USA Softball improved its record at the Olympics to 2-0 by winning a taut pitcher’s duel over Team Canada 1-0. And two prominent LGBTQ members of the roster played big roles in the victory.
McCleney further supported the effort by starting the defensive play of the game to keep the Canadians off the board and slam the door on their best chance at scoring.
Their big moments helped back starting pitcher Monica Abbott who shut down Canada with a complete game one-hitter. Over their first two games, U.S. pitchers have yet to allow a run.
The game started with offensive frustration as Team USA stranded five runners over the opening two innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.
But that all changed in the top of the fifth. With McCleney on second and two outs, Chidester expertly went the other way and lined a sharp base hit through the hole in the right side of the infield. McCleney let out a scream of exultation as she crossed the plate with the eventual winning run.
Canada threatened to answer back in the sixth. Following a leadoff walk by Jen Gilbert, Sara Groenewegen recorded her team’s first hit by crushing an 0-2 pitch into the right-center field gap.
It appeared that the game was about to be tied when McCleney sped over to field the ball at the base of the wall, turned and uncorked a solid throw to cut-off woman Ali Aguilar, who then fired a strike to catcher Aubree Munro. The sterling relay nailed Gilbert at the plate and Canada wouldn’t threaten again.
The United States next takes on Mexico on Saturday, a game that will mean something extra to Chidester who will be facing off against her fiancee, Anissa Urtez.