Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Women flip script: Softball loses, soccer wins

Japan beat the U.S. women, 3-1, in the final Olympic softball game. Hope Solo shuts out Brazil, 1-0, in overtime, and Delran's Carli Lloyd wins it.

Women flip script: Softball loses, soccer wins

The supposedly unbeatable U.S. softball team, the team so dominant the IOC kicked the sport out of the Games, at least for London in 2012, lost, 3-1, to Japan in the gold medal game Thursday night.

The U.S. was roundly outplayed by a Japanese team whose pitcher, Yukiko Ueno, went all seven innings ... after she threw 21 innings Wednesday in two extra-innings games, nine against the U.S., then 12 against Australia. She pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the first and sixth innings. Crystl Bustos supplied the scoring with her sixth homer of the Games -- a half-swing, opposite-field blast in the fourth, breaking her single Games record for homers by one and extending her career record to 14.

Japan turned in three scintillating defensive plays in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.

It was the first time the U.S. has not won the gold since softball became an Olympic sport in 1996.

Meanwhile, across town, Hope Solo, the goalie who wasn't good enough to face Brazil in the World Cup last year, was in net against the Brazilians in that gold medal game. Delran's Carli Lloyd punched in the deciding goal in the 96th minute. That was during the first of two mandated 15-minute overtime periods.

Solo's contention that she would have played better in the World Cup final than did veteran Briana Scurry, coach Greg Ryan's choice, earned her the team's ostracization, which, in turn, cost Ryan his job. Solo had faced Brazil twice in friendlies, but this time, things weren't so friendly.

The U.S. has won three of the four Olympic women's soccer tournaments and was the defending gold medalist.

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SAM DONNELLON's career began in Biddeford, Me., in 1981, and has included stops in Wilkes-Barre, Norfolk, and New York, where he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and since joining the Daily News in 1992 has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press Managing Editors of Pennsylvania and the Keystone Awards. He and his wife have raised three fine children, none of whom are even the least bit impressed with the above. Sam is veteran of Olympics coverage for the Daily News, including the Games in Sydney and Turin, among others.

MARCUS HAYES grew up on a small farm outside of Hermon, NY., a small town near the Canadian border about the size of Reading Terminal Market. In high school he played three varsity sports and aspired to be faster, or more skilled, or taller. Having failed in those aspirations and seeking a warmer climate, Marcus attended Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and eventually graduated with a degree in Magazine Writing. He also earned a degree in English from the College of Arts and Sciences. To date he has written for no magazines. His English is spotty at best. Upon graduation in 1990, with Jim Boeheim's talent-leaden SU basketball teams having won no titles, Marcus spent 4½ years working for the now-absorbed Syracuse Herald-Journal covering high school sports, local small college sports and non-revenue sports at SU. Marcus joined the Daily News as a feature story writer in 1995. Among other assignments he has covered the Eagles and Phillies beats for most of his tenure. Still, the paper soldiers on.

Sam Donnellon and Marcus Hayes
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