World Cup of Softball 2012: Why United States Must Improve to Win It All
The United States is looking solid thus far in the World Cup of Softball after jumping out to a 3-0 start. Their latest win against the Netherlands, 2-1, was just another shining example of this team's need to step their game up moving forward.
Pitching hasn't been much of a problem for the U.S. at this point. The Americans have only surrendered two runs in total, having shut out Puerto Rico and then allowing a run to both Australia and the Netherlands.
But where the United States hasn't been very impressive is on the offensive side of the ball. Sure, they pummeled Puerto Rico 8-0 in the opening game of the tournament, but so did the Netherlands, 7-2. Clearly, Puerto Rico isn't too solid as far as pitching is concerned, so the result with the U.S. can be taken with a grain of salt.
Against Australia, the Americans were only able to muster up four hits despite scoring three runs. In comparison, their opponents had six hits in the game. To make matters worse, the U.S. didn't enjoy good defense and committed two errors.
After, coach Ken Eriksen even stated his team's need to play better, according to the Associated Press, per ESPN.com.
"We can play a lot better...If I was a paying customer tonight, I would maybe want to see a little bit better game tomorrow so I can have my money's worth," Eriksen said.
In their latest game against the Dutch, the Americans' bats were far more alive with seven hits. However, the U.S. could only get two runs across home plate and made the outcome of this game a little too close for comfort.
There's no doubt the United States has great pitching, but even great pitching can take a day off here and there. If the Americans want to win this tournament, they must start scoring more runs moving forward.
Playing one-run games on a nightly basis is a dangerous way to win, and it's hard to depend on a pitcher to hold an opposing offense to one or two runs every night. Along with better offense, it's even more vital the U.S. doesn't give extra outs to some of the better teams in this tournament.
They are clearly the class of this tourney, but even with that being said, the United States still must improve if they want to be the World Cup champs.
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