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Missouri players Thomas, Taylor help USA win softball World Cup

Friday, July 6, 2012 | 6:26 p.m. CDT; updated 9:19 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 9, 2012

Current Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas and 2011 graduate Rhea Taylor helped the USA National Softball team to its sixth World Cup title.

The team competed at the World Cup of Softball VII on June 28 through July 2,posting a 6-0 record. The U.S. beat Australia 3-0 in the championship game on Monday.

Missouri softball assistant coach Pete D'Amour said he enjoys the exposure Missouri receives as a result of having current and former players competing at the national level.

"It kind of means we're developing players well enough to get to the national team," he said. "Everybody around the country sees them and everyone around the world."

Thomas went 3-0 with one save, totaling 21 strikeouts and one walk in 13 innings pitched. In the five games she appeared in, Thomas gave up five hits and led the team with a 0.00 ERA. D'Amour feels that Thomas has become more of a professional by playing on the national team.

Taylor, a former Missouri outfielder, was second on the team with a .500 batting average, and led the team with nine hits. Taylor tied for the lead with Valerie Arioto, 2012 graduate of University of California- Berkeley, with seven runs. Taylor was also 6-6 on stolen base attempts, the only player on the team with more than two.

This is the second year Thomas and Taylor have both participated in the World Cup, also helping USA win its fifth World Cup Title in 2011.

"They are special athletes," D'Amour said. "They really soak in knowledge and work on what the coaching staff tells them to do. You can give kids all the knowledge as a coach, but they have to work on that. They do that more than anybody we have."

As of Friday afternoon, the USA National Team was undefeated at the Canadian Open FastPitch Championship in Surrey, British Columbia. Thomas pitched 2 2/3 innings in the USA's 5-4 win over Venezuela on July 4, giving up one run and striking out three. The next day, Thomas threw five scoreless innings and struck out eight in the team's 8-0 win over Puerto Rico. Taylor has a .200 batting average and has stolen one base in the two games she has appeared.

Later in the month, USA will travel to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada for the International Softball Federation Women's World FastPitch Championship.


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