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USA Downs Japan to Claim Canada Cup

Surrey, B.C. – The USA Softball National Team went 10-0 at the 14th Annual Canada Cup International Fastpitch Softball Tournament, including a 5-0 victory over Japan in the Championship game, in Surrey, B.C. to bring home the title. 

Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) made her fourth start in as many appearances, including a start again Japan in pool play. After going down in order in the first, an RBI single by Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) plated Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) with the only run Finch would need. 

Finch allowed no hits through four complete innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) came in for relief in the top of the fifth for her fourth appearance, tying a team-high with Finch. 

Crystl Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.) added an insurance run in the top of the sixth with a home run ball that cleared not only the regulation 220 fence, but the permanent stadium wall that sits a good 20 feet behind the regulation wall. Bustos led the team with four home runs and 12 RBIs for a .500 average. 

Japan broke up the combined no-hitter in the sixth with a single to centerfield, but an outstanding play by Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) and Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) kept runs off the board. 

The United States capped the win as it plated three more runs in the sixth. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) started off the rally with a double to centerfield, and she scored on a Bustos single to center. Kretschman then capped the scoring with a two-run home run to right field, her first home run of the tournament, that gave the U.S. the final 5-0 margin. 

Abbott closed out the seventh-inning with three strikeouts to secure the Canada Cup Championship. She worked three complete innings and struck out five while allowing only one hit. 

Flowers earned tournament MVP honors after leading the Red, White and Blue with a .650 (13-for-20) average that included 10 RBI and three homeruns. 

Finch received the Lori Sippel Award for the tournament’s best pitcher after notching a team-best 3-0 record in four starts. With a 0.56 ERA, Finch allowed only one run in 16.0 innings pitched while striking out 20 and giving up five hits. 

The U.S. heads back to Oklahoma City for its next action, hosting Argentina, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Japan and Venezuela July 12-16 in the KFC World Cup of Softball.