MIDLAND The USA softball team closed out its stop in the Permian Basin with a split of a doubleheader against Team Alliance Saturday at Momentum Bank Ballpark.
A 5-3 win in Game 1 was quickly followed by a 4-1 loss to finish the last of four exhibition games over the past two days.
Recent collegiate addition Rachel Garcia had a strong showing for Team USA in its first game, hitting two home runs.
Team USA held a 4-0 lead by the bottom of the fourth inning, but Team Alliance had a quick response in the top of the fifth as Baylee Klingler cut the deficit with a three-run homer to left field.
That score held up for a majority of the first contest, until Garcia connected on a Montana Fouts pitch that flew to deep right field in the bottom of the sixth.
Garcia scored the first run of the game with a solo homer and locked down the victory for Team USA with another.
Team Alliance followed the loss up with a victory, taking advantage of an early lead to secure the split.
Taylor Ellsworth gave the designated home team a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a grand slam.
The national team scored in the top of the fourth when Delaney Spaulding reached home on an error, but it couldn’t get much else going on offense the rest of the contest.
Team USA head coach Ken Eriksen said squads like Team Alliance show the depth of softball talent in the United States.
Playing against some of the best players in the country gives the national team the challenge it needs before the Olympics start in July.
“It’s really good that we’re getting to see this type of deal,” Eriksen said.
The head coach believes his team needs some rest and recovery before their final tour stop in Sugar Land next week.
He’ll also continue to shuffle starting lineups until he finds a good combination.
Eriksen described the atmosphere in Midland as fantastic when the final doubleheader was complete.
“This is really, really a class place with class people,” Eriksen said. “The RockHounds organization, it’s incredible what they’ve done for us.”
Team USA’s first game at the Olympics in Tokyo is scheduled for July 21 against Italy.
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Team Alliance 3-4, Team USA 5-1
Alliance……… 000 030 0 — 3 6 2
USA……………. 012 101 x — 5 6 0
Georgina Corrick, Kelly Maxwell (3), Montana Fouts (5) and Taylor Ellsworth. Ally Carda, Keilani Ricketts (6) and Amanda Chidester. W — Carda. L —Corrick. 2B — Team USA: Kelsey Stewart. Team Alliance: Karli Hamilton. HR — Team USA: Rachel Garcia (2). Team Alliance: Baylee Klingler.
USA……………. 000 100 0 — 1 5 1
Alliance……… 004 000 x — 4 7 2
Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott (5) and Aubree Munro. Meghan Schorman, Carrie Eberle (4), Savannah Wysocki (6) and Kayla Kowalik. W — Eberle. L — Osterman. 3B — Team USA: Ali Aguilar. HR — Team Alliance: Taylor Ellsworth.