For a pitcher who boasts 20 no-hitters and 10 perfect games in her collegiate career, giving up a hit and a walk in the first inning had the look of a shaky start.
Osterman made quick adjustments and gained strength as the game went on, finishing with seven strikeouts in a row. The biggest tip may not have been from head coach Mike Candrea, but from her dad who was rooting her on in the crowd.
Were not supposed to look in the stands, but my dad reminded me to spin the ball, Osterman said. He could tell I was over-throwing. After I realized that, I kind of relaxed and tried not to throw as hard and just spin it because thats what Im here to do and thats what Im known for.
She might have had good reason for starting the game a little rusty after two recent surgeriesone on her ankle and one on her shoulder. When asked how the shoulder felt she didnt seem too concerned. Its feeling ok. I just go back and forth as far as strength and how it feels, but its feeling good today.
Even if Osterman hadnt made adjustments, she would have likely gotten the win behind a U.S. team that has scored 17 runs in 10 innings. This time the fireworks were provided by Tairia Flowers fourth-inning grand slam. She continues her scorching offensive output from the Canada Cup last week where she batted a staggering .650. All year Ive been working hard and getting a lot of repetitions in, Flowers explained. My confidence just keeps building as our games go on.
The American team cant celebrate too much tonight as they will be back at it early tomorrow against the Dominican Republic in game one of a two-game set.
(Photo provided by USA Softball)