Japan, US off to 2-0 start as action wraps in Fukushima

Published July 24, 2021
JANET Leung of Canada reaches for the ball during the women’s softball opening-round match against the US at the Azuma Baseball Stadium.—Reuters
JANET Leung of Canada reaches for the ball during the women’s softball opening-round match against the US at the Azuma Baseball Stadium.—Reuters

FUKUSHIMA: Hosts Japan earned an extra-innings victory against Mexico on their ace’s 39th birthday and the second day of softball at the Tokyo Games, joining United States at 2-0 in the standings.

Australia later on Thursday defeated Italy, who dropped to 0-2 and have yet to score a run in the tournament.

Mexico, also 0-2, twice tied Japan, including in the seventh inning when a dropped ball by Japan’s center fielder let in a run and kept their ace Yukiko Ueno from a complete game and second-straight winning start.

Japan reliever Miu Goto escaped loaded bases in the top of the eighth, leaving her team mate Mana Atsumi to drive in Eri Yamada, who started at second base under extra-innings rules, for a 3-2 walkoff win.

Earlier on Wednesday, US pitcher Monica Abbott dominated Canada from the start.

For seven innings, Canadian batters chased pitches off the plate and failed to make contact on 116 km per hour tosses from one of the game’s fastest throwers and a five-time Japanese league most valuable player.

After recording the 1-0 victory’s final out, the 1.91-metre (6-foot, 3-inch) left-hander wrapped her arms around catcher Aubree Munro.

US center fielder Haylie McCleney scored the lone run after her bloop single, and she threw out pinch runner Joey Lye from right center to prevent a score.

Australia and Canada stand at 1-1. The top four after five round-robin games each advance to medal games.

The action moves south to Yokohama Stadium on Saturday after a break for the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021


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