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U.S. Slow Pitch National Teams claim annual Border Battle titles

Sept. 11, 2022, 4:54 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Red, White and Blue swept the final day of Border Battle action, including a victory from the Women’s Futures and two U.S. victories in the Men’s and Women’s Border Battle Finales against Canada. The Women’s Futures opened the final day of the tournament with a 26-10 win over JMI Sports before the Women’s Slow Pitch National Team (WSPNT) captured its third Border Battle title followed by the tenth overall Border Battle victory from the Men’s Slow Pitch National Team (MSPNT). 


U.S. Women’s Futures Slow Pitch National Team

The Women’s Futures capped the weekend with a 26-10 run-rule (four innings) win over JMI Sports to improve to 4-1 through the 2022 edition of Border Battle. JMI Sports managed to take an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Futures quickly took control in the bottom of the inning with eight runs of their own followed by an 11-run third inning and seven-run fourth inning to seal the run-rule win. Combining for 13 hits in the contest, five U.S. batters recorded a multi-hit game while Kylee Studioso tallied five RBI followed by Sierra Rodriguez with four. 


Women’s Border Battle

WSPNT 11, Team Canada 4

A 10-run fifth inning helped the WSPNT claim the program’s third-straight Women’s Border Battle title as the U.S. outscored Team Canada 11-4 to improve to a 3-1 overall record in the annual Border Battle. Alyssa Schreiner led the U.S. offense with a home run and three RBI followed by Kristen Connell with two base hits and two RBI. Capping the weekend in true team fashion, the Eagles combined for 16 hits in the win with 13 batters reaching base at least once. 


The U.S. shutout the Canada offense in the top of the first while plating one run in the bottom of the frame after a fielding miscue and back-to-back singles allowed the Eagles to jump out to an early lead. Canada quickly responded in the top of the second after stringing together a double and a two-out single to even the score, 1-1. Both squads managed a baserunner in the third inning, but solid defense on both sides of the field kept the bats quiet to maintain the tie ball game through three innings. Canada broke the silence in the top of the fourth after a leadoff base hit followed by a two-out single and double pushed two runs across to put the WSPNT behind, 3-1. 


Busting the game open in the bottom of the fifth, Schreiner led things off for the U.S. with a solo blast over the left field fence to put the Eagles within one. Back-to-back singles from Shelby Engle and Amber Parish followed by doubles from Tara Licuanan and Connell would tack on three more for the U.S. while a pair of base hits scored another run to put the Eagles on top, 6-3. Resparking the offense with two outs in the inning, Mandy Hollman sent a single through the left side followed by back-to-back doubles from Patrika Barlow and Schreiner to plate four more before a RBI single from Kelly Park extended the U.S. lead, 11-3.


The Canada offense managed to get one run back in the top of the sixth after a two-out double followed by a single brought a run around to score, but a fly out to centerfield would end the at-bat with WSPNT ahead, 11-4. The seventh inning saw good offensive action from both squads, but the U.S. proved superior with a pair of fly outs and a ground out to seal the 11-4 Border Battle victory. 


The WSPNT offense combined for a .521 batting average through four games with 62 hits and five home runs – three of which were off the bat of Megan Baltzell. Leading the Eagles with a .667 batting average was Schreiner and Engle followed by Parrish and Connell who finished the weekend at .600. 


Men’s Border Battle

MSPNT 28, Team Canada 8

The MSPNT dominated its way to a 28-8 run-rule (four innings) win over the Canadian Men’s Slow Pitch National Team to clinch its tenth overall Men’s Border Battle title. Combining for 29 hits in the win, the Eagles sent its max limit of 10 home runs out of the park with Mike Jacobson and Dale Brungardt tallying two apiece. Every U.S. batter collected at least one hit in the win with Greg Connell, Tyler Marshburn, Kyle Pearson and Brungardt each recording a perfect day at the plate.


Scoring early and often, the U.S. took an eight-run lead in the top of the first after a leadoff single from Everett Williams set the stage for Pearson to send one deep for the first two runs of the game. Three-straight singles from Andrew Collins, Connell and Marshburn would tack on another run followed by a two-run long ball from Brungardt to put the Eagles on top, 7-0. Staying hot with two outs, Ben Dunn and Kevin Bazat sent a pair of singles through the infield followed by a fielder’s choice to add another U.S. run before a pop out ended the at-bat with the Red, White and Blue on top, 8-0. 


Flashing the leather on defense, Team USA silenced the Canadian offense through the first three innings while adding 13 runs to its lead in the second and third frames. Combining for 11 hits and three home runs in the two at-bats, the Eagles pulled ahead 21-0 with the run-rule in affect heading into the top of the fourth. The Canada offense refused to go down without a fight though, plating eight runs in the top of the fourth to cut the U.S. lead 21-8. 


The U.S. offense responded in the bottom of the inning after Pearson kept things rolling with a leadoff single followed by back-to-back home runs from Collins and Connell to extend the Eagles lead, 24-8. A walk to Marshburn would put a runner on for Jacobson to send one over the right field fence before Brungardt and Dunn sent back-to-back home runs out of the park to seal the 28-8 run-rule victory. 


Combining for a .635 batting average and 108 hits through four games, the MSPNT offense was led by Brungardt (.800), Pearson (.786), Marshburn (.733) and Jacobson (.727) while Brungardt and Collins each sent seven balls over the fence enroute to a combined total of 35 long balls from Team USA.