Cat Osterman leads Team USA past Italy in Olympic softball opener

  • Team USA’s Valerie Arioto scores a run during their Olympic softball opener against Italy on Wednesday (Tuesday night PT) at the Tokyo Olympics in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Cat Osterman pitches during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Janie Reed, left, Michelle Moultrie, and Haylie McCleney, right, react during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Italy’s Greta Ceccheiit pitches during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Aubree Munro, left, makes it safely to the base as Italy’s Marta Gasparotto drops the ball during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Aubree Munro #1 of Team United States reaches first base safely as Marta Gasparotto #19 of Team Italy can’t make the catch in the fifth inning during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Italy’s Greta Ceccheiit, right, reacts with teammates during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Cat Osterman celebrates with teammates during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Team USA pitcher Cat Osterman throws to the plate during their Olympic opener against Italy on Wednesday (Tuesday night PT) at the Tokyo Olympics in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Valerie Arioto makes a run home during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Italy’s pitcher Greta Ceccheiit reacts during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • United States’ Janie Reed bats during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • US starter Catherine Osterman (L) pitches during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • USA’s Jannet Reed (R) steals the second base safely while Italy’s shortstop Amanda Fama (L) attmpts to tag out during first inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • USA’s starter Catherine Osterman (R) pitches during the 4th inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • Italy’s relief pitcher Alexia Lacatena hurls during the 5th inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Janette Reed #9 of Team United States bats in the third inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Janette Reed #9 of Team United States steals second base in the first inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Michelle Moultrie #16 of Team United States bats in the second inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Haylie McCleney #8 of Team United States bats in first inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Greta Cecchetti #18 and Marta Gasparotto #19 of Team Italy high five after the second inning against Team United States during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Erika Piancastelli #20 of Team Italy bats in the first inning against Team United States during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Team Italy players cheer on teammates on the field in the second inning against Team United States during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Pitcher Catherine Osterman #38 of Team United States reacts in the second inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Valerie Arioto #20 of Team United States bats in the fourth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Michelle Moultrie #16 of Team United States is congratulated by teammate Catherine Osterman #38 after hitting an RBI single in the fourth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Valerie Arioto #20 of Team United States finishes her slide into home plate to score in the fourth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Valerie Arioto #20 of Team United States is congratulated by teammate Haylie McCleney #8 after Arioto scored in the fourth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Haylie McCleney #8 of Team United States drops her bat and runs to first base in the fifth inning
    against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • Haylie McCleney #8 of Team United States bats in the fifth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Aubree Munro #1 of Team United States is congratulated by Valerie Arioto #20 after scoring in the fifth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Janette Reed #9 of Team United States bats in the fifth inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • United States’ Cat Osterman reacts with teammate Haylie McCleney, right, during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • USA third baseman Kelsey Stewart, left, speaks to pitcher Monica Abbott during the seventh inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • United States players celebrate an RBI single by Michelle Moultrie during the softball game against Italy at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Janette Reed #9 of Team United States reacts after being called out at first base in the third inning of their game against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Team United States head coach Ken Eriksen walks to the mound in the seventh inning of the game against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • United States’ Monica Abbott reacts during the softball game between Italy and the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Haylie McCleney #8 and Monica Abbott #14 of Team United States celebrate after defeating Team Italy 2-0 in their opening round game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Haylie McCleney #8 and Monica Abbott #14 of Team United States celebrate after defeating Team Italy 2-0 in their opening round game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • United States players celebrate after defeating Italy in their softball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima, Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • USA’s players celebrate their victory over Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games softball opening round game between Italy and USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 21, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Team United States and Team Italy wave to each other after their opening round game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. Team United States defeated
    Team Italy 2-0. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Team Italy and Team United States line up in the infield for pregame ceremonies before their game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Team Italy and Team United States line up in the infield for pregame ceremonies before their game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

  • FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – JULY 21: Catherine Osterman #38 of Team United States and teammates line up on the field before playing against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

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By RONALD BLUM The Associated Press

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Cat Osterman dominated as the United States began its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal, 13 years after she lost the championship game, pitching one-hit ball over six innings and striking out nine to beat Italy, 2-0, Wednesday.

Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan, 3-1, at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.

Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

In the second game played in a virtually empty stadium, Andrea Filler had Italy’s only hit, singling to left leading off the fourth.

Monica Abbott, a 35-year-old lefty who is the other U.S. veteran from 2008, struck out the side in the seventh for the save.

Loser Greta Cecchetti, a pitcher for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, allowed two runs and four hits in four-plus innings.

Valerie Arioto led off the fourth with an infield hit up the middle, beating the throw from second baseman Andrea Filler. Ali Aguilar sacrificed, and Moultrie grounded a single on the hard artificial turf and past Filler and into right field, sending Arioto sliding across the plate.

Alexia Lacatena, an 18-year-old from Stanhope, New Jersey, who will pitch for the University of Kentucky next spring, relieved and allowed a sacrifice fly to Reed, whose husband made his debut on July 6 and had six appearances before he was optioned Tuesday to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Amanda Fama from Loara High and Concordia University in Irvine, played shortstop for Italy. Fama has dual citizenship.

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