The 2020 Tokyo Olympics softball final will be a rematch in more ways than one. By topping Japan 2-1 on a walk-off home run from Kelsey Stewart on Sunday, the U.S. earned the advantage in the championship game against that same Japanese team.
The U.S. and Japan had already both clinched a spot in the gold-medal game, but by virtue of Sunday's win the U.S. will bat last when the game counts for much more on Tuesday.
It will be the same championship matchup from the 2008 Beijing Games, the last time softball was in the Olympics. Japan (4-1) defeated the U.S. (5-0) in that game for its first ever gold medal in the sport. The U.S. came into that game having won three straight gold medals.
The undefeated U.S. and Japanese teams enter Tuesday's championship game with equally impressive resumes. Japan recorded a +14 run differential in group play, whereas the U.S. boasts the world's top-ranked squad.
Pitchers Cat Osterman -- who won gold with the Americans in the 2004 Games -- and Monica Abbott are the only remaining Americans from the 2008 Games, and Japan returns pitcher Yukiko Ueno, catcher Yukiyo Mine and Eri Yamada. Ueno held the U.S. to only one run in that championship game.
The U.S. will battle Japan for redemption and a gold medal in Tuesday's final.