Natasha Watley's Two-Run Homer Seals Pan Am Gold for USA

Aug. 15, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO , D.R. - UCLA's Natasha Watley had a two-run home run, two RBIs and two runs scored as the USA Softball Women's National team recorded its fifth consecutive Pan American gold medal with a 4-0 win over Canada.

Fanning 14 batters, pitcher Cat Osterman dominated the contest while her offense secured its 51st straight Pan Am win for the U.S. Women. In a game delayed three and half hours due to rain, the gold medal USA squad ended the tournament at 9-0, allowing just one run in 46 innings.

The U.S. took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning with a Natasha Watley ( Irvine , Calif. ) bunt single before Leah O'Brien-Amico ( Chino Hills , Calif. ) moved her to second with a base hit to left field. A wild pitch from Canadian pitcher Auburn Sigurdson plated Watley while Amico later scored on a sacrifice fly from Stacey Nuveman ( La Verne , Calif.

Securing the win, the U.S. added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a two-run homer to right center from Watley, plating Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.), who reached on a fielder's choice.

Nicole Giordano ( Saugus , Calif. ) led the U.S. going 2-for-2 with hits in the fourth and sixth innings while Watley was 2-for-4 with a home run, the U.S. 15th of the Pan Ams, and two RBI.

'We are very, very proud to win the Pan American gold,' head coach Mike Candrea said. 'We've got a talented group of athletes and USA Softball expects to win. We have set the bar so high, that is our goal every time we walk on the field, to win. I think winning breed's winning and these kids are use to winning. This is a special group because it's not just a veteran group, we've got a good mix of young and old that all have one thing in common, and that is talent.'

The U.S. players will join 32 other player at the Olympic Trials, September 2-7 in Chula Vista , Calif. 18 players will be selected from the trials to train together in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens , Greece .

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