US National Team's Young Players Capture Coveted Title

By TSC Analyst/Contributor DANIEL URBAN

OKLAHOMA CITY  Well Team USA has done it again. Though the best veteran fastpitch superstars are playing exclusively for the NPF this year, some of the best young players in the nation still opted to wear the red, white and blue and play for Team USA. 
Some of the superstars of recent Women's College World Series, including UCLA's Megan Langenfeld, Baylor's Whitney Canion, and Michigan's Jordan Taylor, were represented on the team. Team USA also had a long-time NPF star in Stacy May-Johnson. 
The Americans went 5-1 during the tournament with their lone loss coming to Canada 4-3. Team USA used a four-pitcher rotation with innings split relatively evenly. 
The first pitcher was Whitney Canion, a recent graduate from Baylor who led her team to the WCWS in 2011. The second was Jordan Taylor, a statistical marvel who pitched for four years at Michigan but never did very well in the NCAA playoffs. The third was Keilani Ricketts, a star pitcher from Oklahoma who also led her team to the WCWS in 2011. The final pitcher was Chelsea Thomas, a breakout ace pitcher for Missou who led her team to the WCWS in 2011 as well, making the elite eight. 
The star pitcher for Team USA during this tournament was Whitney Canion. Canion started two of the team's six games and finished with a 2-0 record, 13 innings pitched, a 1.08 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and 2 walks. Her signature moment was a complete game shutout against Great Britain. 
The American's #2 pitcher was Jordan Taylor. Taylor also started two games and wound up 1-0, 12 innings pitched, a 1.17 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 2 walks. 
Team USA allowed Keilani Ricketts only one start but used her in two other games as a relief pitcher.  Ricketts made the most of her time on the mound and finished the tournament with a 2-0 record, 6 innings pitched, 1.17 ERA, 4 strikeouts and 3 walks. 
Like Ricketts, Chelsea Thomas was also given just one start, but Thomas made an appearance in relief for five of Team USA's six games. Unfortunately she was the worst performing pitcher of the USA's stable of arms, but she still did pretty well, winding up with an 0-1 record, 8 innings pitched, 2.62 ERA, 9 strikeouts and 2 walks. She only gave up 7 hits but 2 were doubles and one was a home run. Thomas was good, but not quite good enough to rank with the other three pitchers. 
From the plate, there were two players who really drove Team USA's offense: Stacy May-Johnson and Valerie Arrioto. 
Stacy May-Johnson graduated from Iowa in 2007 and played three remarkable years with the NPF Chicago Bandits before deciding to take a roster spot with Team USA this year. During the World Cup she performed exactly how you would expect, hitting for a .353 average with 5 runs, 6 hits, 2 home runs and 7 RBI.  She contributed an average of at least one hit and one RBI per game. 
The other offensive dynamo for the US was Valerie Arrioto. Arrioto graduated from Cal in 2011 and she was easily the best hitter of the tournament. She hit for a .438 average with 4 runs, 7 hits, 5 total extra base hits, 2 home runs and 11 RBI.  Arrioto's production was absolutely indispensable to the Team USA offense. 
The Americans scored a total of 39 runs during the tournament, and May-Johnson and Arrioto were responsible for 27 of them! That means May-Johnson and Arrioto were responsible for almost 70% of Team USA's entire offense. 
Another great show by the US National Team. Even with all of the big names in the NPF this year, Team USA still has by far the best players and it is not surprising that they won it all. Good show. Go USA! Read more.