Posted: Oct 17, 2011 3:04 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2011 8:48 PM
COLUMBIA - Missouri redshirt junior pitcher Chelsea Thomas and recently graduated three-time All-American outfielder Rhea Taylor have rejoined Team USA and are set to begin action at the 2011 Pan-American Games tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
"This is a huge honor to get to travel to Mexico and wear this uniform," said Thomas in an interview with USA Softball. "To compete in this elite tournament is very special for our sport. Anything we can do to get international publicity for our sport can only help our mission to convince International Olympic Committee (IOC) members that our sport belongs in the Olympic Games. I am excited to face different competition in the Pan American countries and I know getting to stand on the podium and hear our National Anthem would be the ultimate award for myself and my teammates."
Coming off their fifth straight World Cup of Softball gold medal back in July in Oklahoma City, Team USA looks to capture their eight Pan-American gold, having won the last six in a row (1979, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007). Team USA warmed up for the Pan-Am games by playing a doubleheader against Texas A&M and a single game against the University of Houston last week. Thomas earned the win against Houston, throwing three scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Team USA will play seven games between now and Friday, with the playoffs beginning on Saturday, Oct. 22. The championship finals will be held on Sunday, Oct. 23.