T'AI-NAN CITY, Taiwan - OU All-American Norrelle Dickson is one of 17 collegiate softball players currently representing the Red, White and Blue at the 2nd World University Championships (July 15-23) in Tainan City, Taiwan. The USA squad improved to a perfect 4-0 after claiming victories over South Africa, Thailand, Japan and Australia this week.
The United States and host Chinese Taipei are the only undefeated teams remaining in preliminary pool play as the two squads will face off on Thursday in the final match up before playoff rounds begin.
Dickson, a senior left fielder for the Sooners, was instrumental in the USA’s 4-2 victory over Japan on Tuesday. Her sixth-inning two-out RBI single gave the United States a 3-1 lead.
No stranger to the USA scene, Dickson is participating in her second World University Softball Championships after she helped the United States claim the inaugural title in 2004 in Plant City, Fla.
The World University Team is coached by Head Coach Carol Hutchins (Head Coach at Michigan), Assistant Coach Mike Larabee (Head Coach at Wright State), Assistant Coach Mark Lumley (Assistant Coach at Baylor) and Assistant Coach Jay Miller (Head Coach at Mississippi State).
Joining Dickson on the team are Callista Balko (Tucson, Ariz., Arizona); Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas, Texas); Courtney Bures (Haymarket, Va., Mississippi State); Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Ariz., Arizona State); Christina Clark (Santa Ana, Calif., Fresno State); Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif., Arizona State); Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn., Tennessee); Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill., Michigan); Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif., Arizona); Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif., Stanford); Brianne McGowan (Reno, Nev., Oregon State); Cambria Miranda (Camarillo, Calif., Oregon State); Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev., Stanford); Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich., Michigan); Lindsay Schutzler (Monterey, Calif., Tennessee) and Angela Tincher (Eagle Rock, Va., Virginia Tech).
While no box scores from the games are available, below are recaps of the first four games, courtesy of USA Softball. For more information, visit the official Web site of the 2nd World University Softball Championships at www.2006wusc.org.tw/.
USA 15, South Africa 0 (4 Innings)
Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Michigan) had a strong outing, striking out seven of the nine batters she faced in three innings. A five-run first inning served notice that the USA has explosive offensive power. Lindsay Schutzler (Monterey, Calif./Tennessee) opened the USA first with a triple.
Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn./Tennessee), Christina Clark (Santa Ana, Calif./Fresno State), Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill./Michigan) who posted two RBI and Kristi Fox (San Diego, Calif./Arizona) all scored. The USA added six runs in the third, the big blow a triple by Katie Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif./Arizona State), and doubles by Schutzler and Fekete. In the 4th the score now 13-0, Fekete singled and scored on Clark’s home run which ended the game, 15-0. Schutzler went 3-for-3 while Brianne McGowan pitched the 4th, retiring two of three batters on strikeouts.
USA 7, THAILAND 0 (5 Innings)
When the USA Junior World team faced Thai pitcher Sasithorn Wilairak in Nanjing, the American batters run-ruled her in five innings. Two years later, the same result ensued. Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Arizona State) pitched the first three innings, striking out seven of nine batters, and allowing no hits. Angela Tincher (Eagle Rock, Va./Virginia Tech) pitched the last two innings, gave up one hit while fanning four. Courtney Bures (Haymarket, Va./Mississippi State) doubled in two runs in the 1st. In the 2nd, Lindsay Schutzler drove in two runs with a triple, and scored on Sarah Fekete’s (Maryville, Tenn./Tennessee) single. Tina Boutelle (Katy, T.X./Texas) tripled and scored in the 4th on a single by Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev./Stanford).
In other games in day one, Taipei defeated Australia, and Japan defeated South Africa, which is making its debut in international competition.
USA 4, JAPAN 2
While the USA National Team was defeating their Japanese counterpart and best pitcher Ueno, the USA World University team remained unbeaten at the 2nd World University Championship defeating Japanese ace Fujiwara 4-2.
USA went up 1-0 in the top of the third, when Callista Balko (Salinas, Calif./Arizona) jacked a solo homer off starter Uemura. For a brief shining moment, a golden opportunity seemed reachable when Samantha Findlay (Lockport, IL./Michigan) slashed a line drive down the left field foul line and both Norrelle Dickson (Orange, Calif./Oklahoma) and Christina Clark (Santa Ana, Calif./Fresno State) raced home. But, after considerable discussion, the umpires reversed the play and two would be stranded as Findlay struck out.
Japan tallied a run off USA starter Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Arizona State) in the fourth when Suzuki singled and scored on Nakano’s RBI.
The USA broke the tie with two runs in the sixth. Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif./Arizona) led off with a single and would score on a double by Cambria Miranda (Camarillo, Calif.) who pitch hit for Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif./Stanford). With two outs and Miranda on third, Dickson singled for an RBI. Japan added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Suzuki was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a passed ball.
The final USA run started with a single by Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev./Stanford) to open the seventh. Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas/Texas) drove Rinehart home with a two-out single.
Angela Tincher (Eagle Rock, Vir./Virginia Tech), who got the win, struck out two of three batters in the final inning.
USA 9, AUSTRALIA 1 (5 Innings)
It was a typical hot summer afternoon in southern Taiwan, however, this game, Australia vs. USA, though it was not a Chinese Taipei game, it still attracted a full crowd to watch.
Perhaps it is winter time for Australia, and Australian players are not used to hot and humid summer days in Taiwan. The starting pitcher for Australia, Justine Smethurst, allowed five runs in the first two innings while relief pitcher, Tatiana Holodnow, pitched against nine American batters, allowing two walks and four hits. The strong offense of USA defeated Australia in the 5th inning. Tina Boutelle and Cambria Miranda added two RBI each in the USA’s triumph. Former Michigan hurler Jennie Ritter earned the win after allowing only five hits and one run.
USA moved to 4-0 while Australia fell to 2-2 at the Championships.