U.S. softball beats Canada 9-5

Saturday, June 7th 2008, 11:32 pm
By: News 9

Associated Press

Crystl Bustos hit a three-run home run and Andrea Duran had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to help the United States beat Canada 9-5 Saturday in its first exhibition game against an Olympic opponent this year.

The U.S. had trailed only four times in 39 games before pulling out a 10-8 victory against a team of pro softball All-Stars the previous night, and the Canadians became the first team to hold two separate leads against the three-time Olympic gold medalists.

Natasha Watley scored on a Dione Meier's wild pitch to tie it at 5, and Duran followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to put the U.S. back on top. Bustos then cleared the bases with her 20th home run in 41 games this season. It landed about a dozen rows up in the left-field stands.

Kelly Kretschman was 2-for-2 and drove in three runs as the U.S. needed its offensive firepower for the second straight game.

Alison Bradley gave Canada a 5-4 lead with a two-run single to center field to cap a four-run rally in the fifth inning. Monica Abbott had retired 12 straight batters before walking the bases loaded with one out.

Jennifer Yee then smashed a single that ricocheted off first baseman Tairia Flowers and into right field. Kretschman's throw to the plate was in time to prevent a second run from scoring, but all three Canadian runners were able to safely retreat one base.

Jennie Finch (13-1) allowed another run to score on a wild pitch, and Bradley's line single to center field gave the Canadians the lead.

Canada also led 1-0 on Sheena Lawrick's first-inning RBI single, but Kretschman answered it in the bottom of the inning and then had a two-run single in the fourth to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead.

In two games this weekend, the U.S. has given up more runs than in its previous 39 games on the nationwide "Bound 4 Beijing" warmup tour. Cat Osterman and Finch combined to give up four home runs to the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars on Friday night, when the U.S. had to rally from a four-run deficit.