Team USA falls 4-0 to Japan in Game One of USA vs Japan All-Star Series; over 15,000 fans attend series-opening match at Tokyo Dome

June 20, 2018, 11:30 a.m. (ET)

TOKYO — Almost two years ago to the date in which the USA Softball Women’s National Team faced Japan in the first-ever softball event held at the historic Tokyo Dome, this year’s squad returned to the Tokyo Dome for Game 1 of the USA vs Japan All-Star Series and competed in front of over 15,000 fans, USA Softball announced. Despite stringing together three hits and retiring the Japanese side in order twice, the U.S. was unable to capitalize and fell to Japan, 4-0, in the series-opening contest.

 

Click here for live stats, box scores and more from the USA vs Japan All-Star Series

 

Batting No. 2 in the lineup, Jenna Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) looked to get the U.S. offense rolling in the top of the first inning with a double to left field but a strikeout and groundout followed to keep her from plating a run. Japan got off to a quick start thanks to Eri Yamada’s leadoff single and one out later, runners were placed on the corners after a single from Saki Yamazaki. With Yu Yamamoto next at the plate, a passed ball would allow Yamada to score Japan’s first run of the game prior to a two-run shot extending Japan’s lead, 3-0.

 

Courtney Gano (West Covina, Calif.) made contact for a two-out single to right field in the top of the second inning, however Japan’s Yukiko Ueno followed with a strikeout to keep the U.S. scoreless. Both sides continued to work defensively as another hit wouldn’t come again until the fourth inning off a single from Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.). Japan answered with a two-out single of their own but the score would remain 3-0, Japan lead, after four innings.

 

With one out, Japan’s Kawabata doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning but a flyout and groundout ensued to keep the score at 3-0, U.S. trailing. Japan would retire the Red, White and Blue side in the top of the sixth and then, go on to score their fourth and final run of the game in the bottom half of the frame. Yamazaki led off with a single to left field, signaling a change in the circle from Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) to Carley Hoover (Clemson, S.C.). A hit by pitch to Yamamoto would put two runners aboard for Japan, with one coming home on an infield groundout to make it 4-0.

 

Japan would bring in their fourth pitcher of the game, Miu Goto, with one out in the top of the seventh inning, resulting in a walk to Lorenz. Despite entering the game as a pinch runner, Sis Bates (Ceres, Calif.) would not get the opportunity to score as a strikeout and fielder’s choice caught Bates advancing to second to close out the game.

 

Moore suffered the loss, issuing two strikeouts and allowing four runs in five innings of work, while Hoover pitched the final inning. Yukiko Ueno earned the win for Japan after pitching four innings where she collected a total of six strikeouts and allowed three hits.

 

The U.S. and Japan return to action tomorrow at 6 p.m. JST (4 a.m. CT) for a Game 2 at Shellcom Sendai before closing out the series on Saturday, June 25 at Fukushima Azuma Stadium, which was added as an official venue for baseball and softball events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Live stats can be found online at USASoftball.com.

 

About USA Softball

USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game. As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com