BRAMPTON, Ont. – Freshman Danica Mercado and the USA Softball Junior National Team celebrated Independence Day in fitting fashion with four- and five-inning wins over Korea and New Zealand Thursday.
In the final day of the ISF Junior World Championships’ opening round pool play, Team USA (7-0) opened with a 10-0 victory over Korea (2-4), then topped New Zealand (4-2) by a 7-0 count.
In the finale vs. the Kiwis, Mercado started at second base and hit safely for the fourth straight game with her 1-for-2 effort. In the second inning, the Temecula, Calif., native hit her first homer of the tournament – a solo shot with one out. So far for the tourney, Mercado is hitting .500 in her four contests (4-for-8, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI).
“The girls are doing a great job of staying in every game and attacking from the first pitch,” Team USA Head Coach Tairia Flowers said. “We’re prepared to start the playoff rounds, but there are still some things we can work on. Defensively we aren’t getting as many opportunities as we’d like, but the girls are starting to understand and read each other.”
Looking ahead, playoff action follows on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday’s action will feature the bronze medal, consolation final and gold medal games starting at 8:00 a.m.
With Thursday’s wins, the U.S. earned the No. 1 seed in Pool A heading into playoffs and will play Friday at 2 p.m. vs. Australia – the No. 2 seed in Pool B.
Along with the U.S., Japan is the only other team left at the JWWC who is undefeated.