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US softball team denied gold, loses 3-1 to Japan

US softball team denied gold, loses 3-1 to Japan

Losing for the first time since 2000, the U.S. softball team was denied its fourth straight gold medal, falling 3-1 to Japan on Thursday as the sport bowed out of the Olympics for at least eight years _ and maybe for good.
Yukiko Ueno, Japan's remarkably resilient right-hander, shut down the Americans and handed them their first loss since Sept. 21, 2000, at the Sydney Games. The U.S. had won 22 straight since then, with most of the victories coming by outrageously lopsided scores.
Another gold was as good as around the Americans' necks. Instead, they walked off Fengtai Field with their heads bowed in disbelief.
The U.S. team never led and made two uncharacteristic errors in the seventh inning to help the Japanese add an important insurance run _ one they didn't even need.
When Caitlin Lowe grounded to third for the final out, Vicky Galindo, who led off the U.S. team's seventh inning with a pinch-hit single, put her hands to her face and wrapped her hands over her helmet.
Moments later, U.S. coach Mike Candrea huddled his stunned players, many of whom couldn't even look up. Lowe choked back tears as slugger Crystl Bustos tried to console her overwhelmed teammates.
Bustos, who homered in the fourth for the Americans' only run, was first in line to congratulate Japan's players. As she shook hands with the U.S. team, Japanese catcher Yukiyo Mine was overcome by tears.


Updated : 2021-07-27 05:04 GMT+08:00