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World Cup of Softball: Japan downs Team USA 7-4

By Rhiannon Walker, Staff Writer, rwalker@opubco.com Published: July 14, 2013
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When Hawkins came in, however, both Mine and Okubo would steal home plate after wild pitches by the Oregon pitcher. South Florida's Sara Nevins would come into the game in the fourth, but the ace of Thursday's game was unable to hold Japan either.

Eriksen cited immature pitching as a part of the problem in the team's loss.

“Anytime you get hits and four runs off the No. 1 pitcher in the world and move the ball as well as we did, I thought we played very, very well offensively,” Eriksen said. “I thought we did some great things defensively, but like I said, what you hope for is the maturation of the pitching, and that's a whole mental thing.”

Team USA never led, but it got close on several occasions. In the second inning, the team came within a score of Japan, after bringing in two runs between the two innings.

Amanda Chidester also gave the team and the crowd extra life when she sent a two-run home run over the left-field fence in the bottom of the fifth. It appeared Yukiko Ueno was vulnerable in that inning, because Valerie Arioto came to the plate and sent a single right by Ueno.

Ueno and Japan would get out of the inning, however, by getting Taylor Thom to pop up.

Each of the three pitchers for Team USA allowed at least two hits and two runs to score. The team combined for only three strikeouts.

Ueno finished her complete game with eight hits, four runs, eight strikeouts and a 2.50 ERA.

Team USA plays Puerto Rico at noon Sunday.