USA defeat Japan in gold medal game preview

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Allyson Carda pitching during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo.

“But it’s ups and downs for softball to be at the Olympics and you never know. So I think that adds an element of what you want to do, give yourself a little bit more just because you don’t know what your future may or may not have in store for you on the Olympic stage.

With little on the line on Monday, neither team started with their best pitchers. For the United States, that meant starting Ally Carda on legends Cat Osterman and Abbott, the only two Olympians back on the roster.

Osterman came in relief for Carda in the sixth inning after not pitching since Saturday just to face two left-handed hitters before Carda returned. Carda, who tied against Australia on Sunday as a batter in her first Olympic game, allowed four hits and struck out nine hits in 5.1 innings on her Olympic pitcher debut. Abbott then entered seventh.

Osterman and Abbott were dominant, combining to allow just one unearned run on six hits while striking out 44 on strikes. Japan’s Yukiko Ueno, meanwhile, allowed three runs on 11 hits while striking out 21 in 16.1 innings.

The races were at a premium on Monday.

Saki Yamazaki of Japan, the first hitter of the game, hit on a mistake by third baseman Stewart, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a passed ball before scoring on Hitomi Kawabata’s single to the left.

Meanwhile, pitcher Yamato Fujita kept the American bats quiet. The Americans, who have never been without a hitting in the Olympics, only got their first hit after the single to the left of main hitter Haylie McCleney with an out in the bottom of the sixth. Janie Reed followed with a high-end single, and Valerie Arioto delivered a two-out single to tie the game on the left.

Delaney Spaulding throws the ball during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo.

As Delaney Spaulding narrowly missed the first Grand Slam in Olympic history by soaring to the wall just to finish the sixth, Stewart offered the United States their second victory on foot of the tournament by starting the seventh when she broke a 0-1 pitch. the right field wall. It was only Stewart’s second hit in 13 batting appearances at the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan had outscored their opponents 17-3 in their first four games, including one-point wins over Mexico and Canada. Meanwhile, the United States had a 7-1 advantage in points scored with all four games decided by one or two points.

While there are a lot of similarities between the two teams, the biggest difference has been power. Japan have six home runs that produced 12 points, while the Americans hadn’t scored until Stewart’s winning explosion on Monday. Fujita has three of the circuits in Japan.

The American roster is a mix of veterans and newcomers. Three Americans actually took a break from college in the 2019-20 school year to focus on the Olympics, only to see COVID-19 change those plans. This mixture created a good atmosphere and pushes the team to more success.

“It’s never over with us, I think that’s what’s really exciting about us,” said USA receiver Aubree Munroe. “Many of us have been veterans for a long time. Everyone who comes into this team contributes something. We live on energy, we celebrate everything, we really enjoy being together. So we have fun. I think being away from the Olympics for so long has really fostered that priority of having good people who are really good at softball … and so we really love being together.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 for the medal table, results and competition schedule.


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