CHULA VISTA, Calif.---Three home runs capped USA Softball'sl third consecutive run rule victory, a 9-0 win over Australia, that gave the team gold medal in the Grand Final of the International Sports Invitational.
“These players are here for a reason,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “They are true competitors. Many of them were in the arena in Athens and know what it takes. They love a challenge and are a very special group of athletes. This was a great tournament with strong competitors and a nice way to start the summer.”
The U.S. put up three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) continued to display her power, launching a solo home run to right center. It was her third home run in the last four games. Following a walk to Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Calif.), Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.) hit her second home run of the tournament to give the USA an early 3-0 advantage.
Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.) led off the bottom of the second with a single up the middle, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Mendoza for a 4-0 lead.
After being shutout in the next two innings, Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) broke open the game with a two-run home run to centerfield to increase the lead to 6-0.
With one swing of the bat, Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif.) ended the game with a three-run home run to deep left field that gave the U.S. the 9-0 run rule victory.
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) picked up the win, allowing only one hit while striking out 10 in five innings of work. Including her games this past season at the University of Texas, Osterman has now recorded 10 strikeouts in 34 consecutive starts.
Galindo finished the tournament going 8-for-9 (.889) with two doubles, three walks and a .917 on base percentage. Three U.S. players had multiple home runs during the week, including Mendoza who led the team with three. Flowers and Topping each had two home runs, while Topping led the team with eight RBIs.
”Every at bat I went up there taking it one at bat at a time,” said Galindo. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything but making contact and getting on base.”
With nine home runs in five games, the U.S. matched its total from Athens in 2004. Of the five players that contributed home runs in the event, none hit a home run in Athens.