The 12th installment of the World Cup of Softball just wrapped up and the No. 2-ranked United States took three Bruins to Oklahoma City.
2015 alumnus Ally Carda, rising junior Paige Halstead and 2017 alumnus Delaney Spaulding represented both UCLA and their country against the likes of No. 1-ranked Japan and No. 3 Canada.
Like this year, the United States took two teams to the World Cup in 2016, its national team and a team called USA Elite. The two squads went 6-1 and 4-2, respectively.
Team USA finished third overall in 2016 but this year, it bested that record.
The U.S. finished in second place this year, having won seven of the eight games it played – including one against the U.S.’s own junior team – by no less than four runs.
Its only loss came at the hands of Japan, who held the U.S. to just one run Sunday morning and came away with a 2-1 victory.
Japan took the tournament with that win, knocking the U.S. into second place overall.
The U.S. junior team came in fifth, with an even 4-4 record.
The U.S.’s last victory was late Saturday against No. 4 Australia, a contest which it won 10-1. Both Halstead and Spaulding were in the lineup for the game against the Australians.
Halstead saw only minor action throughout the tournament and Saturday afternoon was no different. She had one at-bat and saw just four pitches before flying out.
Overall, Halstead had just four at-bats in the three games she played and reached base just once on an RBI double.
Carda’s appearances have been similarly sparse. She was in the lineup of just two of the United States’ eight total games.
She went 0-for-3 and reached base only after being hit by a pitch in the U.S.’s second game against Mexico.
Spaulding, on the other hand, saw significantly more playing time, taking part in almost all of the team’s games.
Averaging .474 for the entire tournament, Spaulding had nine hits and eight RBIs over the five days of play.
The World Cup of Softball serves primarily as a series of exhibition games that leads into a tournament in the Dominican Republic in early August.
This tournament in turn serves as a qualifier for both the 2018 Softball World Championship and the 2019 Pan American games.
The World Cup of Softball kicks off the next three years of softball tournaments that lead up to the Olympics.
The 2020 Summer Games will mark softball’s return to the Olympics and the process to decide exactly who will represent the United States in Tokyo has officially begun.
The three Bruins in Oklahoma, by virtue of being on this team, have started the process of securing themselves spots on that Olympic team.