USA Softball remains unbeaten with 4-0 win
Beijing, China---The USA Softball Women’s National Team improved its overall ISF World Championship record to 99-9 with a 4-0 win over Canada at the XI ISF Women’s World Championship. The U.S. improved to 3-0 and now is one of only four teams remaining without a loss in the competition.
Canada starter Robin Mackin was dominate the first time through the U.S. line-up shutting down the powerful U.S. arsenal for the first two innings but in the third the top of the line-up finally broke through. With two outs Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) singled through the left side and advanced to second on a single by Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.). With speed on the bases, Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), the only player to reach base in the first two innings, ripped another single to center field to score Lowe and give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
It was another two out rally in the fourth inning that provided the Red, White and Blue with its second run of the game and seemed to take the wind out of Canada’s sails. Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) walked and Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.), Mackin’s former coach at Fresno State, took a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for a standup triple to score Jung.
Despite a leadoff single and stolen base by Watley in the fifth inning, the U.S. was unable to capitalize. But in the sixth inning, the U.S. did take advantage of a lead off walk to Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) as Jung singled to center to move her into scoring position and Berg brought her home with a single to center field. With runners on first and second and the top of the U.S. lineup coming to bat, Canada looked to reliever Kaila Holtz in hopes of halting the rally and that’s what she did. Holtz fanned Lowe and got Watley to pop up to shortstop to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh inning Mendoza, who was 3-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBI, put the game out of reach with a solo shot to center field on the first pitch to give the U.S. a comfortable 4-0 advantage.
“Obviously it was an outstanding game. I came in knowing that this was a game that we had to get by. We had to play better than we have the past couple of days,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “The team played inspired and we put some runs up on the board. We had some key hits by both Laura (Berg) and Jessica (Mendoza) and great pitching by Cat (Osterman). I think overall this is our best performance of the tournament.”
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas), who had no-hit Canada in her last two starts, settled down after allowing two hits in the first two innings to record her second win and her second consecutive double digit strikeout performance of the tournament with 10 in the game.
Berg, making her fourth appearance in a World Championship, extended her international hit streak to seven games
with a 2-for-3 effort against Canada.
The USA and host China are now the only undefeated teams remaining in Pool A at the World Championships with identical 3-0 records. The U.S. will try and remain undefeated on Wednesday when they face off with Great Britain (1-2) at 2 a.m. CT. The U.S. defeated Great Britain 14-0 in the opening game of the II World Cup of Softball last month in Oklahoma City.
*For the first time in the 2006 ISF World Championship Caitlin Lowe and Natasha Watley were both retired in the first inning.
*Laura Berg currently has a seven game hitting streak in international competition – the streak began on July 15 during the II World Cup of Softball against Australia.
*Osterman last started against Canada during the 2003 Canada Cup where she pitched a six inning no-hitter that included 10 strikeouts - the USA won the game 8-0. In her only other start against Canada she tossed a complete game no-hitter in the finals of the 2003 Pan Am Games – a 4-0 win for the U.S.
*Osterman had not allowed a hit to Canada in the last 15 innings which included three events dating back to the 2003 Canada Cup. She had only allowed a total of two hits in her career against Canada which spans four events and 17.2 innings.
*Mendoza, who had a seven game hitting streak until yesterday’s game against DPR Korea, began the streak again today going 3-for-4 against Canada with a home run and two RBI. She has now recorded at least one hit in 16-of-19 games this year.
*The U.S. is a perfect 8-0 against Canada in ISF World Championship Competition – last meeting in a World Championship ended in a 4-0 win for the U.S. at the 2002 World Championships in Saskatoon, Canada.
*Six of the eight wins over Canada in the ISF World Championships have come via shutout – The U.S. has outscored Canada in World Championship competition 25-2
*The USA improves to 99-9 in ISF World Championships with its win over Canada today. The shutout is the fifth consecutive and 91st in World Championship play.
*Head Coach Mike Candrea celebrated his 51st birthday on Tuesday with a 4-0 win over Canada – he is officially 1-0 in international competition in games played on his birthday.