USA Softball Takes Opening Series With Scrap Yard
The United States women's national softball team took the field this week for the first of two three-game exhibition series versus Scrap Yard Fastpitch.
Team USA, which took two of three games from Scrap Yard in the opening series this week in Lafayette, La., is matching up against the independent professional softball team in preparation for the Pan American Games, which will take place in Lima, Peru from August 4 to 11.
Game 1 of the series on Tuesday saw the U.S. squad take down Scrap Yard in convincing fashion, 6–0, behind three home runs and a combined shutout from three American pitchers. Delaney Spaulding, Haylie McCleney and Aubree Munro each went yard for Team USA, while Monica Abbott, Rachel Garcia and Keilani Ricketts got things done in the circle.
Game 2 of the series on Wednesday saw Scrap Yard edge the Americans, 5–4. Team USA came from behind to take a one-run lead late in the game after facing a three-run deficit, but Scrap Yard responded with a two-run home run from Jessica Hartwell in the bottom of the sixth inning that sealed the deal.
Game 3 on Thursday featured another one-run contest, this time in favor of the U.S. national team, as the Americans took the final game in Louisiana, 1–0. A sac-fly from Ali Aguilar in the top of the first inning would be all that Team USA would need, as Garcia, Abbott and Cat Osterman limited Scrap Yard to just three hits in the game, while striking out 11 batters combined.
"Louisiana did a fantastic job of hosting us this week as we train for the Pan American Games," said Team USA head coach Ken Eriksen in a release following his team's final game against Scrap Yard in Louisiana. "It was good to get these three exhibition games and to have another three in Houston because exhibition games like these provide opportunities to work on stuff.
"We did a nice job with our pitching staff by getting them in and out of situations because that’s what they’ll be experiencing in Lima. We faced some tough pitchers these last three games, which gives us something to learn from. If you don’t see these types of pitchers then you’re not prepared."
Some notable offensive performances from the opening series between the two squads include those of USA Softball's McCleney, who went 5-for-7 in the three-game set, and Scrap Yard's Kylan Becker, who went 4-for-10 in the series.
Team USA will now head to the Houston-metro area for three more games against Scrap Yard beginning Sunday and concluding Tuesday, just before the U.S. squad heads off to Pan Ams. The Americans possess an all-time record of 93–4 at Pan Ams. They've collected eight gold medals and two silvers in their 10 appearances at the international tournament.