June 28, 2004
The best softball players in the world will make an appearance in South Bend, Ind., on Friday, July 2, when Team USA takes on a group of local college all-stars in an exhibition doubleheader at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Belleville Softball Complex. All tickets to the doubleheader have been sold out. The Notre Dame softball team will be represented by seven players on the college all-star team, which will take on Team USA, one of the top teams in the U.S. Olympic system (40-0 on its pre-Olympic tour as of June 20).
RHP Heather Booth, INF Stephanie Brown, OF Megan Ciolli, C Gessica Hufnagle, IF Sara Schoonaert, RHP Steffany Stenglein and RHP Carrie Wisen have been selected to combine with several other local college players to take on Team USA. It will be the second time in 2004 that the Irish players have faced the U.S. Olympic Team, as Team USA dealt Notre Dame a 10-0, six-inning loss at the Palm Springs Classic on Feb. 21.
Lost in the final score was a fine pitching performance by Steffany Stenglein, who held the best softball team in the world to one run and four hits over the first four innings. Notre Dame’s two hits in the game were provided by the Irish star of the game – Sara Schoonaert. The Houston, Texas, native also stole a base and was perfect on six defensive chances.
The USA Softball Women’s National Team is currently ranked number one in the world and holds the top seed for the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Team USA has held that number one distinction for the last 18 years. Team USA also boasts a 154-game win streak in pre-Olympic tour competitions dating back to May 3, 1996.
For those who have not secured tickets to the two games on Friday, www.usasoftball.com will offer live statistics of the contest. A brief recap of the Notre Dame players effort will be available on www.und.com.