U.S. shuts out Team Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, CA – In preparation for the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, the USA Softball Olympic team added two victories to its ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour schedule on Monday night in Sacramento. Shutting out Team Sacramento, a roster of collegiate and highly recruited high school athletes from the area, the Red, White and Blue captured a 5-0 decision in game one and closed the evening with an 8-0 perfect game victory from pitcher Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA). A sold out 3,162 crowd, the U.S. improved to 33-0 on the tour continuing a 147-game win streak in pre-Olympic tour history.
Game one was scoreless through the first two innings before Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) laid down a base hit bunt to get the U.S. offense off the ground. A single from Leah O’Brien Amico (Chino Hill, CA) advanced Watley to second before Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, CA) drew a walk to load the bases. A groundout RBI to the second baseman from pitcher Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, CA) put the U.S. in front 1-0.
Three up and three down through the fourth, the U.S. opened the door to take a solid lead in the bottom of the fifth posting three more runs thanks to the swing of Bustos. A one out single from Watley, who led all hitters going 2-for-4, and a walk to Amico created an RBI opportunity to Bustos who blasted a 1-2 pitch 250 feet for a three run home run and a 4-0 advantage.
Loading the bases in the sixth due to a Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, CA) single to left field, a Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, FL) bunt single and a Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) walk, the U.S. added its final run thanks to an RBI groundout from Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, CA) for the 5-0 victory.
Fernandez captured her eighth victory of the tour allowing just two hits and four strikeouts. Lefty Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, CA) closed the game completing two innings with three strikeouts. Team Sacramento saw plenty of opportunities to score throughout the game leaving seven runners stranded on the bases.
Game two marked the fourth perfect game of the ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour as workhorse Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) completed five straight inning allowing no runners to ever reach base. Of the four perfect games, she has now pitched in all four as Team USA shut out Team Sacramento 8-0 in the closer. The 6’1” right handed hurler totaled 11 strikeouts while her teammates tallied 10 hits in the contest.
It didn’t take long for the U.S. to be on top notching one run in the second after a Tairia Mims Flowers (Tucson, AZ) single through the left side followed by a stolen base put a runner into position. Mendoza then connected on a line drive base hit to left field to plate Flowers for the 1-0 jump.
As Finch was flawless from the circle, the U.S. sealed the victory in the third with seven runs on six hits. Singles from Watley and Amico put base runners aboard before Bustos, hitting .562, belted a double to left center. Loaded bags on a fielders’ choice not resulting in an out added another run as Sacramento pitcher Anjelica Seldon walked in the second run of the inning. The U.S. then exploded for five more runs with a two RBI single from Kretschman, an RBI single through the right side from Mendoza and a two RBI base hit from Amico.
Mendoza was 2-for-2 for the game while Amico, Bustos, and Flowers contributed 2-for-3 outings.
A day of travel to Portland, Oregon, the U.S. will be back in action on June 10 at 7 p.m. at Ervlind Field in Portland, Oregon.