San Juan, Puerto Rico – Led by Valerie Arioto’s .500 batting average, the U.S. Women’s National Team claimed its first gold medal of the summer Friday at the Mayor’s Cup. After bouts of rainy weather continued into Friday, the Puerto Rico tourney came to a close with the No. 1 seed Red, White and Blue awarded the gold by default. No. 2 seed Cuba took silver and Canada finished with the bronze.
Though the Eagles fought rain delays and game cancellations throughout the tournament, Team USA came away with a perfect 4-0 record with wins over Canada, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Arioto batted .500 (3-for-6), collecting five runs, including a home run, five RBI and six walks. She also pitched one inning in the tournament, striking out two batters from the circle.
Fellow Golden Bear Lindsey Ziegenhirt also played in all four games of the tournament but was unable to collect a hit, though she played errorless defense with a team-leading 22 putouts as catcher.
The tournament title is the team’s first gold of the summer. The Eagles claimed silver at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City (July 11-14) and bronze at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship (July 16-22) in Surrey, B.C., Canada.
The Eagles will remain in Puerto Rico for the Pan American Games/World Championship Qualifier, set for Aug. 10-18. The U.S. is scheduled to begin pool play 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10 vs. Peru.
Full recap below courtesy of USA Softball:
The U.S. claimed its first Gold Medal of the 2013 season in an anti-climatic turn of events as rain caused a cancellation of the Championship Game at the Mayor's Cup in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After several days of inclement weather, tournament officials determined that the remaining medal rounds would be cancelled with the No. 1 seed USA taking the gold. Cuba, who finished round-robin action as the No. 2 seed, came away with silver while Canada took the bronze.
The team had an impressive showing at the Mayor's Cup despite rain delays and game cancellations. The Red, White and Blue outscored opponents 30 - 8 with the pitching staff combining for a 1.88 ERA. The offense continued to roll as the team collected 26 hits for a .299 batting average.
Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla.) and Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) led the U.S. pitching staff with no hits and no runs allowed. In one inning pitched, Arioto struck out two batters, while Creger threw three hitless innings to close out a 5-1 game against Argentina and two hitless innings to close out a 10-1 run-rule of Puerto Rico. Sara Nevins (Pineallas Park, Fla.) finished the Mayor's Cup with a 2-0 record and a 2.33 ERA. Nevins issued five hits through six innings pitched, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) collected the most innings pitched for the U.S., throwing 7 and two-thirds innings over two games played. Moore earned the win in USA's 4-1 win over Cuba, and allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out two batters for a 1.82 ERA. Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) leads the pitching staff with 13 strikeouts through six and one-third innings pitched. Hawkins, who finished the tournament with a 1-0 record, got the win against Canada (11-5) and allowed just five hits and three runs for a 3.31 ERA.
Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) had a team-high nine RBI during the tournament with three hits, two of which by way of a triple, for a .375 batting average. Arioto and Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) both collected a home run each with Arioto leading the offense with a .500 batting average and five RBI while Hudson finished the Mayor's Cup with a .400 average.
Next up for USA Softball is the Pan American Games/World Championship Qualifier, which is slated to begin on August 10. Originally scheduled to open the qualifier at 2:30 p.m. EST against Peru, several teams have dropped out of the tournament resulting in a change of schedule which has yet to be released. For the most up-to-date tournament schedule, please follow along with ASA/USA Softball's Facebook and Twitter pages, as we will announce the schedule as it becomes available. You can also visit the official tournament website, or visit USASoftball.com for more information. Live stats and streaming will be available throughout the event and links can be found at USASoftball.com.