OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball closes out Opening Day of the 2020 GOLD Nationals with 113 teams going head-to-head for the coveted National Championship title, the pinnacle of Junior Olympic (JO) play.
Spread throughout three locations was the 18-Under division, where pool play for the GOLD Nationals took place in Mustang, Okla. (Wildhorse Park), Choctaw, Okla. (Bouse Sports Complex), and at the Softball Capital of the World: the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. The long ball dominated play across the 71 teams as 48 homeruns were tallied on the day. The Bandits' Hannah Goodwin, Corona Angels' Morgan Smith and Glory Adkins Gold's Vanessa Hollingsworth went yard twice on Opening Day.
In the 16-Under division held in Broken Arrow, Okla., the long ball stole the show as 52 combined homeruns cleared the fence, with 24 of the participating teams each tallying one home run and five teams recording two. The Illinois Chill 16U sent six deep while McKenna Andrews (Glory Adkins Gold), Kaylee Edwards (Oklahoma Ultimate Gold), Breanne Mitchell (Illinois Chill), Korynn Tindell (Oklahoma Bombers – Hoffman) and Lauren Trinh (Texas Fusion Gold) sent two out each. The 16U Division also saw strong performances in the circle, with three pitchers recording double-digit strikeouts in the first day of action. Maggie Place (Gametime 16U Gold – Self) struck out 11 while Lindsay Davis (Glory Adkins Gold) and Marlen Sandoval (TX Bombers Gold – Burgess) each fanned 10.
Following a full day of action for 71 18-Under teams at the three sites, 21 teams remain undefeated with a 2-0 record. Among the 21 undefeated teams, 11 teams held their opponent scoreless and posted a single shutout victory. The 21 teams include: Aces Fastpitch, Batbusters-Stith, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Colorado Styxx, Corona Angels, Firecrackers Rico/Weil, Glory Adkins Gold, Hotshots Premier-Dumezich, Illinois Chill, Iowa Premier Gold, Jersey Intensity KOD, Nebraska Thunder Gold, OK Exclusive Premier, Oregon Thunder, Prospex Gold, SoCal Athletics, Texas Blaze United, Texas Bombers Gold, Texas Glory 18 Gold, Tri-State Thunder, and Wichita Mustangs.
Emerging with two wins on the day in the 16-Under division were Aces Fastpitch, Gametime 16U Gold – Self, Glory Adkins Gold, Illinois Chill, OK Athletics Platinum Madden/Hunter, St. Louis Stix 03, Top Gun National 16U and TX Bombers Gold – Burgess.
Participating teams earned a berth to their respective GOLD National Championship through a network of qualifying tournaments and through berths awarded by USA Softball’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Both divisions will continue pool play Tuesday before competing in double-elimination bracket play, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday (16-Under division) and on Tuesday (18-Under division). The Championship contests will take place on Saturday, July 25 with the 16-Under division taking place at 11 a.m. CT and the “if-necessary” game at 1 p.m. CT. The 18-Under division will crown a champion at 12 p.m. CT with the “if-necessary” game at 2 p.m. CT.