Behind a combined no hitter from Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Erin Gabriel (Poland, Ohio), the 2010-11 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team shut out Peru 15-0 in three innings at the III Pan American Games (18-Under) in Bogota, Colombia. The Red, White and Blue improve to 2-0 in the tournament with the second consecutive no hit performance from the pitching staff.
“The strength of any United States team is the talent in the circle. The Junior Women’s National Team is no exception,” said Head Coach Karen Johns (Starkville, Miss.). “I knew any combination of our pitching staff could be successful here in Bogota but two consecutive no hitters, that is more than I could ask them for. To have those unstoppable performances in the first two games these girls have ever played in the Team USA uniform tells a lot about this team.”
Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) and Lauren Haeger (Phoenix, Ariz.) threw a combined no hitter in the opening game of the tournament, helping Team USA to a 9-1 five inning victory over Colombia on Sunday. Team USA faces Argentina at 9 a.m. Central Tuesday.
Carda worked the first two innings against Peru, striking out six batters, while walking two and hitting another with a pitch. In the top of the third, she was relieved by Gabriel, who struck out the three she faced in her inning of work. Both pitchers also went 1-for-1 at the plate with one RBI a piece.
“I just wanted to go out there and have a good start,” said Carda, who pitched in Team USA’s scrimmages earlier this week. “It was my first real game pitching for USA. I just wanted to show the other teams what we could do.”
Left fielder Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.) had the top offensive performance for Team USA, going 3-for-3 at the plate, two for extra bases, including one that bounced over the fence in centerfield and was called a double. She also had two RBI and three runs scored.
“Today we played Peru and the pitching was really slow,” Cordes said. “I just told myself to be patient and wait for the pitch. Every time I tell myself that I’m going to get a hit because if you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’re not going to do as well as you can.”
Team USA scored eight runs in the first inning, the first coming when Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) singled to second base, bringing in leadoff batter Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.), who singled up the middle. Madison Shipman (Valencia, Calif.) singled up the middle to bring in Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.) and Chamberlain. With the score at 3-0, Cordes doubled down the left field line to score Shipman. Carda then doubled to score Cordes to make it 4-0. An illegal pitch, an error by the left fielder and a sacrifice fly from Wilson scored the remaining four runs.
After allowing Team USA to score two runs in the second, Peru put in pitcher Eri Mochizuki for the third, but she struggled against the Red, White and Blue, walking the first four batters she faced, making it a 11-0 game. Andrea Martinez replaced Mochizuki but allowed outfield singles from Cordes, Gabriel and Cheyanne Tarango (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) to make it a 15-0 game, all the offense necessary for a second consecutive run-rule victory.
The III Pan American Championship (18U) serves as a qualifier to the 2011 International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women’s World Championship. In 2007, the last time that the Junior Women’s Worlds were held, Team USA defeated Japan to take home the Gold Medal.