World Cup softball notebook: Puerto Rico, Brazil make World Cup debut

Brazil pitcher Nilze Higa said the World Cup presents a good challenge and an opportunity to see Oklahoma
By RJ Young Published: June 28, 2012
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Brazil and Puerto Rico debuted in the World Cup of Softball. The teams had the honor of opening play Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

After giving up a run in the first inning of Brazil's game against Puerto Rico, pitcher Nilze Higa settled into a rhythm. She followed that first inning with seven scoreless and earned her country's first win in the World Cup in eight innings.

Higa is happy to have the opportunity to represent her country in the World Cup.

“We were never able to compete against Australia and the stronger teams,” Higa said. “It's a really good challenge, but it's also a great opportunity to see the Oklahoma grounds.”

AUSTRALIAN DUO 2-HITS BRAZIL

Australia pitchers Kaia Parnaby and Zara Mee combined to allow just two hits, one run and no walks against Brazil. Mee pitched the final two innings of the game, striking out five.

U.S. OFFENSE POTENT

The U.S. squad scored at least one run in each inning it batted against Puerto Rico. Six different U.S. players accounted for all eight of the team's hits.

U.S. coach Ken Eriksen was happy to earn a win to open the World Cup, but he's not wallowing in the victory.

“We'll celebrate for about an hour,” he said.

PUERTO RICAN PLAYER PLAYS THROUGH DIABETES

Puerto Rico's Nicole Springer has been a Type-1 diabetic for 2½ years. She plays the game with a small green insulin pump attached to her hip.

There are days when she struggles and days where she hardly notices her illness.

“There are people out there who have it worse than me and still play,” Springer said. “It' just another obstacle I have to get through.”

The World Cup marks Springer's first appearance in the Puerto Rican national team squad. She was selected to the All-Northeast Conference second team as a junior at Central Connecticut last season and led the Blue Devils to a school-record 31 wins.