The United States softball team still needs few points to claim victory. 2.

TOKYO – Behind Monica Abbott’s mighty left arm, America’s top softball team slipped past third-placed Canada 1-0 on Thursday at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

Abbott had a shutout of the game, allowing just one hit, three goals and nine strikeouts. The day before, fellow American ace Cat Osterman pitched six scoreless innings and struck out nine while giving Italy just one hit. Abbott came in for the final set to secure the 2-0 victory.

So in two games, Osterman, 38, and Abbott, 35 – both of whom competed in the last Olympic softball tournament, in 2008 – combined to allow just two hits, allow three walks and strike out 21 batters.

Pumping fastballs at 70 miles an hour, Abbott thwarted Canada’s offense all game Thursday. And when she spat a hit in the sixth inning, her teammates came to the rescue.

With a runner on first base, Canada’s starting pitcher Sara Groenewegen scored a brace in the spread at center right. But down center, Haylie McCleney chased the ball and sent it to second baseman Ali Aguilar, who passed it to receiver Aubree Munro in time to catch a slippery Joey Lye at home.

Defensive play preserved Abbott’s gem, and Ken Eriksen, the team’s head coach, stayed with her for the final inning.

On offense, the United States threatened with base runners throughout the game, but still struggled to convert their chances. His only run came in the fifth inning, when McCleney hit a one-out single and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from Janie Reed.

Facing Jenna Caira, Amanda Chidester slapped a ball to right field for a single that hit McCleney. Standing at first base, Chidester pumped his arms out and yelled at his teammates.

No softball game is scheduled for Friday as the tournament moves to Yokohama Baseball Stadium, closer to Tokyo. The United States will then play on Saturday, against Mexico. After each team has played five games, the top two teams from the six-team group advance to the gold medal game.

Add a Comment