USA Softball remains perfect
Columbus, GA---The USA Softball Women’s National Team completed competition at the NFCA Classic with a 6-0 win over No. 6 Georgia to improve its record to 10-0 on the ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour. Georgia becomes only the second team so far on the tour to play the Olympic Team a full seven inning game, while eight of the 10 have been mercy rule decisions.
It didn’t take long for Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, CA) to extend her RBI streak on the ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour scoring Leah O’Brien-Amico (Chino Hills, CA) on a double to center field in the top of the first inning.
With a 1-0 lead, Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) reached after being hit-by-a-pitch to lead off the top of the second inning. An infield single by Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, FL) followed by a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, CA) grounded out to first base to plate her ninth RBI of the tour. The final two runs of the inning game when Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA), known more for her short game and speed, sent a first pitch offering from Georgia’s Michelle Green over the right field fence for her first round-tripper of the tour.
After a scoreless third inning the U.S. offense was at it again in the third. A one out rally began when Kretschman reached on a walk and Berg used her short game to cause havoc within the Georgia defense. A perfectly laid bunt by Berg was fielded by Georgia third baseman Shannon McKeon but no one covered first and her throw went into right field allowing each runner to advance 60 feet.
O’Brien made the Bulldogs pay for the error scoring both Kretschman and Berg with a double to left center to give the U.S. a 6-0 lead.
Georgia’s Ashley Godfrey of Columbus, GA got one of the loudest ovations of the evening from the hometown crowd when she broke up the perfect game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to left center. Despite allowing a walk to put runners at first and second, Finch struckout the next batter and Mims Flowers made a great play on a bunt to end the inning.
During the NFCA Classic the U.S. offense was unstoppable outscoring its opponents 64-1 and smashed 19 home runs in just five games.
With the win the U.S. extends its pre-Olympic tour win streak to 125 games and has now outscored its pre-Olympic tour opponents 931-12. On the 2004 ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour the USA has outscored opponents 106-6 and is averaging nearly three home runs per game.
The National Team now travels to Altamonte Springs, FL where it will train, March 1-3, before heading to Tampa for the Speedline Invitational March 4-6. While in Tampa the U.S. will face Illinois, UNLV, Iowa, Baylor, South Florida and Oregon.