The USA Softball Women’s National Team had to “settle” for the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Japan 2-0 in the gold medal game.
This marks the second consecutive time Japan has defeated USA Softball for the gold, with the last occurrence at the 2008 Games in Beijing. In between, softball had been dropped as an Olympic event.
After walking off Japan on a Kelsey Stewart home run to complete a perfect 5-0 run in the round robin group stage, the United States was unable to find any more magic against Japan starter Yukiko Ueno, suffering their first shut out of the tournament.
Ally Carda entered a scoreless game in the third following a sterling pitching effort in the group stage game with Japan. After escaping a jam that inning, she ended up taking the loss, giving up a two-out RBI single to Yamato Fujita in the fourth that proved to be the medal-winning run.
Japan extended its lead to 2-0 with another Fujita two-out RBI hit, this time off of Monica Abbott in relief.
USA Softball had its best chance to get back in the game in the sixth, putting runners on first and second with one out and Games 2 and 4 hero Amanda Chidester at the plate.
Unfortunately, Chidester couldn’t come through with one more moment as she lined into a tough-luck double play to snuff out the rally.
While USA Softball ultimately fell short of their goal, it was still an amazing run through the tournament. US pitching only gave up four total runs and they displayed remarkable clutch hitting in every group stage game.
Plus Chidester, Carda, and Hayley McCleney repeatedly stepped up in the spotlight and represented Team LGBTQ with pride. Let’s hope that USA Softball gets a chance to complete a run for the gold if the sport returns to the Olympics in 2028.
In the bronze medal match, Canada beat Mexico, 3-2, adding another medal for Team LGBTQ with Joey Lye and Larissa Franklin both publicly out on the Canadian softball team. Chidester’s fiancée, Anissa Urtez, barely missed out on a medal with Mexico.