• Kyodo


Playing at the main softball venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, world No. 1 Japan beat the United States 5-3 on Sunday to clinch their three-game series.

A night after she struck out swinging for the fences in a 5-4 loss to the second-ranked Americans, cleanup hitter Yu Yamamoto’s two-out, seventh-inning grand slam won it for the hosts, who finished the series 2-1.

“It was fat, and I put a good swing on it,” the Japan cleanup hitter said after the game at Yokohama Stadium, which will also host the 2020 men’s baseball tournament.

The sport, along with baseball, was adopted for the 2020 Olympics, the first time it will be a medal sport since 2008. That summer, Japan won its only softball gold medal. Prior to that, the United States had won all three Olympic tournaments.

“If we were nervous for these games, it’s going to be unbelievable during the Olympics,” Japan skipper Reika Utsugi said. “I don’t want us to forget how much we enjoyed playing at this stadium.”

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