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New Stars push U.S. over Japan in Softball World Cup

The United States' new era of softball stars now have a title of their own – World Cup champions. In a replay of the soccer World Cup final a few weeks ago, the U.S. took on Japan yesterday in Oklahoma City, but this time…the result was gold.

Taylor Hoagland hit a two-run home run, Valerie Arioto and Megan Langenfeld had RBI singles and the U.S. beat rival Japan 6-4 Monday night to win its fifth straight World Cup of Softball championship.

Used to reading about Finch, Mendoza and Bustos? Many of the familiar faces were missing in this World Cup, with no Olympic veterans on the U.S. roster as the sport won't be played on that stage until at least 2020 — if then. They say: get used to these new names.

"It feels amazing, just because nobody really knew who this group of girls was," said Hoagland, who just finished her college career at Michigan.

"We were just kind of underground a little bit. It definitely felt good to come out and still show that USA softball is staying strong."

The Americans won the first three Olympic gold medals and have won the past seven world championships, but Japan holds the gold medal from the 2008 Olympics. The teams have met in the finals in five of the six World Cups, with the U.S. winning four times.

Japan was without injured ace pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who had been a nemesis for the U.S. with wins including the 2008 gold medal game, the 2005 World Cup title game and a shutout in Canada earlier this month.

Team USA returns to action October 17-23 at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The squad is looking for a seventh consecutive Pan American Games Gold Medal and 10th overall.