RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil – The U.S. claimed its sixth consecutive Pan American Championship Gold Medal but it was a little anti-climatic as there was no Pan American Championship game played today at the XV Pan American Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The COMPASO Technical Commission, who oversees the competition, determined that the United States wins the gold. The rest of the standings are yet to be finalized.
The team had an impressive showing at the Championships despite rain delays and game cancellations. The red, white and blue outscored opponents 28 – 0 as it allowed only two hits in 22 innings. The offense was just as explosive with the team putting up 32 hits for a .358 batting average. The team run-ruled three of the four teams played.
Highlighting the event were three no-hitters. Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) and Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) combined to no-hit Brazil while Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) and Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich.) held Colombia hitless. Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) threw five innings of no-hit ball against Cuba to help lead the team to medal rounds. The staff had 53 strikeouts with Abbott holding a team-high 20 in a team-best 10 innings pitched. She allowed only two hits in the semifinal game against Canada and issued no walks.
Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) hit her first national team grand slam to account for all four RBIs against Colombia. She had a team-high eight RBIs during the tournament with five hits for a .500 batting average. Earning her third Pan Am gold medal, Crystl Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.) scored four runs with five RBIs, a homerun and a double. Laura Berg (Santa Fe, Springs, Calif.) made her third appearance at the Pan Am Games, hitting a team-high .600 average (3-for-5) in two games played. Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) led the team with six hits and scored three runs.
This gold-medal finish wraps up the 2007 National Teams schedule this summer. This summer saw the team claim three gold medals, with a 20-0 record, outscoring opponents 164-4. They posted a .426 average while the pitching staff held opponents to a .115 average. The pitching staff holds a 0.20 ERA with 191 strikeouts and three earned runs.
Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) led the team through the summer with a .543 (19-for-35) average with 22 RBI and six homeruns. She also had a grand slam at the KFC World Cup of Softball and was named the Canada Cup MVP. Finch threw a team-high 31.0 innings with 49 strikeouts and a 0.23 ERA while Osterman had an ERA of 0.28 with a team-high 54 strikeouts.
The U.S. earned a spot in the championship game with its 7-0 victory over Canada in the opening medal round.
Next up for USA Softball is the September Selection Camp where the members of the 2008 Olympic squad will be selected.