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ATHENS 2004

Japan's Ueno Has Perfect Game

August 21, 2004|Associated Press

ATHENS — Yukiko Ueno pitched the first perfect game in Olympic softball history, leading Japan to a 1-0 win over China on Friday and a spot in the tournament semifinals.

Ueno overpowered the Chinese in a game the defending silver medalists had to win. A loss would have dropped Japan (4-3) into a tie with Canada, which would have won the tiebreaker and the No. 4 spot in the semifinals because it defeated Japan in Tuesday's preliminary round.

Ueno struck out nine and allowed China (3-4) to hit only one ball into the outfield.

There was no celebration after the final out, a ground ball to second, as Ueno walked off the field, bowed to her countrymen sitting behind the third-base dugout and joined her teammates in a circle around Coach Taeko Utsugi.

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