BARRANQUILLA, Colombia –– The USA Softball U-18 Women’s National Team shined in Day Two of the 2021 Junior Pan American Games as a 26-run second inning propelled them to a dominating 29-0 (three innings) win against No. 40 Colombia. Combining for a total of 19 hits and five home runs, nine of the 11 U.S. batters recorded at least one hit in the win with five recording a multi-hit game. Leading the U.S. offense with 10 RBI was Valerie Cagle (Yorktown, Va.), sending three balls out of the park in the second inning – two of which cleared the bases via a grand slam. Karli Spaid (Chicago, Ill.) also contributed to the long ball game, sending two over the fence with five RBI.
The U.S. wasted no time getting things started, plating two runs in the top of the first with a double from Violet Zavodnik (Murrieta, Calif.) to score Keely Williams (Cibolo, Texas) who walked earlier in the inning. A deep sac-fly from Erin Coffel (Bremen, Ind.) would advance Zavodnik to third before speeding home on a passed ball to put Team USA on top, 2-0. Cagle got the start in the circle for the U.S., and allowed the first Colombia batter to reach base on a hit-by-pitch, but remained unfazed with a strikeout and two ground outs to retire the side.
The second inning saw a total of 16 hits from the Eagles, including home runs from Cagle (three) and Spaid (1) to score an explosive 26 runs. Megan Grant (San Bruno, Calif.) drew the walk to get things started before Cagle sent her first home run over the fence with one swing of the bat to score the first two runs of the inning. Haidyn Sokoloski (Flower Mound, Texas) continued the rally with a single followed by a walk from Williams to set the stage for Spaid who blasted a ball over the center field fence to extend the U.S. lead, 7-0. A walk to Zavodnik would put another U.S. runner on for Coffel who drilled a hard ground ball to right field for a triple followed by a fielding miscue from the Colombia defense to tack on two more runs to the lead.
The rally continued as Maci Bergeron (Rayne, La.) singled through the right side followed by a walk to Grant to load the bases for Cagle who quickly cleared the bases with a powerful grand slam off the scoreboard. The U.S. lead would continue to grow after giving up their first out of the inning, with Williams re-sparking the rally with a walk followed by back-to-back singles from Spaid and Zavodnik to add one to the board. After plating another run off a fielding error from the Colombia defense, another single from Bergeron and walk from Grant would once again prep Cagle for her third home run – and second grand slam – of the inning to put the U.S. ahead, 21-0. The U.S. offense would continue to dominate through the remainder of the inning with base hits from Zavodnik, Holtorf, Johnson, Bergeron, Grant and Sokoloski allowing seven more runs to score to put the U.S. ahead with a towering 28-0 lead.
Cagle and the U.S. defense remained solid in the bottom half of inning, retiring the side with two strikeouts and a ground out for a quick return to the plate. Leading off the top of the third was Spaid, who crushed a ball over the left field fence for her second long ball of the game. The scoring ended there, though, as a ground out and two pop outs sent Team USA back to defense.
Alissa Humphrey (Micanopy, Fla.) took over pitching duties in the bottom of the frame and quickly took control with two strikeouts and a ground out to seal the 29-0 run-rule victory for the Red, White and Blue.
Team USA concludes Opening Round tomorrow, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. ET against No. 30 Peru. Live stats will be available through USASoftball.com.
Following the conclusion of Opening Round, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the Super Rounds with the final two countries at the top of the leader board going head-to-head in the Junior Pan American Championship Final on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET. The third and fourth-place teams will compete for the bronze medal earlier that day.
Team USA entered the tournament as the world-ranked No. 2 team and is competing alongside No. 30 Peru, No. 32 Argentina and No. 40 Colombia in Group A while No. 4 Mexico, No. 5 Puerto Rico, No. 11 Venezuela and No. 14 Brazil battle it out in Group B.