OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today the selection of the USA Softball Women’s National Team as the Team of the Month for its August accomplishments.
Noted as ‘one of the most dominant Olympic performances in the history of the Games,’ the USA Softball Women’s Olympic Team captured its third consecutive gold medal in August at the 2004 Olympic Games. Allowing just one run in nine games and outscoring opponents 51-1, the U.S. team dominated the competition cruising to a 9-0 record. Beginning with seven games of round-robin action, the U.S. rolled over its opponents with seven consecutive shutouts and four run-rule victories while the pitching staff recorded five straight one-hit performances. During those seven games, the U.S. outscored opponents 41-0 and allowed just 11 hits. In the final two games against Australia, the U.S. outscored the Aussies 10-1, allowing its only run in the bottom of the sixth during the gold-medal game. Team USA recorded three home runs in the final game and has rewritten the record book by setting 18 different team or individual Olympic records. From the plate, the U.S. crushed the ball, batting a team .343 to its opponents .097. From the circle, the U.S. was masterful with a combined 0.12 ERA allowing 18 hits and just one run. The nine straight wins continued the U.S. win streak to 79 dating back to July 13, 2003. The U.S. has now collected all three softball Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004).
Team members are: Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.), Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.), Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, Calif.), Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.), Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif.), Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, Nev.), Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.), Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.), Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), Tairia Mims Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.), Leah O’Brien-Amico (Chino Hills, Calif.), Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.), Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas), Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.) and Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.), head coach Mike Candrea (Casa Grande, AZ), assistant coach Ken Eriksen (Temple Terrace, Fla.), assistant coach John Rittman (San Jose, CA).
Runner-up in the close balloting among the women nominated for August Female Athlete of the Month honors was right-handed pitcher Lisa Fernandez (La Mirada, CA), who dominated the 2004 Olympic Games from the circle and the batter’s box. Setting a new Olympic record for batting average, the 5’6” legend combined for a .545 average in nine games played. She broke the previous record of .524 (Chika Kodama, Japan, 1996) by recording 12 hits, two doubles, one home run and eight RBI. Batting from the No. 4 position, she recorded at least one hit in the last five games and compiled four multiple hit performances. From the circle, she led the U.S. to its third gold medal with a 4-0 record. In her first performance against Australia, she one-hit the 1996 and 2000 bronze-medal team in a 10-0 run-rule shutout. Just four days later, she tallied another one-hit outing against host country Greece in a 7-0 decision where she totaled five strikeouts. Heading into the medal round as the No. 1 seed, it was all Fernandez as she lifted Team USA to back-to-back victories over rival Australia en route to the gold medal. In the opening round of the playoffs, she tossed her third shutout while allowing only three hits in a 5-0 victory. The ‘go to’ player, Fernandez continued as she captured win No. 4 and her third gold medal against the Aussies in a 5-1 decision. With 0.29 ERA and allowing just one run and nine hits, Fernandez was one of five players to start in all nine games while she recorded 21 and 2/3 scoreless innings. Defensively she posted a perfect fielding percentage while playing third and in the circle.
Results (first place votes in parentheses)
1. Natalie Coughlin (Swimming) 52 (11)
2. Lisa Fernandez (Softball) 48 (10)
3. Mariel Zagunis (Fencing) 26 (4)
Also receiving first place votes: Dawn Staley (Basketball) and Laura Brenneman (Baseball)
1. Michael Phelps (Swimming) 76 (24)
2. Cael Sanderson (Wrestling) 28 (1)
3. Jeremy Wariner (Track and Field) 23 (0)
Also receiving first place votes: Matt Emmons (Shooting)
1. USA Softball Women’s Olympic Team 58 (12)
2. U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team 43 (10)
3. USA Women’s Beach Volleyball Team 27 (3)
Also receiving first place votes: U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team and USA Track and Field 4x400m relay teams
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