U.S. begins pursuit of softball gold with win over Italy on first day of play at Tokyo Olympics
FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Cat Osterman seemed ahead, not backward, at the start of the US quest for the Olympic softball gold medal, 13 years after dropping the championship sport.
Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander and one of two remaining gamers from 2008, tossed a one-hit ball over six innings and hit 9 to beat Italy 2-0 on Wednesday in scorching warmth and withering moisture because the Olympic Games started.
“Today was about immediately,” she mentioned. “When I exploit ’08 as motivation, I’m egocentric. It’s not about me. It’s not a couple of silver medal that occurred. It’s about this crew and that these athletes who’re youthful than me are alive can “make an Olympic dream come true and hopefully make it to the highest step on the rostrum. So immediately it was all about how we beat Italy and the way I’ll assist this crew at the beginning. “
Michelle Moultrie prevailed in a run within the fourth inning for the best-placed USA, who misplaced the title 3-1 to Japan at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed added a prey fly within the fifth.
“There’s loads, should you’re simply making an attempt to get right into a groove, I’ve at all times performed that. It’s the identical sport I’ve at all times performed,” mentioned Moultrie, a 31-year-old outfielder who joined the nationwide crew 2011.
Michelle Moultrie (left) and Cat Osterman helped the US to a 2-0 win over Italy on Wednesday as Americans started their quest for the Olympic softball gold medal. Yuichi Masuda / Getty Images
Osterman did not go, met two batter, and handed their solely hit to Andrea Filler for a single that carried out the fourth. As the final remaining participant from the 2004 gold medalists, pitching 2½ months earlier than her supposed retirement, Osterman improved to 6-1 within the Olympic sport with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.
“The physique does not get well that rapidly,” she mentioned. “Coachie likes to remind me that typically I’m not that versatile, so I’ve to regulate my pitches a bit. But I feel the largest factor is my mentality and my competitiveness has stayed the identical.”
Monica Abbott, a 35-year-old left-hander who was relieved within the 2008 gold medal sport, hit the crew in seventh place for the parade. She might begin the sport in opposition to Canada on Thursday morning, which is a component of an entire fanless Olympics.
“It’s variety of unhappy that there will be no viewers, particularly overseas viewers,” mentioned Abbott. “This is an occasion that does not occur on a regular basis, so it is disappointing to not have individuals within the stands – but additionally to not have Japanese followers when Japan is such a softball-loving nation.”
The gamers sweated kilos off on the unreal turf.
“We educated in Midland, Texas, the place the grass was 150 levels,” mentioned US coach Ken Eriksen. “So we’re ready for Fukushima at 145 levels.”
Greta Cecchetti, a former pitcher for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, allowed two runs and 4 hits in four-plus-innings for Italy whereas reversing the loss.
Valerie Arioto led the fourth place with an infield hit within the center and beat the throw of the second base participant Filler. Ali Aguilar sacrificed and Moultrie landed a single passer behind Filler and into proper subject, inflicting Arioto to slip over the plate.
Alexia Lacatena, an 18-year-old from Stanhope, New Jersey who will likely be serving the University of Kentucky subsequent spring, was relieved for Italy and let Reed fly a sufferer.
Italy’s final 9 golf equipment had been eradicated in sequence.
“In 08 we did not have a nasty event,” mentioned Osterman. “We simply had a sport that wasn’t going our approach.”