Both the Women’s National Team and the U-19 scored seven runs in wins over Japan and France, respectively.
Here’s a recap of the action in the Japan All-Star Series, which concludes today for the WNT and also Achille Challenge finale in Paris for the younger team.
The U-19 squad now heads to Ireland to play in the 2019 Atlantic Challenge Cup.
Women’s National Team evens up Japan All-Star Series with 7-2 win over Japan
The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) used an explosive second inning to even up the Japan All-Star Series, posting a 7-2 win over No. 2 Japan.
The Americans showed their relentless mentality following a 6-4 loss in the series opener while overcoming a 1-0 deficit in today’s contest. Capitalizing on five walks and hit batter in the second inning, the U.S. pushed seven runs across the plate and never looked back enroute to the win.
“We didn’t do anything different today then what we did yesterday except get out of some situations that we put ourselves into,” said WNT Head Coach, Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.).
“We gave a lot of freebies yesterday and today in the circle, but our team basically said, ‘So what?’ Yesterday we had some opportunities to score runs but didn’t get the barrel to the ball and today we did. It’s a crazy game and we have to keep persevering, but once again we’re still ironing things out and our team still has to learn each other. So overall, still a long way to go.”
Japan struck first in the top of the second inning after a walk put the leadoff batter on base. A failed sac bunt and strikeout quickly retired the next two batters, but back-to-back singles allowed a run to cross the plate. The U.S. defense was able to get out of the jam, however, relaying the ball to third base to get the third out after Japan tried to sneak an extra base.
Team USA’s bats came alive in response as the offense erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the second. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) led things off by being hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a walk to Sahvanna Jaquish (Highland, Calif.) and scored on a double to right field by Shelby Pendley (Rio Rancho, N.M.).
The U.S. continued the momentum by taking advantage of a walk to Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) to load the bases. A passed ball gave the Red, White and Blue the lead and a single to right field off the bat of Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) made it a 3-1, U.S. ballgame.
The relentless mindset and patience at the plate continued with a pair of walks to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.), the latter with bases loaded, and a single from Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) drove in another run. Having batted through the order, Moultrie stepped back into the batter’s box and hammered a ball down the right field line to score another two runs. By the time the at-bat ended, the WNT had seven runners cross the plate to have a six-run cushion.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) and the U.S. defense continued to keep the Japan batters in check in the top of the third inning as a popup erased out a two-out walk, but Japan returned the favor in the bottom of the frame. After Dejah Mulipola (Garden Grove, Calif.) singled with two outs and moved to second on a walk to Arioto, a fly ball recorded the third out of the at-bat.
With Team USA up by six, Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) entered the circle to mark her first pitch in international play since July 2, 2010. After an error and one-out single put two on, Osterman settled in as the defense got the second out from a popped-up bunt while a K recorded the third out.
The final run of the contest came in the top of the fifth inning as Japan took advantage of a leadoff walk. A single up the middle gave the runner time to advance to third, while an errant throw to second allowed a run to score and cut Team USA’s lead to five. Osterman and the U.S. defense held steady, however, as back-to-back strikeouts and a grounder brought rally attempt to a close.
With Team USA holding a 7-2 lead through the top of the seventh, two walks looked to get something going offensively for Japan, but no harm was done as a grounder to Pendley at third base ended the game with the Red, White and Blue earning the win.
Offensively, Moultrie drove in two of Team USA’s seven runs while Arioto and Jaquish recorded multiple base on balls. In two contests, Japan has tread lightly around Arioto in the three-hole of the lineup, walking her a total of six times in eight trips to the plate.
Osterman earned the win in her relief effort, tossing four innings without an earned run while striking out four batters. Abbott was just as effective through the first three innings of play, fanning three with just one earned run.
The Japan All-Star Series is set for a winner-take-all finale on Tuesday, June 25 as both teams face off at 7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. CT) at the Tokyo Dome. Live stats will be available for the USA vs Japan All-Star Series finale, and fans at home can follow along with recaps and more at USASoftball.com.
Balanced Attack and Strong Pitching Gives U-19 Women’s National Team a 7-0 Victory Over France in Achille Challenge Finale
Strong pitching backed by a balanced attack at the plate capped off the 2019 Achille Challenge for the U-19 Women’s National Team. The Red, White and Blue jumped out to a great start at the dish en route to a 7-0 victory over France on a picture perfect Sunday afternoon.
Lexi Kilfoyl (Land O’ Lakes, Fla.) set the tone right off the bat with back-to-back strikeouts in the circle to open the game. The offense wasted no time with leadoff hitter Skylar Wallace (Woodstock, Ga.) roping a double to the left field fence.
Taylor Pleasants (Houston, Texas) drove in the U-19 WNT’s first three runs of the game in the first two frames. In the first, Pleasants battled to a 3-2 count before making solid contact on a two-run home run shot over the right field fence. Pleasants scored Wallace again in the second on a single to center advancing the USA lead to 3-0.
Kilfoyl nearly went untouched in her four innings of work. She surrendered one hit while striking out four earning her first win of the summer.
The only time France saw its leadoff hitter aboard came in the fifth as the French six-hitter singled up the middle. After the runner stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice, it was up to reliever Kelley Lynch (Newnan, Ga.) to buckle down in the circle. Lynch did exactly that picking up a pair of swinging strikeouts to force another zero on the board.
Pinch-hitter Kassidy Krupit (Suwanee, Ga.) put USA back in the scoring column with her RBI single to right in the fifth. The lead became 5-0 the next at bat when Jadelyn Allchin (Huntington Beach, Calif.) came across the plate on a wild pitch.
The sixth was filled with defensive highlights. Lynch picked up a pair of strikeouts before Allchin showed off her range tracking down a foul ball from left with a spectacular diving grab.
USA worked its way around the base paths in the sixth stealing a pair of bags in the inning. Jasmine Sievers (Laguna Niguel, Claif.) scored on Jadya Coleman’s (The Colony, Texas) RBI single up the middle making way for Macy Simmons (Chandler, Ariz.) to pick up the game-ending hit. Simmons bounced a 2-0 pitch over to short allowing Coleman to score USA’s seventh run for the shortened game victory.
The U-19 WNT closed out the 2019 Achille Challenge with back-to-back shutouts from its pitching staff and finished 3-1 against the field of Japan and France.
The Red, White and Blue will have a quick turnaround flying to Dublin, Ireland tomorrow where they will take on the national team of Ireland in the 2019 Atlantic Challenge Cup. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. CT). Live stats and streaming links can be found by clicking here.