Leles makes up for errors
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jenae Leles made up for costly back-to-back errors with a three-run homer and the U.S. beat the Netherlands 7-2 Thursday night in its first game on American soil since losing the gold-medal game of the Beijing Olympics.
Leles misplayed consecutive ground balls at third base to allow the Dutch to tie the score at 2 in the top of the third inning, but redeemed herself in the bottom of the inning.
She hit an 0-2 pitch from reliever Rebecca Soumeru to left-center field to give the Americans the lead for good and later added an RBI double.
Jennie Finch (1-0) struck out her first five batters in four scoreless innings of relief. She struck out 11 of the 13 batters overall and was 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Americans brought a new-look team to the World Cup of Softball after seven players retired following the Olympics. The sport won't be played in the 2012 London Games, but is among seven in consideration to be added in 2016. That decision won't come until October.
In the meantime, the U.S. is trying to build a new team of softball stars under the leadership of new coach Jay Miller -- who replaced Mike Candrea, the coach for the last eight years.
Finch is one of only three players left who have played in the last two Olympics, and she's surrounded by 10 rookies. That includes Leles, who also homered off Soumeru in the Americans' 7-0 win over the Netherlands on July 4 at the Canada Cup.
The Netherlands had not scored in five previous games against the U.S., but ended that streak with two unearned runs in the third off starter Stacey Nelson.
Natalie Gosewehr, who had a single for her country's only hit off U.S. pitcher Cat Osterman two weeks ago, started the rally with a single to center and advanced on a sacrifice before Leles misplayed back-to-back grounders to let the first run score. A passed ball by Chelsea Bramlett evened the score at 2.
Australia 5, Japan 2
Stacey Porter drove in all of Australia's runs in an upset against 2008 Olympic gold medalist Japan.
Porter had a three-run home run in the third inning and added a two-run single in the fourth against Naho Emoto (0-1).
Kasumi Karino had an RBI single for Japan, which also scored on a wild pitch by Justine Smethurst (1-0) in the top of the third.
Netherlands 6, Italy 2
Nathalie Timmermans and Virginie Anneveld each had a pair of RBI singles to lead the Netherlands in a meeting of World Cup newcomers.
Daniela Castellani hit a two-run homer for Italy's only runs against Kirsten Scheele (1-0).
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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