USA teams dominate at Pan Ams

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) American teams showed power and perfection Thursday at the Pan American Games.

Neither softball team allowed a baserunner, women's volleyball and handball squads advanced to later rounds, and a U.S. record was set in the javelin.

Kim Kreiner, who was not in a medal position before her last throw, unleashed a mighty toss to break her American record. Her throw of 199 feet, 8 inches exceeded her previous mark by 7 inches and gave her the gold medal.

''I knew I could throw this far,'' she said. ''As soon as I let it go, I knew it was a good throw.''

Kreiner was beaming as she shouted across the track to her coach in the stands on a cool night by Caribbean standards at Olympic Stadium. While the generally hot and humid conditions have affected some athletes, she remains unfazed.

''This is basically how it is in Louisiana,'' Kreiner, who trains in Baton Rouge, said with a smile.

Kreiner is the first American woman to win gold in Pan Ams javelin since 1975.

The world champion women's softball team routed the Bahamas 10-0 as Lori Harrigan threw an abbreviated perfect game. She retired all 15 batters before the international mercy rule ended the game after five innings.

Then men's pitcher Doug Gillis beat Mexico 4-0 with a perfecto highlighted by Mike Dryer's three-run homer.

The women's volleyball team beat Peru to advance to the quarterfinals, and the handball squad qualified for the semifinals by downing Uruguay.

In the medals race, the United States upped its total to 76: 32 golds, 20 silvers, 24 bronzes. Cuba is next at 52, 26-13-13.

Back at Olympic Stadium, young sprinting sensation Allyson Felix, still a few months shy of her 18th birthday, cruised through her 200-meter semifinal heat in 22.9 seconds, setting the stage for Friday's run at the gold.

''It was decent,'' Felix said of her run, in which she was not really challenged. ''I just wanted to qualify.''

In the hammer throw, James Parker of Great Falls, Mont., won a silver medal, and John McEwen of North Canton, Ohio, got the bronze behind Argentina's Juan Ignacio Cerra.

Mary Jayne Harrelson of Blacksburg, Va., won the silver in the women's 1,500. As clouds formed and lightning flashed in the distance, Anthony Famiglietti of Port Jefferson, N.Y., won the bronze in the 3,000 steeplechase. The rain arrived during the first few laps of the men's 10,000,in which Dan Browne of Portland, Ore., finished third.

In women's handball, the United States earned a semifinal spot on Saturday by beating Uruguay 24-21. Next up is Argentina, which beat the Americans 25-19 in the preliminary round.

''Our defense was better today than it has been all tournament,'' goalie Anca Hesser of Palmer Lake, Colo., said, ''but the difference was that we really wanted to win. There were no second-guesses today about our talent.''

Scoring five goals apiece were Brittane Martin (Marietta, Ga.), Dawn Lewis (Park City, Utah), Lisa Eagen (Oskaloosa, Iowa) and Edina Batar (Budapest, Hungary).

By beating Peru 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, the women's volleyballers set up a quarterfinals match with either Mexico or Venezuela on Monday. Nicole Branagh scored 19 points and 16-year-old high school phenom Cynthia Barboza added 11 in her first national team start.

''I thought this was the best match we played as a team,'' said Barboza, of Long Beach, Calif. ''All of the other matches, one or two players have scored most of the points. Today was real even; everything was flowing and we were talking more.''

Opposing batters were flowing back to the dugouts in rapid succession against the U.S. softball teams.

In the men's opener, Gillis was untouchable, striking out 14. But the Americans did not score until the bottom of the sixth, when they got all four runs, three on Dryer's shot.

''You never know when your chance is going to come and it was my turn today,'' Dryer said. ''I'm sure somebody else will be able to do it tomorrow,''

Somebody likely will do it tomorrow and the day after and beyond that for the U.S. women. They've won five straight world championships, the only two Olympic titles and haven't lost a Pan Ams game since 1983.

Harrigan, of Las Vegas, fanned 10 of 15 batters and only one ball left the infield.

''Lori really came out and had a great game for us,'' said coach Mike Candrea (Casa Grande, Ariz.) ''The kids had a great start today offensively and this is a game of confidence.''

The U.S. equestrian team won the dressage competition, while the fencers won men's saber.

Thomas Tames of Columbus, Ga., edged Cuba's Reinier Estopinan in 50-meter rifle, with Kenneth Johnson (Crawfordville, Fla.) earning bronze. Brandie Neal (Spencer, Ind.) was the women's skeet champion, and John McNally (Heath, Texas) won bronze in 25-meter men's pistol.

Alexandre Despatie of Canada won his second gold medal, using his final dive to edge Mexico's Fernando Platas in 3-meter springboard. Troy Dumais of Ventura, Calif., won bronze.

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