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U.S.softball team uses short game to shut out China 9-0 at Beijing Olympic Games
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15:48, August 18, 2008

Three-time defending champion the U.S. softball team beat host China on Monday at the Beijing Olympic Games with a stunning 9-0.

American batter's explosion in the opening inning resulted in China's fifth defeat of the tournament, ending the host's last Olympic show in advance.

"We know that this is our last competition at the Olympics, so we gave the performing chance to all the 15 team members. We hope they could show their unity and spirits here," said Wang Lihong, head coach of the Chinese softball team.

The powerful swing of Kelly Kretschman's home run gave the U.S. team a quick lead in the bottom of the first inning, blasting the ball over the right field wall for a 3-0 advantage.

China's ace pitcher Lu Wei just couldn't stop allowing the opponent's unstoppable base hits, giving up six runs and was replaced by Yu Huili before the inning ended.

But Yu still falied to suppress the hot batting Americans, allowing three more runs and the U.S. widened the lead to 9-0. American's nine runs in a singe inning also tied the Olympic record which was created by Chinese Taipei in 1996.

Chinese strong-minded girls settled down after the open inning's nightmare and gradually solidified their defence amid encouraging cheers of over 5,000 fanatic spectators under the scorching sun.

Center fielder Zhou Yi succeeded to catch a potential homer with a diving save in the second inning, showing the host's decision to go down swinging at softball's last Olympic show.

Silenced through the third and fourth, the U.S. ended the game in five short innings under the "Run Ahead Rule", which provides that a game will be declared complete and over after five innings if one team leads the other by seven or more run.

The lopsided game was also China's last show at the Olympic arena. With the win-loss record of 2-5, China only finished sixth in the eight-team tournament and failed to advance to the page system finals. The top four teams from the ongoing preliminaries will contest for the medals.

"Chinese team played well in the last four inning and didn't give us many chances," said Kelly Kretschman, who delivered the home run.

But she said that the U.S. team is always trying to play the best as they could.

Looking into the competition with other strong teams like Japan, the girl added, "there are always challenges."

Chinese softballers made the history by grabbing a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, when the sport was first introduced to the Olympic agenda. In the following Sydney and Athens Games, they narrowly missed a podium finish.

If the hard-bitten girls set their minds to fulfil medal dream and re-prove themselves, they have to wait another eight years or more instead of four, as the sport was voted out of the 2012 London Games.


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 Canada's solo homer stuns China 1-0 at Beijing Olympics
 Chinese softballers suffer first loss, favorite Japan unbeaten
 Simmone records two homers as Australia edges China 3-1 at Beijing Games softball
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 Results of softball at Beijing Olympics
1 China 35 13 13 61
2 USA 19 21 25 65
3 Australia 11 10 12 33
4 Great Britain 11 7 8 26
5 Germany 9 6 7 22
6 South Korea 8 9 5 22

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