Women’s National Team earns doubleheader sweep to stay undefeated at WBSC Women’s World Championship; Abbott throws no-hitter against Netherlands

Aug. 05, 2018, 10:32 a.m. (ET)

Chiba, Japan — On the fourth day of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship, the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) claimed two shutout run-rule victories over the Netherlands and New Zealand to remain undefeated in pool play. Backed by offensive power at the plate, Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) threw a no-hitter as Team USA picked up an 11-0 (four innings) win over Netherlands before a 7-0 (five innings) win against New Zealand concluded the day.


“The team has some really good focus right now,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “We’re taking it one pitch at a time. We’re not overthinking, we’re just trying to get the barrel to the ball. There’s no secret as to what we do.”


USA 11, Netherlands 0 (four innings)


Despite a slow start for Team USA, the WNT opened up the game in the third during Game 1 of their doubleheader, resulting in an 11-0 (four innings) win over world-ranked No. 8 Netherlands.


Both sides came up scoreless through the first two innings, as Team USA stranded a base runner in each while continuing to shut down the Netherlands offense. Through two, Abbott had issued six strikeouts and allowed just one walk.


With one out, Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) singled on a line drive to right field but was caught advancing to second after Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) grounded into a fielder’s choice to shortstop. Team USA began a two-out rally from there, starting with a RBI single from Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) to score McCleney. Ahead 1-0, Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) blasted a two-run shot past center field to extend the U.S. lead.


A three-strikeout performance by Abbott in the bottom half of the third sent the Red, White and Blue back to the plate.


Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk before touching home plate on a RBI double form Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). A pair of two-run shots from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) and Reed put the U.S. up 8-0. A double from Aguilar and walk to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) put two runners aboard, before Sahvanna Jaquish (Highland, Calif.) entered to pinch run for Arioto. Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) entered to hit in place of Spaulding, and drove home the two to make it 10-0 in favor of the U.S. With Spaulding back in the game to run, she rounded the bases on a line drive to center from Moultrie and quickly crossed home for an 11-0 lead.


Abbott and the U.S. defense retired the side in the bottom of the fourth to seal their third win of the tournament, with the starter finishing with 10 strikeouts and allowing no hits with one walk. Reed led the team with 3 RBI while four others (Aguilar, Garica, Moultrie, Munro) tallied two apiece.


USA 7, New Zealand 0 (five innings)


It was a five-inning affair for the Women’s National Team as Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) and Garcia combined for the 7-0 shutout victory over New Zealand, and Team USA improved to 4-0 at World Championship.


Team USA took to the bats and wasted little time taking the lead, posting a two-run first inning. Thanks to a two-out RBI single from Arioto and double from Moultrie, the U.S. quickly took the lead and struck first for the fourth game in a row.


The bats remained silent for New Zealand as Barnhill and the U.S. retired the side in order to bring the Red, White and Blue back up at the plate. The bottom half of the second saw Stewart draw a walk before she was brought home on a two-run shot by Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.).


In the third, New Zealand went down in order after a pair of fly outs and strikeout from Barnhill while the U.S. stranded Arioto and was unable to add to the lead. 


The Team USA dugout sparked a two-out rally in the bottom half of the fourth as Reed drove home Jaquish to put the U.S. atop, 5-0.


A walk to New Zealand’s leadoff in the top of the fifth resulted in Garcia entering the circle and while a walk put runners on first and second, Garcia would catch New Zealand swinging for the third out.


Team USA tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Arioto singled and with McCleney entering to pinch-run, Spaulding doubled to center field to put two aboard. From there, Moultrie sent a grounder through the gap to right field, scoring the two and securing the run-rule win.


Arioto was 3-for-3 and Moultrie was 2-for-2 to lead Team USA’s offense. Barnhill pitched four innings and collected three strikeouts, while Garcia issued two strikeouts and walked one in her one inning of work. 


The U.S. is back in action tomorrow, August 6 at 6 pm JT (4 am CT) to face Philippines. 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.