OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.--- The much anticipated rematch between the USA and the defending champions of the first World Cup of Softball, ended in a lopsided loss for Japan as the U.S. scored 11 runs to record its fourth run rule victory of the II World Cup of Softball presented by Frosted Flakes.
Natasha Watley started the USA off with a single to shortstop, followed by Jessica Mendoza who singled down the right field line. Crystl Bustos stepped to the plate and launched her second home run of the World Cup over the left field fence to give the U.S. a quick 3-0 lead.
Alicia Hollowell held the Japan offense to just four hits in five innings to record a shutout of her own. Only recording one strikeout in the game, Hollowell relied on her defense to shut down the powerful bats from Japan.
“International play is always a lot different and it was really exciting to go out their and face Japan,” said Hollowell. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure because we have such a great offense that scored early so I got to go out there and show what I could do.”
The top of the fourth was another offensive rally for the USA. Laura Berg started the inning off with a single through the left side, followed by Caitlin Lowe who singled to centerfield. Watley cleared the bases with her third triple of the tournament to increase the lead to 5-0.
Mendoza’s stellar hitting performance at the II World Cup of Softball continued as she crushed a home run over the centerfield fence that landed about 275 feet to score two. Stacey Nuveman continued the rally hitting a single to centerfield and scored on the third home run of the game when Tairia Flowers slammed a two run home run over the left field fence to push their lead to 9-0.
A pitching change in the top of the fifth did not stop the offensive pressure from the USA. Berg started the inning off with a single to right center followed by another single from Watley. Mendoza added to her hit count with a single to right center that scored Berg. Another run would cross the plate as Bustos hit a sac fly to left field scoring Watley.
Hollowell closed the game by retiring the side in the fifth to five Japan its first loss of the World Cup and head coach Mike Candrea his 102nd international win.
Both of these teams will play in the championship game tomorrow July 17 at 8:00 p.m. Check out www.usasoftball.com for complete coverage of the event.