World Cup of Softball 2014: Picks and Predictions for Entire Tournament

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World Cup of Softball 2014: Picks and Predictions for Entire Tournament
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

If you're a fan of United States team sports and in a lingering patriotic mood, the 2014 World Cup of Softball has got you covered. Team USA will look to capture its seventh title in this event starting July 7 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine, California.

This isn't a tournament that leaves the masses wanting for four years like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics, but the burgeoning event is growing into an annual summer tradition for softball fans.

The inaugural World Cup of Softball was in 2005, and the tournament has run every year since then save for a single hiatus in 2008. West Coast fans of the sport should consider themselves lucky as this will be the largest World Cup of Softball ever, with seven national teams participating from across the globe.

Here are picks for the entire tournament, followed by a preview of who and what to watch for in this event.

2014 World Cup of Softball Schedule and Predictions
Date Time (PDT) Matchup Prediction
July 7 11:00 a.m. Philippines vs. Venezuela Venezuela
July 7 2:00 p.m. Venezuela vs. Chinese-Taipei Chinese-Taipei
July 7 4:30 p.m. Canada vs. Japan Japan
July 7 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Mexico* (exhibition) USA
July 8 11:00 a.m. Venezuela vs. Japan Japan
July 8 2:00 p.m. Philippines vs. Mexico Mexico
July 8 4:30 p.m. Canada vs. Chinese-Taipei Canada
July 8 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Venezuela USA
July 9 11:00 a.m. Philippines vs. Canada Canada
July 9 2:00 p.m. Canada vs. Venezuela Venezuela
July 9 4:30 p.m. Japan vs. Mexico Japan
July 9 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Philippines USA
July 10 12:30 p.m. Chinese-Taipei vs. Mexico Chinese-Taipei
July 10 6:00 p.m. USA vs. Canada (Pink Game) USA
July 10 8:30 p.m. Japan vs. Philippines Japan
July 11 10:00 a.m. Mexico vs. Venezuela Mexico
July 11 12:30 p.m. Chinese-Taipei vs. Philippines Philippines
July 11 6:00 p.m. USA vs. Japan USA
July 12 10:00am USA vs. Mexico Mexico
July 12 12:30 p.m. Mexico vs. Canada Canada
July 12 5:00 p.m. USA vs. Chinese-Taipei USA
July 12 7:00 p.m. Chinese-Taipei vs. Japan Japan
July 13 10:00 a.m. No. 1 USA vs. No. 2 Japan USA
July 13 12:30 p.m. No. 7 Philippines vs. No. 6 Venezuela Venezuela
July 13 2:00 p.m. No. 5 Chinese-Taipei vs. No. 6 Venezuela Chinese-Taipei
July 13 4:00 p.m. No. 3 Canada vs. No. 4 Mexico Canada, *exhibition, does not count toward standings

Live Stream:

Tournament Preview

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

This is an event the United States almost always dominates from the first pitch to the final out. They've won six of the eight World Cups and never finished worse than second place.

In fact, the United States took first and third place in 2010, as the Futures squad entered the tournament and proved they were nearly as strong as the senior team.

Japan is the only other winner of this tournament, and the defending champions are the favorites alongside the host nation. They defeated the United States 6-3 in the final of the 2013 World Cup of Softball.

Lauren Gibson will lead the way for the United States in the batter's box. The former University of Tennessee Volunteer was named the 2013 SEC Player of the Year after posting a .401 batting average, 19 home runs, 68 RBI and just 17 strikeouts. She was a member of Team USA for the 2011 and 2012 World Cup wins.

On the mound, look for Sara Nevins, a key member of last year's squad, to reestablish her dominance. The left-handed Nevins is a former University of Oregon standout. She posted a 26-9 record with a 1.20 ERA as a senior for the Ducks in 2013.

Sara Groenewegen will establish herself as a key threat for Canada. She's coming off a stellar freshman season for the University of Minnesota, going 14-3 with a 2.23 ERA on the mound while slugging 11 home runs and posting a .418 on-base percentage.

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Canada will look to break up the stranglehold Japan and the United States have on this tournament; they've never finished better than third place in this event.

Kana Nakano will return to play for Japan; she was the pitcher of record in Japan's win over the United States in the 2013 title game.

As for the remaining teams, this is the first World Cup of Softball appearance for Chinese-Taipei, Mexico and the Philippines. Venezuela will participate in this event for the first time since 2011.

Look for the United States and Japan to run the table, with the host nation getting a revenge victory and taking the title in this year's competition.

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