SURREY, B.C., Canada – The USA Softball Women’s National Team, including California’s Valerie Arioto and Lindsey Ziegenhirt, settled for a bronze medal at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship after dropping a 2-1 extra-inning game to Australia in the semifinals Monday evening.
Arioto had a productive day at the plate, but in the end Australia’s steady defense stopped the Eagles. Arioto went 1-for-1 with a single at the bottom of the third and walked three times, including a one-out walk at the bottom of the fifth to load the bases, but the Americans came up short in following at-bats.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect and Australia leading 2-1 at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning, Ziegenhirt entered the game as a pinch runner for Arizona State’s Amber Freeman at second base. A single by Oklahoma’s Destinee Martinez moved Ziegenhirt to third with one out, but a groundout and a fly ball ended the game and the Eagles’ hopes at a championship game rematch with Japan.
Team USA finishes at 6-2 in the Canadian Open. The Red, White and Blue will take a brief break from action before suiting up again in August for the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship/Pan American Games qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico.
Also in the tournament, former Golden Bear Jolene Henderson and her California A’s squad finished 2-5, including an 8-1 win over eventual Canadian Open champion Japan. Henderson served as the pitching coach for the A’s while younger sister and rising Cal junior Danielle Henderson played third base. She finished 2-for-15 with a home run, and ranked second on the team with two RBI.
Full recap below courtesy of USA Softball:
The USA Softball Women’s National Team took third place following a 2-1, 8-inning shootout with Australia in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship on Monday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The loss eliminated Team USA from the tournament and propelled Australia into the finals to face Japan.
Pitching dominated the first half of the semifinal matchup on Monday night. USA’s Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) started in the circle and held Australia without a run for four innings of play. Unfortunately for the Americans, Kaia Parnaby of Australia had just as much success in the circle for Australia. Both teams managed base runners throughout the four innings but continued to come up short in the scoring category.
Finally in the top of the fifth, after back-to-back singles, Australia’s Godfrey picked up an RBI base hit that scored Weaver from third giving the Aussie’s a 1-0 lead. Team USA loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but a double played followed by a strikeout ended any chances of them tying in the fifth.
Both teams reverted back to their old ways in the sixth inning going three up, three down.
Trailing by one in the top of the seventh, the Americans made quick work of Australia’s batters retiring the first three to the plate. In the bottom half of the inning, down to their last at-bat, Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led off with a single and a Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) sac-bunt in the next at-bat gave USA a runner at second with Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuca Canyon, Calif.) stepping to the plate. With a full count, the power hitter blasted a base hit to centerfield well enough to bring the USA run around from second to score. USA had tied it at one and sent the contest to extra innings.
In the top of the eight, Australia’s McManus started at second per International Tie Breaker policy. A stolen third base quickly put her in position to score and that’s what she did on a Godfrey single giving Australia a 2-1 lead.
That score held to the bottom half of the inning and USA again found themselves in need of one run to keep the game alive. Lindsay Ziegenhirt (Elk Grove, Calif.) started the at-bat on second for Team USA and a Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) single moved her around to third giving USA runners on the corners with just one out. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a grounder to shortstop in the next at-bat for the second out of the inning. Down to their last batter, Chamberlain stepped back to the plate needing hoping to duplicate her efforts from early in the fifth but on a 2-2 pitch, she popped up to shortstop for the final out.
With the lose, the Americans take third place in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship. Team USA will return home for a brief break before traveling to Puerto Rico in early August for an International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship/Pan American Games qualifying tournament.. You can follow all of the action live by visiting www.USASoftball.com.