OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today the 17 Women’s National Team athletes and four coaches who will comprise the USA Softball delegation for the XVI Pan American Games. The multi-sport event is Oct. 14-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico, with softball competition scheduled for Oct. 17-23.
“The Pan Am Games have a rich history of great softball,” Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach at the University of South Florida) said. “To represent your country, listen to the National Anthem on foreign soil and compete for a Gold Medal are all very uplifting opportunities. We plan on doing all three with great integrity. We will train for five days, get back to the basics of USA Softball and then play hard.”
USA Softball enters the Pan American Games following a Gold Medal finish at World Cup of Softball VI in Oklahoma City, marking the fifth straight World Cup title for the Americans. Team USA has won seven Pan American Championships (1979, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007) including the last six. The program has a record of 78-3 since softball debuted in the 1979 Pan American Games.
The team will travel to Guadalajara on Oct. 13. On Oct. 17, the United States opens play against Venezuela at 6:30 p.m. CT. The team has doubleheaders the next two days, facing the Dominican Republic (11 a.m.) and Mexico (9 p.m.) Oct. 18 and Cuba (1:30 p.m.) and Puerto Rico (4 p.m.) on Oct. 19. On Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., Team USA faces Canada, the 2011 World Cup of Softball Bronze Medalists. The team finishes pool play against Argentina on Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. The playoffs are Oct. 22 with the medal round scheduled for Oct. 23. Schedule is subject to change.
Athletes who will compete in the Red, White in Blue in Guadalajara: Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif./California senior); Whitney Canion (Aledo, Texas/Baylor junior); Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda Calif./Arizona State 2009); Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md./Tennessee junior); Kelly Grieve (Asheville, N.C./Tennessee 2011); Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas/Texas junior); Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga./Alabama 2009); Molly Johnson (Tucson, Ariz./Kentucky 2010); Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nev./Iowa 2006); Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif./Arizona 2009); Meagan May (Spring, Texas/Texas A&M junior); Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla./Florida senior); Christi Orgeron (New Orleans, La./ULL junior); Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif./Oklahoma junior); Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Michigan 2011); Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga./Missouri 2011); and Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa/Missouri junior). All 17 athletes are making their Pan American Games debut.
Eriksen is in his first year at the head of the USA Softball Women’s National Team. He will be joined at the Pan American Games by Mike Larabee (Fayetteville, Ark./Head Coach at the University of Arkansas), Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz./Head Coach at Cal State Northridge), and Mike White (Eugene, Ore./Head Coach at the University of Oregon).
Prior to leaving for the Pan American Games, the team will play two exhibition games at the University of Houston in Houston. USA Softball has a doubleheader with Texas A&M on Oct. 9 starting at noon CT. On Oct. 11, Team USA faces Houston at 7 p.m. Tickets, which are $10 for each day, are available now at Absolute All Sports in Spring, Texas, or by calling 281-655-7303. In the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll of the 2011 season, Texas A&M finished No. 13 and Houston was No. 18.
“I am thrilled to head to Houston soon to meet up with all of the members of USA softball for team practice, exhibition games, and processing,” said May-Johnson. “We will need to regain our cohesiveness in a short amount of time if we want to beat the stiff competition we will face in Mexico because after only four days in Houston we will fly to Guadalajara and begin competition. We have our sights set on the Gold Medal and we will not be satisfied with anything less. USA softball has a rich tradition of winning Gold Medals and we are eager to continue that tradition at the Pan American Games this year.”
- Courtesy of ASA/USA Softball