Olympic Softball Recap: Day Two

Weren’t able to stay up (or wake up) early enough to wake up for day two’s Olympic softball competition? Unbenched has you covered! It was an exciting second day in Tokyo for the softball tournament. There were three games on the schedule for today that saw Canada vs the United States facing off in the first game of the day, Mexico vs Japan playing in the second game, and Australia and Italy capping off day two of the tournament competition. 

USA 1 vs CAN 0

After coming off of a successful first day of competition, both Canada and the United States wanted to continue their winning ways into day two of competition. Canada had beat Mexico 4-0 in the first game of their tournament while the Americans 

Canada’s Sara Groenewegen was the starting pitcher for today’s campaign and capitalized quickly. Groenewegen struck out four batters while only giving up three hits through the first two innings. On the other side, the US starting pitcher, Monica Abbott, led the number 1 in the world ranked American squad with nine strikeouts and only giving up one hit throughout the game. 

Groenewegen who had a successful first two innings was replaced by Jenna Caira who would eventually pitch until the top of the fifth when Lauren Bay-Regula came in for relief when the Canadian squad had all the bases loaded. 

Prior to Caira’s exit from the game, the American squad got on the board when Amanda Chidester lined a single to right field that eventually brought Haylie McCleney in to score for the Americans to give them a one to nothing lead over the third-ranked Canadian squad. After McCleney scored for the Americans, that was when Bay-Regula was brought in to help Canada escape the inning with the bases loaded.

After a rocky fifth inning, the Canadian squad attempted to tie the game up at 1 during the sixth inning. Groenewegen came back into the game as a pinch-hitter and was able to hit one off a Monica Abbott pitch that gave the Canadians their first hit of the game. Groenewegen was able to make it to third base but was left stranded as Abbott led her team to another strikeout to avoid a tie game.

American Haylie McCleney continued with her successful night in the batter’s box when she singled to first in the seventh inning. Janie Reed, left-fielder, made a sacrifice blunt to advance McCleney to second but the American’s efforts were shut-down by Danielle Lawrie, Canada’s pitcher during the seventh-inning. Lawrie was rewarded with her first strikeout of the game in the seventh-inning but the Canadian hitters were unable to get a hit in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. 

Even though a 1-0 loss to the Americans will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Canadian squad, the close game is something to be proud of. The American squad is ranked number one overall in the world while Canada is ranked third. The Canadian squad held on and stayed right with the American squad the entire game. If Canada can continue playing like they have been, there is a good chance that the two squads will meet back up in the Gold Medal game.

The high-flying American squad will take on Mexico in day 3 of action on Saturday, July 24th  at 1:30am (Canadian time), while Canada takes on Australia at 9pm on Friday. 

JPN 3 vs MEX 2

The second game of the day saw the undefeated Japan squad take on Mexico. Japan was coming off of a demanding 8-1 win over Australia in day one of action while Mexico was coming off a 4-0 loss from the hands of the Canadians. 

The first inning for Japan and their pitcher, Yukiko Ueno, was a success. Ueno went three up, three down, but were unsuccessful in getting their bats going in the bottom of the first inning despite Minori Naito hitting a single to left field. 

The first run of the game did not come until the bottom of the second when Yamato Fujita hit a home run to left field making the game 1-0 heading into the third inning. 

The innings were kept fast paced and short with each pitcher typically only meeting 3 to 4 batters before getting their required 3 outs. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the bats started to heat up for both teams. Anissa Urtez hit a home run to center field for Mexico in the top of the fifth to tie the game up at 1. However, Japan regained control and created a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth inning when Haruka Agatsuma doubled to left field and brought Hitomi Kawabata in to home. 

Despite a scoring fifth inning, the sixth inning went back to the closely matched game that dominated much of the first half. Japan went three up, three down while Mexico did get on base, they were unable to capitalize on their chances.

Mexico would eventually capitalize and tie the game up at 2 at the top of the seventh inning. Anissa Urtez, who scored for Mexico in the fifth inning, singled to center field which advanced Victoria Vidales, who singled to center field as well, to second base, and brought Suzannah Brookshire, who was walked, in to score.

Heading into the 8th and final inning, the two teams were tied. Both sides needed to make sure their pitcher was on fire and that their bats were rolling. Despite Mexico’s best attempts, they eventually came up short and stranded Sydney Romero, Nicole Rangel, and Suzannah Brookshire on base heading into the bottom of the 8th. Japan went 3 up and eventually scored the winning run on a Mana Atsumi bunt-single on Japan’s third at bat giving Japan the 3-2 victory. 

Japan will be taking on Italy in their third game of the tournament on Saturday at 7am while Mexico will be taking on the red hot American squad on Saturday at 1:30am (Canadian time).

ITA 0 vs AUS 1

The third game of the day saw Italy taking on Australia. Both Italy and Australia lost their first games of the competition and were looking for their first win of the tournament on day 2. 

The game was a relatively uneventful game with both teams going back and forth. It was early in the game that Australia was able to get on the board. During the second inning, Australia’s Taylah Tsitsikronis doubled to left field and made it to first base. Chelsea Forkin was up next in the batter’s box but struck out swinging. 

Tarni Stepto grounded out and advanced Tsitsikronis to third. Australian outfielder, Jade Wall, singled to second base which finally brought Tsitsikronis in to score. The 2nd inning run by the Australians was the only scoring run for the rest of the game. After being beaten 8-1 yesterday by Japan, the Aussie’s redeemed themselves and will be ready for Canada on Saturday. The Italian squad will be looking to put their first tournament win together when they take on the high-flying Japan on day 3.

Olympic Softball action returns this Saturday morning, or Friday night in Canada, with 3 games on the docket. Check back with Unbenched Sports every day for a recap of the previous night/morning’s action!

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