The US softball team again needs a few runs as it wins #2.


TOKYO — Behind Monica Abbott’s strong left arm, the top-ranked United States softball team defeated third-placed Canada 1-0 at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on Thursday.

Abbott stopped the entire game, allowing only one stroke, three walks and nine strokes. The day before, fellow American ace Cat Osterman scored six goalless hits and hit nine while capitulating to Italy in just one shot. Abbott took the final hit to secure a 2-0 win.

So, 38-year-old Osterman and 35-year-old Abbott, who played in the last Olympic softball tournament in 2008, teamed up to allow just two innings, forgo three walks, and hit 21 in two games.

Pumping fast balls at 70 miles per hour, Abbott distracted Canada’s offense from the entire game on Thursday. And when he coughed on the sixth inning, his teammates came to the rescue.

With a runner in first base, Canada’s starting pitcher Sara Groenewegen threw a double into the right midfield gap. But midfielder Haylie McCleney chased the ball and fired at second baseman Ali Aguilar, who passed it to catcher Aubree Munro in time to catch a slipping Joey Lye at home.

Defensive play retained Abbott’s jewel, and the team’s head coach, Ken Eriksen, stayed with him for the final strike.

On offense, the USA threatened base runners throughout the game, but struggled again to transform their chances. His only run came in the fifth half, with McCleney reaching a one-shot and a sacrifice made by Janie Reed for second place.

Facing Jenna Caira, Amanda Chidester slapped McCleney right into the field for a goal-scoring single. Standing on base one, Chidester raised her arms and shouted at her teammates.

No baseball game is scheduled for Friday as the tournament shifts to Yokohama Baseball Stadium, which is closer to Tokyo. The USA will face Mexico on Saturday. After each team has played five games, the top two teams in the six-team field advance to the gold medal match.


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