|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 19, 2000
Softball champs US shocked by JapanScott McDonald
Olympic champions United States suffered their first softball defeat in 112 games when Japan beat them 2-1 after scoring twice in the top of the 11th innings.
The match lasted three hours and 50 minutes, the longest since the sport was introduced to the Games in Atlanta four years ago, and was scoreless after the regulation nine innings.
The win was Japan's third straight in the round-robin tournament and their first over the U.S. for 30 years.
The Americans had won both their opening two games in this tournament.
Both the Japanese runs came after fielding errors by second baseman Dot Richardson and rightfielder Leah O'Brian-Amico.
The United States then scored one run in the bottom of the 11th but Crystl Bustos was left stranded on third base when relief pitcher Juri Takayama struck out Stacey Nuveman to end the game.
The United States loaded the bases in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings but failed to score, and left a total of 20 runners on base.
"It was depressing leaving so many runners on, but we have no time to dwell on it because we're playing China tomorrow, then we have a tough game against Australia the day after," said Richardson.
Japan's starting pitcher Taeko Ishikawa lasted eight and a third innings before giving way to Takayama, who struck out four in picking up the win.
Takayama was Japan's top pitcher in a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and at the 1998 World Championships, where Japan finished third.
U.S. starting pitcher Michele Smith was replaced in the sixth inning by Christa Williams, who took the loss.
In addition to beating China for the gold in Atlanta, the heavily-favoured United States have also won four consecutive world titles and have arguably the best player in the world in pitcher and power hitter Lisa Fernandez, who scored the United States' run.
The only other undefeated team in the round-robin tournament is Australia, who play Canada later on Tuesday.
Cuba, Italy and New Zealand are also in the round-robin games, the top four teams go into the semifinals, with the gold medal game on September 26.
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK