USA Women reach the title game

Stanford grads Mendoza, Haber, Lappin each record a hit for the Americans

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The United States’ women’s softball national team turned two hits, a walk and an error into three runs in the bottom of the first inning, all it would need as it turned out, in beating Japan, 4-0, in the semifinals of the ISF World Championships in Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday.

Stanford grads Jessica Mendoza and Alissa Haber were right in the middle of the rally, with Mendoza drawing a walk and Haber adding a single. Both players scored in the inning.

Cardinal grad Lauren Lappin led off the fifth with a double and eventually scored on Mendoza’s single.

Stanford junior Ashley Hansen came on as a defensive replacement late in the game.

Cat Osterman did the rest, throwing a one-hitter with two walks and 12 strikeouts.

“It was a team effort,” Osterman said. “The offense came through early and I had to be at the top of my game because Japan is a great game.”

China and Canada were scheduled to play a later semifinal, with that winner facing Japan on Friday in the double elimination tournament.

“We’ve played every team that’s left so we’ll be ready,” Osterman said. “Everybody who came before us made the championship game and we know that’s what is expected of us.”

The U.S. plays the survivor on Friday for the World Championship.

“We’re ready for anybody,” American shortstop Natasha Watley said. “I hope we come out and put everything together.”

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