Jennie Finch Smashes Homer in First At-Bat


OKLAHOMA CITY  The US National Team picked up where it left off last month at the ISF World Championship, shutting out Team Canada 9-0 in six innings in the World Cup opener in Oklahoma City.

Canada looked powerless despite putting its star pitcher Danielle Lawrie—hero of the 2009 Women's College World Series and two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year from the University of Washington—in the circle.

American superstar Jennie Finch did not disappoint the home crowd, smashing a home run in her first at-bat only days after announcing her imminent retirement. It was a great follow-up to her three homers last month at the World Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. Jennie smiled as she rounded the bases as only few athletes can, secure in the knowledge they are leaving their sport at the peak of their career.

Monica Abbott dispelled any doubts about the resolve of a US pitching staff that is still reeling from the loss of its ace Cat Osterman due to injury. Osterman is unlikely to return to the mound during the World Cup, and may miss the rest of the 2010 pro season as well.

Abbott struck out 16 and allowed only two hits using absolutely wicked ball placement and blazing speed. With Finch retiring, Osterman on the disabled list and Japan's ace Yukiko Ueno missing in action, Abbott has to be considered the #1 pitcher in the world right now.

The Canadians won the bronze medal at last month's World Championship, while the Americans won gold. Today the Red, White & Blue go up against the silver medalists in Team Japan.

The Japanese have been Team USA's most worthy adversary in recent years, capturing the 2008 Olympic gold medal. Jennie Finch will be on the mound for the Americans, and they are going to need her. Read more.