VIERA –– The world-ranked No. 1 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) returns to action today against No. 10 Italy in a 5 p.m. ET contest set to be held at Space Coast Complex (5800 Stadium Pkway, Melbourne, FL 32940). The game is a part of the 2021 “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB), and will provide much-needed preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games where the two countries along with No. 2 Japan, No. 3 Canada, No. 5 Mexico and No. 8 Australia make up the six who will vie for the Gold Medal in Tokyo.
Due to travel delays last week, the previously announced four-game series between Team USA and Team Italy was postponed with today’s game being the first competition of the month for the Red, White and Blue. Fans will be allowed to attend today’s game at a limited capacity with social distancing encouraged while inside the ballpark. Attendance is free to the public with gates opening at 4 p.m. ET.
The 18-player roster will be without Rachel Garcia, Dejah Mulipola and Bubba Nickles as well as assistant coaches Laura Berg, Howard Dobson, Tairia Flowers and Heather Tarr who all remain with their respective collegiate teams. Assisting Head Coach Ken Eriksen with coaching will be Kyla Holas and two-time Olympian Kelly Kretschman while Courtney Gano, Haylie Wagner, Jessie Warren, Randi Rupp and Samantha Show will join the team as training players for the month of April.
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. Currently participating in a mid-April training camp at Jackie Robinson Training Complex (JRTC) in Vero Beach, Fla., today’s contest will mark Team USA’s eighth game of the 2021 season where the U.S. squad garners a 7-0 record with wins over Team Mexico, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. 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.
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