Tokyo 2020: Daily Pac-12 guide to the Olympic Games (July 27)
The U.S. softball team lost to Japan in a gold medal game Tuesday, 2-0. Janie Reed (OREGON) stood out with two hits, but the team struggled to break through all night.
Reed’s triple in the first inning put the U.S. in scoring position early on with only one out. But her attempt to score from a dropped strike three went unrewarded, as Japan turned the double play at first and home to end the inning.
Japan took the lead in the fourth off of an RBI single from Mana Atsumi and tacked on another RBI single from Yamato Fujita in the fifth.
As the final inning began, Japan threatened to extend their lead even further. But with two out and a runner on first, Fujita hit a looping fly ball to left field, only to see Reed read it perfectly, scaling the wall to make a spectacular catch and robbing Japan of the home run to keep the U.S. in the game.
While Reed’s heroics could not spark the comeback, the excitement of the softball competition in Tokyo – the sport’s first appearance in the Olympics since 2008 – may spark interest in keeping it in the Games for the long term. Softball is set to ride the bench again for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but with the 2028 Summer Olympics in the United States, the country where softball was born in 1887, the sport might not be gone for long.
The year of 2028 is a long way away. But for the likes of Bubba Nickles (UCLA), Rachel Garcia (UCLA), Dejah Mulipola (ARIZONA),and thousands of young women across the country and around the world, the road to Los Angeles starts now.
Tokyo Talk: The U.S. women’s 3x3 basketball team closed out the pool round with its sole loss Tuesday afternoon, losing to Japan 20-18. Kelsey Plum (WASHINGTON) contributed with two points, but could not convert from beyond the arc, going 0 for 4.
» The U.S. women’s gymnastics team took silver in the artistic gymnastics event Tuesday night. Grace McCallum (UTAH) and Jordan Chiles (UCLA) performed well in the vault, scoring 14.3 and 14.666 respectively.
» The U.S. women’s diving team earned silver in the synchronized 10-meter platform event Tuesday. Delaney Schnell (ARIZONA) and Jessica Parratto posted a 310.80, with their best score of 78.72 coming in the final dive.
» In swimming, Regan Smith (STANFORD) won the bronze in the women’s 100-meter backstroke. Ryan Murphy (CALIFORNIA) followed up her performance by also winning the bronze in the men’s 100-meter backstroke.
Looking Ahead: The U.S. women’s 3x3 basketball team will face France in the semifinal matchup at 1 a.m. PT, July 28. A win will send the U.S. to the gold medal match at 5:55 a.m. to face the winner of ROC and China. A loss will send the team to the bronze medal match at 4:45 a.m. PT.
Quote of the Day: "I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of these girls. We worked so hard for this. It really just showed how hard we have been training and that we can do it no matter what. We fought until the end.
"I am proud for everybody stepping up. It is really hard to lose the best in the world and we definitely felt more stressed. But I am proud of how we did. We did amazing and we really fought." - Grace McCallum (UTAH)
Kenneth Manoj is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the Pac-12 Conference and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.