Jun. 12—MIDLAND — Despite triple digit temperatures early, the USA softball team got off to a strong start in its highly-anticipated Midland stop of its 2020 Stand Beside Her Tour on Friday at Momentum Bank Ballpark
Team USA earned a sweep of the doubleheader against Team Alliance, winning the first game 7-5 before capping the day with a 4-0 victory in Game 2.
In the first game, Amanda Chidester got Team USA on the board first with a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning.
Team Alliance wasted no time responding, as Taylor Ellsworth hit a solo home run in the top of the second to cut the deficit in half.
Kelsey Stewart amplified the national team's lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame, but Team Alliance jumped ahead on its next at bat.
Ellsworth hit another ball to deep left field off a pitch from Keilani Ricketts, the grand slam putting her team up 5-3.
Two consecutive scores in the bottom of the inning tied the game, 5-5, which held until the game's final inning.
Valerie Arioto showed up when Team USA needed her most, hitting a walk-off, two-run homer to break the tie and seal the first victory.
Team USA had a stronger showing in its second contest with a 5-0 shutout behind the arm of Monica Abbott.
The left-hander pitched a complete game, allowing six hits and recording 13 strikeouts.
Ali Aguilar got the scoring started in the first inning with a two-run homer to center field.
The national team's final two scores of the night came on solo home runs by Dejah Mulipola and Haylie McCleney.
Team USA players were not made available to speak with reporters after the games.
The teams will cap the two-day series with a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Momentum Bank Ballpark.
Team USA 7-4, Team Alliance 5-0
Alliance......... 014 000 0 — 5 9 1
USA................ 212 000 2 — 7 8 0
Carrie Eberle, Kelly Maxwell (4) and Taylor Ellsworth. Keilani Ricketts, Ally Carda (5) and Taylor Edwards. W — Ricketts. L — Maxwell. 2B — Team Alliance: Karli Hamilton. Team USA: Ali Aguilar and Michelle Moultrie. HR — Team Alliance: Taylor Ellsworth (2). Team USA: Valerie Arioto, Amanda Chidester.
USA................ 200 110 0 — 4 6 0
Alliance......... 000 000 0 — 0 6 0
Monica Abbott and Aubree Munro. Montana Fouts, Missy Zoch (7) and Macy Simmons. W — Abbott. L — Fouts. HR — Team USA: Ali Aguilar, Haylie McCleney. Dejah Mulipola.