CARACAS, Venezuela – The United States took back its title as the No.1 team in the World with a 7-0 win over Japan in the Championship Game of the XII ISF Women’s Softball World Championships in Caracas, Venezuela. The nine-time World Champions claimed their seventh-straight title, going undefeated, 10-0, and outscoring opponents 95-6.
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) made her second World Championship Gold Medal game start with the leadoff batter Rei Nishiyama earning a hit. With Osterman’s only strikeout of the game and with the help of the defense, Nishiyama was left stranded.
“It was a great tournament overall. The team excelled in every aspect throughout the tournament and we put that into play in the Championship game,” said two-time World Champion Osterman. “We had great pitching, great defense and great offense. It was a true team win all the way through. We are glad to walk away with the win and get our No. 1 ranking back.”
Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) was the first U.S. runner to reach when she earned a walk in the second inning. Makiko Fujiwara issued another walk to Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) to put two runners on board but responded with two strikeouts swinging, leaving the score at 0-0.
The U.S. put up their first hit of the game in the top of the fourth and the momentum clearly shifted in the favor of the Red, White and Blue as the U.S. strung together six hits in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) got it started with a double to right field. The first run of the game would come next when Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) hit a single down the middle to plate a U.S. run in Mendoza. With two runners on, Haber and Cochran, who singled, Japan brought in new pitcher Sayuri Yamane. Duran drew a walk as the first batter Yamane faced. Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) gave the team a 2-0 cushion with a single to left field. Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) doubled the score with a triple to right center field to plate Finch and Ashley Charters (Beaverton, Ore.) who reached on a fielder’s choice. Lappin went on to score the final run of the inning, scoring on a passed ball.
Osterman threw four pitches in the bottom of the fourth before Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) came in to finish the game for the United States. With a 2-2 count, Abbott issued two more balls to Ayumi Karino who spent no time on first as she was sacrificed to second. Two Abbott strikeouts ended the inning for Japan, shutting down their scoring threat.
Duran put the game out of reach for Japan with a two-run homerun in the fifth inning, giving the U.S. enough runs to have the game called in the fifth inning due to a run-ahead rule.
Abbott kept the lead safe with the help of her defense, giving the United States the claim to the best softball team in the world. With only one strikeout, Osterman earned the win allowing only two hits. Fujiwara took the loss for Japan, allowing two earned runs.
The USA Softball Women’s National Team will next compete in the KFC World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, Okla., July 22-26. Tickets are on sale for this event which will feature the top three finishers from the Worlds; the United States, Japan and Canada. Get your tickets today at www.softballoutlet.com.
- Courtesy of USA Softball