Team USA settles for silver in softball.
It was more of the same as the rest of the tournament for USA softball: Great pitching, great defense, poor offense. Add all that up, and it resulted in a 2-0 loss at the hands of Japan.
While Team USA had dazzling defense all night, the combination of Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott and Ally Carda couldn’t keep Japan from scoring, with the Japanese softball squad putting together some timely at-bats and two-out rallies to score the only pair of runs they’d need for the game.
Unfortunately, the United States couldn’t avenge the loss to Japan from their 2008 loss in the gold-medal game: The silver medal is the second in their last two Olympic tries, with both losses coming at the hands of the Japanese team.
Sporting News covered highlights and more from Tuesday’s gold-medal game between Japan and the U.S. below (all times are Eastern).
USA vs. Japan softball score
USA vs. Japan live updates, highlights from 2021 Olympics gold-medal game
9:04 a.m. FINA: Spaulding pops out to the catcher to end the game. Shut out. Japan is your softball gold medalist.
9:02 a.m.: Aguilar grounds out. Delanie Spaulding up with two outs.
9:01 a.m.: One down after a fly out to left. Ali Aguilar up.
9:00 a.m.: Ueno back in the circle. United States down to their last three outs.
8:58 a.m. END TOP SEVENTH: Janie Reed robs Japan of a two-run home run to end the inning. What a play.
8:55 a.m.: One-out single for Nodoka Harada.
8:51 a.m. END OF SIXTH: And the U.S. rally is killed after an insane amount of luck for Japan: Sharply hit bal ricochets off Yamamoto, is caught on the fly for one out, and thrown to second for the double play. Unreal. 2-0 Japan.
8:48 a.m.: Janie Reed with a big-time single right up the middle. First and second, one out for Amanda Chidester.
8:47 a.m.: Haylie McCleney strikes out. Big strikeout, and the first K of the Olympics for McCleney.
8:43 a.m.: Michelle Moultrie with a lead-off single. Looks like Yukiko Ueno is finally coming out of the game after holding the U.S. scoreless through five.
8:41 a.m. END TOP SIXTH: Abbott pitches around the lead-off single. Team USA coming to bat. Clock is ticking.
8:38 a.m.: Japan with a lead-off single in the sixth. Yuki Ichiguchi moves the runner to second on a swinging bunt.
8:34 a.m. END OF FIFTH: Team USA wastes the lead-off Aguilar walk. Six outs left for the United STates to tie this thing up. 2-0 Japan.
8:32 a.m.: Aguilar to second on a ground ball. Two outs now following the ground out and a strikeout.
8:28 a.m.: Huge at-bat for Ali Aguilar, works a lead-off walk in the fifth. Delanie Spaulding up.
8:24 a.m. END TOP FIFTH: Japan gets another run, doubles their leading heading into the bottom of the fifth. The United States is going to need their bats to come alive. 2-0 Japan.
8:22 a.m. JAPAN SCORING PLAY: Yamamoto scores on a two-out single off Fujita’s bat. Japan takes a 2-0 lead.
8:18 a.m.: Monica Abbott coming in for Ally Carda. With the lack of offense the U.S. has put forth, they need to hold Japan here.
8:17 a.m.: Carda allows a two-out single to Yamamoto. More trouble for the United States.
8:11 a.m. END OF FOURTH: Another easy 1-2-3 inning for Japan. It’s starting to get late early for the U.S. Still searching for offense and not getting it.
8:04 a.m. END TOP FOURTH: Carda gives up the United States’ first earned run of the 2021 Olympic tournament. Japan takes the lead. 1-0 Japan.
8:03 a.m. JAPAN SCORING PLAY: Fujita scores from third on a Mana Atsumi ground ball single. 1-0 Japan.
8:00 a.m.: Carda surrenders a two-out walk. Runners on first and third, two outs.
7:58 a.m.: Fujita heads to third after another dribbler. Two outs in the fourth.
7:55 a.m.: Lead-off single for Yamato Fujita and she heads to second on a sacrifice bunt.
7:52 a.m. END OF THIRD: An easy 1-2-3 inning for Japan and we head to the fourth inning locked in a 0-0 matchup. USA 0, Japan 0.
7:47 a.m. END TOP THIRD: Carda escapes a two-on, two-out jam to keep Japan from scoring in the third. Another great defensive play to end the inning. U.S. coming to bat. USA 0, Japan 0.
7:41 a.m.: Kelsey Stewart with a tremendous play to get the lead runner at second on a nubbed ground ball. Great defensive plays for Team USA early on.
7:39 a.m.: That’ll do it for Cat Osterman: She pitches two innings of scoreless ball, allowing a lead-off walk in the third. Ally Carda coming on in relief. Likely the end of Osterman’s Olympic career.
7:34 a.m. END OF SECOND: Kelsey Stewart grounds into a double play to end the inning. Still scoreless heading into the third. USA 0, Japan 0.
7:32 a.m.: Delanie Spaulding gets on with a one-out walk. Kelsey Stewart, Sunday night hero, up now.
7:26 a.m. END TOP SECOND: Michelle Moultrie with a great catch at the wall to keep the game at 0-0.
7:22 a.m.: Saki Yamazi with a lead-off double on a ball to left field. Osterman still searching for her first strikeout.
7:20 a.m. END OF FIRST: Valeire Arioto waves at a Strike 3 way outside, stranding Chidester at third. Still no score heading to the second. USA 0, Japan 0
7:17 a.m.: Amanda Chidester is safe at first on a dropped third strike. Reed is out at home trying to score. Two outs in the inning.
7:13 a.m.: Janie Reed with a deep drive to center field, and comes up just short of a home run. She gets all the way to third with a triple.
7:09 a.m.: Haylie McCleney leading off, grounds out to first to start Team USA’s day off.
7:07 a.m. END TOP FIRST: Osterman gets three straight ground-ball outs after the lead-off hitter gets on, avoiding trouble in the first. Team USA coming to bat.
7:00 a.m.: Cat Osterman gets the start, and mishandles a liner off the bat of Eri Yamada, and we’re underway.
USA vs. Japan start time
- Start time: 7 a.m. ET
USA and Japan rematch from their group play round in the gold-medal game on Tuesday, July 27 at 7 a.m.
The United States is vying for the fourth gold medal in Olympics history, and their first since 2004. Japan knocked off the United States in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, handing the U.S. their first non-gold finish in Olympic history.
How to watch USA vs. Japan softball gold-medal game
- TV channel: NBC Sports Network
- Live stream: NBCOlympics.com (cable subscription required); NBC Sports App; fuboTV (7-day free trial)
As currently scheduled, NBC Sports Network will be carrying the gold medal game between the U.S. and Japan on Tuesday morning.
Regardless of TV channel, you’ll also be able to live stream the game on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App.
FuboTV, which carries NBC and its sister networks, will also be a viable option. FuboTV offers a 7-day free trial.