The United States softball team has already clinched a berth in the gold medal game later this week, but they’ll have some business to attend to Sunday, as they’ll face undefeated Japan in a game with significant consequences for that contest.
Both teams currently have a 4-0 record in round-robin play, and the winner of Sunday’s finale will secure the advantage of batting last in Tuesday’s gold medal duel, which will also feature the two teams.
Amanda Chidester got to play the role of hero for the American squad in their victory over Australia, seizing the moment with a walk-off single to left field that scored two runs and secured Team USA’s spot in the gold medal game later this week.
"In my head, I'm like: 'Score! Score two! Score two! Score two!'" she recalled. "When I got up and everyone was running out at me, I was like, ‘we did it!’"
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Chidester, an Allen Park, Michigan native, has a total of four hits and three RBI’s during the first four games of the tournament.
The United States has won all four of its games in Japan, giving up just one run in those contests. The team started out round robin play with three straight shutout wins over Italy, Canada and Mexico, and scored a comeback win over Australia to set up the battle of unbeatens with Japan on Sunday.
Japan has had several impressive victories, including an 8-1 blowout victory over Australia to kick off the tournament. They followed that up with a 3-2 win over Mexico, and then two straight shutout victories over Italy and Canada to run their record to 4-0.
Now, Japan and the U.S. will square off in Kanagawa on Sunday, with home-field advantage in the gold medal game on the line. First pitch is set for 8 p.m., Central time.