USA Softball Women’s National Team earns 9-1, 7-0 run-rule victories at Tuscaloosa doubleheader
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In front of approximately 2,000 fans at Rhoads Stadium sporting their Red, White and Blue, the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) claimed back-to-back victories over the Alabama All-Stars in their doubleheader Thursday, USA Softball announced.
“Tonight was a real good indication of how good our pitching staff can be,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “They’re very efficient, effective and economical, and our catchers did a great job with controlling that tempo and giving our team a chance to score first by keeping the Alabama All-Stars at zero. We also had some timely hitting and everybody looked comfortable at the plate.”
Game One: USA 9, Alabama All-Stars 1 (six innings)
It didn’t take long for the Red, White and Blue to get on the board Thursday evening after jumping out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning. Leading off the bottom of the first frame with a single was Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) who stole second and quickly advanced to third on a single by Michelle Moutlrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). An RBI single by Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) brought McCleney home to score Team USA’s first run of the night. Following a few errors by the Alabama All-Star defense and a fly out to center field, Moultrie and Chidester extended the lead, 3-0. Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) capped off the inning and added to the lead with a solo shot sent over the left field fence.
A home run by Moultrie in the bottom of the second stretched the lead to 5-0 before the Alabama All-Stars answered back with a run of their own in the top half of the third inning. Back-to-back singles by Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.) and Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) led off the bottom of the third before McCleney grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners for Team USA. Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) entered as a pinch runner for Cooper and was then brought home on a groundout by Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.).
Ahead 6-1, the U.S. wrapped up their run-rule victory in the bottom of the sixth on a three-run blast from Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), handing the USA Softball WNT a 9-1 win over the Alabama All-Stars.
Moultrie went 3-for-3 at the plate, while Arioto recorded four RBI. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) got the win in the circle for Team USA, pitching three and two-third innings, allowing just one run on four hits. Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) pitched the fourth inning, striking out one with no hits while Barnhill picked up three strikeouts in her one and one-third innings pitched.
Game Two: USA 7, Alabama All-Stars 0 (five innings)
The U.S. continued their momentum into Game Two of the doubleheader exhibition series, capitalizing on a five-run second inning to take a sizeable lead early on and earn the 7-0 shutout win over the Alabama All-Stars.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second when the U.S. once again found their rhythm. A pair of walks issued to Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) and Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) and a single by Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) loaded the bases for the Red, White and Blue. Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W. Va.) then drew a walk to plate Flippen before a grand slam by Aguilar stretched the score to a comfortable 5-0 lead.
The score remained 5-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Paige Halstead (Alta Loma, Calif.) hit a two-out single before coming around to score off a double by Cooper. With the 6-0 advantage, Lilley sealed the victory in the bottom of the sixth frame with a solo shot to right field to finish the 7-0 (five innings) shutout.
Both Cooper and Lilley went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Aguilar posted four RBI. Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) got the win in the circle for Team USA, pitching four scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one hit allowed, while Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) induced three groundouts in her one inning pitched.
The USA Softball WNT is back in action Saturday, July 22 to play an exhibition doubleheader at Jane B. Moore Field against a team comprised of additional Alabama All-Stars. The Red, White and Blue continue their preparation for the Pan American Championship, which will be held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic August 4-13, where the top five finishing countries will qualify for the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship and the 2019 Pan American Games.
Fans can follow along with the National Team program by visiting USASoftball.com.