USA Softball wins Japan Cup
Yokohama, Japan---On a cold and rainy afternoon at Yokohama Stadium, the USA Softball Women’s National Team completed their perfect season with a 7-0 win over Japan in the finals of the Japan Cup to secure their third tournament title of the year. In 2006 the U.S. captured titles at the II World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, the ISF Women’s World Championship in Beijing, China and now the Japan Cup.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) was dominating in the circle for the U.S. allowing only two hits while striking out five in five inning of work. The win was the second of the Japan Cup for the senior from the University of Tennessee and her first over Japan.
The U.S. jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) led off with a single and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) followed with a single to put Watley on second base. A double by Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.) scored Watley for a 1-0 lead. Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) and Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) both came through with RBI singles to push the lead to 3-0.
In the second inning it was Watley and Mendoza reaching base once again but this time it was due to being hit by a pitch. Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) singled in Watley and Kretschman singled in Mendoza for a 5-0 advantage.
Japan starter Yuko Endo was pulled in the middle of the second inning in favor of Mariko Masubuchi who was able to end the rally and hold the U.S. scoreless until the fifth inning. In the fifth the U.S. got its offense back on track and was able to score the runs it needed to end the game in five innings.
Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) reached on a walk and moved into scoring position when Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) singled. A single by Watley loaded the bases and a single by Mendoza plated Flowers and Berg for a 7-0 lead.
Abbott retired the side in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game due to the international run-rule.
Watley, Mendoza, Kretschman and Berg were all clutch at the plate going 2-for-3.
Bustos was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Mendoza won the “Best Hitter Award”.