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U.S. Juniors Win Pan American Championship

Maunabo, Puerto Rico – The USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team knocked off hometown favorite Puerto Rico 7-0 to capture the 2006 Junior Women’s Pan American Championship and clinch the Pan American Region’s top seed for the 2007 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship (19-and-under), which will take place next year in Kutno, Poland, June 20-30. 

K’Lee Arredondo opened the game by reaching on a bunt, and, after advancing to second on a wild pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly by Monica Harrison to give the U.S. the early lead that would not relinquish. 

The United States expanded its lead in the second as Bianca Mejia and Ashley Hansen turned in back-to-back to pave the way for Katie Schroeder double which extended the U.S. to a 3-0 advantage. Brittany Lastrapes added to the lead as she came through with a sacrifice fly that scored Schroeder. 

Two more runs were scored in the third and fourth innings, when Maggie Viefhaus doubled and scored off a single by Alissa Haber and Hansen smacked her second triple of the tournament and scored on a single by Schroeder, who had a team-high three RBIs in the championship game. 

Making her fourth start of the tournament, Ashley Brignac allowed only two runners to reach base and tallied a tournament-high 14 strikeouts as she went the distance and concluded the tournament with a perfect 4-0 mark. 

The team needed only one run in the fifth inning to bring the run-rule into effect. Neena Bryant delivered a pinch-hit double to center field, and Tiffany Huff lifted a sacrifice fly tha scored her with the game’s deciding run. 

The U.S. was impressive offensively during the tournament, collecting 127 hits in 46 innings for a .529 batting average. Viefhaus was the offensive team leader with a .750 batting average, including 12 hits, 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs. Hansen and Mejia tied for the team lead with 15 hits and scored 11 and 13 runs, respectively. 

Donna Kerr threw a team-high 15 innings in three starts and recorded 31 strikeouts, second only to Brignac’s 36 K’s. Brignac didn’t allow a run or walk in 14 innings of work. The U.S. pitching staff allowed only 14 hits and one extra base hit while striking out 98 and not allowing a run. 

Mejia, Viefhaus and Brignac all received all-tournament honors for their achievements.