July 14, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY --Lauren Gibson homered in the third inning but it was not enough as Team USA stumbled out to another rough start in a 6-3 loss to Japan in the Championship Game of the General Tire World Cup of Softball VIII at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Sunday.
Team USA defeated Puerto Rico, 10-3, earlier in the evening to advance to the title game against Japan. The schedule of games had been delayed from the early afternoon to the evening due to rain in Oklahoma City. The championship game started at 7:50 p.m. ET.
Gibson went 1-for-3 with the solo blast, a walk and a stolen base. She also added three defensive assists from second base. Gibson had the most outstanding showing of any Team USA player over the squad's five games in the World Cup. She hit .500 (6-for-12) and led the team with six hits, six runs, five RBIs and four stolen bases. Her two home runs tied for the team lead and she also boasted a USA-best 1.683 OPS (1.083 slugging percentage, .600 on-base percentage).
Fellow Tennessee star Raven Chavanne started Sunday night's title game at third base, going 0-for-3 with one defensive assist.
Jessica Moore took the loss after starting the game and allowing six earned runs over 3.2 innings. Sara Nevins threw 3.1 scoreless innings in relief.
Japan's Kana Nakano earned the win after tossing five innings in relief with two earned runs allowed. Nana Okamura started the game and allowed one earned run over two innings.
Japan jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Yukiyo Mine hit an RBI single to plate Misato Kawano.
In the bottom of the first, Gibson reached base on an error by the pitcher in the first inning and later stole second base for her fourth steal of the World Cup. The U.S. stranded Gibson and Michelle Moultrie in scoring position.
Japan scored four more in the second inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead. There was a questionable defensive call at third base in the inning. With two outs, the U.S. suffered a dropped fly ball in left field that scored two runs for Japan to push its lead to 3-0. The throw came in to Chavanne at third base and the former Lady Vol made a diving tag at Misato Kawano about a foot in front of the bag, but Kawano was called safe. Two more runs would score in the second for Japan.
The Americans got on the board in the bottom of the second when Kourtney Salvarola scored from second base on a two-out RBI single by Moultrie.
Okamura relieved Nakano in the circle in the bottom of the third. Gibson led off the inning and sent a 2-0 pitch soaring over the wall in right field for her second home run of the World Cup. With the blast, Team USA climbed to within 5-2.
Yuki Hayashi's one-out RBI single in the top of the fourth pushed Japan's lead to 6-2.
Chavanne and Gibson led off the bottom of the seventh for Team USA as the Americans tried to rally from a five-run deficit. On a 2-2 count, Chavanne grounded out to second base for the first out. Gibson grounded out to first base on a 3-1 count for the second out. Amanda Chidester singled in the next at-bat and scored on an RBI double by Valerie Arioto to bring the U.S. to within 6-3. Taylor Hoagland's pop-up to the pitcher ended the game.
In four World Cup appearances, Chavanne hit .273 for the Red, White and Blue, going 3-for-11 with two runs and two stolen bases. Gibson and Chavanne combined for six of the American's nine stolen bases in the World Cup.
The U.S. Senior National Team will be back in action July 16-22 when it competes in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada.
USA 10, Puerto Rico 3 (from pool play earlier on Sunday)
OKLAHOMA CITY - Team USA bounced back from a shaky start to defeat Puerto Rico, 10-3, in its final World Cup of Softball VIII pool-play game on Sunday afternoon.
The game started four hours late due to rain in Oklahoma City.
Tennessee's Raven Chavanne went 1-for-2 with one run scored. She entered the game as a pinch runner in the third inning and moved to third base.
Valerie Arioto (1-0) threw 3.2 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for the Americans. Aimee Creeger started and allowed three unearned runs in the first 1.1 innings.
After Puerto Rico jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Team USA's offense got going in the bottom of the third, scoring five runs. Lauren Chamberlain's RBI double got the Americans on the board and Chavanne entered to pinch run for her. Kourtney Salvarola's RBI double plated Chavanne and Nicole Hudson had an RBI double and Amber Freeman hit a two-run homer to round out Team USA's five runs in the inning.
With two outs in the fifth, Freeman hit another two-run homer and Taylor Thom followed with a solo homer. Three batters later, Chavanne knocked an RBI single to score Destinee Martinez and give the U.S. the victory by run rule.