Kelsey Stewart homers to cap rally as Team USA heads to softball gold-medal game unbeaten at 5-0 at Olympics

Kelsey Stewart homers to cap rally as Team USA heads to softball gold-medal game unbeaten at 5-0 at Olympics

US softball’s Kelsey Stewart keeps team’s winning streak alive with walk-off homer vs. Japan

The US and Japan will compete for the Tokyo Olympics’ softball gold medal

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Team USA softball has had a thrilling run through the Olympics and its round-robin schedule ended Monday with another heroic walk-off home run – this time from Kelsey Stewart.

Stewart hit the game-winning home run off Japan’s Yamato Fujita. The ball just went over the glove of right fielder Yuka Ichiguchi for the first U.S. home run of the tournament.

“It’s like you dream about when you’re a little kid, about hitting a home run at the Olympics, let alone a walk-off,” Stewart said.

The U.S. won the game, 2-1, and finished their play 5-0 and will have a rematch with Japan in the gold-medal game.

Fujita was on a roll throughout the entire game up until Stewart’s home run. She didn’t allow a hit until Haylie McCleney singled off of her to start the sixth inning.

Kelsey Stewart has a knack for walk-off hits in Japan.

Stewart hit a game-ending home run leading off the seventh inning, and the United States rallied late to beat Japan 2-1 on Monday and win the Olympic softball group stage — and with it the right to bat last in Tuesday’s gold-medal game.

“It’s like you dream about when you’re a little kid, about hitting a home run at the Olympics, let alone a walk-off,” Stewart said.

In August 2018, Stewart’s single capped a three-run 10th inning off Japan ace Yukiko Ueno that gave the U.S. a 7-6 win at the Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan, earning the Olympic berth.

Stewart had been 1-for-12 with no RBIs at the Olympics before she drove the 98th pitch from Yamato Fujita (0-1) just over the glove of leaping right fielder Yuka Ichiguchi for the first U.S. home run of the tournament.

Stewart is one of three former Florida softball players suiting up for Team USA. Former UF stars Michelle Moultrie and Aubree Monro are also both on the team.

The former Florida standouts haven’t been all that hot at the plate during pool play, but perhaps Stewart’s standout bomb for the win on Sunday can provide a spark going into the Olympic gold medal game, which will take place on Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET, a rematch against Japan. In five games so far, Stewart is 2-for-13 at the plate with one home run and one RBI. Meanwhile Moultrie and Munro each have one hit at the Olympics so far.

Kelsey Stewart

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Kelsey Stewart (born August 15, 1994) is a left-handed hitting softball third baseman originally from Arkansas City, KS and Wichita, KS, US. She won two softball National Championships with the Florida Gators and has been named a Second Team and two-time First Team All-SEC player, including being named 2015 SEC Player of the Year. She was also chosen a National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All-American in 2014-15. She would graduate a member of the select 300 hits, 200 runs, 100 stolen bases club. She has played for Team USA continuously since 2014 and was selected to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

 

Kelsey Stewart
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7 Kelsey Stewart

Biography

Major: Telecommunications – Media & Society
 
Career Honors:

  • 2016 SEC All-Tournament Team
  • 2015 NFCA First Team All-American
  • 2015 NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team
  • 2015 SEC Player of the Year
  • 2015 All-SEC First Team
  • 2015 SEC All-Defensive Team
  • 2015 WCWS All-Tournament Team
  • 2014 NFCA First Team All-American
  • 2014 NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team
  • 2014 All-SEC First Team
  • 2014 WCWS All-Tournament Team
  • 2014 SEC All-Defensive Team
  • 2013 NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team
  • 2013 All-SEC Second Team
  • 2013 SEC All-Freshman Team
  • 2013 SEC All-Tournament Team

 
Career Highlights:

  • Led 3 single season lists: 102 hits, 11 triples, and 36 stolen bases….Made top 10 on 6 single season lists: .438 batting average (2nd), tied for 10th with a .494 on base percentage, 238 at bats (4th), 71 runs scored (3rd), 19 doubles (2nd), and 149 total bases (2nd)….Led 7 UF career lists: .391 batting average, 914 at bats, 259 runs scored, 357 hits, 29 triples, 509 total bases, and 113 stolen bases…..Made top 10 on 6 UF career lists: .557 slugging percentage (10th), .455 on base percentage (9th), .911 stolen base percentage (5th), 49 doubles (3rd), tied for 9th with 148 RBIs, and tied for 4th with 10 sacrifice flies  

As a Senior (2016):

  • Has started and hit leadoff for Florida every game this season
  • The NCAA active leader in games played (262), at-bats (908), hits (357), triples (29) and she’s third in total bases (509) and fourth in runs scored (259)
  • One of two active players in the country with 300-plus hits, 200-plus runs and 100-plus stolen bases
  • Recently became Florida’s school-record holder in runs scored and total bases
  • USA Softball Women’s National Team, 2014-16
  • Her .393 career batting average and .458 on-base percentage are the best in program history (minimum 200 at-bats)
  • Holds UF single-season records for triples (11), stolen bases (36, twice) and attempts (41)
  • Stands first in Gator annals for hits (357), triples (29) and steals (113)
  • Set a school record for hits in a season (102) as a sophomore
  • Owns two of the three 30+ steal and 100+ hit seasons in UF history

 
As a Junior (2015):

  • 2015 NFCA First Team All-American
  • 2015 NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team
  • 2015 SEC Player of the Year
  • 2015 All-SEC First Team
  • 2015 SEC All-Defensive Team
  • 2015 WCWS All-Tournament Team
  • Started all 67 games
  • Recorded the second 100+ hit season of her career and the third in Gator history
  • Scored the third-most runs in a single season in UF history with 71 tallies
  • Led the Gators in hitting (.435), runs scored (71), hits (101), doubles (19), triples (11), total bases (148), and stolen bases (26)
  • Reached base in 63 out of the Gators 67 games
  • Ranked third on the squad with a .638 slugging percentage
  • Finished fourth for the Gators with 41 RBI
  • In league play, led the SEC with a .536 average that was 78 points ahead of the No. 2 hitter
  • Had 45 hits against conference opponents – 12 more than any other player
  • Named SEC Player of the Week once (Week 11)
  • Among NCAA leaders in triples (sixth), hitting (19th), runs per game (26th), RBI (28th) and steals (33rd)
  • Hit .476 (50-for-105) in the friendly confines of Katie Seashole Stadium
  • Had a hit in 10 of the 11 games during the NCAA Tournament, including a pair of multi-hit contests

 
As a Sophomore (2014):

  • NFCA First Team All-American (At-Large/2B)
  • NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team (IF)
  • All-SEC Second Team
  • SEC All-Defensive Team
  • WCWS All-Tournament Team
  • Led the Gators in hitting (.438), runs scored (68), doubles (T-1st, 14), triples (six), total bases (149), stolen bases (36) and assists (114)
  • Set a UF single-season record with 102 hits
  • Led the SEC with a .464 batting average, 39 hits and 10 doubles in conference play
  • Became the first Gator ever with multiple seasons of 30+ steals
  • Reached base in 41 straight games to begin the season, setting a program record
  • Led UF with 32 multi-hit games
  • Had a team-high 14-game hit streak March 1-18
  • Tied a program record with four runs scored March 8 vs. Ole Miss
  • Recorded at least one hit in all 11 NCAA Tournament games, including eight multi-hit contests
  • Batted .526 (20×38) during the tournament, leading the Gators in hits, runs (13), triples (two), total bases (28) and stolen bases (six)

 
As a Freshman (2013):

  • Second Team All-SEC (IF), Freshman All-SEC (IF), SEC All-Tournament Team
  • NFCA All-Southeast Region Second Team
  • Eclipsed UF single-season records for most triples (10), most stolen bases (36) and SBA (39)
  • Already ranks third in UF’s career record book for triples (10), seven shy of the leader
  • Paced the nation and SEC in three-baggers
  • Her 10 3Bs rank fifth all time in the SEC record book for a single season
  • Ranked second in the SEC with 90 hits and 15 double plays, first in plate appearances (274) and at bats (238)
  • Was on base in all but six of Florida’s 67 games in 2013, started all 67
  • Led UF with a .378 batting average, 90 hits, 10 triples and was a staggering 36-39 on the base paths
  • Had 29 multiple-hit game, a team-best 12-game hit streak
  • Two-time SEC Player of the Week (2/11 & 4/15)
  • Feb. 12 CollegeSoftball360.com Primetime National Player of the Week

 
High School / Travel Ball:

  • 2012 graduate of Maize High School
  • No. 2 recruit on the 2012 ESPN 100 list
  • 2012 ESPNHS First-Team All-American (IF)
    • Hit .649 her senior season with 12 homers, 52 runs scored, 65 RBI, a 1.378 slugging percentage and a .711 on-base mark, while scoring 52 runs as the Eagles went 22-2 (12-0 in league play) and mounted a semifinal run in the KSHSAA State Tournament
  • 2012 NFCA High School All-America Second Team (SS)
  • 2012 NFCA All-South Central Region First Team
  • A 2012 NFCA Player of the Week for the South Central Region
  • 2012 Wichita Eagle All-Metro Team
  • 2011 TCS All-American
  • ESPNHS Softball Midlands Player of the Week (5/3/11)
  • 2010 Kansas Softball Gatorade Player of the Year
    • Hit .556 with four doubles, nine triples and two homers her sophomore season
  • Invited to the 2010 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team Selection Camp
  • 2010 Under Armour All-American
  • Four-time First-Team All-State
  • Four-time First Team All-League
  • A four-sport athlete:
    • Two-time basketball letterwinner (2009-10)
    • Two-time volleyball letterwinner (2008 & 2010)
    • 2011 UCA All-American cheerleader
  • Member of the Student Council
  • Played travel ball with the Wichita Mustangs, coached by Mark Griggs

 
Stewart’s Career Statistics

Year avg gp-gs ab r h 2b 3b hr rbi bb so sf sh sb-att fld%
2013 .378 67-67 238 62 90 9 10 3 30 29 35 2 3 36-39 .971
2014 .438 67-67 233 68 102 14 6 7 57 24 23 3 3 36-41 .964
2015 .435 67-67 232 71 101 19 11 2 41 21 21 3 1 26-28 .967
2016 .303 63-63 211 58 64 7 2 3 20 27 16 2 2 15-16 .940
TOTAL .391 264-264 914 259 357 49 29 15 148 101 95 10 9 113-124 .962

 
Stewart’s Career Bests
CAREER-GAME HIGHS [all-time ranking]:
Hits: 4 [t-2nd], 5 times
Doubles: 2 [t-2nd], 5 times
Triples: 1 [t-4th], 30 times
Home runs: 1, 17 times
Total bases: 9 [t-7th], at Texas A&M, Apr 20, 2014; vs South Carolina, May 07, 2015
RBI: 5, South Carolina, Apr 04, 2015; at Mississippi State, Mar 28, 2015
Runs scored: 4 [t-1st], Ole Miss, Mar 08, 2014
Walks: 4 [t-1st], vs South Alabama, Mar 05, 2016 Hit by pitch: 2 [t-5th], vs Michigan, Jun 03, 2015
Struck out: 3 [t-6th], at Mount St. Mary’s, Mar 01, 2013 Sac flies: 1 [t-9th], 11 times
Sac bunts: 1, 9 times
At bats: 7 [t-2nd], vs Nebraska, Jun 01, 2013
Stolen bases: 2, 17 times

 

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