Team USA Softball remained undefeated as they advanced to the gold medal game at the Tokyo Olympics, with the team’s out athletes coming through in the clutch. And one of those victories featured Team USA’s Amanda Chidester competing against her fiancé, Anissa Urtez, who plays for Team Mexico. Team USA, ranked number one in the world, is currently 5-0 in Olympic competition, and has secured the spot as the home team for the gold medal game tomorrow.
“We feel good about where we’re at right now,” Ken Eriksen, Team USA Softball coach, said after their win over Australia.
The team’s undefeated record and quest for gold were in jeopardy as the team had to go to extra innings against the team from down under. They went behind 1-0 after Australia loaded the bases and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. In the bottom half of the inning, though, three out Team USA players took care of business to bring home the win. Ally Carda started the inning as a runner on second base in accordance with rules regarding extra innings. Then Haylie McCleney beat out an infield single, putting runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt moved Carda and McCleney to second and third, Chidester stepped up to the plate and brought home both players and a hit to left field, earning the team a 2-1 walk-off win.
McCleney, Carda, and Chidester are all out athletes.
Team USA next faced Japan, ranked number two in the world, and their stiffest competition for the gold. Carda responded with a dominant performance on the mound, striking out nine batters, but Team USA had to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the later innings. McClein scored the tying run in the sixth inning before Monica Abbot ended the game with a walk-off home run in the seventh and final inning.
The team’s win over Mexico featured the first Olympic competition between Chidester and her fiancé, Urtez.
“The day is finally here!!!” Chidester posted to Instagram, later adding both players were “competitors” focused on winning and that they were “beyond proud of each other for living out our dreams and loving every second of getting to experience this together!”
The pair had announced their engagement last December after dating for years. They knew they would most likely compete against each other in the Olympics, and had earlier said while they were engaged off the field, it was all business on the field.
“We don’t know each other when we’re on the field,” said Chidester last year. “It’s game on.”
With the victories, Team USA advances to the gold medal game against Japan, their second meeting in the Tokyo Olympics. The game takes place at 7:00 a.m. Eastern and 4:00 a.m. Pacific tomorrow morning.