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.
Chinas Zou Zi managed a single off Cat Osterman on the first pitch of the game, but the offensive attack didnt last long as the U.S. cruised to an 8-0 victory in a mercy-rule shortened game.
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.
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.