21/07/2021 - 27/07/2021

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Softball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Olympic medal games a ‘fantastic day’ for softball - Jessica Mendoza

Olympic medal games a ‘fantastic day’ for softball - Jessica Mendoza
29/07/2021
“Even though the US has the record against Japan as far as overall wins, in the games that matter, Japan seems to find a way,” she said.

Jessica Mendoza has a name of her own in softball history. A two-time Olympic medallist, she was one of the best hitters in the world for many years. Now working as a baseball / softball commentator for US TV, she witnessed live the historic softball medal games on Tuesday.

“A fantastic day. I think the best softball game I’ve seen in Olympic history was Canada-Mexico that was such a good showcase of the game: Pitching, hitting, defence, the emotions, you saw Canada win their first medal, Mexico on their debut making it that far, it was pretty magical,” she told WBSC at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

Asked about the final, Mendoza cannot avoid mentioning the Beijing 2008 Gold Medal Game, where she went 0-for-2 against Yukiko Ueno. “The host country in Japan outplayed the United States. We saw it in 2008, they played their best softball in the gold medal games and that is what you dream about, that is what you prepare for,” she said. “Even though the US has the record against Japan as far as overall wins, in the games that matter, Japan seems to find a way.”

Talking about the game itself, the former outfielder described a single play that summed up the game. “I think Japan had the softball gods on their side. Chidester hit a ball so hard off the forearm of the third baseman which ricocheted to the shortstop and it was caught. At that moment, I realised Japan was meant to win when you’re hitting balls solid like that and defence plays that were made it was definitely Japan’s night.”

She had some words for the US team, that finished with the silver medal at Tokyo 2020. “I’m so proud. This team had a lot of pressure, 13 years since it’s been in the Olympic Games so there’s the added pressure of losing the last gold medal game know it was going to come down to this. We had text exchanges with the 2004 gold medal team as well as with the 2008 team that lost and every single one of them, even now after the loss, we are proud of them.”

She also spoke about the Japanese team. “Looking at this team, there’s something special being in your home country seeing everything that’s happened with COVID what Japan has done as a country to put these Games on is nothing short of a miracle and to know Japan was the first team to win a gold medal in a women’s team sport in 2008 shows how much a celebrity these women are and so much more now because of the eyeballs on them and the role models they are for young girls who could be interested in playing the sport of softball.”