White Sox end world championship with loss

TONY SMITH
Last updated 08:46 20/07/2012

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The New Zealand White Sox's innings closed at the women's world softball championship today with a 2-1 loss to Chinese Taipei in a tight encounter in Canada.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Chinese Taipei  led off with an automatic home run by Yang Ti Ting at Whitehorse, Yukon.

Chinese Taipei doubled their lead in the sixth inning when Lin Fen Chen struck a three-base hit and scored on Li Yu Ting's single.

The White Sox pulled back a run in the top of the seventh after they had runners at first and second bases when substitute Danica Ferriso picked a walk and Lara Andrews was hit by a pitch. 

Chinese Taipei made a pitching change but White Sox catcher Melanie Gettins stepped up and drove a hit to score Ferriso from second base.

With Andrews, the potential tying run, at second base ,  White Sox coach Naomi Shaw pulled pitcher Michal Tangaroa into bat.  But she popped up to third base for the second out and top batter Te Reo Powhiri Matautia grounded out to the pitcher to end the game, and the tournament for the White Sox.

Chinese Taipei outbatted New Zealand five hits to two with Andrews and Gettins picking up the White Sox's only hits.

Tangaroa continued her solid form on the pitching mound, shutting out Chinese Taipei for the first three innings before conceding her first hit in the fourth frame.  She gave up five hits and took three strikeouts to end the tournament with a respectable 1.50 earned run average.

White Sox pitching coach Debbie Mygind brought Megan Farrell on to the mound for the final inning. Farrell had walked in the vital, match-deciding run in New Zealand's 6-5 defeat to Italy yesterday.  But the experienced Aucklander showed great grit to shut down Chinese Taipei.  She did not give up a hit or a walk and nabbed a strikeout.

The White Sox finished the tournament with a two-win five-loss record.  They will finish sixth in section B, which means an overall placing of 11th or 12th for the tournament.

But Shaw will insist the tournament has been a significant improvement on the 2010 world championships  in Venezuela where the White Sox were 12th, a record low.

They lost two key games at Whitehorse by one run and Shaw believes her young team - average age 20 -   has "outstanding potential and talent'' and will get better with experience and more exposure to top-level softball.

Chinese Taipei will qualify for the top-four playoffs if Italy - conquerors of the Kiwis -  lose, as expected, later today to host nation Canada.

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