SURREY, B.C., Canada – After recording back-to-back wins in the final day of the 2022 Canada Cup International Softball Championship, the U.S. Women’s National Team clinched the Championship title to finish the tournament with a 7-2 record while outscoring its opponents 73-13. Starting the day in the loser’s bracket semi-final contest against the Netherlands, the Eagles posted a 7-0 (five-innings) run-rule behind a no-hitter from Jailyn Ford and home runs from Sharlize Palacios and Taylor Pleasants to advance to the Championship contest against T.C. Colorado. With two losses to the Colorado squad earlier in the tournament, the U.S. dug deep and claimed redemption with a 5-1 Championship victory to earn the 2022 Canada Cup title.
The U.S. posted six run-rule victories through its 2022 Canada Cup campaign while compiling a team batting average of .393 and scoring 73 runs through nine games. Shining at the plate for Team USA, Jocelyn Alo led the squad with a .591 batting average and 13 hits followed by Sahvanna Jaquish who racked up 12 and Hannah Flippen who tallied 11. With a total of 23 home runs through the tournament – including four off the bats of Alo, Flippen and Pleasants – the U.S. amassed a .813 slugging percentage while outhitting its opponents 84 to 28. Contributing to the offensive success, Kiki Milloy caused chaos on the basepaths, accumulating five stolen bases while Kayla Kowalik followed with three of her own. The U.S. pitching staff of Odicci Alexander, Ally Carda, Megan Faraimo, Ford, Emma Lemley and Kathryn Sandercock dominated in the circle with a combined 1.50 ERA while Carda led the team with 15 strikeouts and Ford followed closely behind with 13.
Canada Cup Accolades:
Lori Sippel Award: Top Pitcher – Ally Carda
Glen Todd Award: Most Valuable Player – Sahvanna Jaquish
Team USA 7, Netherlands 0
Ford got the start in the first U.S. matchup of the day, issuing a leadoff walk before an infield double play cleared the bases followed by a big strikeout to shut down the Netherlands offense. Milloy gave the U.S. its base runner with a one-out single in the bottom of the frame as Charla Echols followed with a walk to put two on for Team USA. Staying aggressive on the base paths, a double steal from Milloy and Echols would set the stage for Flippen to come through with a sac fly to left field to allow the Eagles to pull ahead 1-0.
Another solid showing from Ford in the circle made for a quick half inning while the U.S. added to its lead in the bottom of the frame. Sending one deep for a solo home run was Palacios followed by a walk to Pleasants and double from Sami Reynolds to tack on two runs. Kowalik continued the rally for the Eagles with an infield single while a ground out put both Reynolds and Kowalik in scoring position. Continuing to apply the pressure, Echols ripped a line drive to second base to force a fielding miscue and allow two more runs to score for Team USA. A fielder’s choice ended the inning, but not before the Red, White and Blue pulled ahead 5-0.
Despite a one-out walk in the third to give the Netherlands another baserunner, Ford and the U.S. defense zoned in as a fielder’s choice and a strikeout ended the at-bat. Continuing the momentum for Team USA, Jaquish led off the inning with a double to left field before a ground out and a fly out looked to put out the spark, but a two-run blast from Pleasants kept the rally alive, adding two insurance runs for the U.S. to make the score 7-0 heading into the fourth.
Continuing to dominate in the circle, Ford issued a quick 1-2-3 inning with three consecutive ground outs to keep the Netherlands off the board while Team USA got two runners aboard in the bottom of the frame but were left stranded after a fly out ended the inning. With the run-rule in affect, Ford once again shut down the Netherlands offense to claim the no-hitter and seal the 7-0 run-rule (five innings) victory to send Team USA to the 2022 Canada Cup Championship Game for a rematch against T.C. Colorado.
Palacios and Pleasants led the U.S. offense with one home run apiece as Reynolds and Jaquish each contributed with a double and a run scored. Dominating in the circle, Ford kept the Netherlands offense off the board through five innings with three strikeouts to record Team USA’s second no-hitter of the tournament.
Team USA 5, T.C. Colorado 1
Meeting for the third time this tournament, T.C. Colorado got off to a hot start in the top of the first as back-to-back singles followed by a fielding miscue allowed the first run of the game to score. A sac bunt would put runners in scoring position for T.C. Colorado, but Carda – who got the start in the circle for the U.S. – zoned in with a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning and limit the damage to one run.
Consecutive 1-2-3 innings from both teams kept the game quiet until Flippen drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. Jaquish followed with a solid line drive to center field, advancing to third on the play while Flippen was thrown out on an attempt to score at home. A fly out to center field would look to strand Jaquish at third, but a walk to Palacios extended the inning to allow Pleasants to come through with a clutch single through the right side to score one and advance Palacios to third before stealing home to give Team USA a 2-1 edge headed into the third.
A leadoff triple followed by a walk from T.C. Colorado would look to threaten the U.S. lead, but the Eagles were unfazed as Jaquish fired a ball to second to prevent a steal while a ground out and a strikeout would end the at-bat with the U.S. holding on to the one-run lead.
Both sides were quiet through the next two innings of play until Palacios broke the silence with an infield single followed by a pinch-hit double from Alexander. With runners on second and third, Kowalik sent an infield ground ball to the right side to allow Michelle Moultrie – pinch runner for Palacios – to speed home for another U.S. run with Team USA now leading, 3-1.
Remaining superior in the circle, Carda dominated the T.C. Colorado lineup while forcing a fly out and back-to-back line outs to retire the side in order and send the U.S. back to the plate where the Eagles tacked on two more runs thanks to a single from Flippen and a two-run home run from Jaquish. With a 5-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh, Carda closed out the game with a strikeout and two ground outs to earn the U.S. the victory and the 2022 Canada Cup International Softball Championship title.
With a 2-3 performance at the plate, Jaquish recorded two RBI in the Championship win while Carda went the distance in the circle, striking out five batters and limiting T.C. Colorado to four hits to lead Team USA to victory.