Huff helps lead US juniors to gold medal game

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands – The U.S. Junior National Team (9-0) plated three runs on 10 hits, including two from rising Tennessee sophomore Tiffany Huff, to back a four-hit shutout from pitcher Ashley Brignac and defeat Japan (8-1), 3-0, on Friday at the Tex Town Complex.

With the triumph the Red, White & Blue advance to the gold medal game of the VIII ISF Junior Women's World Championship to face Japan, Australia or Venezuela on Saturday, June 30, at 8 a.m. ET.

Center fielder Alissa Haber delivered a 3-for-4 effort with a double to lead the U.S. offense while Huff (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) and shortstop Monica Harrison (2-for-4) each recorded a pair of hits. Left fielder Brittany Lastrapes (1-of-4) also joined Huff by knocking in one of Team USA's three scores. Brignac (4-0) registered 10 strikeouts against the vaunted Japanese offense while handing Team Japan its initial defeat at the Junior World Championships.

Huff has now raised her overall batting average to .455 (10-of-22) with two doubles, a triple, seven runs scored and six RBI.

The Americans took an early lead in the bottom of the second as an unearned run granted the U.S. a 1-0 advantage. Harrison delivered a base hit off Japanese pitcher Tomo Yasufuku (4-1) and right fielder Neena Bryant reached via error to place two on the bags with no one retired. An error on a fielder's choice off the bat of Huff by Japan's Marina Kira at second base allowed Harrison the opportunity to race across the dish with the contest's initial tally.

Bryant opened another scoring threat in the bottom of the fourth by singling to lead off the inning. Huff laced her two-bagger into left center to bring the runner home and make it 2-0. A groundout advanced Huff to third setting the stage for an RBI single from Lastrapes to center field to grant the Red, White & Blue a three-run cushion and complete the scoring.

For more information including live statistics, please visit the Junior Women's World Championship page through USA Softball at Updates on Huff and the U.S. squad will be posted at as they become available.

MONICA ABBOTT AND USA: Former Tennessee Lady Vol pitcher Monica Abbott and the rest of her U.S. National teammates are prepping to open play at the 14th-annual Canada Cup on Saturday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. ET against the Japan Elite. The event will stretch from June 30-July 8 at Softball City in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Australia enters this year's tournament as the two-time defending Canada Cup champions after downing Team Canada, 6-4, in 2006 to win the country's fourth overall crown. The Aussies began their streak by defeating the USA Elite and recent Tennessee graduate Lindsay Schutzler, 3-0, in the finals back in 2005. The last American squad to claim the championship was the USA Elite back in 2003 as the Red, White & Blue defeated Australia, 2-0, to win the cup.

Fourteen teams from around the world will be participating in the annual tourney, including: Australia, Chinese Taipei, the Japan Elite, Puerto Rico, the U.S. National Team, the Washington Absolute Blast, the White Rock Renegades, Canada, the Dominican Republic, the Georgia Wilson Select, the Gold Coast Hurricanes, Japan, the Japan-Denso Club and Venezuela.

Team USA will open preliminary round action in Pool A alongside Australia, Chinese Taipei, the Japan Elite, Puerto Rico, the Washington Absolute Blast and the White Rock Renegades.

Abbott picked up nearly all the major hardware possible for a collegiate softball student-athlete during her record-setting 2007 campaign. The USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and Honda Award for Softball winner as well as one of five finalists for the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup, the Salinas, Calif., native posted a nation-leading 50-5 record with a 0.68 ERA and a NCAA Division I single-season record 724 strikeouts.

The 6'3 lefthander wrapped up her stay in the Orange & White with NCAA career marks in victories (189), strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112), appearances (253) and innings pitched (1448.0). She is UT's initial four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) First-Team All-American and also reaped her third Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year trophy.

For more information on the U.S. National Team's participation at the Canada Cup check the USA Softball website at or through the official Canada Cup website at

Updates on Abbott and the U.S. squad will be posted at as they become available.

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