Monica Abbott pitches one-hitter as U.S. scrapes past Canada

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NBC Olympics 21 July, 2021 - 09:26pm 12 views

Who won USA vs Canada softball?

Team USA Softball Secures Second Shutout With 1-0 Win Over Canada. NBC 5 Dallas-Fort WorthTeam USA Softball Secures Second Shutout With 1-0 Win Over Canada

Monica Abbot pitched a complete-game, one-hit shutout as the United States softball team defeated world No. 3 Canada 1-0 Thursday in the second of five Olympic opening round games. 

The 35-year-old Olympic silver medalist had her best stuff working when the U.S. needed it, as the offense failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities to create separation from their North American rivals.

“It felt really good out there,” Abbott told NBCSN analyst Jessica Mendoza after the game. “I knew [Canada was] going to come out swinging hard... [Catcher] Aubree [Munro] and I had a lot of good conversation about our pitching plan and how to give our offense the best chance no matter how long it took for them to score.”

The United States loaded the bases in the top of the first after a pair of singles and a hit by pitch, but Canada pitcher Sara Groenewegen drew an inning-ending strikeout from Michelle Moultrie to escape the jam.

Groenewegen stranded another pair of American baserunners in the second inning, then relief pitcher Jenna Caira retired the next six batters to keep Canada on level terms.

The United States finally scratched out a run in the top of the fifth when Amanda Chidester drove in Haylie McCleney with a two-out RBI single. Team USA would load the bases later in the inning, but again come up empty as pinch hitter Bubba Nickles struck out to end the frame.

Abbot, who owns an Olympic perfect game from Beijing 2008, took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning but surrendered a walk to leadoff batter Jen Gilbert. Then, after beginning the game as Canada’s starting pitcher, Groenewegen entered the batter’s box to pinch hit.

Groenewegen smoked a line drive into the right field gap and off the outfield fence for Canada’s first hit as pinch runner Joey Lye rounded third. However, a perfect U.S. relay throw from Ali Aguilar at second base beat Lye to the plate as catcher Aubree Munro applied the tag. Abbott struck out Kelsey Harshman three batters later after Canada loaded the bases to keep the game scoreless.

Abbott stayed in to close the game in the seventh and seal the shutout. She finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just the one hit.

For the second consecutive day, one of Team USA’s two Olympic veteran pitchers lifted a struggling offensive lineup after Cat Osterman went six scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory over Italy Wednesday. The U.S has now managed just three runs across two games, but crucially sits atop the six-team standings with a 2-0 record.

The top two teams after the opening round advance directly to the gold medal game, with teams No. 3 and No. 4 contesting the bronze medal game.

The Olympic softball tournament takes its only rest day Friday for the Opening Ceremony. The United States next plays Mexico Saturday at 1:30 a.m. ET in the third opening-round contest.

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Monica Abbott United States beats Canada softball Tokyo Olympics - TSN.ca

TSN 22 July, 2021 - 02:01am

United States head coach Ken Eriksen celebrates with Monica Abbott , The Canadian Press

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Canada's softball team has been handed its first loss at the Tokyo Olympics.

Starter Monica Abbott pitched a complete-game one-hitter, and the United States beat Canada 1-0 on Thursday in round-robin play.

Amanda Chidester drove in Haylie McCleney in the top of the fifth inning for the game's only run with a single to right field off Canadian reliever Jenna Caira.

Canadian starter Sara Groenewegen pitched two shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out four and walking one batter, while also supplying Canada's only hit of the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning.

Canada threatened in the bottom of the sixth but couldn't come through with the tying run.

Jen Gilbert was walked to lead off the inning before Groenewegen followed with a double to right field. Pinch-runner Joey Lye attempted to score from first on the play but was tossed out at home plate.

"Obviously I hit it well, but sometimes that's not good enough because they make a good play," Groenewegen said.

Abbott struck out nine Canadian batters while giving up just the lone hit and three walks — one intentional in the sixth — in a seven-inning gem.

Caira took over in the third and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, one earned run with two strikeouts for the loss.

Canada (1-1) opened its tournament with a 4-0 win over Mexico, while the U.S. (2-0) beat Italy 2-0.

The Canadians will face Australia next on Saturday.

Canada, which failed to win a softball medal in four previous tries between 1996 and 2008 before the sport was dropped for the last two Games, finished fourth its last time out after a crushing defeat to Australia at the Beijing Olympics.

The top-four teams in the round-robin tournament will have a shot at medals, with the No. 1 and 2 seeds playing for gold, while the third- and fourth-place nations will battle for bronze.

Fans have been barred from almost every event at these Olympics because of COVID-19, which caused the Games to be delayed by one year.

The first two days of softball are being played at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, located about 240 kilometres from the main Olympic venues in Tokyo, and some 65 kilometres from the site of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people and caused a devastating meltdown at a nuclear power plant.

The rest of the softball schedule is set for Yokohama, just outside Tokyo.

Japan upset the U.S. in the 2008 gold-medal game before softball and baseball were dropped from the Olympic docket in 2012 and 2016, then brought back for Tokyo.

Both sports have already been nixed from the 2024 Paris Games, but are likely to be restored for 2028 in Los Angeles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2021.

Canada's softball team comes up just short against U.S. in 2nd game at Tokyo Olympics | CBC Sports

CBC.ca 21 July, 2021 - 10:10pm

Canada, ranked No. 3 in the world, was coming off a 4-0 win over Mexico in the opening game, while the U.S. defeated Italy 2-0 in its opener.

Starting pitcher Monica Abbott led the Americans with nine strikeouts while giving up just one hit.

Canada came close to tying the score in the sixth inning when Abbott walked Jen Gilbert to open the inning, but pinch-runner Joey Lye was thrown out at the plate after Sara Groenewegen doubled. Groenewegen wound up on third, but Abbott eventually ended the threat with a strikeout of Kelsey Harshman.

"It felt really good going around the bases and I was just hoping that they didn't make a perfect throw," said Lye in reference to the well-executed relay throw by the Americans. "It felt good rounding third. We'll live to play another day."

Canada stuck with the number-one ranked team in the world.<br><br>They just have to take care of business against the four other teams and they'll get a chance at the USA in the gold medal game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a>

"Obviously I hit it well, but sometimes that's not good enough because they make a good play," Groenewegen said.

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

Jenna Caira replaced Groenewegen to start the third and put together consecutive clean innings, but the Americans got on the board in the fifth when Amanda Chidester lined a single to right field that allowed Haylie McCleney to score.

Lauren Bay-Regula came in to pitch for Canada at the top of fifth and helped her team escape the inning with the bases loaded.

McCleney singled to first in the seventh inning before a sacrifice bunt from Janie Reed allowed her to move to second. Canada's Danielle Lawrie earned her first strikeout of the game to help keep the Americans from scoring, but the Canadian hitters were unable to get their bats going to earn the tying run.

All six teams in the tournament will play each other once in the round-robin stage before the two top teams square off for the gold medal on July 27 at 7 a.m. ET.

Canada next faces Australia on Friday at 9 p.m. ET, while the U.S. will go up against Mexico on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast live on the CBC TV network and streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website

with files from The Canadian Press

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LOOK: Michigan's Amanda Chidester delivers game-winning base hit for Team USA vs. Canada

247Sports 21 July, 2021 - 08:01pm

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For the second night in a row, the United States Women's Softball team played a tightly contested game in the Olympics. And on Wednesday night, former Michigan star Amanda Chidester delivered the game-winning hit.

In the United States' 1-0 win over Canada, the game's only score of the game came in the fifth inning for the United States. Haylie McCleney got on base with a one-out single. After a sacrifice bunt from Janie Reed moved her to second, Amanda Chidester delivered with a two-out, RBI single to right field.

Due in part to softball being gone from the Olympics for more than a decade, Chidester became just the second player affiliated with the Wolverines to make an Olympic softball team, alongside current Michigan assistant coach (and former UCLA player) Jennifer Brundage, who made Team USA in 2000. Former Michigan softball standout Penny Neer also competed in the 1992 Olympics in the discus throw. 

Chidester, who won the National Pro Fastpitch Player of the Year award in 2019 with the Chicago Bandits, first joined the United States' national team in 2012 after graduating from Michigan, but softball was not an Olympic event in the 2012 or 2016 games, nor will it be in the 2024 games, meaning this might be Chidester's only chance at Olympic gold. The United States has been ranked No. 1 in the word for more than two years over No. 2 Japan, and the Americans have won the gold medal in three of four Olympic games.

At Michigan, Chidester had one of the greatest careers at the plate in Michigan history. Starting all four seasons after a stellar career at Allen Park (Mich.) Chidester hit .355 in her career, recording 248 hits, 200 runs batted in and 157 runs in 231 career games. For her efforts at the plate and on defense, Chidester was named first-team All-Big Ten three times, a first-team All-American once in 2011 and the Big Ten's Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012. Even today, only five Michigan players have won Big Ten Player of the Year multiple times.

According to her Team USA bio, Chidester is hitting .365 at the plate with a .730 slugging percentage in 22 games with Team USA so far in 2021, though it's unclear if the Olynpics are counted in those statistics.

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South Surrey pitcher leads Canada to win on first day of Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics - Surrey Now-Leader

Surrey Now Leader 21 July, 2021 - 11:47am

Former White Rock Renegade Sara Groenewegen doesn’t allow a hit in 4-0 win over Mexico

Talk about making a good first impression.

In her first-ever Olympic appearance, former White Rock Renegades pitcher Sara Groenewegen pitched four scoreless, hitless innings to help propel Canada to a 4-0 victory over Mexico on Day 1 of the Summer Olympics softball tournament in Fukushima, Japan.

The game, which started at 11 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday night and lasted until the wee hours of the morning here in B.C., was a dominant one for the Canadian team, especially Groenewegen, who retired the first three Mexican batters she faced in the first inning, and threw only 20 pitches through the opening two frames.

Groenewegen allowed only one batter to reach base, on a walk, but the runner was thrown out later in the inning while trying to steal second base.

She was pulled after four innings, striking out three batters along the way en route to being credited with the win. She was relieved by Jenna Caira in the fifth inning before Danielle Lawrie – another former White Rock Renegade – earned the two-inning save, allowing just one hit while striking out two.

The Canadian pitchers allowed just two hits combined.

“I think she just set the tone in a great way,” Caira told Olympic.ca after the game, when asked about Groenewegen’s impact. “Getting ahead, mixing the pitches, her changeup was money and stretching the zone. I think that’s Sara Groenewegen for you.

“She’s a really great person to come in there and set the tone for our team. She did exactly what she does, so it’s great.”

"You can get outta this ball park right now" 🙌@jenn_salling with a solo home run to give 🇨🇦a 3-0 lead over 🇲🇽 @SoftballCanada

Watch live: https://t.co/7XMxPTl1Df pic.twitter.com/KdLd4DAHjP

— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 21, 2021

Offensively, the Canadians were also sharp, scoring twice in the first inning. Victoria Hayward and Maple Ridge’s Larissa Franklin both got on base with singles – Franklin’s came on a bunt – and they both scored after singles from catcher Kaleigh Rafter and Port Coquitlam’s Jenn Salling.

In the third, Salling made it 3-0 when she knocked a home run over the right-field fence, and the lead was further extended in the fourth inning when Hayward led off with a single, moved to second base on a wild pitch and then scored on a single from Delta’s Kelsy Harshman.

Canada, currently ranked No. 3 in the world softball rankings, is back on the field this evening, taking on the No. 1-ranked United States. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).

Semiahmoo Peninsula softball fans will have the opportunity to watch today’s game with others, as Softball City is set to host a viewing party. The event is set for the facility’s main diamond, with the game set to be played on a large screen.

“Our national team has played a starring role in the annual Canada Cup International Softball Championship at Softball City. This site is also where they earned an Olympic berth two years ago, before a large and enthusiast crowd,” said Canada Cup board chair Greg Timm in a news release.

“So, it’s only fitting that we should provide an opportunity for fans and volunteers to come together, show their colours by donning red and white, and cheer on our Canadian squad as they pursue Olympic gold.”

Softball Olympic Updates: Chidester Drives in Winning Run vs. Canada - University of Michigan Athletics

MGoBlue 21 July, 2021 - 09:45am

Wolverine alum Amanda Chidester provided the heroics for Team USA in its 1-0 win against Canada on Thursday (July 22), breaking a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with a two-out RBI single through the right side to plate the lone run of the contest. Chidester, who earned her second straight start at designated player, went 2-for-4 after also reaching on a checked-swing single in the first inning. USA pitcher Monica Abbott was masterful in a nine-strikeout, one-hit shutout. Canada threatened in the sixth, but Team USA got out of the jam with an outfield assist and tag at the plate before Abbott used an inning-ending strikeout to leave the tying run stranded at third.

The 2020 Olympic Games officially kicked off with a softball tripleheader Wednesday morning (July 21) in Fukushima, marking the sport's return to the Games after a 13-year hiatus. The United States opened up with a gritty 2-0 win against Italy, using an RBI single from Michelle Moultrie to break a scoreless tie in the fifth inning before adding an insurance run in the sixth. Cat Osterman struck out nine through six innings and combined for the shutout with fellow veteran Monica Abbott. Former Wolverine Amanda Chidester earned the start at designated player and went 1-for-3 from the No. 3 spot in the order, beating out a slow roller down the first-base line for a sixth-inning single.

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Olympic wake-up call: Canada's softball team gets opening win | CBC Sports

CBC.ca 21 July, 2021 - 03:19am

Canada's softball team, ranked No. 3 in the world, claimed victory in its first game of the tournament against Mexico on Wednesday.

CANADA WINS 🇨🇦<a href="https://twitter.com/SoftballCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SoftballCanada</a> defeat Mexico 4-0 in their first game of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a> <a href="https://t.co/q0Tfb2pK8e">pic.twitter.com/q0Tfb2pK8e</a>

The 4-0 win featured a strong showing from pitcher Sara Groenewegen and a home run from Jenn Salling. Thirteen years after the sport's last Olympic appearance in Beijing, CBC Sports's Devin Heroux breaks down Canada's impressive start here.

Softball isn't the only sport to begin ahead of Day 1 — the Canadian women's soccer team had its tournament start, too. Here's a quick recap of other Olympic news you might have missed.

The Canadian women's soccer team settled for a 1-1 draw against Japan in its opening game. Captain Christine Sinclair — who was making her 300th appearance with the team — extended her all-time international scoring record with her 187th career goal to give Canada the early lead.

Japan, however, equalized in the second half after Mana Iwabuchi's 84th-minute strike caught Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan out of position.

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

Players for Great Britain's soccer team took a knee on the pitch before kickoff of their opening match in a sign of support for racial justice. Opponents Chile followed their lead, and both the U.S. and Sweden shared in a gesture as well. 

The International Olympic Committee decided to allow gestures and signs of protest, but only at specific times — for example, on the medal podium isn't one of them.

Britain's women's soccer team won its first match 2-0 against Chile, and Brazil trumped China 5-0. 

But it was Sweden that handed the U.S. a stinging 3-0 loss. The Americans — with four Olympic gold and four World Cup titles, including 2019 — managed six shots on goal. 

Read more about Sweden's stunning upset here.

Back on the softball side, host nation Japan won the first game of the Olympics by defeating Australia 8-1. 

Japan, who are also the 2008 Beijing champions, peeled away in the fourth inning. A homer from Yamamoto Yu — adding to two previous ones by Yamato Fujita and Minori Naito — sealed the deal. The game was over after the fifth inning due to a mercy rule. 

Top-ranked U.S. — which has won other three Olympic gold medals in the sport — beat Italy 2-0. 

The Italian softball team lost their coach, Enrico Obletter, earlier in the year. He died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Italian Baseball Softball Federation. The team is now coached by Federico Pizzolini. 

American Cat Osterman had nine strike outs across six innings, and Monica Abbott got the save, striking out the side. 

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