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Americans start fast

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff  August 12, 2008 02:10 AM

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BEIJING -- Behind an Olympic record offensive output and a combined no-hitter by Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) and Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.), the U.S. women's softball team opened the defense of its gold medal with an 11-0 win over Venezuela in five innings.

The 11 runs was an Olympic record for an individual team and was sparked by the long ball. Natasha Watley (Irving, Calif.) hit a two-run shot and Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) had an inside-the-park homer in the second and Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) had a solo homer in the third. Finch struck out five and walked two over four innings before giving way to Abbott, who struck out a pair in one inning of work.

Next up for the U.S. is Australia, with the game scheduled for noon Wednesday, Aug. 13.

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