snap a two-game losing streak. The Aussies took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but Canada came right back a half-inning later, capitalizing on two Australia errors and a single by Rachel Schill – all with two outs – to take a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth though, Australia sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run inning highlighted by a two-run double by Tracey Mosley. Along the way they chased Canadian starter Lauren Bay, and then her replacement, Robin Mackin.

Sandra Allen hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to seal the deal and make a winner out of veteran Melanie Roche, who struck out eight over six innings before giving way to Kelly Hardie, who retired the side in the seventh. Allen finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in.

The next game saw the host team erupt offensively, dumping Italy, 9-1. China built a 1-0 lead from the second inning into a six run cushion when they scored five times in the top of the fourth inning. The winners had four hits in that half-inning and took advantage of three Italy errors. Among the offensive fireworks were a RBI-double by Yi Zhou and a triple by Yan Hong Yu that scored Zhou and allowed Yu to cross home plate – all on the same play – on an error by Italy’s second baseplayer. China padded their lead to 9-0 in the top of the fifth with Li Sun driving in two of the three runs with a late-inning single.

Claudia Bernardi would score Italy’s only run in the bottom half of the inning and the game was called after the third out due to the (international) run-ahead rule whereby a game is considered complete if a team is ahead by 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or seven after five.

China had eleven hits, led by a perfect 3-for-3 performance from Di Wu, who doubled twice and drove in two runs. The win booked China a place in Monday’s last game against Australia and sent Italy on to the fifth place game on Tuesday morning versus Canada.

International softball rivals USA and Japan then took the field for a game that would send the winner straight to tomorrow’s gold medal game. Each team came in with a perfect 8-0 won-lost record.

Japan, who had beaten the Americans in the grand final at the 2005 1st World Cup of Softball as well as the Japan Cup, tasted victory again, defeating USA, 3-1. The victory avenged a loss to the U.S. in the grand final at the II World Cup of Softball just under two months ago.

The game was as tense as expected, with the first runs not coming until Japan scored twice in the bottom of the fourth inning. Aki Venishi was hit by a pitch from U.S. pitcher Jennie Finch to start off the inning, and advanced to second when Emi Naito came up next and singled. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, followed by a ground out by Satoko Mabuchi that scored Venishi and advanced Naito to third. That brought up Sachiko Ito, who singled to make it 2-0.

One inning later Japan upped their lead to three runs when Ayumi Karino singled to score Megu Hirose, who had started the inning with a double off of pitcher Jamie Southern who came on in relief to start the inning.

The U.S. got their only run in the top of the sixth on a Crystl Bustos base hit that scored Caitlin Lowe, who’d led off the inning reaching first base on a Japanese error.

USA committed two errors and managed just three hits off of pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who’d gained notoriety in Athens in 2004 by throwing the first perfect game in Olympic Softball history. Over today’s seven innings Ueno struck out seven and walked just one.

In the nightcap, Australia edged China, 1-0. The win moved the Aussies on to Sunday’s game against the Americans, from which the loser will get the bronze medals and the winner will advance to a game against Japan for the world championship title. China finishes fourth. Since the top four finishers at the ISF women’s world championship gain berths in the Olympics but China is automatically in by virtue of being the host country, the need arose for the Canada-Italy game that will start the day.

This evening Australia won their second game of the day by beating a host team that, though not a medalist, still seems to have won the hearts of the many in China that supported the team for nine days as they – under the guidance of Head Coach Michael Bastian, who has become something of the country’s newest celebrity – played their way to a 7-3 finish. Ironically, at the last ISF Women’s World Championship (2002), China finished in fourth place at 7-3 as well. Stacey Porter hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning for all the offense in tonight’s finale. Australia, 6-3 four years ago, shows they aren’t done yet working toward improving until they’re the team left standing on the highest podium.



First four playoff games done; Chinese Taipei, Venezuela eliminated

03/09/2006

The tournament that opened with 15 countries participating is now down to its final six, with four more games set for Monday, before the medal games take place when the event wraps up Tuesday.

BEIJING, CHINA – The International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship, which started here one week ago today, moved into playoff action Sunday. The tournament that opened with 15 countries participating is now down to its final six, with four more games set for Monday, before the medal games take place when the event wraps up Tuesday.

Fengtai Softball Field, built to host the 2008 Olympic Softball competition, is the site of this event, which will qualify four teams for those Games in two years. As a result, this is also the sport’s Olympic Test Event.

The playoffs opened this morning with 2004 Olympic Softball gold medal game participants USA and Australia going head-to-head. The Americans, who won all seven of their round robin games, were facing an Aussie team (5-2) that was upset the night before by the Netherlands, 4-2.

U.S. pitcher Cat Osterman, who dominated during round robin play with a 0.00 earned run average and 34 strikeouts in 21 innings, seemed to be on her way to her fourth victory early in the game. Her team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, courtesy of a Stacey Nuveman two-run home run. However, the Aussies broke through a half-inning later. Australia tied the game and at that point already had four hits off of Osterman, who’d given up just six in all of round robin play.

The U.S. bats kicked things up a notch, and after three complete innings and two home runs by the Americans, the red, white, and blue were back into a two-run lead.

Australia missed a big chance a half-inning later, leaving three runners stranded when the top of the fourth ended, and the U.S. seized the chance to finish them off. Andrea Duran led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run and by the time the hit parade was over, Team USA was in an 8-2 lead. Jessica Mendoza finished things off with a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, ending the game via the (international) run-ahead rule (20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or seven after five).

Four U.S. players had two hits each and Mendoza drove in a total of five runs. Osterman went all six innings, giving up six hits and striking out 12.

In today’s second game, host China (6-1) took on unbeaten Japan in a nailbiter. The game’s first hits didn’t come until the top of the fourth inning (Japan, two), and the first run didn’t come until the game’s only score – in the top of the eighth inning.

Eri Yamada scored on a wild throw by China on a ball hit to the infield by Satoko Mabuchi. Under the international tiebreaker, the inning had started with a runner placed on second base (Aki Uenishi). The first batter sacrificed Uenishi to third base, but she was tagged out in a rundown trying to score on a ball hit by Yamada, who advanced all the way to third during the game of catch while trying to tag the runner.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, China tried to have their (tiebreaker) runner steal third, but she was thrown out, and then the batter struck out, and the game was over, leaving them to play Italy tomorrow afternoon. The host team would have to win that game and another later Monday to advance to Tuesday’s medal games.

China had just three hits off of Japan ace Yukiko Ueno, who struck out ten. Japan will face USA tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. (local time)

Canada advanced to tomorrow’s play by eliminating Chinese Taipei, 3-2. Canada will play Australia on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

The Canadians, 5-2 during round robin play, put it all together tonight to beat Chinese Taipei, who leaves with a 4-4 record. Pitcher Danielle Lawrie struck out eight in a complete game four-hitter and Taipei didn’t help themselves by committing four errors. Hot hitting Melanie Matthews was 2-for-2 with a single and a double. She scored a run and drove one in.

Canada had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. They tacked on two more in the fifth on the Matthews double, as she drove in one and then another scored on an error by the Taipei second baseplayer, which also enabled Matthews to reach third. Good thing for Canada as Chinese Taipei came back a half-inning later with two runs on a double by Hui Chuan Chiong.

The night closed with Italy eliminating Venezuela, 2-1. The loss was especially tough to take for Venezuela (5-3), who had a 1-0 lead from their first at-bat, all the way up until Italy tied it in the bottom of the fourth, then scored the eventual game-winning run one inning later.



Italy, Chinese Taipei clinch last two playoff spots

02/09/2006

BEIJING, CHINA – Day 7 at the International Softball Federation’s XI Women’s World Championship here concluded the round robin portion of the tournament, which is also serving as a qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition. The 15-country tournament that started on Sunday is now down to eight teams and concludes on Tuesday.

BEIJING, CHINA – Day 7 at the International Softball Federation’s XI Women’s World Championship here concluded the round robin portion of the tournament, which is also serving as a qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition. The 15-country tournament that started on Sunday is now down to eight teams and concludes on Tuesday.

The event is also the sport’s Olympic Test Event, being played at Fengtai Softball Field, which was built for the competition that’s just under two years away.

The first game on the first day had ten runs and the last game of round robin had a total of 14. Chinese Taipei held off Greece tonight, 8-6, to clinch the fourth seed in Pool B and the final playoff spot. Each team came into the game with a 3-3 record, meaning the winner would move on and the loser would go home.

The game started out looking like Greece would be moving on. The “ Hellas” scored three times in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a 2RBI double by Joanna Gail. Not only did Chinese Taipei finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth though, they came out of it with a two-run lead! Nine batters went to the plate, five of the first six of which got base hits. Four runs had scored at that point, prompting a pitching change for Greece as Stephanie Skegas relieved starter Sarah Farnworth.

Things didn’t get any better for Greece one inning later as they committed their second and third errors of the game and Taipei knocked out three more hits, all leading to three more runs and an 8-3 lead. But, the Greeks mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh. Lindsey Bashor smacked a two-run home run and Jamie Farnworth had a double that drove in Lindsay James, but the next two batters were outs and Greece was left on the outside looking in.

Earlier in the day, Italy blanked Great Britain, 3-0, to clinch fourth place in Pool A and a playoff spot. Veronica Fontana led off the bottom of the first inning by reaching first base on an error and scored on a wild pitch three batters later, giving the Italians (3-4) all the offense they’d need. They added two more runs two innings later though on the strength of extra base hits from Shanel Garofalo (RBI triple) and Eva Trevisan (RBI double). Great Britain (3-4) managed just two hits and finished sixth in Pool A – behind New Zealand (3-4) – via tiebreaker. Garofalo and Trevisan each finished with two hits.

Today was originally scheduled to open with Japan taking on Colombia, but with the Colombians having withdrawn on Monday, the forfeit goes into the books as a 7-0 decision, which means Japan finishes round robin play with a perfect won-lost record (7-0).

As a result, the first game on the field today was New Zealand’s 4-0 win over DPR Korea. The White Sox (3-4) gradually built up their lead, getting one run in the first, two in the third, and one more in the fourth. Fiona Timu’s third inning double that scored Melissa Upu and Sheree Cartwright accounted for half of the team’s offense. Winning pitcher Ali Arnold went the distance in limiting the Koreans (1-6) to just three hits. Seven different New Zealand players had hits.

Venezuela finished round robin play with an impressive 5-2 record, thanks to today’s 15-0 romp over Botswana (1-6). Geraldine Puerta hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning as Venezuela, which finished with 12 hits, scored in each of the five innings except the second. (The game was called due to the international run-ahead rule, whereby a game is considered complete if a team is ahead by 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or seven after five.) Puerta finished 4-for-4 at the plate with six runs batted in and three runs scored. She was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Mariela Espinoza pitched all five innings for the win, striking out seven and surrendering four hits.

The host team finished round robin play seeded second in Pool A, winning today 1-0 over Canada. Only the unbeaten Americans and Japanese finished with a better record than China (6-1), who made a 1-0 lead after one inning hold up against a Canadian team that out hit them, 4-1. Ai Zhang singled to left field to score Yi Zhou who’d led off the bottom of the first with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Yan Hong Yu. Canada (5-2) had the tying run at second base in the top of the seventh inning with two outs, but, after fouling off three straight pitches on a full count, outfielder Alison Bradley grounded out to end the game. Canada’s Robin Mackin took the loss, giving up just the one hit over six innings and striking out five. China’s Wei Lu struck out eight in picking up the win.

The Americans kept their record unblemished with a 10-0 victory over South Africa (0-7). In another game shortened by the run-ahead rule, Team USA scored twice in the bottom of the first, once in the second, three times in the third, and four in the fourth. South Africa managed just one hit off of pitcher Alicia Hollowell, who struck out six over five innings. Caitlin Lowe led the offense this time, going 3-for-4 at the plate and driving in a run. Seven different USA players had hits as Nicolene Jones and Zelda Kutumela pitched against the defending world champions.

The night closed with the Netherlands upsetting Australia, 4-2. The Aussies (5-2) had already clinched the second seed in Pool B and the Dutch (3-4) were already eliminated from playoff contention. Nonetheless, the Netherlands improved on their last ISF Women’s World Championship performance (2-5 in 2002) and Australia is forced to head into the opening playoff game – against USA, no less – on a losing note.



Capacity crowd watches USA edge China

01/09/2006

The tournament, which is also softball’s Olympic Test Event and a qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition, is being played at the new softball stadium built for the Games that will take place just under two years from now.

BEIJING, CHINA – Despite chants of “CHI-NA…CHI-NA…CHI-NA” and ‘the wave’ rolling through the crowd of just under 10,000, the host country couldn’t keep its unbeaten record intact, falling to USA tonight, 2-0, at the International Softball Federation’s XI Women’s World Championship. Like the Americans, China had won its first five games at the 15-country event, which began Sunday.

The tournament, which is also softball’s Olympic Test Event and a qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition, is being played at the new softball stadium built for the Games that will take place just under two years from now.

Team USA (6-0) got on the board early with a run in the top of the first inning. Zeros started to litter the scoreboard thereafter, although China threatened in the bottom of the fifth. The host team had a runner on third base with two outs, but left her stranded when pitcher Cat Osterman registered one of her nine strikeouts on the night.

The U.S. made them regret it just a half-inning later. With runners on second and third base, the defending world champions caused China to bring on Wei Lu in relief of starting pitcher Qi Li. USA responded by Andrea Duran promptly dropping a single into left field, scoring Jessica Mendoza for what would be the final margin of victory. China had just two hits on the night but held the Americans to just four.

Friday had begun with Canada raising their record to 5-1 with a convincing 12-0 victory over South Africa (0-6). The game was shortened due to the (international) run-ahead rule. (A game is considered complete if a team is ahead by 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or seven after five.) Canada had scored two runs in each inning except the third – when they scored four times.

Winning pitcher Kaila Holtz threw a no-hitter and struck out eleven batters. She walked just one. Three players had three hits each for the winners, including Melanie Matthews, who has a whopping .750 batting average so far in the tournament (15-for-20 at the plate).

The Netherlands improved to 2-4 thanks to Colombia’s withdrawal from the tournament on Monday. Today’s scheduled game between the two teams goes into the books as a 7-0 win for the Dutch.

Great Britain posted a dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 victory against New Zealand. The Kiwis appeared headed for victory. They scored a run in the top of the fifth inning and were one out away from a 1-0 victory when things fell apart in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on the corners and a full count, Kirsten Whitt drew ball four to load the bases. Katy Wilkins knocked a 3-1 pitch for a single that scored two runs and suddenly the British were 3-3, while the White Sox fell to 2-4. As a result Great Britain’s game tomorrow against Italy suddenly will determine the final playoff spot in Pool A.

Italy (3-3) stayed in the hunt by nipping DPR Korea, 1-0. The game’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth when Natalia Cimin, who had begun the inning reaching first on an error by the pitcher, scored on a DPR Korea error by their second baseplayer on a fly ball from Shanel Garofalo. Winning pitcher Leslie Malerich surrendered just two hits over six innings before being relieved by Brena De Sancta, who retired the side in the seventh.

Chinese Taipei evened their record at 3-3 after a big 11-0 win over Botswana today. Shengjung Lai and Hsinlin Han combined on a no-hitter and Miaoyi Chen went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs batted in and four runs scored. The game was called after five innings due to the run-ahead rule. Botswana drops to 1-5 while Taipei heads for a do-or-die game tomorrow against Greece.

It took extra innings but Japan prevailed in Day 6’s other battle of the unbeatens, dropping Australia, 2-1. The two teams had met in a similar high pressure game two years ago when Australia won to advance to the gold medal game at the Olympic Softball competition in Athens, leaving Japan with the bronze medal. The Aussies gained the upper hand this time around too, but couldn’t hold on.

With the score still 0-0 after the seven regulation innings, the international tiebreaker rule was implemented, allowing a runner to start on second base as each half-inning starts. Australia managed to convert theirs in the top of the eighth, but Japan had the same success in their half of the inning, sending the teams on to the ninth, tied at one. After the Aussies went three-and-out in the top half, Japan, with only one out, got the victory when the runner at second, Eri Yamada, scored on a single by Sachiko Ito.

Another important game was taking place on the adjacent field, where Venezuela defeated Greece, 3-1. The 2006 Central American & Caribbean Games gold medalists jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when, with one out, Yuruby Alicart knocked a 1-0 pitch for a two-run home run. Venezuela (4-2) upped their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when Rubilena Rojas doubled in Yusmary Perez. The “ Hellas” (3-3) tried to come back a half-inning later when catcher Stacey Farnworth scored to cut the deficit to two runs, but it wasn’t meant to be against pitcher Mariangee Bogado, who threw a complete-game three-hitter.

Round robin play wraps up on Saturday before playoff games fill out the schedule for Sunday and Monday. The two medal games will take place on Tuesday.



Heat is on with only two round robin days left

31/08/2006

BEIJING, CHINA – Only eight of the 15 teams are going to be left standing come Saturday night, and the list of which those might be is starting to become just a little bit clearer following Day 5 at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship here.

BEIJING, CHINA – Only eight of the 15 teams are going to be left standing come Saturday night, and the list of which those might be is starting to become just a little bit clearer following Day 5 at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship here. The event is also softball’s Olympic Test Event and its top four finishers (or top five if China places anywhere from first to fourth) will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Softball competition.

Japan continued its winning ways Thursday with a big 16-0 victory over Botswana that was halted after four innings because of the (international) run-ahead rule. The winners scored six times in their first at-bat and tacked on seven more runs in the top of the second. After going scoreless in the third, Japan (5-0) closed out the scoring with three more runs in the top of the fourth, totaling 17 hits on the game while holding Botswana to just one. Emi Naito was 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in four runs.

Team USA had a similar victory today, thumping New Zealand 15-0. The Americans scored runs in each of the four innings in running their record to 5-0. Andrea Duran and Stacey Nuveman had the hot bats today, each going 3-for-4. Nuveman cracked two home runs and had a total of six runs batted in. Monica Abbott struck out five over the four innings of work. Kalala Faalogo had two of the three hits for New Zealand (2-3).

Not to be outdone, China scored in double digits as well to keep their winning streak alive. The host country (5-0) defeated South Africa today, 12-0. Most of the damage was done in the bottom of the fourth inning. Leading 5-0 after three-and-a-half, China broke the game open with seven runs, highlighted by RBI doubles from Chunxia Li, Yi Lu, and Yanhong Yu. South Africa (0-5) managed just one hit off of Yin Zhou, who pitched all five innings. Lu and Yi Zhou each finished with three hits and combined to drive in five runs.

At the other extreme was a Canada victory over Italy by just 1-0. The winners upped their record to 4-1 in dramatic fashion, scoring the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Melanie Matthews singled and then, on an 0-2 count to Jennifer Salling, stole second. Salling worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a triple that scored Matthews for the win. Matthews finished with yet another multiple-hit game, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Starter Danielle Lawrie pitched all seven innings, striking out five. Losing pitcher Leslie Malerich went the distance for Italy (1-4).

Greece improved to 3-2 with a 5-0 victory over the Netherlands. The game was a rematch of a tight 2-1 affair won by the Greeks at last year’s European Championship. Despite a run in the top of the first inning, today the game was close until the “ Hellas,” leading just 2-0 after six innings, scored three times in the top of the seventh. The Dutch were undone in large part by three consecutive walks, two of which brought in runs. Greece’s Sarah Farnworth pitched a complete game one-hitter and three different players had two hits apiece, including infielder Joanna Gail who drove in two runs. The Netherlands is now 1-4, but will get win number two tomorrow as a result of the Colombia forfeit (withdrawal).

Australia posted another shutout victory, knocking off Venezuela on Thursday, 9-0. The Aussies are still unbeaten (5-0), having used three pitchers to strike out eleven batters and hold Venezuela to just one hit. Australia hit three home runs, including one by Sandra Allen, who finished 3-for-3 with three RBI, and a grand slam by Marissa Carpadios in the top of the third inning. Venezuela falls to 3-2 and has a big game on Friday against Greece.

Chinese Taipei is still in the hunt in Pool B – with Venezuela and Greece – following their forfeit win today against Colombia. Taipei is 2-3 and takes on Botswana on Friday.

Tonight’s final game saw Great Britain edge DPR Korea, 1-0. The win puts the British at 2-3 and drops the Koreans to 1-4. Each team still has to play Italy and New Zealand before round robin play ends on Saturday, at which point the playoff teams will be set. With the exception of their loss to USA, Korea’s losses have all only been by one, two, or three runs.



Night closes with extra inning game

30/08/2006

BEIJING, CHINA – Wednesday night’s final game of Day 4 was perhaps its best as Venezuela beat Chinese Taipei, 3-2, in an extra inning here at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship.

BEIJING, CHINA – Wednesday night’s final game of Day 4 was perhaps its best as Venezuela beat Chinese Taipei, 3-2, in an extra inning here at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XI Women’s World Championship.

Fifteen countries are competing in what is also the sport’s Olympic Test Event and, in addition to the right to be called ‘world champion’ for the next four years, teams are competing for four berths in the 2008 Olympic Softball competition that are at stake. The games here are being played at the new softball venue built for the Games that will be held just under two years from now.

Venezuela opened the scoring tonight with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, only to see Chinese Taipei tie it right back up a half-inning later. With neither team having scored when the seventh and final inning of regulation play ended, the international tiebreaker went into effect. A runner was put on second base to start the top of the eighth inning, and Chinese Taipei had success bringing her home. However, their lead was short-lived as Venezuela came through in the bottom half of the inning.

With Maribel Riera starting on second base, Maria Soto led off with a bunt single. Jineth Pimentel reached on a fielder’s choice, with Riera out at third base. With runners still on first and second, Yuruby Alicart singled to centerfield to score Soto. When Chinese Taipei’s centerfielder tried to gun down Pimentel at third base however, her attempt missed the mark and the overthrow allowed Pimentel to score the winning run and give Venezuela a 3-1 won-lost record. Taipei falls to 1-3.

Similarly, at the adjacent venue, Canada too was improving their record to 3-1 with a 2-0 shutout of DPR Korea that dropped them to 1-3. Pitcher Lauren Bay led the victory and kept Canada in the thick of Pool A, one game behind China and USA, who are each undefeated.

Today started with Japan keeping their record perfect. They thumped the Netherlands, 10-0, in a game shortened by the (international) run-ahead rule. The winners only led 1-0 after two-and-a-half innings and then broke the game open with three runs in the bottom of the third and six more one inning later. Two Japanese pitchers combined to hold the Dutch to just one hit over the five innings played. Eri Yamada led the offensive fireworks with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate, driving in three runs and scoring three herself. Her solo home run began the scoring in the bottom of the first. The Netherlands dropped to 1-3.

The 10-0 win outdid Australia’s victory today by one run. The Aussies had little trouble with Botswana, 9-0. Like Japan, the 2004 Olympic silver medalists held their opponent to just one hit over five innings, with Kelly Gentle handling all the work herself in the circle for Australia. She struck out nine and her teammates provided offense each of the four innings they batted in. Botswana committed four errors and six different Aussie players had hits, including Marissa Carpadios, who hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for the game’s final run.

Greece’s record improved to 2-2 today by virtue of what on paper shows a 7-0 win over Colombia, who has actually forfeited their games at the world championship as a result of their withdrawal early Monday morning.

The fans at Fengtai Stadium went home happy again after the host country won its fourth straight game, a 6-0 China win over New Zealand. That’s not to say that there wasn’t some nailbiting, however, as the Chinese led just 1-0 after four-and-a-half innings. Back-to-back doubles by Chun Xia Li and Yi Lu highlighted a four-run bottom of the fifth that was cemented with an insurance run one inning later. The White Sox were stung by four errors – including one in that decisive fifth inning – and managed just three hits off starter Hui Li Yu over five innings, and none in the last two versus Wei Lu. New Zealand falls to 2-2.

The defending world champions, USA, picked up another victory, dropping Great Britain today, 7-0. The Americans did most of the damage in the bottom of the third inning with five runs, including a three-run home run by Jessica Mendoza. Great Britain had just one hit against pitcher Jamie Southern, who made her ISF Women’s World Championship debut by striking out nine over five innings, before the game was called (after four-and-a-half) due to the (international) run-ahead rule. Great Britain, still showing improvement however after having lost to USA 14-0 six weeks earlier, now sits at 1-3.

The other Day 4 game saw Italy pull away from South Africa, 6-2, giving the Italians their first win of the tournament. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, South Africa took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second. But, Italy came back with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth inning and then again in the sixth before putting the game away with one more tally in the top of the seventh. Rebecca Laccino and Sara Avanzi each had two of Italy’s eleven hits. Pitcher Ronelle Buitendag took the loss for South Africa, who dropped to 0-4.