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U.S. Women’s National Team nominated for World Games Team of the Year; McCleney nominated for World Games Athlete of the Year

Jan. 05, 2023, 2:26 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a dominating performance at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala., the U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) has earned a nomination as The World Games Team of the Year while Haylie McCleney joins The Athlete of the Year nominations after putting on a show in front of her hometown crowd at the Hoover Met Stadium. The U.S. WNT is joined by 11 other candidates in the running for The World Games Team of the Year while McCleney adds to a total of 23 candidates for The World Games Athlete of the Year.

 

Fans can vote for their Team of the Year and Athlete of the Year beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 a.m. CT through Sunday, Jan. 22 at 6 a.m. CT. Votes must be given to two candidates each time - Two votes to your first-choice candidate and one vote to your second-choice candidate.  The top seven Team of the Year candidates and top 10 Athlete of the Year candidates will then advance to the final round of voting, which will take place Jan. 22 at 6 a.m. CT through Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6 a.m. CT. Fans can vote through the world games website once per day. Click here to cast your vote starting Jan. 10.

 

On the stage that pitted Olympic rivals against each other for the first time since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the U.S. showed out with an undefeated 5-0 record featuring wins over Italy, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Australia and Japan to earn the highly touted World Games gold medal. The Eagles compiled a .331 team batting average through its quest to the podium with 31 runs scored through five contests, while the pitching staff of Monica Abbott, Ally Carda, Megan Faraimo, Jailyn Ford and Montana Fouts allowed a low of four runs with 54 strikeouts. Racking up a total of five RBI, four runs scored, eight hits and two doubles throughout the tournament, McCleney proved to be a key contributor enroute to the 2022 World Championship title while being named the 2022 World Games Softball Tournament MVP.

 

Team USA opened the 2022 World Games with back-to-back shutout victories over Italy (6-0) and Chinese Taipei (7-0) in which the U.S. offense combined for 21 hits and 13 runs paired with 28 strikeouts from Carda, Fouts and Abbott. Earning its third win of the tournament, the Eagles closed out opening round with a 10-2 win over Canada to advance to the semifinal round as the No. 1 seed in Group 1. Seven of the nine U.S. batters recorded a hit in the win with Taylor Pleasants and Dejah Mulipola racking up three RBIs apiece while a combined effort in the circle from Ford and Faraimo sealed the run-rule.

 

The Eagles continued its dominance in the semifinal contest with a 5-0 shutout win over Australia to clinch its spot in the 2022 World Games gold medal contest against Japan – a matchup softball fans across the globe had been waiting for since the Tokyo Olympic gold medal game where the U.S. took home the silver.

 

With over 8,000 fans packed in the Hoover Met Stadium, Team USA proved victorious after the closely fought Olympic rematch resulted in a narrow 3-2 win for the Red, White and Blue. An international rivalry spanning decades, Team USA’s win over Japan marked its third-straight World Championship title following its gold medal finishes at the 2016 and 2018 WBSC World Championships.

 

The U.S. shined in the gold medal win, working its way out of three intense innings with Japanese runners in scoring position while allowing a low of two runs to cross home plate despite Japan’s combined eight hits. The veteran pitching staff of Abbott and Carda dominated the circle in the win with a combined 10 strikeouts to keep Japan at bay in the tight defensive battle while a three-run double from Janae Jefferson gave the Eagles the edge it needed to finish atop the podium.

 

For full recaps and results of Team USA’s gold medal campaign at the 2022 World Games, please visit usasoftball.com.