Softball Staff to Guide Midwest All-Stars Versus Team USA
Missouri State softball head coach Holly Hesse and her staff will pilot a team of 24 former collegiate standouts from the Midwest against the USA Softball Women’s National team as part of the KFC Bound 4 Beijing Tour, Friday, July 18, at Meador Park in Springfield, Mo. Seven former Bears, as well as players from Evangel, Arkansas, and five additional Missouri Valley Conference schools will square off against the three-time defending Olympic champions in a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Hesse, fifth all-time among Valley softball coaches with 529 career victories in 20 seasons as head coach of the Bears, will be joined by MSU assistant coaches Sue Frederick and Beth Perine in leading the ASA Midwest All Stars. The coaching staffs of Drake, Drury, Evangel, Evansville, Southern Illinois and Wichita State will also be on-hand to lend assistance.
The Midwest’s roster includes 14 players who earned All-MVC honors during their careers, including former Bears Michelle Armentrout, Shannon Buslepp, Samantha Fleeman, Katie Martin and Missy Porche. They will be joined by nine additional Valley players who earned all-conference honors in 2008, including first-team selections (in addition to Porche) Kristin Birocci (Drake), Ashley Bright (Wichita State), Jaci Faidley (Drake), Brittany Herald (Evansville), Cynthia Verhulst (Wichita State) and MVC Player of the Year, Lauren Haas (Southern Illinois).
Since beginning its 62-game pre-Olympic tour in February, Team USA has compiled a 51-1 record against a slate that has included some of the top NCAA Division I programs, regional all-star teams and international squads. Olympic record-holders Lisa Fernandez and Crystl Bustos, as well as superstars Monica Abbott, Jennie Finch, Jessica Mendoza, Stacey Nuveman and Cat Osterman lead the way for a squad that has hit .432 and scored 599 runs, while limiting its opponents to a .089 batting average and just 26 runs scored in 52 games.
Team USA will begin its quest for a fourth consecutive gold medal when it begins competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 12, at Fengtai Softball Field in Beijing, China.