The bases were loaded and a run had already been pushed across the plate, but a pop up off of the bat of Jade Gortarez to second base would prove the late-inning rally far too little, too late. A wet day in Gijang, Korea had spelled trouble for the US Women's National Baseball Team against ranked number-3 Team Australia, as the Emerald's showcased both incredibly strong pitching and offensive prowess in a decisive 10-2 win. Seventeen-year old Australian starting pitcher Abbey Kelly, a flyball pitcher getting all but the final two outs of the ballgame, was a force to be reckoned with due to her ability to induce weak, routine contact, and the teenager didn't even allow a hit after allowing an RBI triple in the first inning. On the other side of the ball, the Emerald's powerful lineup proved too much for Kelsie Whitmore, Stacy Piagno, and the USA women's defense, as sharp single after sharp single kept the line moving throughout the entire game and quickly wore down the best pitchers Team USA had to offer.
Despite going 2-1 in their group stage, the upending the team got at the hands of Australia took them out of contention due to having a weaker run differential for the round than either Australia or Chinese Taipei, a shame due to the incredibly strong performances for the team during the first two games of the tournament. In their opening game, with Stacy Piagno making the start, Team USA nearly pitched a combined no-hitter against just-happy-to-be-there Team Hong Kong, the only hit and run they allowed coming in the second to last inning (the sixth, as women are evidently unfit to play nine-inning baseball games), all the while flexing their collective muscles on offense as the team posted nine runs while collecting contributions from every woman in the starting lineup in a 9-1 victory.
USA 4-0 !!!! Bottom 1st v Hong Kong. LIVE: https://t.co/jtWlSHJhCv #WomensBaseball #WorldCup https://t.co/l5VqcRvRGz— WBSC (@WBSC) September 3, 2016
The team's second game was a highly contested affair against Chinese Taipei, a match in which both teams managed just four hits against some premier pitching. Crafty starter Marti Sementelli pitched six strong innings of shutout baseball to lead the USA and earned the win, while the strong and imposing Megan Baltzell hit a home run out of the stadium to carry the offense in a nail-biting 2-1 victory.
HOME RUUUUUUUUN !!!!!!!!! @MeganBaltzell @USABaseballWNT First HR of #WomensBaseball World Cup 2016 https://t.co/JQzGIdWJLt— WBSC (@WBSC) September 4, 2016
As the top six teams move on to the Super Group stage, Team USA will be competing alongside Hong Kong, Cuba, India, Pakistan, and the Netherlands for places 7-12 in the tournament, and so while any chance at victory in the tournament is over, there are still games to be played over the next week.
For the six teams advancing into the Super Group, wins and losses versus teams that have been eliminated do not count, but wins and losses against their competition in the Super Group do, meaning each team that enters the next round will already have a record of 1-0 or 0-1. From there, each team will play four games in four days against the competition they have yet to face to set the stage for the medal rounds. Advancing from Team USA's group are the aforementioned teams from Australia (0-1) and Chinese Taipei (1-0), and they will be facing Canada (0-1) and Korea (0-1) tonight, respectively, to kick off the Super Group Stage. The two remaining undefeated teams for the entire tournament, Venezuela (1-0) and Japan (1-0), will be meeting up tonight as well. All of these women have come to play ball and look to continue to make sensational dazzling plays on the field as the tournament reaches its second phase.
Korea dive/double-play !!!!!! #WomensBaseball World Cup https://t.co/VUUJOXw94w— WBSC (@WBSC) September 4, 2016
The opening game of the second round begins at 5:30 pacific tonight, featuring Chinese Taipei and Korea. At 10:00 PM Japan and Venezuela will be taking the field. At bright and early 3 AM Australia and Canada wrap up the day's games. All games are free to stream on YouTube.