TOKYO – The U.S. softball team, behind eternal pitcher Cat Osterman, beat a stubborn Italian team 2-0 as softball returned to the Olympics on Wednesday for the first time since 2008.
Earlier, Japan, another gold contender, had started the Tokyo Games with an 8-1 victory over Australia.
Osterman, 38, who won a gold in 2004 and a silver in 2008, has come out of retirement for those games. She pitched six of seven innings, allowing just one hit and striking out nine.
Monica Abbott pitched the seventh and final inning for the United States and struck out the strike side.
Although Italy couldn’t muster a lot of offense, pitchers Greta Cecchetti and Alexia Lacatena kept the game close. The United States had just five hits and scored their runs in the fourth and fifth innings on a single and sacrifice fly.