Current time in Tokyo: July 28, 12:29 a.m.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — After a 13-year wait, of course it came down to this: the world’s softball powers, the United States and Japan, facing off for the gold medal on Tuesday. The last time the sport and these teams were in this position, Japan and Yukiko Ueno stunned the previously invincible United States and its stars Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott.
Given the chance to avenge that defeat, the top-ranked United States lost to its rival again.
Pitching in her third Olympics, Ueno, 39, vexed the United States once more. And with a few well-placed hits and a lucky bounce, Japan defeated the United States, 2-0, at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
The loss was the only one suffered by the U.S. team at the Tokyo Games, where softball, dropped from the permanent Olympics program more than a decade ago, was returning for the first time since 2008.
On Monday, Japan rested Ueno and lost to the United States in the teams’ final game of round-robin play, a contest that essentially did not matter: Both teams were by far the best of the tournament, and they had already claimed spots in the gold medal game. A day later, with their best pitcher on the mound, Japan won with six scoreless innings from Ueno.
The game was the final Olympic appearance for…