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USA Clinches Medal Round Berth With 10-1 Win Over Dominican Republic at Worlds

 CARACAS, Venezuela – The USA Softball Women’s National team scored 10 runs off of nine hits on their way to a 10-1 victory over the Dominican Republic, securing a No. 1 seed in Group B at the ISF Women’s Softball World Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. The U.S. will take on the Czech Republic tomorrow at 2:30 p.m./CT in its final pool play game before medal rounds begin on Wed., June 30th. 

The USA jumped on the Dominican Republic early and fast, scoring four runs in the first inning and four runs in the second inning to take an early 8-0 lead. In the first inning, the entire lineup got a chance at the plate with three players earning hits and three reaching off walks. In the lead off position, Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) got it started, drawing a walk off starting pitcher Hannah Pena. Next up was Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.) who hit a single that was long enough to allow Watley to score. Galindo scored the second run of the game off an Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) double. After going 2-for-3 against the Dominican Republic, Haber is now hitting a team-high .786 with 13 RBI and nine runs scored. Haber reached home on a passed ball and the final run of the inning occurred when Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.), who walked to reach, scored on an Ashley Holcombe (Dacula, Ga.) single. 

Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) made her second start of the 2010 World Championships, retiring the first four of six batters via the strikeout. Through the first three innings, the only runner to reach was off a walk. 

Watley again scored the first run of the inning after she was hit by a pitch to reach base in the second inning. Watley went on to score when Haber hit a triple down the left field line to plate Watley and Ashley Charters (Beaverton, Ore.) who singled. Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) accounted for the other two RBI of the inning with a hard hit shot that went over the left fielders head. Haber and Mendoza scored on the play giving the United States and 8-0 lead. 

Back-to-back triples by Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) and Cochran paved the way for two more runs in the fourth inning after no runs were scored in the third. Mendoza scored off Cochran’s triple while Cochran crossed home plate on a passed ball. 

With enough runs to have the game called due to the run ahead rule, 10 runs, after four innings, Finch and the defense needed just three outs to put the game away. However this was not in the cards as the Dominican Republic scored in the bottom of the fourth. Josefina Mercedes, broke up the no-hitter, with a single to centerfield. Centerfielder Haber misplayed the ball which rolled behind her to the outfield law, leaving Mercedes at third base. A groundout put one out on the board and a sac fly gave the Dominican Republic the run they needed to avoid the game being called. The final out of the inning came when the runner Soto needed to return to first and left the base paths running directly from first to third. 

Three outs in the bottom of the fifth including two Finch strikeouts kept the Dominican Republic off the board and a final score of 10-1 was put in the books. Finch finished the game with seven strikeouts and allowed one unearned run. 

The U.S. will take on the Czech Republic tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. CT in its final pool play game before medal rounds begin on Wed., June 30th. Check out www.usasoftball.com for complete coverage of USA Softball at the ISF World Championships. 

- Courtesy of USA Softball