NATIONAL TEAM GAMES
As reported by USA Softball
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2011
May-Johnson leads Women’s National team to two victories over Juniors
SALEM, Va. — In front of 2,922 fans at the Salem RedSox Single A stadium, the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) notched two more exhibition victories over the Junior Women’s National team (JWNT) on Wednesday night. Game one was close until the sixth inning when the WNT opened the lead for the eventual 6-1 win while game two saw a decisive 11-0 victory in just five innings.
“I thought defensively we played really really well,” said WNT head coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “I was excited about the challenges that were posed to us in game one. We came up with some crucial plays and situations where they had runners in scoring position. I really like the way we came through with clutch hitting at times today. Our pitching was outstanding and the catchers behind the plate did a really nice job. They are coming together and the more communication they get to do every day with working with each other, the more we will benefit in the long run.”
WNT third baseman Stacey May-Johnson (Reno, Nev.) led the squad with a 3-for-5 evening including a solo home run and three runs scored.
“I saw some good pitches to hit tonight and definitely had some good hitters behind me and in front of me. It’s a lot easier to hit when you have runners on base and somebody on deck behind you so I think those guys really bought me some good pitches and I was able to capitalize on that,” said May-Johnson on her performance.
For the JWNT, they totaled nine hits and one run on the night as Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) led the way also going 3-for-5. Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.) was 2-for-4 in the game one loss.
“Well I feel like we are improving because the level of competition we are playing against,” said JWNT head coach Karen Johns. “We really put the ownership on our team to come out and play really well so that we can help our national team get ready for the competition they are about to face going up to Canada and playing two of the best teams in the World in Japan and Australia. Overall I thought our kids played well and had some great at bats and unbelievable defensive plays and was really proud of our effort.”
GAME 1 – Women’s National Team 6 Junior Women’s National Team 1
Starting pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) earned the win for the home team tossing five complete innings with five strikeouts and one run scored. Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) led all hitters with a 2-for-3 outing and two RBI.
Scoreless through one and half, the WNT jumped on top in the bottom of the second inning when Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) led off with an infield single to first before May-Johnson moved her to second with a perfect sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) laced a single through the right side to plate Cochran for the 1-0 advantage.
The lead was short lived for the WNT as the JWNT knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of third when a leadoff single from Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) sparked the offense. With one out, Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) placed an infield single to third base before Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.) roped a base hit to centerfield that caused a throw to the plate, but an error from WNT catcher Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) scored Salvarola for the tie.
The speed of Gibson placed the second run on the scoreboard for the WNT with an inside the park home run. The second baseman connected on a deep fly ball to right field as Salvarola stumbled trying to field the ball and it rolled to the fence plating Gibson for a 2-1 lead.
One swing from third baseman May-Johnson pushed the game to a 3-1 difference in favor of the WNT in the bottom of the fourth inning. She launched a 1-1 pitch to centerfield for her first-ever home run in the USA jersey.
“It was pretty cool and it was a pretty fun run around the bases, I don’t know if there is really a way to describe it,” added May-Johnson.
Shelby Pendley (Albuquerque, N.M.) reached scoring position for the JWNT in the top of the sixth with a double to left center but the defense of the WNT held strong leaving her stranded.
The home team stretched the lead to the eventual 6-1 final in the bottom of the sixth inning when two runs scored for the WNT on a throwing error from JWNT third baseman Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and a third was recorded off a Gibson double that saw Molly Johnson (Tucson, Ariz.) cross home plate.
Lauren Haeger took the loss.
GAME 2 – Women’s National Team 11 Junior Women’s National Team 0
The WNT jumped on top quick in game two scoring two runs in the top of the second off three straight hits. Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) and M. Johnson turned in back-to-back hits before scoring on a double off the bat of Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.).
The real damage was done in the third inning when the WNT scored nine runs off six hits and two errors. With a dominating 11-0 lead, the inning was highlighted by a solo home run from Cochran and a Christie Orgeron (New Orleans, La.) two-RBI single up the middle.
From the circle, Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) earned the win in the circle with three hitless innings and four strikeouts. Lefty Whitney Canion (Aledo, Texas) completed the final innings allowing one hit with five strikeouts before the game was ended due to the run-ahead rule.
For the JWNT arsenal, Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) suited up working 2.1 innings but was saddled with the loss allowing eight earned runs.
Up next, both teams will travel to Bowie, Maryland where they will play their final exhibition series on Friday evening at the Baysox Stadium. Game one begins at 6:35 p.m.
The Women’s National Team will continue on to the Canadian Open FastPitch International Championship, July 9-17, in Surrey, B.C., and then the World Cup of Softball VI, July 21-25, in Oklahoma City. Ticket information for upcoming appearances is available at USASoftball.com.
The USA Softball Women’s National Team will seek the program’s ninth Pan American Games title, Oct. 17-23, in Guadalajara, Mexico for the final competition of 2011. Two months later, the juniors head to South Africa to close out the year for USA Softball.