PLANT CITY, FL --- A perfect game from pitcher Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, CA, Arizona) and one clutch hit from Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA, UCLA) provided sweet revenge for the USA Elite team on Saturday evening as they captured a 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei. Facing a 3-2 defeat earlier in the week to Taipei, the win moved the U.S. to 7-1 as they advance to Sunday’s gold medal game at 1:30 p.m. The U.S. will battle the winner of the Japan/Chinese Taipei bronze medal game at 11:00 a.m.
"We have started to play better as the week has progressed,” said head coach Jay Miller. “And this was definitely our best game. A big team effort as Jodie came through with a big hit and Alicia controlled the circle. We just need one more like this tomorrow and we will accomplish what we came here for.”
A stunning performance from Hollowell with 13 strikeouts, the win marked the second perfect game performance for Team USA.
“We definitely knew as a team that we had to come out and dominate,” said Hollowell. “We played really well tonight. The offense was hitting the ball hard and the defense was on top of their game. I was definitely excited to be in the circle and my pitches were really breaking and working for me.”
Slow hitting continued to curse the U.S. offense through the first three innings with just two base hits, but Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA, UCLA) shifted the momentum in the fourth knocking in the lone two runs on a towering double to right center.
With two outs, two runners were on board after a walk to Sara Dean (Valencia, CA, Auburn) and a base hit from Vicky Galindo (Union City, CA, California-Berkeley). Legaspi then drove the second pitch of her at bat deep to right center to give the U.S. the 2-0 lead.
“I knew I had to make a clutch hit because there were runners on and two outs,” said Legaspi. “We needed to put some runs on the board so I made the most of my opportunity. This was definitely a team effort and we have to continue that same attitude to take home the gold medal.”
Team USA looked to break open the game loading the bases in the fifth with one out after a Norrelle Dickson (Orange, CA, Oklahoma) base hit bunt and walks to Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, AZ, UCLA) and Andrea Duran (Selma, CA, UCLA) covered the bags. But a quick check swing from Sara Dean (Valencia, CA, Auburn) that made contact resulted in a double play to leave three runners stranded.
Back-to-back strikeouts to close the game, Hollowell improved to 3-0 in tournament play while Legaspi finished the night going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Through eight games, Dean continues to lead the pack batting .429 with nine RBI followed by Duran at .391. Hollowell has recorded 42 strikeouts in 21.2 innings as the pitching staff has combined for a 0.26 ERA. The U.S. has outscored its opponents 27-4.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 89 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams and 40,000 umpires today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won seven World Championship titles including the last five consecutive. For more information about USA Softball, please visit www.usasoftball.com.
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