U.S. coach Ken Eriksen was excited for his team after a 3-0 defeat of Australia for the 2012 World Cup of Softball championship. The team will seek to carry its winning feeling into the ISF Women's World Championship, which begins July 13 and ends July 22.
Eriksen said he was happy not only with outcome of the game but the experience his team gained in the tournament. The U.S. did not lose a game in the World Cup.
“I think it sets up real well because a lot of people got a lot of playing time,” said Eriksen. “If they want to be recognized as a group, that is a really good group, then they have to stick together.”
DESMOND MASON THROWS FIRST PITCH
Former Oklahoma State and NBA player Desmond Mason threw out the first pitch before the championship game. Mason said he has been a softball fan since college.
“I watched a lot of softball and baseball when I went to Oklahoma State,” Mason said. “I definitely got out and had a chance to watch some games.”
He said he's had fun watching the state grow with the tournament.
“I think it's a wonderful event, especially for Oklahoma City, not just for this country, not just for the young aspiring softball players around this community but for this state,” Mason said. “This state is progressing very fast and having an event like this here is a good thing.”
U.S. PLAYER RHEA TAYLOR TIES RECORD
Team USA's Rhea Taylor finished the World Cup tied for the second-most stolen bases in a World Cup tournament with five. Canada's Eric McLean also stole five bases in 2007.
Former U.S. national team member Natasha Watley owns the record with six stolen bases, set in 2009.
YEE'S WALK OFF EARNS CANADA THIRD PLACE
Jen Yee's walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Netherlands earned Canada third place in the World Cup. Canada began the tournament 0-4 before winning its final two games.
Yee said she was thinking aggressively in her last at-bat of the tournament.
“I didn't want to let the umpire come into play,” she said. “I just wanted to jump on the first pitch that looked anywhere close, so that's what I did. I was lucky to have it go out.”
She batted .429 and hit two homers during the World Cup. She set the individual record for home runs in a World Cup with four in 2010.
Canada coach Mark Smith was happy to see his team find a rhythm in latter stages of the tournament and hopes the national team will capitalize on its momentum in the coming days.
“It'll be good for us to get on the plane tomorrow with a positive mindset,” he said.