Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) suffered their first loss at the Pan American Championship, dropping a 7-2 (eight innings) decision to Mexico. The U.S. was unable to overcome a five-run outing by Mexico in the top of the eighth inning after the game was forced into extra-innings.
“Mexico played a very good game today,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “They were relentless and played with no fear. You have to tip your hat to them.”
It was a scoreless ballgame through the first four innings of play as both U.S. starter Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) and Mexico’s Dallas Escobedo kept both teams off the scoreboard. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered the game for Team USA in the top of the fifth and continued the momentum with three-straight groundouts.
The score would stand at 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth when the U.S. plated two runs. Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) tripled with two outs before Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) hit a two-run blast over the right field fence to give the U.S. the early 2-0 lead.
Both sides would be retired in order in the sixth inning to bring Mexico to their final at-bat. A leadoff single put a runner on base before Tori Vidales squared up on a pitch for a home run to tie the game up at two runs apiece. Moore and the U.S. defense held strong, recording two outs before a hit batter resulted in a pitching change as Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) entered the game.
Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) recorded a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, but two popups and a strikeout forced the game into extra-innings.
Mexico took the lead for good in the top of the eighth after a sac bunt advanced the international tie-breaker (ITB) runner to third and a walk put runners on the corners. An infield single loaded the bases to prompt a pitching change for USA as Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered the game. Back-to-back singles plated three runs, a bases loaded walk added another and a single made it a 7-2 lead for Mexico.
Down to their final at-bat, USA would get runners on the corners after Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) singled with two outs to move ITB runner Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) to third. A pop out would end the game, with USA suffering their first loss of the Pan American Championship.
Carda suffered the loss for the U.S., allowing four hits, one walk and two runs in two-third innings pitched. O’Toole finished the game with one hit and two runs in her two-third innings while Moore fanned one with two hits and two runs in two and two-third innings. Barnhill fanned five and allowed two hits in four innings.
At the plate, Chidester, McCleney and Spaulding each went 1-for-3 while Jackson recorded two RBI in her one plate appearance after the home run.
Team USA will now face Puerto Rico at 11 a.m. ET with the winner advancing in the Pan American Championship. Fans can watch Team USA throughout the tournament with live streaming through InternetTV for an $11.95 (USD) subscription. Live stats will also be available for fans to follow along through USASoftball.com.