The USA Softball Women’s National Team took first place in the Italian Softball Week with a win over Australia on Sunday the Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball announced today. Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove,Calif.) was named Pitching Champion and with a .643 tournament batting average Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) earned the Batting Champion award as well as the Tournament MVP.
“I couldn’t be happier with where we’re at as a team right now,” said USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “I thought we played really well in this tournament and handled some adversity in a great way. The experiences that we had here can do nothing but help us as we move forward to the World Championship.”
Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) earned the win for Team USA in the final going five innings and allowing just one run on two hits. Sarah Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) entered in relief briefly in the sixth inning and retired two batters before Henderson entered to close out the inning and the game.
The USA jumped out early with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. With Moultrie and Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) on base, Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) sent a pitch sailing over the center field wall for a three-run homer.
Both teams were scoreless in the second but Team USA added to their lead in the bottom of the third. Moultrie doubled to left field to start the at-bat and Fischer followed her up with a single deep enough to score the Tournament MVP from second. Later in the inning Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) singled to left field scoring Fischer and giving the Americans a 5-0 advantage.
In the fourth, Australia got on the board when Stacey Porter singled and later crossed home during a pick-off attempt at second. But in the next half inning a Moultrie double followed by a single from Arioto got the run back for Team USA and made the score 6-1.
Australia added a second run in the sixth when Porter singled and later scored on a Melinda Weaver line drive to right field but it wasn’t enough as Team USA won the game by a final of 6-2.
With the Italian Softball Week Championship in the bag, the USA Women’s National Team will now turn its sights towards the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship which begins on August 15 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Team USA will open by playing the Netherlands on Friday. Visit www.USASoftball.com for complete Team USA coverage throughout the ISF Women’s World Championship.