U.S tops Dominican, advances to bronze medal game
Megan Baltzell, shown here hitting a home run against Canada on Wednesday night, had an RBI double to highlight a six-run first inning for Team USA at the Women's Baseball World Cup Thursday at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. Team USA beat the Dominican Republic 8-1.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
The United States used a balanced offensive attack and stellar pitching to easily handle the Dominican Republic by a score of 8-1 Thursday night in Women’s Baseball World Cup Super Round action at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.
“I think the girls stuck with an aggressive approach early,” said U.S. manager Matt Weagle of his team’s offense. “They did a good job of making sure they weren’t swinging at pitches outside of the zone. The first pitcher might not have been too much of a strike thrower, so that means you can go ahead and push your approach and make sure that you can stay within your zone with your swings so they were aggressive early and they had a couple clutch hits.”
The U.S. came into the day needing a win over the Dominican and a victory by Canada over Chinese Taipei to keep its hopes of a shot at the gold medal game alive.
Unfortunately for Team USA, Canada could not hold a four-run lead as Chinese Taipei came back to get the win and clinch its spot in the championship contest.
That means the U.S. will face Canada for the bronze medal at 1 p.m. on Friday, while Chinese Taipei and Japan are set to square off for the gold at 6 p.m.
“Today was a tough day,” said Weagle of finding out his team would not be advancing to the gold medal contest. “We were scoreboard watching a little bit, so I was proud of the girls, how they reset mentally and went out there and played a complete game.”
If the U.S. players were deflated by being knocked out of gold medal contention, they didn’t show it early.
The U.S. put six runs on the board in the first inning after the Dominican Republic plated a run in the top half of the frame.
Megan Baltzell had an RBI double and Anna Kimbrell added a two-run single to highlight the inning for Team USA.
Left fielder Alexandra Lugo, who had a hit and an RBI, scored two runs and was hit by a pitch, said the U.S. batters were feeding off each other’s momentum.
“Nobody really had to do everything by themselves which was good,” she said.
The U.S. would add a run in the third inning, courtesy of a Dominican Republic error, and another in the fifth inning courtesy on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.
U.S. starting pitcher Kelsie Whitmore won for the second time in World Cup play. She allowed three hits and no earned runs in four innings of work.
“I was trying to work with my fastball, trying to keep it low,” Whitmore said. “I know in the beginning of game they (the Dominican Republic batters) were starting to catch on to the higher pitches, but my curveball was starting to work and I was starting to follow through more on that one, trust it a lot better.
“Once I started getting in my groove, both pitches started working for me so I started feeling more comfortable for sure.”
Whitmore also noted that it was easier, as one might expect, to pitch given the run support she received in the first inning.
“It’s a great feeling, you know getting ahead, it just gives me that feeling that I can just trust my defense behind me,” Whitmore said. “All that momentum coming forward in the beginning of the game was very helpful for me and I was able to feel just very relaxed out there.”