Ueno celebrates birthday in style as Japan walks off Mexico in extras, remains perfect at Tokyo 2020

Ueno celebrates birthday in style as Japan walks off Mexico in extras, remains perfect at Tokyo 2020
22/07/2021
Ueno turned 39 as hosts Japan defeated Mexico 3-2 in eight innings and earned their second win in as many days.

Yamato Fujita homered and Miu Goto pitched two scoreless innings in relief to guide Japan to their second win in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The host team today walked off Mexico, 3-2 in extra innings, and moved to 2-0 in the tournament.

In the bottom of the second inning, Yamato Fujita rocketed a line drive over the left field fence to give Japan a 1-0 lead. It was her second home run in as many games at Tokyo 2020.

In the top of the fifth, Anissa Urtez homered off Yukiko Ueno to tie the game and score Mexico’s first run in the history of the Olympic softball. Yesterday Mexico was shutout by Canada, 4-0.

However, in the home half of the inning Japan answered with one run to retake the lead. Fujita hit her second hit of the game, and pinch runner Hitomi Kawabata advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, before Haruka Agatsuma doubled off the left field wall to drive in the go ahead run.

In the top of the seventh, Mexico tied the game and sent it to extras. Suzannah Brookshire drew a leadoff walk, followed by a Victoria Vidales single, leaving runners in the corners with no outs. And Urtez delivered again with a line drive to center field to plate the tying run with her second hit of the inning. She produced Mexico’s only two runs of the match.

With runners on first and second and no outs, 20-year-old Miu Goto replaced Yukiko Ueno, who celebrated her 39th birthday today. And the left-hander was magnificent, retiring the next three batters in a row to escape the jam.

In the top of the eighth, again Goto managed to escape unharmed with three strike outs, the last one with the bases loaded; and Japan cashed in the opportunity in their eighth offensive. Eri Yamada started on second base, moved to third on a grounder to second, and then walked off Mexico on a perfectly executed squeeze play.

Goto won her first game in the Olympic Games, pitching two scoreless innings with five strikeouts and one hit. Ueno struck out 10 in 6+ frames.

For Mexico, Danielle O’Toole was charged with the loss despite her good performance on the mound. She tossed 7.1 innings giving up five hits and three runs, issuing three strikeouts.