Edebone Weber Gilley's Shield
Round 1 Rosedale Park
Auckland, New Zealand
December 12 - 15
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4 July 2012
USA World Cup Recap
The week went very quickly and before we knew it we were getting ready to play in the championship game against the United States. Our week started well, practicing out at the University of Oklahoma for 2 days. This was very enjoyable although the weather was over 40 both days, it was a good way to help us acclimatise ourselves to the weather before having to go out and actually play in it.
On the days we had late games there was a lot of down time in our schedule. Which meant a lot of shopping was done, serious shopping! Everyone started at the mall or the local sports store (which is massive) called Academy Sports, then we started branching out and went to the premium outlets which had brands like Coach, Michael Kors, Nike, Under Armor and Polo Ralph Lauren to only name a few. Let's just say some serious dollars were spent there, but considering the amount everyone purchased our wallets were still full. This is due to everything being so much cheaper over here compared to the prices we pay at home!
Not only did we shop, but we were able to indulge our taste buds in some restaurants that we don't have in Australia! On a daily basis you would see familiar faces in Chipotle (Mexican food), Panera Bread (amazing sandwiches/salads/soups) or another place next to that which also had sandwiches and also a new found favorite among some teammates and our coaching staff cinabon. Which is really just a cinnamon scroll, but it has hot cinnamon frosting poured over it to make it irresistible for some of us. other places we would go for dinner were places like olive garden (Italian and home of all you can eat breadsticks, soup and salad), red lobster, elephant bar and cheesecake factory.
Although it sounds like we were on a big shopping and eating holiday, we were actually there to represent Australia and play softball. We started the rounds of with a game against Brazil, their team was filled with a few Japanese and one that plays against Stacey Porter and Justine Smethurst in the professional Japanese league. We knew nothing about this team and it was exciting to play them, I got my first start of the tournament it was exciting to just get out there and finally play some softball with the Spirit girls! Next day we had a double header, first up was Canada and it was a tight game which came down to our own Brenda De Blaes hitting a walk off hit in the bottom on the 7th leading us to victory. This was the first time this tour I was under pressure in my pitching, sending me out to the mound in the top 7th after Canada had equalled the game up.
Later that night we played USA, this game was exciting in many ways we were playing live on ESPN, they are the defending USA World Cup champions, and it was a chance to prove to them we can play right along side them! I was honored enough to get the start, and we went head to head with them for basically the whole game, although the score line said different we definitely played an amazing game. We had no errors and out hit them, their hits were just more timely and effective than ours. Although a lot of positives came out from this game and had us playing some awesome ball. Our goal was to make the championship game and we only had 2 more teams to get past before our goal was reached. First was Puerto Rico which was a good hit out for us, like Brazil we didn't have much information on them and they had some players that had gone through the American college system. Our last team in round play was the Netherlands, this turned out to be a semi-final game considering the Dutch team was the other team that was tied with the same record as us! This was a tight game and was 0-0 for a long time in the game until again Brenda De Blaes broke the tie was a solo home run over left field fence. The final score was 4-0 which was enough to advance us into the championship game (reaching our goal).
Championship game, wow the atmosphere was crazy nothing like we have ever experienced at home in Australia. We had our small group of supporters but nothing like the roar that erupted when the USA lineup was announced. Although this game didn't go in our favour, noone could take away the fact that we had reached our goal and made the championship game, it was awesome to have the experience of this type of game so we won't be so overwhelmed at World Championships.
Overall the first part of our journey for gold was amazing, we started our run really strong and haven't peaked which means we can only go up from here!
Currently we are sitting on the plane going to the next part in our journey, the Canadian Fastpitch International where we will play a few more teams including Japan, Venezuela and New Zealand. This is our last lead up tournament before heading up to Whitehorse, Yukon for the World championships. Kez and I will continue to share our journey with you, as it is very exciting and something we have both aspired to do for a long long time!!
Over and out for now,
for a fun weekend
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