Lesson : The 2020 Olympics - Japan vs. USA Softball


Suspense was high.  Team USA entered this Olympic gold medal game with a perfect 5-0 record in group play, and on Monday handed Team Japan its only loss, 2-1.

It may have appeared to be a deja-vu moment for hardcore Olympics softball followers to see the same two starting pitchers that pitched in the gold medal game in 2008, which was won by Japan.

Yukiko Uneo and Cat Osterman were again the starters, and both were effective.

Uneo pitched six scoreless innings and held Team USA to just two hits while striking out five.  Osterman pitched only two innings, but did not yield any runs.  

It was in the third inning that Team Japan broke through.  Ally Carda came in and pitched a clean 3rd inning, but in the 4th she ran into some trouble.

Yamato Fujita singled, and a sacrifice bunt by Saki Yamazaki moved her to second.  Fujita moved to third base on a groundout by Haruka Agatsuma.  After a walk to Yuka Ichiguchi, Mana Atsumi's infield single scored Fujita with the first run.

Carda ran into more trouble in the 5th inning.  Yu Yamamoto singled with two outs.  Monica Abbott came into pitch in relief of Carda, and promptly gave up an RBI single to Yamato Fujita to increase Japan's lead to 2-0.  The lead looked insurmountable.

But Team USA was not ready to give up.  In the sixth inning, Michelle Moultrie singled, and Miu Goto came in to relieve Ueno.  Janie Reed singled, and it looked like a rally was in the making.  But it wasn't meant to be.  Amanda Chidester hit a line drive at Yamamoto at third base.  The ball glanced off Yamamoto's wrist, and was caught on the fly by Atsumi.  Reed had left the bag at second, and was forced out for a double play.  The rally suddenly fizzled. 

Ueno came back to pitch the 7th inning, and closed the game out for the win.  Japan had again beaten the USA for the gold medal.

Team Japan absolutely stymied the USA offense in this gold medal game at Yokohama Stadium.  A combination of efficacious pitching, clutch hitting and stellar defense proved too much for the USA team to overcome.

With the victory, Japan establishes itself as a softball powerhouse, joining its rival United States as the only two countries to have captured Olympic gold. 

Thirteen years after the Japanese women's softball national team achieved their biggest victory when they took down Team USA in the gold medal game at the 2008 Olympics, they returned to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and won the gold medal again. 

Vocabulary Flash Card Drill

deja-vu     ()()(かん)
  • When I went to Rome, I had a feeling of deja-vu that gave me goosebumps.  
  • ローマに行った時、鳥肌が立つような既視感がありました。
stymie     (さまた)げる、()()める
  • I am not going to let the school principal stymie my efforts to teach the children about religion.  
  • 私が子供たちに宗教について教えるための私の努力を学校長に妨げさせるつもりはありません。
insurmountable     ()()(がた)
  • The challenges faced by this administration turned out to be insurmountable.  
  • この政権が直面した課題は打ち勝ち難いことが判明しました。
efficacious     効果(こうか)(てき)
  • His method of reasoning with his patients is very efficacious, but I have a few suggestions to make it even more effective.  
  • 彼の患者との推論の方法は非常に効果的ですが、それをさらに効果的にするためのいくつかの提案が私にはあります。
clutch     タイムリーな
  • Jack turned out to be the hero today, delivering a clutch home run in the ninth inning to win the game.  
  • 9回にタイムリーなホームランを打ってゲームに勝ちジャックは今日のヒーローになりました。
stellar     抜群(ばつぐん)
  • His performance in the Olympics was stellar, winning gold medals in multiple events.  
  • オリンピックでの彼のパフォーマンスは 抜群で、複数のイベントで金メダルを獲得しました。
glance     かすめる
  • When a knife blow glances off you, it doesn't penetrate, but hits at an angle.  
  • ナイフの一撃があなたをかすめたとき、それは貫通はしませんが、斜めに当たります。