SURREY, B.C. -- Four members of the University of Michigan's national championship softball team have continued their success on the international level with USA Softball's Elite team, led by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins. USA is 6-0 in Canada Cup pool play thus far after defeating American Pastime, 10-1, in a run-rule decision last night (Wednesday, July 6).
All-American Jessica Merchant (Wayland, Mich./Wayland HS) broke through for her first hit of the tournament with an RBI single, and Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./East HS) drove in her fifth run of the tournament with a single of her own. Findlay is hitting .333 in six starts, and her five RBI are the team's second-best total.
One night earlier (July 5), Wolverine Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) continued her solid tournament by earning her first victory in relief of a 7-4 win over New Zealand. Ritter is 1-0 with a 0.66 earned run average and eight strikeouts in 10.2 innings of work over three appearances. She was helped to the victory against New Zealand by college teammate Findlay, who cracked USA's first home run of the season in the win.
On July 4 Ritter gave perhaps her best performance of the tournament, earning the start and providing four perfect innings for the Red, White and Blue in an eventual 1-0 win over Canada. Ritter did not figure in the decision when a predetermined pitching rotation pulled the Michigan All-American after the fourth inning. Despite a 2-for-3 effort from Findlay, USA did not plate the game-winner until the eighth.
Tiffany Haas (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) has also played a key role for the Red, White and Blue, scoring four runs thus far, including a pair in the 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic in the first of two games on the nation's birthday. In fact, the Wolverines figured in all five runs of the win over the Dominicans as Findlay collected a two-RBI single, and Merchant drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to go with Haas' two runs scored.
Haas also singled and scored in a 4-0 win over China in USA's second game of pool play on July 3. USA opened the tournament on July 2 with a 1-0 win over the Carbondale Cougars as Ritter again provided clutch pitching in a tight contest. She entered the game in the fifth with a 1-0 lead and provided three shutout innings and four punch-outs.
USA completes pool play tonight (July 7, 8:30 PDT) vs. Triple Crown Colorado before moving on to bracket play.
"I think these kids are really excited to play for the USA, and I think once the battle gets going in the brackets they will really bring forth their competitive spirit and energy," stated Hutchins.
USA Softball's Canada Cup Coverage
Contact: Rich Marion (734) 763-4423