Imagine a softball pitching rotation featuring Rachel Garcia, Montana Fouts, Kathryn Sandercock and Ally Carda on the same roster.
Such a unit would be a college coach's dream and a nightmare for opposing hitters. At the recently completed Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, the foursome proved to be absolutely unbeatable while representing their country.
The USA Softball Women's National Team combined the fearsome pitching talents of Garcia (UCLA), Fouts (Alabama), Sandercock (Florida State) and Carda (UCLA) with an explosive offense to win all six of their contests en route to a gold medal at the Pan American Games. Team USA entered the tournament as the defending champion, having captured gold at the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru.
On Saturday, the Eagles defended their championship and claimed their 10th Pan American Games gold medal in convincing fashion with a 7-0 six-inning run-rule victory over Puerto Rico, a team they had beaten in the Super Round the day before.
#TeamUSA clinches its 10th Pan American Games ???? ????? behind an ?????????? 6-0 record ?
? .432 batting average
? 11 home runs
? Outscored opponents 60-8
? Overall Pan American Games record improved to 106-5
— USA Softball Women's National Team ?? (@USASoftballWNT) November 5, 2023
Carda went the distance in the circle, limiting the Puerto Rico offense to one hit while striking out seven.
The Eagles jumped out to a quick, 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a home run by Florida's Amanda Lorenz, then added three more in the third and four more in the sixth to end the game in walk-off fashion.
The U.S. swept through the Opening Round with three run-rule victories, including an 18-0 rout of host country Chile in a game that took just three innings. The trio of Fouts, Garcia and Sandercock combined for a no-hitter in the rout.
In the Super Round, Team USA scored a pair of victories: 11-3 over Puerto Rico in six innings and 8-3 over Canada in the only game of the tournament the U.S. didn't win via the run rule. The win over Canada set up a rematch with Puerto Rico in the Gold Medal Game, but the result was the same.
The Eagles' offense was as impressive as the pitching. Arizona's Dejah Mulipola led the team with a .667 average, followed by Garcia (yes, that Garcia) at .538 and Washington's Ali Aguilar at .526. In the 11-3 win over Puerto Rico in the Super Round, Mulipola blasted four home runs, including a grand slam.
The coaching staff for this year's Pan American Games roster featured Washington's Heather Tarr as head coach and assistants Tony Baldwin (Georgia), Cody Thomson (Utah Valley) and Tim Walton (Florida). Washington led the way with three players on the roster, followed by UCLA, Alabama and LSU with two each.
Team USA has thoroughly dominated the Pan American Games since softball was added to the program in 1979. The Eagles have made an appearance in all 12 Pan Am gold medal matchups, earning 10 gold medals and two silver.
Their quest for an Olympic gold medal will have to wait until the 2028 Games in Los Angeles after losing in the gold medal game of the 2008 and 2020 Olympics to Japan. For now, the U.S. will bask in the glow of their dominant performance in the Pan American Games.
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