Updated Jul 25, 2021 - Sports

Team USA softball defeats Japan 2-1 in preview of gold medal match

Japan pitcher Yamato Fujita held the US without a hit for the first five innings.

Japan's Yamato Fujita held Team USA without a hit for the first five innings. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Despite failing to get a hit for the first five innings, the U.S. women's Olympic softball team managed to tie Japan in the sixth inning and win 2-1 in the seventh, thanks to a walk-off home run from Kelsey Stewart.

Why it matters: The same two teams, which were undefeated headed into Monday's game, will meet in the gold medal match scheduled for Tuesday evening Tokyo time.

Yes, but: There is rain in the forecast, so the medal games could be postponed.

Between the lines: As has been the case throughout the tournament, hits and runs were hard to come by for the U.S. squad, which trailed throughout the game after Japan scored a run in the first inning on a passed ball.

The big picture: Softball is back in the Olympics after a 12-year absence, but isn't set to be part of the 2024 Games in Paris.

  • Its future for the Los Angeles Olympics four years later is uncertain.

What they're saying: "It was like something you dream about as a little kid," Stewart said at a press conference after the game. "A home run at the Olympics, let alone a walk-off."

  • "So today when I went up to the plate, I was just trying to get comfortable and I was lucky that the ball was like a beach ball today," she said. "I had a good day."

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Go deeper