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Team USA Out to Impressive Start at Pan Am Qualifier

Guatemala City, Guatemala -- The USA Softball National team has jumped out to a 4-0 start at the 2005 Pan Am/World qualifier. The team combined for 38 hits, outscoring opponents 39-1 and allowed only five hits in four games. 

Team USA beat Venezuela 9-1 on Saturday to open play, with Jamie Southern allowing one hit over three innings in the start. Amanda Freed came in during the fourth inning, giving up one hit and one run. 

Natasha Watley drove in two runs on a 1-for-1 plate outing, while Jessica Mendoza went 3-for-3 with an RBI.

After Venezuela scored its lone run in the top of the fifth off a bloop single to the outfield, Tairia Mims Flowers walked with bases loaded to drive in a run. Stacy Nuveman extended the lead with a sacrifice. Crystl Bustos went 1-for-2 with an RBI and intentional walk as the U.S. put up nine hits in the winning effort. 

The U.S. claimed two victories Sunday knocking off Puerto Rico 5-0 and El Salvador 13-0. Southern entered the Puerto Rico game in relief of Jennie Ritter in the fifth inning and proceeded to strike out seven of the nine batters she faced. Ritter allowed two hits through the opening four frames. The U.S. offense put up six hits, while leaving four on base. 

Bustos guided a powerful U.S. attack against El Salvador, driving in six runs on a pair of home runs in a 3-for-4 plate performance. Nuveman was 1-for-3 with a home run and Watley turned in two RBI in three at-bats. Freed started the game and allowed one hit in three innings, while Alicia Hollowell fanned five of six batters she faced.. 

The U.S. faced off with the Dominican Republic on Monday and cruised to a 12-0 victory in five innings. Southern and Hollowell threw the first combined no-hitter of the qualifier with Southern throwing three innings and Hallowell the final pair. Bustos turned in her second pair of home runs of the tournament, and she narrowly missed having a third leave the park as she contributed seven of the team’s RBIs. 

Next up for Team USA is host Guatemala at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Nicaragua Wednesday at 2 p.m. Playoff action begins Thursday at 7 p.m., with the finals set for 8 p.m. Saturday.