The U.S. softball team cruised to its third straight victory Sunday in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship.
The U.S. scored three runs in the third inning and eight runs in the fourth and went on for an 11-0 victory over the Netherlands in a game at Narashino, Japan, that was shortened to four innings because of the run differential. In its last two games, against Chinese Taipei and Netherlands, Team USA has outscored its opponents 18-0.
U.S. pitcher Monica Abbott, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist, did not give up a hit and struck out 10. She has not given up an earned run in two appearances. Abbott struck out 13 over six innings in the tournament-opening 5-2 win over Mexico on Friday.
Alison Aguilar, who drove in three runs against Chinese Taipei, blasted a two-run home run to center. She had two hits and scored twice. Also hitting homers were Janette Reed and Aubree Munro.
The U.S. can lock down a berth in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a world championship in Tokyo when the title game is played August 12. The winning team clinches a berth in the first Olympic softball tournament since 2008, in which the U.S. won the silver medal. Five teams plus host nation Japan (the 2008 Olympic champion) will compete in the Olympic Games tournament.
The U.S. next plays New Zealand on Sunday at 5 a.m. ET. After that game, the U.S. has three more preliminary-round games before the playoff round begins August 10.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.