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.