In just her third game in a USA Softball Women’s National Team uniform, Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) blasted a two-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to end a 0-0 tie against the USA Softball Women’s Elite Team. The hit was Fischer’s second of the game and her third as a member of Team USA.
“I knew she was going to give me something good to hit,” said Fischer. I started the at-bat by swinging at two strikes but I settled down and just found a good one and hit it where it was pitched.”
For a large part of the night it was a pitcher’s duel in a game that saw eight different players enter the circle. Due to a rain delay, the first pitch, which was originally scheduled for 6 p.m., didn’t go off until 8:30 in the evening. Keilani Ricketts threw first for the home USA National Team. In two innings of action, Ricketts retired six-of-seven batters only giving up one hit, a single to Madison Shipman (Valencia, Calif.) in the top of the second.
Ellen Renfroe (Jackson, Tenn.) got the start for the USA Elite Team and also saw two innings. Taking advantage of her opportunity, Renfroe sat down all six batters that she faced going three up, three down in both of the first two innings.
Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) took her turn the circle in the top of the third and picked up where Ricketts had left off. Thomas began the inning by forcing a ground out to second base and followed that with two strikeouts to end the top half of the inning.
Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) replaced Renfroe in the bottom of the third for the USA Elite Team. She retired the first two batters she faced but followed it by giving up two singles to put runners at first and second. An error at third in the next at-bat loaded the bases for the Women’s National Team but they were unable to take advantage of the opportunity when Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nevada) flew out to right field.
Both teams again made pitching changes to begin the fourth inning. The Women’s National Team brought in Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif.) while the Women’s Elite Team went with Jolene Henderson (Sacramento, Calif.). In two innings of work, Taylor avoided giving up a hit and recorded three swinging strikeouts. Henderson record four strikeouts of her own in the fifth and sixth innings but also gave up singles to Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jessica Shults (Valencia, Calif.). Despite the hits the National Team again failed to put runs on the board.
Both teams made their final pitching changes to start the seventh inning with the USA National Team bringing in Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) and Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) entering for the USA Elite Team.
Traina started by giving up a single to Rebecca Gamby (Mt. Victory, Ohio) but retired the next six batters she faced striking out four in the process.
A single and an error in the top of the sixth put two runners on base for the USA National Team but again they were unable to capitalize as Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) struck out to end the inning. Escobedo started the bottom of the eighth by striking out the first two batters she faced. With two outs and no one on base, Samantha Fischer stepped to the plate. After two strikes, the Loyola Marymount alum belted a solo shot over the left field fence securing the win for the USA National Team.
This was the third and final game in a series of exhibition matchups between the USA Softball Women’s National Team and the USA Softball Women’s Elite Team. The USA Women’s National Team will now continue on to Oklahoma City for the Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration Game against Canada on June 23 and the World Cup of Softball VII presented by Lumber Liquidators, June 27- July 2, also in Oklahoma City.
Following the World Cup, the USA Women’s National Team is slated to compete July 4-9 at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada, and July 13-22 at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.