TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States outplayed Italy 2-0 in the Tokyo Olympic softball opening round at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on Wednesday.
U.S. Veteran pitcher Osterman Cat started to strike out nine and pitch a one-hit over the first six innings. She claimed gold in Athens 2004 and silver in Beijing 2008.
In the seventh inning, ace pitcher Monica Abbott, who was then the youngest member of the USA team that lost to Japan in Beijing 2008, substituted Osterman Cat to play pitcher for a save.
Thirteen years ago in Beijing, the dominating USA team was denied a fourth consecutive win at the Olympics after a devastating loss to Japan, which was considered to be one of the biggest upsets at the Games.
It has been 13 years since softball last appeared on the program for Summer Olympics. The game was first introduced to Summer Olympics in Atlanta 1996 and voted out of the program in 2012 and 2016. After its temporary appearance in Tokyo, softball will be again dropped in Paris 2024.
Only four teams have claimed medals in the past four Games, namely the USA, Japan, Australia and China. Italy finished 5th at Sydney 2000 and 8th at Athens 2004.
Host Japan and USA are expected to be gold medal favorites at the Tokyo Olympics. The United States will compete against Canada on July 22 at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.