Countdown to II World Cup Begins

July 06, 2006, 2:10 p.m. (ET)
Countdown to II World Cup Begins
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.--- The countdown to the II World Cup of Softball is now  only a week away.  Six of the strongest teams in the sport of softball will meet from around the world at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to compete for the World Cup title.  With near sellout crowds expected, the second annual event attracts fans from all over the country to cheer on the USA as it attempts to reclaim the World Cup.
Last year, over 18,000 fans watched as Japan upset the USA, 3-1, in the finals to claim the World Cup title.  Marking a moment in history as Japan defeated the defending Olympic gold medalists - their first loss in a major international competition in more than a decade. The road to the II World Cup title will be even tougher this year as China, Australia and Canada bring their best to fight for the title to be known as the best.  Increasing this competition from five to six, Great Britain will also meet these teams in Oklahoma City, with only one thought in mind: winning the World Cup.
As USA fans watched in disappointment in 2005 when the Red, White and Blue fell to Japan, this year the anticipation is mounting for a rematch. The USA enters the World Cup off of a strong weekend in Tucson, Ariz.  Ending the weekend with a perfect record of 4-0 against the Arizona Heat of the National Pro Fastpitch League, the USA offensive lit up the Heat in every game, outscoring their opponent 43-5.  Showing strength up and down the lineup, nine of the USA batters hit over .300 and nine players had a slugging percentage of over .500.  The pitching staff for the USA should continue their dominance as Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.), Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas), Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.), Jamie Southern (Clovis, Calif.) and Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) all return to Oklahoma City to lead the USA.
The II World Cup is set to begin on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. when the USA faces Great Britain.  The game will be televised live on ESPN.  General Admission tickets are still available for $10 at the gate or by  phone at 1-800-654-8337.
ESPN and ESPN2 have teamed up again with the ASA and will offer six live telecasts, highlighted by the ESPN2 telecast of the July 17 championship game from the ASA Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City. With over 12 hours of coverage nationally along with international syndication, the World Cup will be seen by millions of fans world wide in over 200 countries
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 87 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit
II World Cup of Softball 
The II World Cup of Softball, a 6-team tournament sanctioned by the International Softball Federation (ISF), will feature the best fast pitch softball players in the world competing for their respective national teams. The six teams invited to participate in the event will compete in pool play from July 13-July 17. The top two teams from pool play will be seeded into the Championship Game while the remaining teams will battle for third and fifth place respectively.
Last September, ESPN and the Amateur Softball Association reached an agreement affording the sport with guaranteed windows of programming for mutually agreed upon softball content including the USA Softball Women’s National Team and the ASA Gold 18-Under National Championship.