Friday, June 22, 2001
Young USAMake way for the youth movement.
The Americans win, 1-0,
behind the pitching of
By Grace Wen
The average age of Team USA is 20. Its youngest member is a mere 18- years-old.
But youth and inexperience were non-factors in the Team USA's 1-0 victory over Japan on the opening day of the 2001 U.S. Cup women's international softball tournament at the University of Hawaii.
In the tournament opener, China topped Australia, 8-3.
"We started a little shaky," U.S. softball coach Jay Miller said after the game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. "We walked the first hitter of the game and put some runners on in that first inning. But, the defense settled down and Cat (Osterman) really settled down and threw a great ball game for us."
Pitching phenom Catherine Osterman looked a little nervous in the first inning but she calmed down and pitched a complete game. The 18-year-old Osterman gave up only three hits while striking out 13.
"I was mentally prepared but I was thinking too much," Osterman said. "I wasn't pitching my game. I was thinking too much about what I should do instead of letting my muscle memory take over."
Amanda Freed's RBI-single that scored Jessica Mendoza in the first inning was all team needed to pull out the win.
The U.S. team, comprised mostly of collegiate all-stars, has only one player with previous international experience -- catcher Stacey Nuveman. But Japan also has to deal with inexperience despite having six Olympians on its roster.
"Most members are very young," Japan coach Taeko Utsugi said through an interpreter. "We have four young pitchers. They haven't been to any international competitions."
IT WAS HARD to say what was hotter, Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium or the bats of team Australia in the seventh inning.
Trailing 8-0 in its final at-bat, Australia pounded four hits and scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning. But it was too little too late.
Starting pitcher Yanquing Zhang allowed only four hits and struck out 10 in 6 1/3 inning.
China, which had five Olympians on its roster, took advantage of erratic pitching by former UH player Brooke Wilkins in the fifth inning to score three runs.
Wilkins, pitching for the first time since undergoing hip surgery after last summer's Olympic Games, walked five batters and had six wild pitches.
"I was really nervous," Wilkins said. "I find it really hard to control (my pitches) because I rely on my legs for power."
The tournament continues today and tomorrow.
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
China 8, Australia 3
USA 1, Japan 0
Australia 000 000 3 -- 3 8 1 China 010 133 x -- 8 5 1
Kelly Hardie, Brooke Wilkins (5), Zara Mee (6) and Marissa Carpadios; Zhang Yanquing, Zhang Lixia (7) and Xu Jian.
Leading hitters--Australia: Sally McCreedy 2-2, 2b, RBI; Simmone Morrow 2-2; Alisa Denne RBI; Kerry Wyborn 2b. China: Tao Hua 2-2, solo HR; Lin Li RBI; Xu Jian RBI.
Japan 000 000 0 -- 0 3 0 USA 100 000 x -- 1 3 1
Yuko Taka and Miyo Yamada; Catherine Osterman and Stacey Nuveman.
Leading hitters--Japan: Emi Naito 2-2. USA: Amanda Freed 2-2, RBI; Jessica Mendoza 2b.