FUKUSHIMA, Japan, July 22 (Reuters) — The United States scored a 1-0 victory over Canada as U.S. pitcher Monica Abbott dominated the Canadian batters from the start on the second day of softball at the Tokyo Games.

For seven innings, Canadian batters chased pitches off the plate and failed to make contact on one of the game's fastest throwers and a five-time Japanese league most valuable player.

Abbott struck out nine in all, walked three and gave up one hit.

After recording the game's final out, the lefty wrapped her arms around catcher Aubree Munro.

"For us to hold down a tough offense and let the defense work, it felt really good," Munro said afterwards.

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USA pitcher Monica Abbott (14), center, is congratulated by her teammates after defeating Canada during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Fukushima Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 22, 2021. Yukihito Taguchi / USA TODAY Network
USA pitcher Monica Abbott (14), center, is congratulated by her teammates after defeating Canada during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Fukushima Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, Japan, on July 22, 2021. Yukihito Taguchi / USA TODAY Network

U.S. centerfielder Haylie McCleney reached on a bloop single and scored the lone run.

McCleney also threw out pinch runner Joey Lye to prevent her from scoring on a Sara Groenewegen double to right center.

The second of five days of round-robin play leaves the U.S. at 2-0 in the standings and Canada 1-1.

Alvarez, Bird to split flagbearing duties

Basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will be Team USA's flag bearers at this week's opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Bird, a four-times Olympic champion, and Alvarez, who won a silver in speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Games, were chosen by fellow Team USA athletes and are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the opening ceremony.

Bird, 40, is the first basketball player to be named flag bearer since Dawn Staley, coach of the current team, in 2004.

"It's an incredible honor to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA," said Bird. "I know what that means because I got to witness Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004.

"It's an honor that is bigger than the moment in that you've been selected by your fellow Team USA athletes to represent the entire delegation, and it will last forever."

Alvarez, a first-generation Cuban-American, also brings Olympic experience to Tokyo having won silver as part of the 5,000-meter four-man short track speed skating team in Sochi.

"My family has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag proudly," said Alvarez.

"I am grateful for my time with US Speedskating and USA Baseball, as well as for all of my teammates, and I am humbled to lead Team USA into the Tokyo Olympic Games."

The United States will send a team of 613 athletes to the Tokyo Summer Games, its second largest delegation ever for an Olympics, trailing only the 648 who were named to the team for the 1996 Atlanta Games.