BOGOTA, Colombia —The Gold Medal Game was worth the wait after all. At 3:15 a.m. local time in Bogota, Colombia, the 2010-11 USA Softball Women’s National Team (9-0) stood atop of the podium at the III Pan American Championship, receiving their Gold Medals following a 3-1 defeat of Canada. The game, once scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, started at 12:45 a.m. Sunday due to various rain delays.
“To say that I am proud of these young woman for what they accomplished would be an understatement, ” Head Coach Karen Johns (Starkville, Miss.) said. “It takes a lot to remain focused and ready for seven or eight hours. The team did an absolutely incredible job keeping themselves in game mode from the semifinal earlier this afternoon through Canada’s last at bat. They were tired but they never let that show. They performed like champions.”
The Americans struck first when a Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) single through the left side plated Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.), who reached on a walk. In the third, Chamberlain doubled to make it a 2-0 advantage when she plated Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.), who tripled to center field. Lahners would score again in the seventh when she crossed the plate as Wilson was caught stealing second base.
Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) improved to 3-0 in the tournament, striking out five batters while allowing three hits. Lauren Haeger (Phoenix, Ariz.) relieved Escobedo in the sixth. In her two innings of work, Haeger gave up one earned run, when Natalie Windeman singled through the right side to score Jennifer Gilbert in the seventh inning.
The Americans secured a spot in the Gold Medal Game after topping Puerto Rico 6-1 in the semifinal, which started around 3 p.m. In the eight inning Bronze Medal Game, Canada outlasted the Puerto Ricans for a 2-1 victory, advancing to face Team USA.
All three medaling countries have now qualified for the next International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championship, December 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa. Also advancing to South Africa from the Pan American Championship are fourth place finisher Brazil and fifth place finisher Argentina.
After leadoff Lahners was hit by the first pitch of the first inning against Puerto Rico, Wilson put Team USA on the board with a two run homer to centerfield. Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.), who reached on a walk, also scored on an Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) single to shortstop.
Puerto Rico responded with a Malerie Figueroa sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Aleimalee Lopez, who doubled then advanced to third on a passed ball. The Puerto Ricans, who combined for four hits including a double would not score again, leaving runners on base in the fourth, fifth and seventh.
Chamberlain started the third with a double to centerfield. On a Madison Shipman (Valencia, Calif.) single to second base, Chamberlain advanced to third. Shipman stole second then Cordes reached first on a walk. With bases loaded, Carda hit a sac fly that scored Chamberlain. Shipman was called out at the plate on the same play. Cordes scored on a double steal, advancing home when Shelby Pendley (Albuquerque, N.M.) stole second.
In the fourth, the Red, White and Blue scored their last run when Lahners doubled down the left field line to plate Kourtney Savarola (Arnold, Md.), the pinch runner for Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.). Freeman led off with a single to left center.
BOGOTA, Colombia — The 2010-11 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (7-0) advanced to the semifinal of the III Pan American Championship (18-Under) in Bogota, Colombia, with a 12-1 win over the Dominican Republic in four innings Friday. The top seeded Americans must top Puerto Rico, No. 1 Pool B, to earn a spot in Saturday’s Championship Game.
Puerto Rico beat Brazil 4-0 Friday to advance to the 1 p.m. semifinal against the Red, White and Blue. In 2006, the last time that the Pan American Championship (18-Under) was held, the 2006-07 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team defeated Puerto Rico 7-0 in a five inning Championship Game.
Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) threw a two hitter against Dominican Republic, allowing a single up the middle to Yanela Gomez in the third and another single to Dharianna Familia in the fourth, to improve her record to 2-0. She also started the team’s first game against Colombia and pitched in relief against Argentina and Canada. “I was so excited that I was finally pitching today,” Escobedo said. “At first, I was not really feeling it and I did not know what was wrong. I was just not all there but I just shut that out. I hit my corners and prepared to do spins more than speed today.” She struck out nine batters to bring her tournament total to 18, the most of any American pitcher.
When the pressure is on, a lot of young pitchers have trouble throwing their best. That was not the case for Dallas,” Head Coach Karen Johns (Starkville, Miss.) said. “I was really impressed with her intensity in the circle. Even when she got behind on a few batters, she never backed down. She went for it on every pitch.”
Escobedo was backed up by an offense that had 14 hits, including doubles from Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.) and an inside the park homerun from Chamberlain, her second long ball in Bogota. The team now has a combined 73 hits at the III Pan American Championship.
“I was so happy that my team was there to back me up and just give me a good start in the first inning with two runs,” Escobedo said. “It always makes me more confident and relaxed on the mound when I have runs behind me.”
Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.) singled in Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.), who reached on a walk, and Chamberlain, who doubled, to give the Americans the 2-0 advantage in the first. But on the same play where she drove in the runs, Cordes was caught in a rundown between first and second base for the third out.
After Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) walked to start the fourth and Shelby Pendley (Albuquerque, N.M.) singled through the left side, Freeman advanced the runners with a sacrifice fly to left field. Escobedo singled down the left field line to make it 3-0. With a Lahners single, Pendley scored and Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.), pinch running for Escobedo, scored on an error. The next three runs scored on Chamberlain’s inside the park homer.
“Dominican Republic’s pitching staff was throwing harder than most of the other pitchers that we have faced in Bogota,” Johns said. “Their starter Rosaury Perez was the best pitcher we have faced. Our batters did an excellent job adjusting.”
With the Red, White and Blue ahead by eight runs, Lorena Guerrero entered the circle for the Dominican Republic. She allowed all three batters she faced to reach. After Shipman and Cordes singled, both scored when Carda singled, then advanced to third on an error.
Danery Hernandez faced the final four American batters, allowing two hits, a single to Pendley that scored Carda and a Freeman double that scored Pendley. Salvarola popped up to centerfield and Cheyanne Tarango (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) struck out to end the inning.
Dominican Republic made the board in the bottom of the fourth when Mabelis Sanchez scored on a wild pitch. Sanchez reached when she was hit by a pitch then advanced to third on an error.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM SPY