CARACAS, Venezuela - The USA Softball team defeated Venezuela, 7-0 (5), in front of a hometown crowd that was on their feet and cheering their team on for five innings tonight at the ISF Women’s Softball World Championships in Caracas, Venezuela. Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) earned the win, allowing only one hit for her second career World Championship win.
Abbott earned the start in the circle and it was obvious the rowdy crowd did not get to her as she recorded six strikeouts in the first three innings. Shortstop Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) and first baseman Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) earned credit for the other three outs with groundouts.
Four U.S. runners would reach, through the third inning, off hits by Watley and Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) and walks to Finch and Ashley Charters (Beaverton, Ore.) but none in order to put together a rally.
In the top of the fourth, at 8:40 p.m., the game was suspended due to rain during Tammy William’s (Osceolo, Mo.) at bat. Less than five minutes later, the game would resume. The delay did the team good as Williams took a pitch for a long single that the centerfielder misplayed. Williams advanced to third on the error, with Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) scoring. Williams advanced home and slid in for what the home crowd assumed was an out. Williams was called safe as the catcher Geraldine Puertas did not have control of the ball and the United States took a 2-0 lead.
Maria Soto broke up the no hitter when she hit a single to right field but Abbott responded with a strikeout and with the help of a pop up to Finch at first and a great foul pop up catch by catcher Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.), Soto was left stranded.
The next two runs would again surround a controversial call at home plate. Watley led off with a single to right field and would advance to third on a single by Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.). Haber hit a single to centerfield, scoring Watley safely from third. Lowe slid in at home and was called safe bringing out the Venezuelan coach for the second time. A triple by Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.), a single by Cochran and a double by Charters gave the United States a 7-0 lead over Venezuela going into the bottom of the fifth.
Abbott and her defense allowed no one to reach in the bottom of the fifth, securing the 7-0 win in five innings. Abbott was phenomenal on the day with eight strikeouts while allowing only one hit.
“It was a good game and I think emotions ran high on both sides of the game. There was a lot of energy to this game. Venezuela came out aggressive and the fans were just as excited. It was a fun game to play and I bet an even more fun game to watch. It was an awesome night for softball,” said Abbott. “We watched some of their game last night and they had a good win over Australia, which is always a strong team. We knew that Venezuela would give us a good game too. They were really tough early on but then our offense really stepped up to give us the win tonight.”
Botswana is the next opponent on the schedule with a game time of 4:30 p.m./CT tomorrow afternoon. Live stats will be available for this game as well as box scores, recaps and photos on www.usasoftball.com.
- Courtesy of USA Softball