Johnson's Grand Slam Propels USA to Championship Game

Aug. 1, 2009

YOKOHAMA, Japan - Kentucky senior Molly Johnson earned her first starting nod of the 2009 Japan Cup for the United States softball team on Saturday, and made the most of it with a grand slam in her first at-bat to propel the Americans to the Championship game on Sunday. USA defeated Japan by a 6-1 margin, and Chinese Taipei by a score of 10-5.

Johnson, who pinched hit in Team USA's first two games, started at shortstop against Japan in the team's second game of the day.

In the top of the first inning Johnson and Team USA would strike for five runs to put the game away immediately.

Amber Patton singled to center with a single out to get the inning started. Alissa Haber followed with a single into centerfield and Jenae Lewis found a gap into left field to load the bases. USA's first run came in when Valerie Ariota was plucked by a pitch leaving the bases loaded for Johnson.

Kentucky's senior blasted a shot over the left field fence for Team USA's fourth home run of the tournament and first grand slam giving the American's a comfortable 5-0 advantage.

Johnson singled in her second at-bat in the top of the third, but was left stranded when Team USA suffered back-to-back outs. The Tucson, Ariz., native was also phenomenal in the field as she was perfect for the day with a pair of putouts and four assists.

In game one of Team USA's slate, Johnson found herself in a pinch-hitting situation again as the Americans rolled to a 10-5 victory over Chinese Taipei.

Johnson batted in the bottom of the fourth--an inning in which USA plated six runs. Johnson drilled a ball into right field and brought in a run with a sacrifice fly aiding the American cause.

This weekend, Johnson has plated six runs on just three hits in her five at-bats.

Team USA is set to face the host team Japan in the Championship game of the Japan Cup on Sunday. The game is set for 1:30 p.m. local time at the field.

Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the Kentucky softball team.