Canada knocks off Dominican Republic in World Cup opener
In the nightcap at the KFC World Cup of Softball, Canada knocked off the Dominican Republic, 3-0, to win its third consecutive opener at a World Cup. The teams were evenly matched offensively but a key extra base hit by Sheena Lawrick in the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in the game.
Canada put up two hits, one in the first and one in the fourth, but would not score until the fifth inning. With runners on first and third, Sheena Lawrick came through in the clutch with a two-RBI triple down the right field line that scored Jenn Salling and pinch-runner Janiva Willis. Lawrick scored the final run of the game off a single by Alison Bradley.
The Dominican Republican posted four hits in the loss but never got a runner past second base and ended up stranding five.
Canada’s Dione Meier picked up the win in the circle allowing just four hits in the shutout victory. Dominican starter Missy Penna, who will be a junior at Stanford next season, took the loss after allowing three runs off five hits and walking five.
Canada returns to action on Friday with a double-header starting with Japan at 11:30 a.m. before facing off with Venezuela at 2 p.m. The Dominican Republic is scheduled to play in the nightcap at 9:30 p.m. against Venezuela.
Japan topples Dominican Republic in opener at KFC World Cup
After having their opener pushed back over four hours due to thunderstorms in the Oklahoma City area, Japan was impressive posting an 8-0 win over the Dominican Republic.
Japan jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning that was highlighted by an inside the park home run by Megu Hirose that plated three runs.
After a run in the third inning, Japan scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take an 8-0 lead.
Mika Someya earned the win in the circle for Japan allowing just three hits in five innings of work. It was her first career World Cup win.
Cristina Gwyn suffered the loss allowing eight runs on 11 hits while also walking four in five innings of work.
Japan opens day two of the World Cup at 11:30 a.m. CST versus Canada, while the Dominican faces off with Venezuela at 9:30 p.m. CST.
China Wins Behind Qi’s Arm
China won the first game of their KFC World Cup of Softball campaign thanks to a gem thrown by pitcher Li Qi tonight in Oklahoma City.
Qi, a 2004 Olympian, struck out nine batters en route to a one-hit complete game shutout over Venezuela, 4-0. Mariangee Bogado (0-2) gained the loss for Venezuela, after earning her first loss of the tournament earlier in the night against the U.S.
Qi was supported by a strong sixth-inning showing from her offense. Li Chun Xia hit a bases loaded single, scoring two runs, to deep centerfield to give the team a 2-0 lead. Zhang Li Fang singled to shallow center to bring in one more. The final run of the game scored off a wild pitch by Marianella Castellanos.
Venezuela (0-2) plays Friday at 2 p.m. vs. Canada (1-0). China (1-0) plays against the USA National Team (1-0) at 7 p.m.
Natasha Watley brings unparalleled speed to the national team. She is always a threat on the base paths, recording 158 career stolen bases in college--good enough to rank in the NCAA all-time top ten base stealers.
When asked what makes a great base stealer, Watley replied, "Just knowing and reading the situation you are in. It is important to know the pitcher, know how good the catcher's arm is and know who is covering the bag. Knowing if the second baseman or shortstop is covering can make a difference in how you slide. Those are different things you want to pay attention to."
Watley is no stranger to success. She broke the Olympic record for stolen bases with five in nine games at the 2004 Athens games. Having an aggressive mentality and getting a good jump off the base has helped her achieve her accomplishments. "Your first three steps are the most important," she describes. "I don't think I leave early, but I'd rather be caught leaving early than be caught being out at the bag."
The former Bruin led UCLA to a Women's College World Series title in 2003 and also won the Honda Award as the Nation's Top Collegiate Female Athlete. Watley looks to continue her base-swiping prowess tomorrow at the World Cup of Softball and jump start Team USA's winning ways.