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Olympic softball sells out

June 30, 2008 | 11:50 am

Team USA second baseman Lovieanne Jung tags out Mid-American Conference all-star team's Courtney Waters in an exhibition game last week in Ohio.

More than 300,000 tickets have been distributed for the nine-day softball tournament in Beijing, making the event a sellout.

And that's a fact International Softball Federation Preisdent Don Porter is heralding in his campaign to get the sport returned to the Olympic calendar for 2016. The International Olympic Committee voted three years ago to remove baseball and softball from the Games for 2012 but will hold another vote for the 2016 Games in October 2009.

"This is wonderful but not unexpected news that confirms that softball is an immensely popular Olympic sport," Porter said in a release issued by the ISF. "It means that tens of thousands of people in China and from all around the world have chosen softball as their Olympic sport of choice."

The U.S., which has dominated Olympic softball, winning all three gold medals, is favored to successfully defend its title in Beijing. Others in the field for the competition, which begins Aug. 12, include Australia, Canada, China, Taiwan, Japan, the Netherlands and Venezuela.

"This go-around I think you're going to see better pitching overall, better hitting overall and I think the game has gotten better," U.S. Coach Mike Candrea said of the competition. "It's unfortunate that we're fighting to get back on the program when I really believe the game has actually kind of turned a corner."

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Team USA second baseman Lovieanne Jung of Fountain Valley tags out Mid-American Conference all-star team's Courtney Waters in an exhibition last week in Ohio. Credit: Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press-Ashland Times