KSL OLYMPICS

Japan Beats US 2-0, Turns Incredible DP To Win Softball Gold

Jul 27, 2021, 7:39 AM
Team Japan celebrates after defeating Team United States 2-0 in the Softball Gold Medal Game...
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Team Japan celebrates after defeating Team United States 2-0 in the Softball Gold Medal Game between Team Japan and Team United States on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan won its second straight Olympic softball gold medal, beating the United States 2-0 Tuesday in an emotional repeat of their 2008 victory in Beijing that again left the Americans in tears.

Yukiko Ueno took a one-hitter into the sixth inning five days after her 39th birthday, and Japan snuffed out an American rally attempt with an acrobatic double play in the sixth inning that will long be replayed.

Japan led 2-0 when Michelle Moultrie singled leading off the sixth off hard-throwing 20-year-old left-hander Miu Goto.

Goto dealt Hayley McCleney her first strikeout of the Olympics with a 69 mph pitch at the hands, allowed a single to Janie Reed.

With two on and one out, Amanda Chichester lined a rocket off the left wrist of third baseman Yu Yamatmoto. The ball ricocheted to perfectly positioned shortstop Mana Atsumi, who stuck out her glove for a backhand spear, then made a jump throw to second baseman Yuka Ichiguchi to double up Moultrie.

Reed then made a leaping catch at the left-field wall to rob Yamato Fujita of a two-run homer in the bottom half.

Ueno (2-0) re-entered the side in the seventh and retired the Americans in order, getting Delaney Spaulding on a foul out to the catcher that set off a celebration.

No. 9 batter Mana Atsumi had a run-scoring infield hit in the fourth inning and Fujita lined an RBI single off Monica Abbott in the fifth in building a 2-0 lead.

Ueno improved to 9-1 in her Olympic career, allowing two hits, striking out five and walking two. Reed tripled off the glove of Eri Yamada and the center-field wall with one out in the first. That was the closest the U.S. came to scoring.

Abbott, relieving a day before her 36th birthday, and 38-year-old U.S. starter Cat Osterman were the last holdovers from the U.S. team that lost to Japan 3-1 in a stinging upset 4,723 days earlier and 1,300 miles distant. Osterman gave up the first two runs of that game and Abbott the last.

While the Americans wore blue shirts and tights in a contrast to the red shirts and shorts of 2008, the result was the same: Japan won its second softball gold rather than the U.S. adding to its victories of 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Before 34,046 mostly empty seats Yokohama Stadium, second-ranked Japan pushed across the first earned runs off the top-ranked Americans in the six-game tournament. The U.S. offense sputtered as it did throughout the Olympics, totaling just nine runs.

Ueno allowed two hits, struck out five and walked two in six innings while combining with Goto on a three-hitter.

Osterman, who came out of retirement with the goal of adding a gold medal to the one she earned in 2004, allowed two hits in two scoreless innings. With six straight right-handed hitters due up in the third, U.S. coach Ken Eriksen replaced the left-hander with 28-year-old right-hander Ally Carda (0-1).

Fujita lined a single off the diving attempt of second baseman Ali Aguilar leading off the fourth, was sacrificed to second and took third on a comebacker.

Yuka Ichiguchi walked, and Eriksen went to the mound with Atsumi, the left-handed-hitting No. 9 batter, coming up. Carda stayed in, and and Atsumi hit a slow two-hopper to second and slid in ahead of Aguilar’s throw as Fujita scored.

Yu Yamamoto singled with two outs in the fifth, and Abbott came in and threw a wild pitch, then allowed Fujita to line a single into right for a 2-0 lead.

KSL Olympics

A 2002 Winter Olympic sign sits outside Rice Eccles Stadium before the start of an college football...
EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer

Winter Olympics Focus On Climate Change, Rotating Hosts

To hear the world's Olympic leaders tell it, the bidding for future Winter Games has been jumbled by internal disputes.
2 months ago
Salt-Lake-City-2002-Winter-Olympics-Logo...
Eddie Pells, AP

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Bid More Likely For 2034

Recent meetings with the IOC have led U.S. officials to believe all signs point toward Salt Lake City bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Nordic-Combined-2022-Winter-Olympics...
Larry Lage, AP

Winter Olympics May Not Include Nordic Combined For 1st Time

The IOC is due to make a decision later this month about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games.
8 months ago
Salt-Lake-City-2002-Winter-Olympics-Logo...
Stephen Wade, AP

Chinese Olympian Eileen Gu Working For Salt Lake Games Bid

Eileen Gu, who won two gold medals for China at the Beijing Olympics, has signed on to work for Salt Lake City's bid for the Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold - Norway...
Associated Press

Russian Olympic Body Challenges Ban From Winter Sports Event

The Russian Olympic Committee has made an urgent appeal to overturn a ban on its athletes competing at a European winter sports festival in Finland.
11 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

2008, 2022 Olympic Games In Beijing See Many Differences

KSL's Alex Cabrero was one of the few NBC affiliate reporters who traveled to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was also there for KSL, reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, and says the lasting legacy of 2022 will be very different.
12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Japan Beats US 2-0, Turns Incredible DP To Win Softball Gold