The U.S. Olympic softball team, which includes three players from Orange County and one from Los Angeles County, will conclude opening round play Sunday, California time, by facing Japan, two days before they meet to determine the gold medal.
The U.S. assured itself of a berth in the gold medal game with a 2-1 eight-inning victory over Australia Saturday. Japan assured itself of the other berth with a 1-0 eight-inning victory over Canada later Saturday. Softball games customarily run seven innings.
The U.S. and Japan are both 4-0. The U.S. is ranked first by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and Japan second. The game from Yokohama Baseball Stadium will be televised by USA Network.
The U.S. allowed its first run of the tournament after three shutouts when Monica Abbott walked Jade Wall with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, forcing in Belinda White, who began the inning on second base as the international tiebreaker runner.
Aubree Munro from Brea began the U.S. half of the eighth on second base as the international tiebreaker runner after popping out to end the seventh and was replaced by pinch-runner Ally Carda, who played for UCLA from 2012-15.
Haylie McCleney led off the inning with an infield single. A sacrifice bunt by Janie Reed from Placentia advanced the runners to second and third. The next batter, Amanda Chidester ended the game with a two-run single.