Chicago Bandits vs Team USA | NPF | Game 3
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Timely hitting, near perfect pitching and solid defense, resulted in a 2-0, shutout win for the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) in their final contest in Rosemont, Ill.
“I think you saw a lot of patience today,” said Head Coach, Ken Eriksen. “Rachele Fico was throwing a really nice game and we were hitting the ball really hard but just right at people. Through it all, we showed a lot of patience and maturity. When you have a pitching staff like ours that can keep the other team at zero for as long as possible, it gives you a good shot at winning and that’s what helps our team keep the demeanor that they have.”
Facing off against teams within the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League in preparation for the 2019 international season, it was a pitcher’s duel between Chicago’s Rachele Fico and Team USA’s Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) and Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas). With the game tied up with no runs scored through the first six innings of play, it would be Team USA who walked away victorious after Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) capitalized with runners on base in the top of the seventh.
Defense and pitching were the name of the game as both sides managed only a handful of runners through the first five innings of play.
Team USA looked to score in the top of the fifth inning after Shelby Pendley (Rio Rancho, N.M.) singled with one out and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Reed. Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) then hit a chopper up the middle and beat out the throw to first, however, Pendley would be thrown out at the plate after attempting to score.
In the bottom of the sixth, Chicago threatened after a hit batter and ground ball put two runners on with one out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the threat with the U.S. unscathed.
Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) started the rally for Team USA in the top of the seventh after reaching safely on an error by the Chicago defense. One batter later, Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) doubled to put two runners in scoring position for Reed, who delivered a line drive through the left/center gap for a double and two RBI.
Leading by two runs, a leadoff hit batter would be the only offense Chicago would muster as a pair of strikeouts from Osterman and a fly ball to right field ended the game with Team USA coming out on top, 2-0.
McCleney had a 2-for-4 day at the plate while Reed collected two RBI. From the circle, Abbott and Osterman combined for the one-hitter. Abbott pitched the first five frames, striking out six with one hit allowed while Osterman fanned three batters en route to the win.
The WNT now set their sights on No. 2 Japan for the Japan All-Star Series, which is scheduled for June 22-25 in Sendai and Tokyo, Japan.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.