Timely hitting, near perfect pitching and solid defense resulted in a 2-0 shutout win for the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) in their final contest in Rosemont, Ill.
“I think you saw a lot of patience today,” said Head Coach, Ken Eriksen. “Rachele Fico was throwing a really nice game and we were hitting the ball really hard but just right at people. Through it all we showed a lot of patience and maturity. When you have a pitching staff like ours that can keep the other team at zero for as long as possible, it gives you a good shot at winning and that’s what helps our team keep the demeanor that they have.”
Facing off against teams within the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League in preparation for the 2019 international season, it was a pitcher’s duel between Chicago’s Rachele Fico and Team USA’s Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) and Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas).
With the game tied up with no runs scored through the first six innings of play, it would be Team USA who walked away victorious after Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) capitalized with runners on base in the top of the seventh.
Defense and pitching were the name of the game as both sides managed only a handful of runners through the first five innings of play.
Team USA looked to score in the top of the fifth inning after Shelby Pendley (Rio Rancho, N.M.) singled with one out and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Reed. Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) then hit a chopper up the middle and beat out the throw to first, however Pendley would be thrown out at the plate after attempting to score.
In the bottom of the sixth, Chicago threatened after a hit batter and ground ball put two runners on with one out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the threat with the U.S. unscathed.
Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) started the rally for Team USA in the top of the seventh after reaching safely on an error by the Chicago defense. One batter later, Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) doubled to put two runners in scoring position for Reed, who delivered a line drive through the left/center gap for a double and two RBI.
Leading by two runs, a leadoff hit batter would be the only offense Chicago would muster as a pair of strikeouts from Osterman and a fly ball to right field ended the game with Team USA coming out on top, 2-0.
McCleney had a 2-for-4 day at the plate while Reed collected two RBI. From the circle, Abbott and Osterman combined for the one-hitter. Abbott pitched the first five frames, striking out six with one hit allowed while Osterman fanned three batters en route to the win.
The WNT now set their sights on No. 2 Japan for the Japan All-Star Series, which is scheduled for June 22-25 in Sendai and Tokyo, Japan.
U-19 Women’s National Team Concludes Training Camp in Houston
Mother Nature had other plans for the U-19 Women’s National Team as inclement weather forced the cancellation of Sunday’s game versus the East Cobb Bullets and Impact GOLD at the ScrapYard Sports facility.
The Red, White and Blue were tied at 1-1 with the East Cobb Bullets after two innings of play before serve weather re-entered the area ultimately forcing the cancellation of the remainder of the game.
The U-19 WNT went 3-0 while in Houston for training including a 3-2 walk-off single victory Saturday against the Texas Bombers GOLD.
Offensively, USA were swinging hot bats hitting .357 where they outscored their opponents 29-6.
Chara Echols (Newnan, GA.) led the way going 8-for-11 with a pair of doubles, a triple and a RBI. Bailey Dowling (St. Joseph, Ill.) was the run producer with a team-best seven RBI. Going 5-for-9 at the plate, Dowling launched two home runs, a double and drew one walk.
Julia Cottrill (Stillwater, Okla.) had a hot bat driving in six runs on a pair of singles. Taylor Pleasants (Houston, Texas) was 3-for-6 in nine plate appearances where she recorded five RBI on a pair of doubles while drawing three walks.
In the circle, Lexi Kilfoyl (Land O’ Lakes, Fla.), Megan Faraimo (Vista, Calif.), Montana Fouts (Grayson, Ky.), and Kelley Lynch (Newnan, Ga.) all tossed four innings of work. Kilfoyl and Faraimo did not allow an earned run with Faraimo struck out 10 in her outing. The U-19 WNT pitching staff recorded a combined 1.66 ERA during the three game span.
The Red, White and Blue will cross the Atlantic Ocean heading to Paris, France for the Achille Challenge. USA takes on Japan Friday, June 21 at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. CT) and Saturday, June 22 at 7 p.m. local time (12 p.m. CT). The U-19 WNT takes on the host country France Saturday, June 22 at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. CT) and Sunday, June 23 at 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. CT).