LIMA, Peru –– A nine-run fifth inning from the U.S. offense helped to propel the U-18 Women’s National Team (WNT) to a 13-0 (five innings) victory over No. 30 Peru as the Eagles remain undefeated at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup.
Leading Team USA to their sixth-straight win of the tournament was an explosive offense that racked up 13 hits in the contest, including four doubles, a triple, and two home runs. Standing atop the leaderboard with two home runs and a .556 batting average, Erin Coffel (Bremen, Ind.) continued her dominance at the plate in tonight’s win with a multi-hit game including a three-run blast. A combined pitching effort from Mac Morgan (Garden City, Mo.) and Raelin Chaffin (Bossier City, La.) allowed the U.S. strikeout total to increase to 60 while the staff limited the Peru offense to only two hits in the victory.
Keely Williams (Cibolo, Texas) led off the game with a walk, giving Team USA the first baserunner of the night before using her speed to steal second and advance into scoring position. A strikeout and a fly out would hold her at second until Violet Zavodnik (Murrieta, Calif.) roped a two-out line drive up the middle, forcing a defensive miscue that allowed Williams to score to put the U.S. on top, 1-0.
Starting in the circle for the Eagles, Morgan made quick work of the Peru offense in the bottom of the inning with a strikeout and two ground outs to send Team USA back to the plate. Rylee Holtorf (Peoria, Ariz.) got things going for the Red, White and Blue in the top of the frame after finding a gap in the outfield and speeding to second for a double before recording Team USA’s second stolen base of the night to advance to third. A wild pitch would allow Holtorf to score while also putting Joecellia Roberts (Modesto, Calif.) on base with a walk followed by a single through the infield from Avery Hodge (Richmond, Texas) to continue the U.S. bats. With runners on first and second, the Eagles would look to cushion their lead but a ground out and a fly out would end the at-bat with Team USA up, 2-0.
Morgan continued to work in the circle, issuing back-to-back strikeouts before a Peru batter would drop a single over Kinsey Fiedler’s (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) head to reach base. Remaining calm and composed, Morgan quickly fired back with another strikeout to end the inning and leave the runner stranded.
The U.S. came out swinging in the top of the third as Coffel led off with a triple followed by a sac-fly from Zavodnik to add one to the lead. A fly out would account for the second out of the inning, but Megan Grant (San Bruno, Calif.) and Holtorf reignited the spark with back-to-back doubles to plate another run for Team USA. A line drive shot from Roberts would look to score another run for the U.S. but an impressive catch by the Peru centerfielder would end the rally with the Eagles leading, 4-0.
Like a well-oiled machine, the U.S. defense continued to take care of business with textbook bunt coverage while Morgan racked up two more strikeouts to send the game to the fourth. The top of the frame was quiet for the Eagles, while Peru threated to score in the bottom of the inning after a walk and a single put runners on the corners. An attempted stolen base resulted in an out at home as the U.S. prevented Peru from scoring before a pitching change brought in Chaffin who quickly took back control and shut down the Peru offense with a strikeout to end the inning.
Team USA broke the game open in the fifth, scoring nine runs to extend their lead, 13-0. A one-out, inside-the-park home run from Maci Bergeron (Rayne, La.) would plate the first two runs of the inning while Grant and Holtorf followed with a pair of singles to keep the energy high. Roberts delivered with a double to right field to tack on two more for the Eagles before a walk to Olivia Johnson (Pearland, Texas) and a single from Williams loaded the bases, setting the stage for Fiedler to rack up 2 RBI and give the U.S. a 10-run lead with a single to centerfield. Keeping the foot on the gas, Coffel blasted a three-run home run over the centerfield fence to add three more runs to the lead heading into the bottom of the frame. Remaining on the rubber for Team USA, Chaffin wasted no time in closing out the game, retiring the Peru offense in order with two strikeouts and a ground out to seal the 13-0 run-rule victory.
Returning to action tomorrow, the Red, White and Blue will take the field at 1:30 p.m. ET against No. 6 Chinese Taipei to close out Opening Round before both teams advance to the World Championship gold medal game on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. ET. After finishing atop the leaderboard in the 28-game round-robin Opening Round, tomorrow’s matchup will determine which team will take the field as the home team for the coveted World Championship Final. Live stats will be available through USASoftball.com while the WBSC has provided live streaming, which can be accessed by clicking here.
Due to the postponement of the WBSC U-18World Cup, which was originally scheduled to take place in August 2020, the WBSC extended the age eligibility to allow athletes who were eligible for the 2020 event with the opportunity to participate in the rescheduled event this year. With the extended age eligibility, the 2021 USA Softball U-18 Women’s National Team roster includes one member of the 2019 U-17 Pan American Gold Medal team, six current NCAA Division I student-athletes and 12 committed and/or signed NCAA Division I student athletes – four of which also advanced to the JWNT Selection Trials through the USA Softball High Performance Program (HPP). Click here to view the 2021 USA Softball U-18 Women's National Team roster.