LIMA, Peru — The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) suffered a 3-2 loss in their first semifinal contest at Pan American Games on Friday evening against Canada. Team USA’s offense was unable to find the timely hit with runners on base while being limited to just three hits in the loss.
With the loss, the Red, White and Blue play in tomorrow’s Bronze Medal game against Puerto Rico, with the winner advancing to the finale for a shot at Pan American Games Gold against Canada.
“We will find out about the resiliency of our team tomorrow against a very good team in Puerto Rico,” said WNT Head Coach, Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach at South Florida). “I was impressed with Canada’s energy today. We must continue to take every challenge in every game, not just the World Championships, not just the Pan American Games, but every moment. We must be offensive in our approach, whether we are hitting, pitching, running the bases or playing defense. The best part about tomorrow is that we just need to play one great day of softball.”
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) got the start in the circle for the Red, White and Blue and delivered a strike for the first pitch of the game to get the contest underway. With a popup retiring her first batter faced, a hit batter put one on base until a fly ball to the outfield and popup ended the at-bat.
Team USA got on the board first as Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) squared up on her first pitch of the game for a solo home run, making it a 1-0 lead for the home team.
That lead did not last long, however, as Canada tied up the ballgame in the top of the second inning. After a leadoff hit batter, a single put runners on the corners but a strikeout kept them at bay. A single to right field plated the runner at third, tying up the game at one run apiece.
Canada threatened in the top of the third inning with two runners after a single and intentional walk with two outs, but Osterman’s fifth strikeout of the game got the U.S. out of the jam unscathed.
A pair of runners scored in the top of the fourth inning for Canada, giving them a 3-1 edge that the U.S. was unable to overcome. Back-to-back singles with one out prompted a pitching change for Team USA as Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) entered in relief for Osterman. A chopper to second plated the run at home to put Canada up by one before a strikeout from Garcia looked to limit the damage until a single plated another run to put Team USA down by two.
That lead held until the bottom of the sixth inning when McCleney sent out her second home run of the game, cutting Canada’s lead to one. Trailing by a run in their final at-bat of the contest in the bottom of the seventh, Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) looked to spark the offense with a leadoff double. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) advanced Spaulding to third with a perfectly placed sac bunt, but a strikeout and ground out ended the contest with Team USA falling short by one run.
McCleney finished the contest with a 2-for-3 outing at the plate, homering for each of her two hits. Osterman suffered the loss, striking out five batters with three runs allowed in three and one-third innings. Garcia tossed two and two-third innings of relief, fanning three while Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) closed out the game with two strikeouts in one inning.
Live stats will be available throughout the Pan American Games and fans at home can follow along with recaps and more at USASoftball.com.
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 through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro 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.