Japan defeated the United States 2-0 on Tuesday to win the softball gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and re-validate their title after 13 years with the same hero: pitcher Yukiko Ueno.
This is the host nation’s tenth gold medal in the event, with three silver and five bronze. He is at the top of the medal table.
The 39-year-old Ueno worked six innings, the first five and the last, and his opponents could only add up to two hits. He scored five runs in a brilliant performance.
Japan last won softball gold in Beijing-2008, the last time the sport was on the Olympic calendar, which then shattered the US gold hegemony in all previous editions with discipline on the agenda: Atlanta-1996, Sydney-2000 and Athens-2004. Then Uno won and now he repeats.
Earlier, Canada defeated Mexico 3-2 in the Tokyo-2020 bronze medal game.
Ueno, 39, and Kat Osterman, 38, relived the pulse of starting pitchers from the 2008 Beijing final.
Osterman was relieved by Eli Carda after Mana Atsumi opened the third ticketed chapter. He had struggled in the first two and a hit from Yuka Ichiguchi was about to hit a home run.
Carda dispatched that task without facing major difficulties, but allowed the first score of the game in the next.
Yamato Fujita struck centerfield and went to second on Sai Yamasaki’s sacrificial bunt. Ichiguchi got the ticket. Mana Atsumi boosts Fujita with an impromptu inside the box.
Meanwhile, Ueno left a complicated start, dominating with authority due to uncontrolled shipments.
Trying unsuccessfully to prevent the gap from widening, Monica supplied two outs to Carda and Yu Yamamoto to base in the fifth inning. Fujita issued a powerful line to the left grass field which Yamamoto scored.
A wonderful glove play from first player Yu Yamamoto, a little assist from luck, and shortstop Atsumi Mana made a very dangerous attack from United with a double play in the sixth act. Miu Goto throws.
And Ueno re-entered seventh place to complete the golden task.
Softball will leave the Olympic program in Paris-2024 and return to Los Angeles-2028.
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