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U.S. Blanks Puerto Rico at Canada Cup

The United States got back to its offensive ways as it beat Puerto Rico 10-0 at the 14th Annual Canada Cup International Fastpitch Tournament in Surrey, B.C. The field saw no action as Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) and Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) combined to account for every out with eight strikeouts and one ground out to pitcher in three combined innings pitched. 

The U.S. exploded for 10 first-inning runs a day after a fifth-inning score gave the U.S. a slim 1-0 win over Japan Elite. The U.S. needed the offensive spark as it faces defending Canada Cup champion Australia Monday. 

Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) got the 10-run first inning rally started with a single shot down the middle. With Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) up to bat Lowe stole her first base of the tournament, scoring on a single to right field by Watley. Watley moved to third on a ground out by Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.). The Puerto Rico squad chose to walk power hitter Crystal Bustos (Canyon County, Calif.). With Watley at third, the Puerto Rico squad allowed Bustos to steal second. Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) and Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.) were next up, and each put two-RBI singles in the books. Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.), in her first at bat for the National team since 2004, took a pitch over left field for a two-run home run which extended the US lead to 8-0. 

Being held hitless yesterday, Mendoza adjusted today and was back to her old ways, hitting a three-run home run over the right field fence to score Lowe, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Watley, who landed on base with a walk. The U.S. wrapped up the first inning with 10 runs off six hits. 

“It was nice to see the bats come alive today and be the USA team that we know so well which we weren’t yesterday. It’s also nice to see the whole team,1-9, come alive,” said Mendoza of the team’s win. “That is USA at its best when every hitter is on, the pitching is great and there is solid defense. We are still not where we need to be and tomorrow will be a good test.” 

Hollowell got the start in the circle throwing two complete innings for a win. She allowed no hits and was responsible for all outs including five strikeouts and a groundout to pitcher. Osterman made her first appearance at the top of the third and was nearly perfect with only one ball in 10 balls pitched. The game was called after three innings due to run a head rule, a 10-0 USA victory. 

“We came out strong and put some runs on the board from the start. Jessica (Mendoza’s) homerun was a big hit for us,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “No matter what, we have to get good at-bats which we did not do yesterday. We did that today and both pitchers threw wel,l so it was good to see. We have to get better each day out here, which is what we play to do.”