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Osterman, Mendoza Guide U.S. Over Canada at World Championship

The USA Softball Women’s National Team remained unbeaten at the XI ISF Women’s World Championship with a 4-0 win over Canada Monday. The U.S. improved to 3-0 and now is one of only four teams remaining without a loss in the competition. 

Canada starter Robin Mackin was dominant the first time through the U.S. line-up, shutting down the powerful U.S. arsenal for the first two innings. That changed in the third when the top of the order finally broke through. With two outs, Caitlin Lowe singled through the left side and advanced to second on a single by Natasha Watley. With speed on the bases, Jessica Mendoza, the only player to reach base in the first two innings, ripped another single to center field to score Lowe and give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. 

It was another two out rally in the fourth inning that provided the Red, White and Blue with its second run of the game and seemed to take the wind out of Canada’s sails. Lovieanne Jung walked and Laura Berg, Mackin’s former coach at Fresno State, took a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for a standup triple to score Jung. 

The U.S. did take advantage of a lead off walk to Andrea Duran in the fifth as Jung singled to center to move her into scoring position. Berg extended the U.S. lead as she brought her home with a single to center field. With runners on first and second and the top of the U.S. lineup coming to bat, Canada looked to reliever Kaila Holtz in hopes of halting the rally. Holtz did that as she fanned Lowe and got Watley to pop up to shortstop to end the inning. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Mendoza, who was 3-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs, put the game out of reach with a solo shot to center field on the first pitch to give the U.S. a comfortable 4-0 advantage. 

“Obviously it was an outstanding game. I came in knowing that this was a game that we had to get by. We had to play better than we have the past couple of days,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “The team played inspired and we put some runs up on the board. We had some key hits by both Laura (Berg) and Jessica (Mendoza) and great pitching by Cat (Osterman). I think overall this is our best performance of the tournament.” 

Osterman, who had no-hit Canada in her last two starts, settled down after allowing two hits in the first two innings to record her second win and her second consecutive double digit strikeout performance of the tournament with 10 in the game. 

Berg, making her fourth appearance in a World Championship, extended her international hit streak to seven games with a 2-for-3 effort against Canada. 

The USA and host China are now the only undefeated teams remaining in Pool A at the World Championships with identical 3-0 records. The U.S. returns to action Wednesday as it faces off with Great Britain, a team it dominated 14-0 in the opening game of the II World Cup of Softball.