A pair of runs in the fourth and fifth inning were the difference as the underdog Japan softball team knocked off the United States 2-0 on Tuesday from Yokohama Baseball Stadium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Team USA only scored nine runs in the six-game tournament, and their offensive struggles ended up being the difference. They only had three hits in the title game, and hit just one home run. In an Olympics where their dominant pitching was expected to be enough, it was the lack of bats that proved to be the difference.
Cat Osterman started the game in the circle for the United States, but was pulled in the top of the third after a leadoff walk for Ally Carda. Carda conceded once in the fourth inning and gave up a two-out single in the fifth, with Monica Abbott allowing the runner to score.
The Americans had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth, but a rocket off the bat of Amanda Chidester deflected off the third baseman to the shortstop, who doubled off Michelle Moultrie at second base.
The loss is doubly devastating for the United States, who have lost the last two Olympic gold medal games to Japan in the final. Softball will not be a part of the Olympic program in Paris in 2024, but is likely to return for the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
The USA was a -195 favorite to win the gold medal final at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Japan the +150 underdog.