VIERA –– Home runs were the name of the game today in Viera, Fla. as the U.S. offense erupted with a 16-0 (three innings) run-rule victory against Team Italy. It was a Tokyo Olympic Games preview as the contest pitted world-ranked No. 1 U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) against No. 10 Italy, who are set to square off in Tokyo following the Olympic opener between No. 8 Australia and No. 2 Japan. A 13-run second inning followed by a three-run third inning from the U.S. offense would ignite Team USA’s run-rule victory, but the competition continued through eight innings with the scoreboard being cleared in the top of the fourth to allow both squads to continue their preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The U.S. offense stole the show in tonight’s contest with nearly every batter in the U.S. lineup recording a hit in the win while seven batters went yard. Leading the home run pact was Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) with two long balls in her first game back in the offensive lineup while Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.), Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.), Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) and Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) each sent one out of the park. Arioto led the offense with a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate while Chidester, Flippen, McCleney, Reed, Spaulding and Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) each had a multi-hit day.
After a scoreless first inning from both squads, Team USA exploded in the bottom of the second with a 13-run inning. Chidester got things started with a solo shot over the left field fence followed by an RBI from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) and a series of walks that plated five runs to put the U.S. on top, 6-0. Arioto added to the rally with a three-run home run before Spaulding joined the party with a two-run long ball to extend the U.S. lead, 11-0. Two more walks by Munro and Reed put runners on base for McCleney who tripled on a line drive to right field to score two and put Team USA ahead, 13-0. The U.S. offense continued their dominance in the bottom of third with Spaulding sealing the 16-0 run-rule victory for Team USA courtesy of a three-run homerun to score Arioto and Moultrie who singled earlier in the inning. After clearing the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning, Team USA continued their focus, scoring two or more runs in every inning. Assisting in the circle for the U.S. defense was Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif.), Samantha Show (East Bernard, Texas) and Randi Rupp (Mont Belvieu, Texas) who are joining the WNT as training players for the month of April.
The WNT is now 8-0 on the 2021 “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB), collectively hitting .343 with nine batters hitting over .300. McCleney leads the offense with 11 hits while Aguilar has a team-high 19 RBI.
Following the postponement of the pre-Olympic “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by MLB, the Red, White and Blue squad resumed preparations for the highly anticipated Tokyo Olympic Games in January with a series of monthly training camps and exhibition games. Additional training locations and tour stops will be announced at a later date. For more information on the 2021 “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by MLB, please visit StandBesideHerTour.com.