Day 6 of the Olympic Softball tournament did not disappoint. Canada was looking for redemption from the 2008 Olympics, the last games that softball was played in, and get on the podium. The American women were looking to continue their successful tournament by winning a gold medal against Japan.
Canada 3 vs Mexico 2
In the bronze medal game, Canada faced Mexico; a team that they had played in the round-robin and won 4-0 over. The Canadians knew that the Mexico squad would put a fight up but Canada was hungry for their first ever Olympic medal in the sport.
The Canadian squad came out strong in the first few innings which allowed them to score two runs in the bottom of the second. Mexico did not want to wait to play from behind for very long and were rewarded with their first run in the top of the third.
The two squads played back to back until the fifth inning when Suzannah Brookshire singled to right field to bring Sydney Romero in to home to score.
The Canadian squad, not wanting to be tied for too long, scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth. Kelsey Harshman hit a sacrificial pop fly, which led to her being out, but bringing Janet Leung in to score for Canada.
Leung’s run in the bottom of the fifth would end up to be the game-winning run for Canada giving them a 3-2 win. This is Canada’s first Olympic softball medal in history. The Tokyo 2020 roster still has some of Canada’s 2008 players on its roster. For these women, it was redemption. In 2008, Canada was one game away from the medal rounds but was beat handedly by team Australia 7-1. To say Canada was excited would be an understatement.
Japan 2 vs USA 1
The gold medal game of the Tokyo 2020 softball tournament saw the two heavyweight country’s facing off. Japan and the United States, who both had very successful tournaments, faced off in the gold medal game. Both teams who were equally considered favourites for the gold did not disappoint.
The two teams started out relatively closely matched up. It was not until the fourth inning that the bats were fired up. In the top of the fourth, Japan’s Yamato Fujita scored for Japan off of a Mana Atsumi single to second base giving Japan a 1-0 lead. The American squad was unable to respond in the bottom of the fourth going three up, three down.
In the top of the fifth, Japan scored their game-securing run. Once again, Yamato Fujita was right in the mix. With two outs, Fujita singled to right field to bring Yu Yamamoto, who got on base because of a ‘wild pitch’, in to score. The Japanese were able to hold onto their lead for the rest of the game.
For the Americans, the loss was disappointing. The number 1 ranked team had a successful tournament but struggled with offense the whole tournament. Despite having great pitching and great defense, it’s not beneficial if you don’t have offense. The one thing that the American squad lacked.
The US squad had hoped for redemption against the Japanese. In the 2008 tournament, the Americans lost the gold medal game to Japan, just like this year. In the past two Olympic tries, they’ve come back home with a silver medal despite their best efforts. I guess history does repeat itself?
That’s all from the Olympic softball competition. The sport might not be returning to the Games for a while so take it all in while you can. Unbenched Sports will be covering the Olympic Baseball action in the days to come.