Osterman strikes out 9, U.S. tops Italy in softball opener
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Cat Osterman dominated as the United States began its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal, 13 years after she lost the championship game, pitching one-hit ball over six innings and striking out nine to beat Italy 2-0 Wednesday.
Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.
Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.
In the second game played in a virtually empty stadium, Andrea Filler had Italy's only hit, singling to left leading off the fourth.
Monica Abbott, a 35-year-old lefty who is the other U.S. veteran from 2008, struck out the side in the seventh for the save.
Loser Greta Cecchetti, a pitcher for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, allowed two runs and four hits in four-plus innings.
Valerie Arioto led off the fourth with an infield hit up the middle, beating the throw from second baseman Andrea Filler. Ali Aguilar sacrificed, and Moultrie grounded a single on the hard artificial turf and past Filler and into right field, sending Arioto sliding across the plate.
Alexia Lacatena, an 18-year-old from Stanhope, New Jersey, who will pitch for the University of Kentucky next spring, relieved and allowed a sacrifice fly to Reed, whose husband made his debut on July 6 and had six appearances before he was optioned Tuesday to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
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