The U.S. and Japanese softball groups open with victories to begin off the Games.

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TOKYO — The U.S. softball staff, behind the pitching of the ageless Cat Osterman, defeated a tenacious Italy staff, 2-0, as softball returned to the Olympics on Wednesday for the primary time since 2008.

Earlier, Japan, one other contender for gold, obtained the Tokyo Games began with an 8-1 win over Australia.

Osterman, 38, who gained a gold medal in 2004 and a silver in 2008, got here out of retirement for these Games. She threw six of the seven innings, giving up only one hit and placing out 9.

Monica Abbott pitched the seventh and ultimate inning for the United States and struck out the facet.

Though Italy couldn’t muster a lot offense, the pitching of Greta Cecchetti and Alexia Lacatena stored the sport shut. The United States obtained solely 5 hits and scored its runs within the fourth and fifth innings on a single and a sacrifice fly.

The Japan-Australia recreation started with a ball and ended with a house run.

Michelle Cox, the leadoff hitter for the Australian softball staff, took a low pitch from Japan pitcher Yukiko Ueno in an empty stadium in Fukushima on Wednesday within the first aggressive act of the Tokyo Olympics.

The pitch — after a little bit of pregame pageantry that included the introduction of a number of officers and dignitaries — formally kicked off an version of the Games that was years within the making and one yr delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was additionally the final offensive spotlight for Australia. Japan responded with a run of its personal within the backside of the primary, two within the third and three within the fourth. And when Yu Yamamoto hit a two-run homer within the fifth inning, Japan’s lead was 8-1 and the mercy rule was invoked, ending the sport.

It isn’t unusual for Olympic competitors to start earlier than the opening ceremony, a consequence of a decent schedule and expanded tournaments that may require longer than the Games’ official 17-day window to finish.

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