Softball to compete at Japan Cup, Pan American qualifier

July 28, 2009, 1:13 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - With two tournament championship titles on its resume, the USA Softball Women's National team program will now send two teams out to compete with one heading to Sendai City, Japan for the Japan Cup and the other to Maracay, Venezuela, for the Pan American qualifier. The Pan American qualifier will consist of 22 teams and will qualify the USA for the ISF Women's Fast Pitch World Championships next year in Oklahoma City as well as the Pan American Games in 2011 held in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Japan Cup team will open up play on July 31 against Australia, who the U.S. recently defeated  in the Championship game of the World Cup. The U.S. will also take on Chinese Taipei and Japan in tournament action with the Championship game scheduled for August 2.  The team will be led by Head Coach Jay Miller (Starkville, Miss.) and assistants Suzy Brazney (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Chuck D'Arcy (Sacramento, Calif.) and Barb Jordan (Northridge, Calif.).   Click here to see the roster for the Japan Cup. 

"The Japan Cup is always a competitive event for us and I hope that we can continue to build on the success we have had so far this season," said Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) who leads the team this summer in almost all offensive categories. "We will play three opponents who we faced at the 2008 Olympics so this will also be a great test for the newcomers. I look forward to seeing what this new team will be able to do against the best softball teams in the World." 

The Pan American qualifier team will also be led by Miller with assistant coaches Karen Johns (Whippany, N.J.), Mike Larabee (Dayton, Ohio) and Pat Murphy (Northport, Ala.). The team opens competition against the British Virgin Islands on July 31, competing in ten pool play games before play offs begin on Aug. 7. The championship game is set for Aug.9.   Click here to see the roster for the Pan American Qualifier. 

"I am really looking forward to going to Venezuela. It's a big qualifier for us as it qualifies us for both the Pan American Games in 2011 and the World Championships in 2010. These are always important events but even more so now that softball is out of the Olympics in 2012," said pitcher Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.). "The Pan American Games are structured a lot like the Olympics so it's always a big event and then with the World Championships in the United States, the qualifier is that much more important. This team will have a lot of new athletes on it so I am looking forward to all coming together."