|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
June 20, 2021
Web Release: Link
|SUGAR LAND, Texas –– The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) capped the pre-Olympic “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB) in thrilling fashion, overcoming a seven-run deficit in game one of the doubleheader against Team Alliance before finishing the day with a 1-1 tie (five innings) in game two due to travel schedules for both teams.|
The U.S. bats totaled 15 hits in the “Stand Beside Her” tour finale with Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) and Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) highlighting the day with three RBI a piece.
USA 8, Team Alliance 7
A win for the history books, Team USA proved resilient in the opening game of the day with an 8-7 come-from-behind victory fueled by a five-run fifth inning. The walk-off victory marked the first time in USA Softball history for a team to overcome a seven-run deficit.
Team Alliance grabbed an early lead in the top of the first, stringing together a pair of base hits and an infield RBI to plate two before Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.), who started in the circle for Team USA, fired back with two strike outs to end the at-bat. The U.S. offense went down in order in the bottom of the frame for a quick return to defense, where the Alliance would tack on two more to their lead after stringing together a walk and three singles. Team USA put two runners on in the bottom of the second with a walk to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and a single by Moultrie, but a pair of strikeouts would leave them stranded.
A scoreless third inning for both squads would send the game to the fourth, where Team Alliance would plate three runs to extend their lead, 7-0. A leadoff walk followed by sac-bunt and a single to right field would plate one for the Alliance before three more walks would load the bases for Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) who entered the circle for Team USA with one out. The Alliance would take advantage of a fielder’s choice and a fielding error to score two before Ricketts forced a pop out to end the inning.
The Eagles broke the silence in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff single from Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) followed by a home run over the right field fence from Chidester to put the U.S. on the board. A walk to Arioto and a single from Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) would look to continue the inning for Team USA but a pair of fly outs would leave the runners stranded.
Team Alliance would put the leadoff runner on in the top of fifth, but three-straight strikeouts from Ricketts would retire the side and send the U.S. back to the plate with the top of lineup due up. Three-straight singles from Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.), Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) and Aguilar would plate one run for the U.S. before a walk would load the bases for Moultrie who would blast a line drive into the left center gap for a bases-clearing triple. Now trailing the Alliance by one, Spaulding steps into the box to send a deep fly ball to right field for the sac-fly to plate Moultrie and even the score, 7-7.
Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) took over pitching duties for Team USA in the top of sixth as Team Alliance looked to regain the lead with back-to-back singles, but a strikeout and a ground out to Spaulding would leave them stranded. A single from Chidester is all the U.S. could muster in the bottom of the frame, sending the game to the seventh with the score still knotted, 7-7.
A strikeout and a pair of flyouts would quickly send Team USA back to the plate for their final at-bat of the game, which was fueled by a leadoff double from Moultrie. Two walks to Spaulding and Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) would load the bases for McCleney who sent a sac-fly out to right field to score Moultrie and seal the walk-off, come-from-behind victory for the Red, White and Blue.
USA 1, Team Alliance 1
Team USA wasted no time in getting on the board in game two as McCleney led off the game with a walk before advancing to second on a sac-bunt from Reed. A hard ground ball up the middle from Chidester would bring McCleney around to score and make it a 1-0 ballgame.
Monica Abbott (Salina, Calif.) got the start in the circle for the U.S. and quickly retired the side with a strikeout and two groundouts to send the Eagles back to the plate. Spaulding would send a line drive to centerfield for a leadoff single, but a pair of strikeouts and a fly out would keep her from advancing.
Team Alliance would send back-to-back singles to the outfield to put runners on the corners with one out. Buckling down in the circle, Abbott retired the next two batters she faced with a strikeout, but a throwing miscue by the U.S. defense would allow a runner to score and tie the game, 1-1.
The score would remain even, 1-1, through the remainder of the game with each squad allowing just three base runners through the last three innings of the five-inning contest, which was cut short due to travel schedules. Abbott collected six strikeouts in five innings, improving her “Stand Beside Her” tour total to 64.
The U.S. offense concluded the pre-Olympic tour collectively hitting .308 with six batters averaging over .300. The Eagles sent 39 balls out of the park in their 23 games of the 2021 season with McCleney leading the way with eight home runs, followed by Aguilar with seven and Chidester with six. In the circle, Team USA’s pitching staff combined for 224 strikeouts and ten shutouts while limiting their opponents to 36 runs.
For more information on the 2021 “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by MLB, please visit StandBesideHerTour.com.
The U.S. WNT will resume training next month in Iwakuni, Japan prior to kicking off the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled to take place July 21-27, 2021. Additional information will be released at a later date.