Cochran moving from ASU outfield to softball world stage

Katie Cochran, considered by many to be the best hitter in college softball during her career at Arizona State, is one of three Arizona players on the USA team that nailed down the title of “best softball team in the world.”

The former ASU slugger joins pitcher Jennie Finch and outfielder Caitlin Lowe from the University of Arizona on the star-studded roster for the 2010 USA Softball National Team that just captured the Women’s Softball World Championship in Caracas, Venezuela.

Cochran, just months out of ASU, got things rolling for the U.S. team in the semi-finals against Japan with a two-run single that sparked a four-run first inning and resulted in a 4-0 win to move them on to the finals, where they took on the Japanese team again and won it all, 7-0.

Finch made her biggest contribution at the plate.  In the Championship game, it was her single to left field that scored two runs in the fourth inning to get the scoring started with two runs.  Cochran, who was the first U.S. runner to reach base in the second inning, chipped in a single just prior to Finch’s trip to the plate in the fourth and Team USA took a 5-0 lead that inning.

The National Team moves on now to the KFC World Cup of Softball July 22-26 in Oklahoma City, where they will take Japan and Candada, the other top finishers from the Worlds.

The local trio is part of an incredibly talented squad that totally dominated the Championships, going undefeated and outscoring their opponents, 95-6.

Cochran was a four-time All-Pac 10 First Team selection and three-time conference Player of the Year while at ASU.  She made her first Women’s National Team last summer.

Finch is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Cup Champion.  She finished her college career as a three-time All-American with 119 victories; her number has since been retired.  Lowe was a Gold Medalist at the Pan American Games in 2007, in addition to her Olympic silver medal from 2008.

Cochran was too new to the international stage to fully appreciate the last two wins at the World Championships.  But Finch, who graduated UofA in 2002, and 2007 graduate Lowe remembered another game they played against a team from Japan.

In the 2008 Olympics, the USA had to settle for a silver medal because the team from Japan beat them in a 3-1 heartbreaker.

Perhaps the back-to-back wins over the weekend helped heal over that open wound.