Team USA has outscored foes 38-0 in Games

Updated: August 19, 2004, 11:00 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Lisa Fernandez won an Olympic softball game that looked more like a California reunion.

Laura Berg (44) and Lisa Fernandez
Lisa Fernandez, right, applauded Laura Berg's run scored in the fourth inning.
Fernandez, one of 12 Californians on the U.S. team, pitched a one-hitter as the two-time defending gold medalists made it six shutouts in six games with a shortened 7-0 victory Thursday over a Greek team with a distinct American flavor.

With 11 Californians now adopted "Hellas,'' Greece (2-4) did all it could to hang with the U.S. (6-0). But as they've done against their first five opponents, the Americans wore down the Greeks, winning for the fourth time in the tournament in five innings because they were too far ahead.

Fernandez hit an RBI single in the third inning for the only run she would need. Leah O'Brien-Amico and Jessica Mendoza added two RBIs apiece as the Americans again demonstrated their superiority in every aspect of the game.

The 33-year-old Fernandez, a three-time Olympian, only allowed two runners to reach base. She didn't give up her first hit until the fifth when Greece infielder Ginny Georgantas, a former South Florida standout, lined a single to left.

Georgantas pumped her fist as she ran to first and her teammates -- 13 of the 15 American-born -- celebrated in the dugout as if they had just pulled off a huge upset. Many of those girls grew up idolizing Fernandez, considered the finest player in the world and the undisputed leader of the U.S. team.

"Lisa is USA softball,'' first-time Olympian Jennie Finch said a day earlier. "She's our inspiration.''

Another one of the teams in the tournament better find some inspiration -- quick. Only a Friday matchup against Taiwan remains in the way of the United States completing the preliminary round unbeaten.

How dominant are the Americans? They've now won 76 straight games, pitched five straight one-hitters, outscored the field 38-0 and allowed just two runners to get to third base.

It's a far cry from four years ago in Sydney when the U.S. team had its 112-game winning streak stopped by Japan, lost three straight preliminary-round games and made the medal round as the No. 4 team.

The Americans are a solid No. 1 so far.

For two innings, Greece held its own, keeping the game scoreless, a victory of sorts after the U.S. team's demolition of Italy, Australia and Canada.

With all the Californians on the field, it gave old friends a chance to catch up old times. In some cases, moms and dads of the U.S. team's players and those of the American-flavored Greeks sat side-by-side, waving their respective country's flags while watching their daughters play ball.

It was still 1-0 until the fourth when the United States scored three runs, two on O'Brien-Amico's two-run single. Greece did stop the Americans from adding another run in the fourth when catcher Stacey Farnworth held onto the ball following a collision at the plate by Mendoza, who barreled into her.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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