Crystl Bustos hit the ball so well, its almost as if she knew what pitch was coming. It turns out, that was exactly the case in a 9-1 United States victory over Venezuela.
It actually didnt get very high. It was a little bit flat. But it always helps knowing whats coming, joked Bustos. They dont think I understand Spanish but I understood what pitch was coming because the coach yelled it to the pitcher. If you watch in the camera my feet set up a certain way to help bring a pitch that I want, then I switch my feet before the pitcher throws the pitch.
In the beginning, it didnt look good for the U.S. Jennie Ritter promptly gave up her first earned run in international play with a lead-off solo homerun to Maria Soto to start the game. I think it was just jitters, Ritter explained, I missed on a curveball. I think I was just trying to be perfect.
Ritter settled down, striking out seven in three scoreless innings and was eager to keep pitching. I felt good from the second inning on. It just took a while to get the rhythm going. After that I felt real comfortable and ready to throw some more.
Bustos wasnt the only U.S. offensive threat. Natasha Watley went two for three hitting a triple in both the second and forth innings. Kelly Kretschman also hammered a homerun to the opposite field.
Venezuela did not threaten after the lead-off homerun--managing to earn one run on four hits. With a commanding lead, Alicia Hollowell took over the mound in the fifth inning to solidify the win. She closed the game quickly by striking out two of the three batters she faced.
United States will take on China, ranked fourth in the world, tomorrow at 7:00pm.
Side note: After the game, I found myself in line for the bathroom behind Kelly Kretschman and Laura Berg. Kretschman mentioned she received fifteen text messages during the game, most congratulating her on her homerun. They also pointed out a picture hanging on the wall near by of the 1996 national team, more specifically, how awesome Bergs long bangs looked in it. It was cool to see the players behind the scenes and share a laugh with them.
Canada knocks off Dominican Republic in World Cup opener
In the nightcap at the KFC World Cup of Softball, Canada knocked off the Dominican Republic, 3-0, to win its third consecutive opener at a World Cup. The teams were evenly matched offensively but a key extra base hit by Sheena Lawrick in the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in the game.
Canada put up two hits, one in the first and one in the fourth, but would not score until the fifth inning. With runners on first and third, Sheena Lawrick came through in the clutch with a two-RBI triple down the right field line that scored Jenn Salling and pinch-runner Janiva Willis. Lawrick scored the final run of the game off a single by Alison Bradley.
The Dominican Republican posted four hits in the loss but never got a runner past second base and ended up stranding five.
Canada’s Dione Meier picked up the win in the circle allowing just four hits in the shutout victory. Dominican starter Missy Penna, who will be a junior at Stanford next season, took the loss after allowing three runs off five hits and walking five.
Canada returns to action on Friday with a double-header starting with Japan at 11:30 a.m. before facing off with Venezuela at 2 p.m. The Dominican Republic is scheduled to play in the nightcap at 9:30 p.m. against Venezuela.
Japan topples Dominican Republic in opener at KFC World Cup
After having their opener pushed back over four hours due to thunderstorms in the Oklahoma City area, Japan was impressive posting an 8-0 win over the Dominican Republic.
Japan jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning that was highlighted by an inside the park home run by Megu Hirose that plated three runs.
After a run in the third inning, Japan scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take an 8-0 lead.
Mika Someya earned the win in the circle for Japan allowing just three hits in five innings of work. It was her first career World Cup win.
Cristina Gwyn suffered the loss allowing eight runs on 11 hits while also walking four in five innings of work.
Japan opens day two of the World Cup at 11:30 a.m. CST versus Canada, while the Dominican faces off with Venezuela at 9:30 p.m. CST.
China Wins Behind Qi’s Arm
China won the first game of their KFC World Cup of Softball campaign thanks to a gem thrown by pitcher Li Qi tonight in Oklahoma City.
Qi, a 2004 Olympian, struck out nine batters en route to a one-hit complete game shutout over Venezuela, 4-0. Mariangee Bogado (0-2) gained the loss for Venezuela, after earning her first loss of the tournament earlier in the night against the U.S.
Qi was supported by a strong sixth-inning showing from her offense. Li Chun Xia hit a bases loaded single, scoring two runs, to deep centerfield to give the team a 2-0 lead. Zhang Li Fang singled to shallow center to bring in one more. The final run of the game scored off a wild pitch by Marianella Castellanos.
Venezuela (0-2) plays Friday at 2 p.m. vs. Canada (1-0). China (1-0) plays against the USA National Team (1-0) at 7 p.m.
Rain fell hard enough this morning to postpone the opening game of the World Cup of Softball from 11:30am to 6:00pm.
The ASA softball grounds crew put tarp down the night before but the rain was relentless through the original scheduled starting time for the Dominican Republic versus Japan game. A world-class facility, the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium boasts an efficient drainage system that allows the playing field to recover quickly from inclement weather.
The schedule originally divided today's games into two separate sessions, each consisting of two games. Due to the weather, the first session is to be played simultaneously as the second session on an alternate field.
The weather is now setting a scene for a pleasant evening of top-notch softball and fans are beginning to file in. I'm expecting the crowd to be unaffected by the delay and am looking forward to an electric night of competition.