Hollowell tosses perfect game
PLANT CITY, FL --- A perfect game from pitcher Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, CA, Arizona) and one clutch hit from Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA, UCLA) provided sweet revenge for the USA Elite team on Saturday evening as they captured a 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei. Facing a 3-2 defeat earlier in the week to Taipei, the win moved the U.S. to 7-1 as they advance to Sunday’s gold medal game at 1:30 p.m. The U.S. will battle the winner of the Japan/Chinese Taipei bronze medal game at 11:00 a.m.
"We have started to play better as the week has progressed,” said head coach Jay Miller. “And this was definitely our best game. A big team effort as Jodie came through with a big hit and Alicia controlled the circle. We just need one more like this tomorrow and we will accomplish what we came here for.”
A stunning performance from Hollowell with 13 strikeouts, the win marked the second perfect game performance for Team USA.
“We definitely knew as a team that we had to come out and dominate,” said Hollowell. “We played really well tonight. The offense was hitting the ball hard and the defense was on top of their game. I was definitely excited to be in the circle and my pitches were really breaking and working for me.”
Slow hitting continued to curse the U.S. offense through the first three innings with just two base hits, but Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA, UCLA) shifted the momentum in the fourth knocking in the lone two runs on a towering double to right center.
With two outs, two runners were on board after a walk to Sara Dean (Valencia, CA, Auburn) and a base hit from Vicky Galindo (Union City, CA, California-Berkeley). Legaspi then drove the second pitch of her at bat deep to right center to give the U.S. the 2-0 lead.
“I knew I had to make a clutch hit because there were runners on and two outs,” said Legaspi. “We needed to put some runs on the board so I made the most of my opportunity. This was definitely a team effort and we have to continue that same attitude to take home the gold medal.”
Team USA looked to break open the game loading the bases in the fifth with one out after a Norrelle Dickson (Orange, CA, Oklahoma) base hit bunt and walks to Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, AZ, UCLA) and Andrea Duran (Selma, CA, UCLA) covered the bags. But a quick check swing from Sara Dean (Valencia, CA, Auburn) that made contact resulted in a double play to leave three runners stranded.
Back-to-back strikeouts to close the game, Hollowell improved to 3-0 in tournament play while Legaspi finished the night going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Through eight games, Dean continues to lead the pack batting .429 with nine RBI followed by Duran at .391. Hollowell has recorded 42 strikeouts in 21.2 innings as the pitching staff has combined for a 0.26 ERA. The U.S. has outscored its opponents 27-4.