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SOFTBALL: TEAM USA CLAIMS FOURTH WORLD CUP

SOFTBALL: TEAM USA CLAIMS FOURTH WORLD CUP

USA Softball Wins Back-to-Back World Cup Titles

story courtesy of USAsoftball.com

Oklahoma City— For the second consecutive year the USA Softball Women’s National Team captured the World Cup championship. Team USA was bolstered the entire tournament by a strong offense and dominant pitching. USA scored 40 runs and only surrendered two the whole tournament.

The trend continued Monday night.

Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) took the first pitch of her first at bat and ripped it over the center field fence to give the team a 1-0 lead in the second inning. It marked her third home run of the World Cup which tied the World Cup record set by Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) the previous year.

“I’ve been aggressive at the plate and hitting good pitches the entire tournament,” Flowers said. “I like knowing that I can help my pitchers out.”

Flowers’ run was bolstered by the bat of Crystl Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.) in the fifth inning. With Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) and Mendoza standing at first and second, Bustos blasted a two RBI double to left field.

Natasha Watley-USA Softball

Jennie Finch-USA Softball

Bustos battled through her at bat going through eight pitches before digging out the ninth ball and ripping it to the left field wall for a double.

“I was just looking for a pitch I could hit hard,” Bustos said. “The pitcher and I could have gone all night if I had to.”

Bustos ended the tournament batting .538 with eighth RBI and two HR.

Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) made her second start at the World Cup after throwing against China in pool play. She came out strong with 10 strikeouts through four innings including seven straight strikeouts between the second and fourth innings.

“I was sticking to my game plan until they made the adjustments, which they never did,” Osterman said. “Our defense was where they needed to be and made plays when they needed to be made.”

Osterman set a new World Cup record of 13 strikeouts in one game, passing her own record set last year of 11.

Japan started to make a rally in the top of the seventh inning when Aki Uenishi drew a walk. But the rally was short-lived when Uenishi violated the “look back rule” by not committing to a base when the ball was in the pitcher’s circle.

“The runner was jumping off the base,” Osterman said. “As soon as I got the ball in the circle I turned and looked at her.”

Team USA ended the tournament undefeated, winning all six of their games. Japan finished 4-2, losing both of their games to Team USA.

The Red, White and Blue will be making its last stop of the summer when they head to Rio De Janeiro Brazil for the 2007 Pan American Games. The team is looking to capture its sixth consecutive gold medal at the Pan Am Games.

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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