Team USA will next take on Mexico on July 24

By Karen Mizoguchi
July 22, 2021 03:52 AM
Softball Game 2

Team USA won their second straight game in softball at the Tokyo Olympics.

Pitcher Monica Abbott shut out their opponent Canada at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on Thursday and secured a 1-0 victory. The United States leads the six-team standings at 2-0 after the second of five opening-round games while their North American rivals now stand at 1-1.

In the sixth inning, Canada nearly tied the game after a leadoff walk and a double that broke up Abbott's no-hit bid. Haylie McCleney got the ball in from the right-center field to second baseman Ali Aguilar, who threw out pinch-runner Joey Lye at the plate.

Softball Game 2

"It felt really good out there," Abbott, 35, told NBCSN after the win. "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."

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The athlete told reporters that it's usually one of the "unwritten rules" in softball that if you think about pitching a no-hitter, "it always ends up getting broken up." She said, "So as soon as it popped into my head I was like 'no, no, no don't think about it.' "

"But I think Canada are a good team, they had a great opening day, and were hitting the ball well. They came out really aggressively yesterday (against Mexico), and we expected the same thing today. To keep them to that one hit was huge because they have been hitting the ball so well and swinging the bat good."

Abbott, who won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, dominated and helped Team USA's second consecutive win a day after fellow Olympic veteran and pitcher Cat Osterman delivered six scoreless innings for a 2-0 victory over Italy on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, Abbott shared videos of her nephews and loved ones who were cheering for her back in the States. "I'm ready to represent us 🇺🇸 with a full & grateful heart. Thank you to everyone that have been sending in all the well wishes and good vibes 💕in to me from all over the world☺️— they literally mean the world to me!!!

After the opening round, the top two teams will advance to the gold medal game while the No. 3 and No. 4 teams will compete in the bronze medal game.

Next, Team USA will take on Mexico on July 24.

Softball first became an Olympic sport back in 1996, making its debut at the Atlanta Summer Games. That year, the U.S. women won the first-ever softball gold medal. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Team USA made it to the final but was defeated by Japan. Softball was off of the schedule for the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.