July 30, 1999
Winnipeg, Canada - USA Softball pitcher Michele Smith (Califon, N.J.) pitched a one-hit complete-game shutout as the USA downed Netherlands Antilles, 5-0, Friday night in Pan American Games pool-play action at John Blumberg Complex.
Smith came within three outs of pitching the USA's second-consecutive perfect game when Solange Ostiana singled up the middle in the top of the seventh inning. Smith recorded 15 strikeouts to run her record to 1-0 in tournament action.
"I felt pretty good tonight," said Smith. "I gave up that one hit at the end. I just got a little too careful on a riseball, but overall I felt good. I felt like the ball was moving so that was nice."
The USA scored its first run when Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.), who led off the inning with a single to right field, later scored on a bases-loaded walk by former Bruin Jennifer Brundage (Irvine, Calif.).
The USA rallied to score three more runs in the fifth inning when Shelly Stokes (Sacramento, Calif.) scored on a Lisa Fernandez (UCLA/Long Beach, Calif.) ground out. Bustos (2-for-3, two runs, two RBI) hit a towering two-run home run, putting the team up 4-0. The USA scored its final run in the sixth inning after Brundage (1-for-2, one RBI) doubled and scored on a fielding error by the Netherlands Antilles shortstop on a ball hit by Julie Smith (Glendora, Calif.).
"It just took us a while to get used to their pitching tonight," said Bustos. "We were putting the ball in play but it was right at them. I was a little frustrated after my second at-bat, so then I came up to the plate with total concentration. I was looking for that inside pitch because she got me on it before. I was waiting for it and I got a hold of the whole thing."
USA, which has captured the gold medal at the last three Pan American Games and has won 32-consecutive games, plays Netherlands Antilles again Saturday at 1 p.m. (CDT) and faces host Canada at 8 p.m.
USA 5, Netherlands Antilles 0 AHO 000 000 0 - 0 1 2 USA 010 031 x - 5 6 0 AHO - Rozeline Kinburn and Emely Jonis. USA - Michele Smith and Shelly Stokes. W - Smith (1-0). L - Kinburn (1-1). E - AHO 2 (Hooi, Jonis). LOB - AHO 1, USA 6. 2B - USA (Jennifer Brundage). HR - USA 1 (Bustos). SH - USA 1 (J. Smith). CS - USA 1 (Berg). PB - USA (Stokes). WP - AHO (Kinburn). Runs Scored - USA 5 (J. Smith, Bustos 2, Brundage, Stokes).