Osterman takes 9, US dominates Italy 2-0 in softball opener

Cat Osterman dominated as the United States began their quest to regain Olympic softball gold

FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Cat Osterman looked forward, not back, in the start of America’s quest to regain the Olympic softball gold, 13 years after losing the championship game.

“Today was today,” she said. “If I use ’08 as a motivation, then I’m selfish. It’s not about me. This is not a silver medal that happened. It’s about this team and allowing these athletes younger than me to live an Olympic dream and hopefully reach the top step of the podium. So today it was totally about how are we going to beat Italy and how am I going to help this team get started. “

“There’s a lot that happens just trying to get into the rhythm of: I’ve always done that. It’s the same game I’ve always played, ”said Moultrie, a 31-year-old outfielder who joined the national team in 2011.

Osterman walked none, hit two batters and gave his only hit to Andrea Filler, a single leading in the fourth. The last remaining player of the 2004 gold medalists and throwing two and a half months before her scheduled retirement, Osterman improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

“The body does not recover as quickly,” she said. “Coachie likes to remind me sometimes that I’m not that flexible so I have to adjust my steps a bit. But I think the most important thing is my mentality and my competitiveness has stayed the same.”

Monica Abbott, a 35-year-old southpaw who relieved in the 2008 gold medal game, struck out the side in the seventh for the save. She could start Thursday morning’s game against Canada, which is part of a series of Olympics played without supporters.

“It’s kind of sad that there can’t be spectators, especially foreign spectators,” Abbott said. “It’s an event that doesn’t happen all the time, so it’s disappointing not to have people in the stands – but also not to have Japanese fans when Japan is such a softball-loving country. . “

The players sweated pounds on the artificial turf.

“We trained in Midland, Texas where the turf was 150 degrees,” said US coach Ken Eriksen. “So we are ready for Fukushima at 145 degrees.”

Loser Greta Cecchetti, a Texas A&M Corpus Christi pitcher, allowed two runs and four hits in four or more innings.

Valerie Arioto led the fourth with an inside shot to the middle, beating second baseman Andrea Filler’s throw. Ali Aguilar sacrificed and Moultrie hit a single on the artificial turf and passed the infill and into right field, sending Arioto slipping through the plate.

Alexia Lacatena, an 18-year-old from Stanhope, New Jersey, who will pitch for the University of Kentucky next spring, relieved and allowed a sacrifice to Reed, whose husband made his league debut on July 6 and has played six matches previously. he was optioned Tuesday at Triple-A in Oklahoma City.

The last nine Italian hitters were called out in order.

“2008 we didn’t have a bad tournament,” said Osterman. We just had a game that didn’t go our way.

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More AP: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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