FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2017
Women’s National Team picks up a pair of wins at Pan American Championship; earns No. 1 seed in playoff rounds
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — The USA Softball Women’s National Team clinched the No. 1 seed in the playoff rounds at the Pan American Championship after picking up a pair of wins on Wednesday afternoon. In their first contest of the day, Team USA earned a 16-1 (three innings) win over Aruba before posting a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico.
“It was a long day facing different types of pitchers who we haven’t faced so far this tournament,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Our hitters were clutch in moving runners around and forcing issues in both games today. But if you take a look at what Jess Moore did in relief today, to come in and really shut the door down on Puerto Rico. She absolutely dominated the hitters and that’s her. That’s why she’s with us. She’s a veteran and she rises to those types of occasions.”
Game One: USA 16, Aruba 1 (three innings)
A 13-hit performance by the Red, White and Blue helped land the team a 16-1 (three innings) win over Aruba. On the third batter faced in the game, the U.S. trailed for the first time in this Pan American Championship as a solo home run put Aruba up 1-0 after the top of the first inning. The U.S. would not be down for long, as Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single and moved to third on a pair of passed balls. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) was then hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners for Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). Moultrie hit a sac fly to center field to tie the game up at one run each. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) then singled to centerfield to put runners on the corners with one out.
The offense kept on coming as Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) sent a three-run shot over the left field fence and Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) followed with a solo shot to center field to extend the lead. The offense kept rolling as Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) doubled on a line drive to left field, Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and a passed ball advanced both runners. A walk to Takeda loaded the bases before passed balls allowed Flippen, Jackson and Takeda to each score to make it an 8-1, U.S. ballgame.
In the top of the second, Aruba got a leadoff runner on base after a hit batter, but Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) fired back with three strikeouts to prevent the runner from advancing. The U.S. continued to hammer away at their lead in the bottom of the second after Moultrie led off with a single and advanced to third on a fielding error by the centerfielder. A one out single from Carda extended Team USA’s lead to eight runs, Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) singled to plate Carda and Aguilar scored on an error by the catcher to allow USA to go up 11-1.
Three additional strikeouts from Barnhill in the top of the third brought the hot-hitting U.S. offense back to the plate. Needing just five runs to end the game via run-rule, Team USA did just that. Starting the rally was Takeda, who singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and came around to score on an error by the Aruba defense. A single from Moultrie put two runners on base for Chidester, who hit a home run to left field to make it 15-1, USA. Carda gave the U.S. the walk off win with a solo shot to left field, giving the Red, White and Blue the 16-1 (three innings) win.
Carda had a game-high five RBI in a perfect 3-for-3 outing including two home runs. From the circle, Barnhill earned the complete game win, allowing just one run while fanning nine in her three innings of work.
Game Two: USA 4, Puerto Rico 1
In game two, Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) and Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) combined for a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico. Team USA was matched by the Puerto Rico offense as each side recorded five hits, but it was the U.S. who came out on top after the Red, White and Blue utilized timely hitting and strong defensive plays.
O’Toole came out hot in the top of the first inning, recording two strikeouts and a groundout to Stewart at third to retire Puerto Rico in order. In the bottom of the first with the bases juiced thanks to a Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) single, an error by the Puerto Rico defense and a bunt single from Moultrie, Chidester singled to plate the first run of the game. Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) followed with a sac fly to left field to give the U.S. an early 2-0 edge.
Puerto Rico would get their first base runner of the game with a two out single to center field in the top of the second inning, but a groundout to Stewart at third kept them off the board. Team USA tacked another run to their lead in the bottom of the second after Munro led off with a double and came around to score off a fielding error by Puerto Rico’s defense.
Team USA’s 3-0 lead would hold until the top of the fourth when Puerto Rico scored a run. A one out walk and a single put two runners on base to prompt a pitching change for Team USA as Moore entered in relief for O’Toole. Moore quickly recorded a strikeout for out number two, but a single to right field allowed the runner to score and cut the U.S. lead to 3-1.
The Red, White and Blue used textbook softball to score a run in the bottom of the fourth to regain a three run lead. Munro led off with a single, advanced to second off an error on a sac bunt from Takeda and a sac bunt from McCleney moved both runners up a base. Stewart then hit a sac fly to left field to give USA a 4-1 lead.
That lead would prove to be enough as both sides bats were silenced through the next three innings of play. Munro paced the U.S. offense, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored while McCleney and Stewart also scored a run for Team USA. Moore earned the win in the circle in her relief appearance and finished the game with two strikeouts and two hits allowed in her three and two-third innings of work. O’Toole pitched the first three and a third innings, fanning two while allowing three hits and one earned run.
With the win, the U.S. locked up the No. 1 seed for playoff rounds, which are scheduled to begin on Friday.
Up next, Team USA has their final game of pool play tomorrow against Colombia at 2 p.m. ET. 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.