Courtesy of USA Softball
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada — Team USA rallied from behind to capture a 9-2 (six inning) win over Cuba at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today. Down by two runs after the first inning, the U.S. exploded for nine runs through the remaining five innings to capture their fourth run-rule victory at the Pan American Games.
“I was glad to see that we got challenged,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “We were able to do something today that we haven’t had a chance to this whole tournament by coming from behind. You want to make sure you cover all scenarios before you enter the playoff rounds so for us to be able to come back while staying composed was pretty impressive.”
Team USA put two base runners on in the top of the first inning as back-to-back walks were issued to Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.), but the team would be unable to strike first as a hard ground ball ended the at-bat. Cuba struck first in the game in the bottom half of the inning, utilizing three singles and a walk to give them a 2-0 lead.
The U.S. struck back with vengeance, pounding in six runs off six hits to take the lead in the top of the second inning. A one-out walk to Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) put the first runner of the inning on for the U.S. and Gibson advanced to second on a single from Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.). Janie Takeda (Placentia, Calif.) followed with another single to load the bases for Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), who hit a shot to left field to plate the first run for Team USA.
The scoring didn’t stop there as Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) hit the fourth-straight single of the inning to plate Fox and Takeda to give the U.S. the 3-2 lead. With two on base, Arioto hit a ball to deep right field, hitting the top of the fence for a standup triple to score the speedy Chavanne and McCleney. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) hit in the last run of the inning with an RBI single to center field.
With the U.S. holding a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the second, Cuba would get two leadoff runners on an error and a single to prompt a pitching change as Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in relief for Carda in the circle. Moore was able to get the U.S. out of the jam unscathed with a pair of ground outs and a stolen base attempt at home.
The score would hold until the top of the sixth inning when the U.S. plated the would-be game ending runs. Takeda showcased her speed by laying down a bunt and moved to second base on a single from Chavanne before a walk to McCleney loaded the bases. A walk to Arioto pushed a run across for the U.S. before Chidester hit a hard ground ball to the centerfielder to collect her third RBI of the game to score Chavanne and McCleney.
Down to their final at-bat, Cuba would get one last runner on base but were unable to advance a base as a series of groundouts ended the game with Team USA taking the 9-2 (six inning) run-rule victory.
Moore earned the win for the U.S., getting five strikeouts through her five innings pitched while allowing just two hits. Carda finished the game with four hits and two runs allowed. For the offense, Chavanne collected three singles in a 3-for-4 outing with two runs scored and one RBI, while Chidester and Arioto collected three RBI apiece. McCleney picked up the remaining two RBI.
“I felt good going into the game and just wanted to get some ground balls for our defense,” said Moore. “Our hitters did a great job of getting back in the game to get us back on top.”
Up next for the U.S. is their final preliminary rounds game against the Dominican Republic at 2 p.m. EDT. Live stats will be available throughout the Pan American Games and fans at home can follow along with recaps and more at ASAUSASoftball.com.
About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 74 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. ASA/USA is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit: www.asausasoftball.com.