OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The USA Softball Women’s National Team begins final preparations for the International Softball Federation (ISF) XXI Women’s World Championships next week in Ohio announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America. The athletes will participate in three days of training before playing four exhibition games against the 2010 USA Softball Women’s Futures National Team, two on June 16 in Canton and two June 17 in Ashland. 

“We as the Ohio ASA are so pleased to be able to host both the USA Softball Women’s National Team as well as the USA Softball Futures Team for both training and exhibition games. The Ohio ASA takes great pride in hosting many ASA events throughout the year and these exhibition games will be the highlight of our season. We urge everyone in the area to come out and witness some of the best softball players in the world.” 

Tickets for the exhibition games are now on sale through www.ohioasasoftball.org for $15 (tickets are $25 at the gate). The doubleheaders start a 7 p.m. each night. In Canton, the teams will play at the Thurman Munson Stadium while Brookside Park hosts the action in Ashland. Members of both teams will sign autographs following the games. 

The exhibitions are the only opportunity to see the two National Teams in the United States with the exception of the 2010 KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags, July 22-26, in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

Team USA departs for the Worlds, June 23-July 2 in Caracas, Venezuela, on June 21. While the Women’s National Team is primarily focused on preparations for its defense of the World title, the Futures National Team will also train in Ohio for upcoming summer tournaments including the World Cup, where they will compete against the National Teams of Canada, Japan and the USA. 

“I'm looking forward to getting together with the National Team for some solid training days before we head to World Championships,” said pitcher Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.). “It is our biggest tournament of the quadrennium, now that the Olympics is out. We are fortunate to have the futures team help prepare us for this event in Venezuela. It will be a unique event for the people in Ohio and surrounding areas to see some great softball. ” 

Athletes competing in Ohio before Worlds include Olympic Champions Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.), Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) and Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.). Other athletes on the Women’s National Team include 2008 Olympic Silver Medalists Abbott, Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.), Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.), Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) and Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.). 

Several members of the Futures team are fresh off a final four appearance in the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., heading into the Ohio exhibitions including: Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler (Tucson, Ariz.), Brittany Lastrapes (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) and Lauren Schutzler (Monterey, Calif.); Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.); and 2010 WCWS MVP Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) of UCLA. 

For a complete roster of the 2010 USA Softball teams, visit www.usasoftball.com. 

Media interested in attending practices are asked to contact Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America/USA Softball Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Holly Krivokapich at hollyk@softball.org as soon as possible. For information on media credentialing for the exhibition games, contact Warren Jones, Commissioner of the ASA, at (419) 651-3335 or wjonesjr3@verizon.net. 

About ASA 
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/. 

About USA Softball 
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/. 

- Courtesy USA Softball

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