OKLAHOMA CITY — The USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team are once again World Champions as the Eagles cruised to an 8-1 win over Japan in the Gold Medal Game at the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women’s World Championship (JWWC). Team USA’s offense was the story throughout this Championship, as the team finished the tournament with a team-leading .425 batting average while scoring 119 runs in 10 games played.
“I can’t speak more highly of this team,” said Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.), Head Coach of the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team. “The way that they all came together at the beginning of summer at training camp has been amazing. We were together for a long time this summer, which sometimes can be good or bad. They definitely grew and figured out how to win together. The way that they approached this tournament was amazing. Every pitch I felt we were locked in and everyone contributed. I’m extremely proud of them.”
The game started off at a stalemate as both teams felt out one another until Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) broke the game open in the third inning with a deep three-run bomb to left field. Japan left several runners on base, as Team USA backed up Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) in the circle. Barnhill dominated all seven innings as she continued to confuse Japanese batters for the second straight night. Sydney Romero (Temecula, Calif.) and Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo, Calif.) broke the game open in the fifth with timely hits. Team USA would never look back from there, as they kept pouring on runs. Homeruns from Palomino and Romero late in the seventh started the celebration.
“Being with this team all summer, we’ve been learning from each other,” said Palomino. “Coming into this week, we needed to come together one last time. That’s exactly what we did. Coming into this Championship Game, I started off slow so I needed to sit back, relax and focus on what we’ve been working on all summer.”
Palomino shattered several records at the 2015 WBSC JWWC. The previous record for most RBI was Team USA’s Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.) in 1995 with 18, as Palomino had 27. She also tied Nuveman’s 1995 record of five home runs in the Championship. Palomino went 2-for-4 today, scored once and brought in two RBI.
“It feels pretty good to set records,” said Palomino. “I was told after the game that I did, but honestly that wasn’t my goal. Winning the Gold Medal was all that mattered.”
Barnhill threw 99 pitches as she went the distance, striking out 11 and allowed only one earned run.
“This summer has been an amazing experience,” said Barnhill. “I’ve seen these girls in travel ball and many have seen one another in college. Getting to know these girls and to play for USA has been an honor. Tonight we came together and showed everyone what Team USA is made of.”
This was the fifth time that Team USA won the JWWC, tying Japan for most first place finishes. On the year, Team USA finished 14-4 in international competition, as they competed in the World Cup of Softball X and the WBSC JWWC.
Fans can continue to follow along with the latest from Team USA at asausasoftball.com.
About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 74 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. ASA/USA is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit http://www.asausasoftball.com/.
About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in the Olympic Capital city of Lausanne, Switzerland, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) was established in April 2013 and granted recognition as the sole competent authority in baseball and softball by the International Olympic Committee at the 125th IOC Session in September 2013. The WBSC represents a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes worldwide. The WBSC governs all international competitions involving any of the National Teams of its 141 National Federation members. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships, The Premier 12, the World Baseball Classic, and the U12, U15, U18, U21 and Women's Baseball World Cups. For further information, please go to www.WBSC.co or follow the WBSC on Twitter at @WBSC.