Spartanburg, S.C. — Some of the top teams in the USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) girls’ fast pitch 14-Under, 16-Under and 18-Under divisions brought the heat to the start of the 2020 USA Softball JO Cup. Held at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, S.C., a total of 59 games were played across the three divisions in the opening day of action. The pitchers came out strong today as 12 games were won via the shutout with over 440 strikeouts on the day.
The 14-Under division saw a total of 149 runs being recorded in their first 16 pool play games of the tournament. Mojo 2024 – Ross picked up a pair of wins today, first a 6-2 victory over Tampa Mustangs – Rene before closing the day with an 11-4 (six inning) run-rule over Ohio Hawks 14U – Lenos. Recording the lone shutout win was Pro Impact Houston – McCool, while Florida Gold – John, Georgia Impact - Lewis and TN Mojo 2023 each picked up a one-run win on the day.
At the plate, two batters sent one out of the park as Desiree Trudel (East Cobb Bullets 14U – Maher) and Hallie Meeks (Fury Platinum – Morrison) are the only two batters to pick up a home run on the day. In the circle, Gabby Ellis (Pro Impact Houston – McCool) fanned 11 batters to help her team to the shutout win. Remaining undefeated after Day One in the 14U division: Florida Impact 05 – Gatewood, Georgia Impact 14U – Janney, Georgia Impact – Lewis, Lady Lightning Gold Futures, Mojo 2024 – Ross, Tampa Mustangs – Seymour, TN Mojo 2023 and TN Mojo 2024 - Abernathy.
In the 16-Under division, over half the games were won by a score of three runs or less, with just 174 runs accumulated among the 28 competing teams. Earning shutout wins today were Lady Lightning Gold – Pedy, Tampa Mustangs, Team NC – Huss, TN Mojo 04 – Carter and the Williamsburg Starz Gold. Ohio Hawks-Hutchinson, Ohio Outlaws Premier – Schmieser, Tampa Mustangs and Turnin2 each picked up a pair of wins today.
At the plate, Camryn Martin (Carolina Elite – Maddaluna) blasted two home runs out of the park while Jordan Stephens (Tampa Mustangs) leads the 16U division with five RBI in two games. In the circle, Averi Slaughter (TN Mojo 04 – Carter) tossed 16 strikeouts, while Chloe Elliott (Ohio Outlaws Premier – Schmieser) fanned 15 batters and Julie Miller (Ohio Lasers Red) struck out 13 batters. Remaining undefeated after Day One of pool play games in the 16U division: GA Power 16U, Gold Coast Hurricanes – Hammonds, Indiana Fusion Elite – Unruh, Ohio Hawks – Hutchinson, Ohio Outlaws Premier – Schmieser, PA Strikers, Tampa Mustangs, Turnin2 and Williamsburg Starz Gold
The competition was high in the 18-Under division, with six of the 21 pool play games resulting in a shutout victory while 10 were won by a close margin of two or less runs. The defense stole the show in opening day, starting in the circle with a combined total of 109 strike outs being recorded by the 18-Under pitching staff. Grace Lehto (Turnin2) led the way, retiring 10 at the plate in their 2-1 win over the Carolina Cardinals – Chandler.
The Birmingham Vipers tallied two wins on the day, claiming their first victory in a close 5-4 thriller against the Bandits 18U Blevins, highlighted by a two-run homerun from Lindsey Richardson. Also recording two wins today was Ohio Outlaws Hoffner and Premier Fastpitch 18U – Paulson while Atlanta Vipers – Trowell/Ray, GA Power – Roddy/Worley, Lady Lightning Gold – Pedy, Ohio Hawks Hutchinson, Wildfire 18U – Paulson and GA Power Gold – Berkiser each remain undefeated with one win on the day.
All divisions will continue pool play tomorrow, July 27, before competing in double-elimination bracket play, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 28. The Championship contests will take place on Friday, July 31 with the 14-Under division set for 9:30 a.m. ET, followed with the 16-Under division at 12:00 p.m. ET and the 18-Under division at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Live stats and coverage will be available all week long at USASoftball.com with live streaming from HiCast continuing through Thursday, July 30. Click here or download the HiCast Sports mobile app to watch all the action. Live streaming with continue on Friday, July 31 with Major League Network stepping in to cover all the Championship action on MLB.com.