Yokohama, Japan – Amanda Chidester scored a two-run single in the eighth inning that ended the game, Monica Abbott struck 13 and the United States beat Australia 2-1 on Sunday to claim a spot in the Olympic softball gold medal game.
Australia scored the first run against the Americans in the tournament when Jade Wall walked eight fields with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth field.
With pinch runner Ally Carda in second place as automatic runner in the lower half, lead-off hitter Haylie McCleney reached the shortstop on an infield single ahead of Tarni Stepto (0-1). McCleney scored in all four record appearances and in 13 of 15 over the four American games.
Janie Reed sacrificed for the fourth time in the tournament, and Chidester (Allen Park Cabrini, University of Michigan) sat back at Yokohama Stadium when both runners hit.
Abbott (2-0) gave up three hits and went six – two of them on purpose – while throwing 126 pitches. She has given up four hits with 28 strikeouts in 17 innings and improved to 5-0 in her Olympic career.
The top-ranked USA, who have only scored six runs in four games, will play defending champions Japan on Monday in a game that will likely only determine which team will beat last Tuesday in the gold medal game. No. 2 Japan (3-0) could secure a place in this game if they play against Canada (2-1) later on Sunday.
Ellen Tomek (Flushing, University of Michigan) and her teammates from the USA took sixth place in the four-square repechage, ending their chances of winning a medal.
Cicely Madden, Alison Rusher, and Meghan O’Leary were the other members of the team. Australia came first.