Women’s National Team defeats Mexico in WBSC Women’s World Championship opener

Aug. 03, 2018, 6:49 a.m. (ET)

Chiba, Japan — In their World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship opener, the USA Softball Women’s National Team defeated Mexico, 5-2. Highlighting the day was Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.), who put the Red, White and Blue on the board first with a two-run shot in the third inning, while starting pitcher Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) posted a 13-strikeout performance.

“I thought we played well for Game 1 of the tournament,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Anytime that you come out for the first game, there’s always going to be butterflies and nervousness. We have one of the youngest teams in the tournament, from player 1-17.Team USA is still developing and working towards not only this week but the future.”

“Getting the first win here at Worlds is huge and will obviously help us out later on in the week,” said Women’s National Team member, Haylie McCleney. “It was nice to get the nerves out, jitters out and have everyone come together as a unit. Hopefully we can continue to build upon this win throughout the rest of the tournament.”

Both sides were retired until the bottom of the second inning, when Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) led off with a single to left field for the first hit of the game by either side. Despite reaching third through the lineup, a strikeout, groundout and fly out ensued to leave Arioto stranded.

Mexico managed to put their leadoff batter on base to start the top of the third inning but Abbott issued three straight strikeouts to end the inning and bring her total to eight strikeouts.

The Red, White and Blue plated two runs in the bottom half of the third frame after Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) reached on a walk and came home thanks to McCleney’s two-run shot over the centerfield fence.

In the fourth inning, both Mexico and the U.S. would put runners aboard with Team USA loading the bases via walks, however, the score remained 2-0 in favor of the U.S. after both were kept off the board.

Abbott and the U.S. defense continued to do work in the fifth and sixth innings, and the offense wasn’t done yet. Ahead 2-0, Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) connected for a one-out single and reached second before crossing home after a RBI double from Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.). A walk to McCleney soon put runners on the corners for the U.S. before Janie Reed extended the Eagles lead on a line drive to left field.

In her World Championship debut, Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) entered the circle for Team USA. Mexico quickly put runners on base after a walk and single, resulting in Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) replacing Garcia in the circle with one out. After striking out, Mexico would go on to plate two, bringing the score to 5-2. Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) then came in and issued a strikeout to close out the game.

McCleney went 2-for-3, while both her and Reed each tallied two RBI. From the circle, Abbott went six complete innings with 13 strikeouts with three hits allowed. Garcia, O’Toole and Barnhill combined to pitch the final inning, with two strikeouts and two hits allowed between the three.

The U.S. is back in action tomorrow, August 4 at 3:30 p.m. JT (1:30 a.m. CT) against Chinese Taipei. Live stats will be available through USASoftball.comwhile streaming can be accessed by WBSC broadcast and live stream partners.

The softball flagship competition will feature 73 games across 10 days of competition. The top four finishers from each group will advance to the double page playoff round, while nations not advancing will compete in the placement round. The World Championship finale will take center stage on August 12 at 7 pm JST following the bronze medal match at 2 p.m. JST. The top nation will claim the first of five available softball spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with Japan qualifying automatically as the host country.

About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game. 

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.

About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland -- the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 202 National Federation and Associate Members in 143 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually. 

The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships (Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women), Premier12, World Baseball Classic, and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's).

For more information, visit: www.wbsc.org.