Aug. 10, 2010

Courtesy of USA Softball

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Arizona duo Lauren Haeger (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Dallas Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) combined for a one-hit shutout over Argentina at the III Pan American Championship (18-Under) in Bogota, Colombia, improving the team to 3-0 in the tournament. With the 7-0 victory behind them, the Red, White and Blue have three pool play games remaining in Bogota, Colombia, against Mexico, Canada and Brazil, before the start of elimination play on Friday.

“Lauren and Dallas did another great job for us in the circle,” Head Coach Karen Johns (Starkville, Miss.) said. “But I thought what really did it for us today was excellent base running. When three hitters go for extra bases and five runners are able to steal, you are able to take command of the game in a different way than we did against Colombia and Peru. I was really proud of the all around effort of the team. Each time they come out on to the field, they bring a new dimension to the USA jersey, and everyone should be proud to have these young ladies representing them .”

Team USA scored two runs in the first, the first coming when an illegal pitch from Florencia Acosta brought in Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.), who doubled to start of the inning. Hallie Wilson (North Tustin, Calif.), who singled, advanced to second on an error and advanced to third on the illegal pitch, also scored on a sacrifice fly from Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.). It became a 3-0 game in the third inning when Madison Shipman’s (Valencia, Calif.) sac fly to left advanced Wilson, who singled up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on Chamberlain’s second sac fly of the game.

“Definitely our bats are a big advantage for us,” Haeger said. “Everyone can swing the bat. People from the bench can come on and swing really well. We just keep hitting, waiting on pitches, making adjustments and being patient.”

After Team USA scored a run on an error in the fourth, Wilson led off the fifth by being hit with a pitch, then stole second. Chamberlain doubled to left field to score Wilson, who went 2-for-2 in the game with three runs scored and two stolen bases. A triple from Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield, Calif.) brought in Chamberlain and she scored the final run when Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.) walked with bases loaded.

Haeger faced 13 batters in her four innings of work. She recorded seven strikeouts, the most of any American pitcher to take the circle in the tournament thus far, while walking one. Argentina’s only hit, and the only hit for a USA opponent in the first three games of the Pan American Championship, came off Haeger in the third when right fielder Bianca Benaglia singled to left.

“I hit my spots really well and was throwing hard,” said Haeger, who also worked one inning of relief Sunday against Colombia, striking out three and walking one in that performance. “I had basically all of my pitches working for me. All and all, I think I did pretty well.”

Escobedo struck out two of the three batters she faced in her inning of work against Argentina. With Haeger, she threw a combined no hitter in Team USA’s opening game of the tournament, striking out six Colombian batters.