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Friday, January 9
Updated: January 11, 11:02 AM ET
 
Two-time Olympian Fernandez to lead squad

ESPN.com news services

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Two-time NCAA player of the year Jennie Finch was selected for the U.S. Olympic softball team on Friday.

In her first visit to the Olympics, Finch will join a pitching staff led by Lisa Fernandez, one of four two-time Olympians picked for a U.S. team that will try to win its third straight gold medal.

Also selected Friday were pitcher Lori Harrigan, outfielder Laura Berg, and first baseman Leah O'Brien-Amico, who join Fernandez in returning for a third Olympics this summer, this time in Athens.

Two other players won it all in the 2000 Games and will try for a second gold: slugger Crystl Bustos and catcher Stacey Nuveman, who hit the game-winning home run against China at the Sydney Games and drove in the tying run in the gold medal game against Japan.

Other newcomers include 2000 alternates Amanda Freed, a pitcher/outfielder and outfielder Kelly Kretschman. Also on the team: second baseman Lovieanne Jung, outfielder Jessica Mendoza, utility player Tairia Flowers, pitcher Cat Osterman, catcher Jenny Topping and shortstop Natasha Watley.

Arizona's Mike Candrea is the team's head coach. Shortstop Jaime Clark, outfielder Nicole Giordano and shortstop/catcher Lauren Lappin are the alternates.

The roster must be approved by the USOC.

The United States has been the No. 1 team in the world for 17 years, winning the past five world championships, the past five Pan Am Games and the only two Olympic gold medals. The Americans are 15-4 overall in Olympic play.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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