The top-ranked U.S. softball team, which includes three players from Orange County and one from Los Angeles County, will face Australia Saturday evening in an opening round game in the Tokyo Olympics, with a victory assuring it a spot in Tuesday’s gold medal game.
The 15-player Australian team includes 10 players who played college softball in the United States — four at Hawaii, and one each at Memphis, Radford, San Jose State, Salt Lake Community College, Troy and Washington.
The U.S. defeated Mexico, 2-0, in a game that ended early Saturday California time at Yokohama Baseball Stadium, improving to 3-0. The U.S. shares first place with Japan in the six-team tournament. The U.S. will face Japan on Sunday to conclude group play.
The top two teams will play for the gold medal Tuesday while the third- and fourth-place teams will play for the bronze medal Tuesday.
Australia is fourth with a 1-2 record, including a 7-1 loss to Canada on Friday.
The game from Yokohama Baseball Stadium, about 25 miles south of Tokyo, is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday Pacific Daylight Time and be televised by CNBC.
Catcher Dejah Mulipola from Anaheim made her Olympic debut against Mexico. She walked to lead off the third inning and moved to second on Haylie McCleney’s single.
After the next two batters were retired, Amanda Chidester was the temporary runner for Mulipola under the rule requiring a catcher on base with two outs to be replaced by a temporary runner in an attempt to avoid a delay while a catcher puts on her protective equipment between innings.
Chidester scored on Ali Aguilar’s two-run single.
Mexico’s 15-player roster includes three players from Los Angeles County and two from Orange County.
Catcher Brittany Cervantes, an alumnus of Chatsworth-based Chaminade College Preparatory, was hitless in three at-bats, as was second baseman Chelsea Gonzales, an alumnus of Rosary Academy in Fullerton.
Shortstop Anissa Urtez, a Downey High School alumnus, was hitless in two at-bats. Urtez is engaged to Chidester.
Third baseman Amanda Sanchez, an alumnus of Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, flied out in her lone at-bat as Mexico was limited to one hit by Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott.
Pitcher Taylor McQuillin, a Mission Viejo High School alumnus, did not play.