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Softball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Japan repeats as Olympic softball champions behind Yukiko Ueno masterpiece

Japan repeats as Olympic softball champions behind Yukiko Ueno masterpiece
27/07/2021
Japan defeated USA, 2-0, in the Tokyo 2020 Gold Medal Game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium, accomplishing back-to-back golds.

Japan shut out USA, 2-0, in the gold medal game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic softball tournament Tuesday night at Yokohama Stadium.

Veteran right hander Yukiko Ueno added another historic moment to her legendary career with a six-inning, two-hit masterpiece to clinch back-to-back Olympic gold medals for Japan.

"This is the pressure that I am carrying," Ueno said. "There was pressure because this Olympics was held in my hometown, but I was determined to throw until I couldn't throw anymore."

Cat Osterman and Ueno faced off again as USA and Japan starting pitchers in an Olympic Gold Medal Game, 13 years after they met at the Beijing 2008 final game. And the Japanese right hander came out with the win again.

In the first inning, the US got a runner on third, thanks to a one-out triple off the bat of Janie Reed, but she was thrown out at the plate after a passed ball.

USA flashed the leather to keep the game scoreless early. In the second inning, Yuka Ichiguchi got a piece of an Osterman pitch and sent it deep to right field, but Michelle Moultrie made a difficult catch at the wall for the third out of the inning. 

USA's Ally Carda came into pitch in the third and one inning later she gave up the first run of the game. With two outs and Yamato Fujita on third base, Mana Atsumi hit a chopper to second base and beat the throw at first to bring in the game's first run.

One inning later, Carda retired the first two batters she faced, but Yu Yamamoto singled to center field, and Eriksen lifted her from the circle, replacing her with Monica Abbott. But Fujita connected a two-out RBI single to right field to make the score 2-0.

After an erratic first inning, with two wild pitches and a triple allowed, Ueno pitched 4.2 hitless innings with only one walk and five strikeouts. In the bottom of the sixth, USA's Moultrie hit a leadoff single, and Head Coach Reika replaced Ueno with 20-year old Miu Goto, who allowed one hit and struck one in one inning of work. 

In the top of the seventh, USA's Janie Reed robbed a 2-run homer off the bat of Fujita.

Ueno went back to the pitching rubber to complete the game in the seventh, and retired the three consecutive hitters, the last one a pop up fly in foul territory to clinch the gold medal.

With this win, Japan claimed its fourth consecutive Olympic softball medal, with the last two golds in a row. USA collected its fifth medal, after winning the first three golds, and the last two silvers.