Cal at the Olympics: Valerie Arioto, USA Settle for Silver in Softball

USA shut out by Japan, which had topped the Americans the last time softball was an Olympic sport
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Former Cal star Valerie Arioto and her teammates on the United States softball team had to settle for the silver medal after losing to Japan 2-0 in the gold-medal game at the Toyko Olympics on Tuesday.

It was the second straight time the U.S. team had lost to Japan in the gold-medal game at the Olympics, although the previous time was 13 years ago.

The Americans had won the gold medal the first three times softball was an Olympic sport, but Japan topped USA for the gold in 2008. After that softball was not an Olympic sport before returning this year.

An amazing catch by Janie Reed:

The 32-year-old Arioto, a first-team All-American as a senior at Cal in 2012, had waited patiently to get her chance to play in the Olympics, but it ended in disappointment and she was unable to deliver a hit in a key situation early in the game.

The United States' chances this time suffered a blow in the first inning after Janie Reed hit a one-out triple. She was out at home when trying to score on a wild pitch, and Arioto subsequently struck out with two outs and a runner at second in that inning.

Arioto went 0-for-3 batting in the cleanup spot against Japan, and she went 3-for-17 in the Americans' six games.

USA had defeated Japan in the final game of round-robin play to give the Americans a 5-0 record. 

But in the title game, the Americans collected just two hits off 39-year-old Japan starter Yukiko Ueno in her six innings, and just one hit off Miu Goto, who pitched the final inning of the shutout.

Ueno had been the winning pitcher when Japan beat the Americans 3-1 in 2008.

Japan scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Ally Carda in her 2 2/3 innings of middle relief. Cat Osterman (two innings) and Monica Abbott (2 1/3 innings) pitched shutout ball

Osterman, then 25, had allowed two runs when Japan topped the USA 13 years ago.

Valerie Arioto. Photo by Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Valerie Arioto. Photo by Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Barrett scores, but USA lose in rugby sevens

Former Cal standout Danny Barrett scored the game's first points for the United States in its quarterfinal game against Great Britain in rugby sevens. The Americans built a big early lead, but it was not enough as he and his USA teammates were taken out of contention for a gold medal with a 26-21 loss to Great Britain.

Barrett scored a try just 1:40 into the game to give the United States a 5-0 lead.  It was Barrett's first score of the Olympics.

The Americans built a 21-0 lead midway through the first half, but did not score again as Great Britian dominated the rest of the game.

The Americans will next face Canada as to finish as high as fifth.

Great Britain, Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina advanced to the semifinals.

Andrew Seliskar helps USA freestyle relay team advance

Former Cal swimmer Andrew Seliskar swam a leg on the United States' 4x200 relay team that qualified for the finals by finishing third in in its head, behind Great Briatain and Australia.

The USA time of 7:05.62 was good enough to be one of the eight teams in the finals, which is scheduled for 8:26 p.m. Pacific time tonight (Tuesday).

Cover photo of Valerie Arioto by Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports