Oct. 13, 2003
NANJING, CHINA - UCLA sophomore Caitlin Benyi went 2-for-2 with a home run as the USA Softball Junior Women's team captured its first win of the 7th ISF World Championships with an 8-1 victory over the Netherlands. After a day of postponement due to rain, the U.S. squad took an early 2-0 lead and never looked back. They connected at the plate posting nine hits while Monica Abbott (Salinas, CA) was flawless in the three innings she pitched retiring nine of the 10 batters via strikeout.
The U.S. jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning after Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, CA) drove a base hit line drive through the left side. Jackie Rinehart (Reno, NV) then advanced Lowe on a base hit bunt before both runners headed to second and third on a wild pitch. Jessica Gilmore (Fort Walton Beach, FL) put the first run on the board with a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Lowe for the 1-0 U.S. lead. Emily Zaplatosch (Scottsdale, AZ) then reached after being hit by a pitch while Rinehart later stole home for the 2-0 advantage.
The Netherlands put its only run of the game on the board in the bottom of the first with a lead off walk to Anouk van den Heuvel. She then advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a groundout. A Saskia Kosterink groundout to second base allowed van den Heuvel to cross the plate.
Caitlin Benyi (Scottsdale, AZ), going 2-for-2, started the fourth inning strong with a solo homerun shot to left field off a 3-1 pitch. The U.S. added two more runs thanks to a pair of base hits from Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA) and Kristie Fox (San Diego, CA). A sac bunt from Norrelle Dickson(Orange, CA) would advance the runners for the 5-1lead.
"It was nice to finally get out here and run around and play a game," Benyi said. "I felt really good at the plate and I knew if she was going throw it the way she did that I was going to hit the ball hard."
The U.S. pushed its lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the sixth highlighted by a Benyi stroke through the left side and a triple to right field from her Bruin teammate Andrea Duran (Selma, CA). The game was called in the sixth due to the ISF International run rule leading by seven runs after five innings.
"We were just so happy to finally be able to get on the field," head Coach Pam Newton said. "The kids have been stir crazy not even being able to play catch because of the rain. But all in all for our first game, I thought we did a great job just getting the bugs loose. We did a great job hitting the ball and they (The Netherlands) really made some great plays because our girls hit the ball pretty hard. Benyi's homerun in the fourth was really nice and added a good touch."
The U.S. will return to action at the World Championship battling Argentina on October 14. Game time 11:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. EST).