Barranquilla, Colombia — Matched up with Canada, who earned the No. 1 seed in Pool B, the USA Softball U-17 Women’s National Team took the field at Edgardo Schemel Stadium Wednesday and scored 17 runs en route to a four-inning victory. With the win, the U.S. squad improves to 5-0 and remains undefeated at the U-17 Women’s Pan American Championship.
“I’m very proud of our offense tonight,” said Head Coach Kyla Holas (Pasadena, Texas). “The team kept things going through every pitch, every at-bat and every inning. That is exactly what we needed and you could feel the energy tonight.”
Canada struck first in the top of the first inning, plating their leadoff hitter on a sacrifice bunt who had reached on a double to start the game. Answering back in the bottom half of the frame, the U.S. tied up the ballgame when Avery Hodge (Fulshear, Texas) scored from third following a triple from Caitlynn Neal (Dewey, Ariz.). Jessie Blaine (Wentzville, Mo.) then grounded out which allowed Neal to cross home and put the U.S. up, 2-1. An error by the centerfielder on a fly ball hit off the bat of Hallie Wacaser (Centerton, Ark.) allowed her to reach second. Kaci West (Liberty, Texas) followed with a single to left field to plate Wacaser and extend the lead by two runs. Tieley Vaughn (Tampa, Fla.) hit a two-out single but a pop out left the two runners stranded.
Cutting their deficit in half, Canada made it a 3-2 ballgame after a bases-loaded walk in the top of the second. Adding to the U.S. lead, Maddie Gallagher (Port Washington, N.Y.) drew a two-out walk before Neal stepped up to the plate and launched a fly ball over the outfield fence to make it 5-2. Blaine then lined one to left field before switching places with Wacaser who hit a double and extended the lead, 6-2.
West entered the circle and replaced Madison Harris (Forest, Va.) to start the top of the third inning. Continuing the battle, Canada proceeded to plate five runs and take the 7-6 lead but the Red, White and Blue responded in the bottom half of the frame. A leadoff single from Vaughn, who quickly stole second, and an error by the shortstop on a groundball from Casey Goguts (Reading, Pa.) put runners on the corners for the U.S. Rachael Jones (Bennington, Vt.) entered to pinch-run for Goguts and advanced to second on a wild pitch before the two scored on a single from Haidyn Sokoloski (Flower Mound, Texas). Back in the lead, both Hodge and Neal reached on walks to load the bases. Blaine followed with a single and Wacaser grounded out, allowed two runs to score and give the U.S. a 10-7 lead.
A one-out walk and an error put two baserunners on for Canada but the U.S. kept them at bay after a groundout and fly out closed out the half-inning.
Making their third pitching change in the circle, the U.S. adjusted and quickly loaded the bases after an error, single and walk. After a fly out marked the first out, Neal singled to score the 11th run before Blaine cleared the bases on a double to centerfield. Reaching third on the throw home, Wacaser plated Blaine on a fly ball to right field. After West singled, a sacrifice fly from Vaughn and RBI single from Goguts capped off the seven-run fourth inning and secured the 17-7 run-rule victory.
Harris pitched two innings and surrendered two runs on one hit and struck out three batters, while West allowed five runs on four hits in her two innings of work. Neal went 3-for-3 at the plate and collected four RBI while Blaine had a team-high five RBI.
Live stats will be available through USASoftball.com while WBSC has provided streaming through Gametime.Sport.
A total of 33 games will be played across nine days as participating countries battle it out to qualify for the 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup.
The top three finishers from pool play advanced to the Super Round for a six-team, round-robin schedule. The top two teams from the Super Round will compete for the Pan American Championship Final on October 19 at 6 p.m. CT while the third and fourth-place teams will compete for the Bronze Medal.
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.