We continue our list of the Top 15 Softball Stories of 2018, which will run through December 31st when we’ll present our No. 1 story of the year.
We’ve surveyed the softball community and talked internally as well to come up with what were the most impactful and relevant stories in 2018 pertaining to the world of fastpitch softball.
Here are the previous stories:
- #15… Alexia Carrasquillo: The Shot Heard Round the Recruiting World (Dec. 17, 2018)
- #14… Ashley Rogers Overcomes Tragedy to Become National Player of the Year
- #13… High School Senior Sydney Supple Approaching $100K To Build Hometown Field of Dreams
- #12… NFCA’s StrikeOut Cancer Initiative Provides Unity & Half Million-Plus For Research
- #11… There’s Rage in Them Cajuns…. Michael Lotief Firing at ULL Sparks Pushback from Coach & Players
- #10… Controversy at TC/USA Nationals As Championship Team Disqualified
- #9… Mike Stith Wins Club Title & Pro Championship In Same Season
Today is #8 and is good news for fans of USA Softball as the Women’s National Team looks like the heavy favorite not just in 2019 but in the Olympic year of 2020 after a dominant year that included wins at the WSBC and the Japan Cup…
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It’s no secret in sports that when you have a dominant power that fans can root for--or against--it’s good for the sport.
In football, people love/hate current or past dynasty teams like the Patriots on the pro level now (the Raiders in the past--the very distant past!), Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Miami, etc. or, certainly Alabama in college right now.
In baseball, it’s always been the New York Yankees in MLB and in basketball it’s traditionally been the Lakers and Celtics.
You could say in college softball the 800-pound gorillas have been, of course, UCLA and Arizona (19 national championships between).
When looking at international softball, the United States was the pre-eminent power up until Japan stepped up and took the last Olympic Gold medal and has been right there ever since along with other countries such as Canada, China, Australia and perhaps a few others. It’s no coincidence that the re-entry point for the Olympics for softball and baseball is the Tokyo Games in two years.
And while parity always makes things interesting, it will inevitably be good for softball if the USA is again the strong power it’s been as it will give international competition a team to shoot for, compare against and celebrate enormously with every victory.
If that’s the hope, it looks to have been realized in 2018 as the USA Softball program is deep with talent at pretty much every position. The results on the field showed it as Team USA captured all the big events including WSBC and the Japan Cup.
The staff could include some of the greats of the past like Monica Abbott (who played in the last Olympic games, a runner-up finish to Japan) and Cat Osterman as well as Valerie Arioto, Dallas Escobedo, Rachel Garcia, Brittany Barnhill and others, some of whom could emerge as early as this week when the Women’s and Jr. National team tryouts are held in Clearwater, Florida (the Jr. Women’s Open tryout is Dec. 28 with the Selection Trials starting Dec. 29; the Women’s National Team Selection trials start Jan. 2)
Below we’ll review some of the major success for USA Softball in 2018 and, like the glory days with Team USA fielded legends such as Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Fitch, Laura Berg, Amanda Chidester, Dot Richardson and many others, the future looks bright again for Team USA.
--- Brentt Eads, Extra Inning Softball
Breaking News: Team USA Wins Japan Cup Behind Monica Abbott's Two-Hit Masterpiece
(article originally published Nov. 4, 2018 on Extra Inning Softball)
In the last event of the year for the USA Softball Women’s National Team, Team USA dominated the Japan Cup with a 4-0 win early Sunday morning (US time) over the host country and showed it is not just the top team in the world entering 2019, but also the prohibitive favorite for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Because as long as Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) keeps being Monica Abbott and the USA squad has the pitching depth it currently has, no national team looks capable of slowing down the rolling Team USA train.
After defeating Japan 9-4 in a preliminary game on Saturday and recording a pair of shutouts over Chinese Taipei and Australia on Friday, The Red, White and Blue squad saw Abbott pitch seven shutout innings in the championship game as she allowed just two hits with 10 strikeouts against two walks.
The title match was scoreless until the 4th inning when Team USA put up a pair of runs thanks to a two-run home run by Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) off of losing pitcher Yamato Fujita, who went 4 2/3rd innings giving up three earned runs on four hits while recording six strikeouts and walking one.