Eriksen said he nearly cried, and said that's the kind of image members of the International Olympic Committee should see when they decide if softball should return as an Olympic sport in 2020.
“I was fighting back tears over here,” Eriksen said. “That's just an incredible aspect of why these games need to be back in 2020. That's the sportsmanship we've always had, we've never failed a drug test in our sport. It's just played by a bunch of great representatives of every country. That might have been the highlight of my coaching career to tell you the truth. Watching something like that going on is like ‘Wow.'”
Freeman wasn't the only member of Team USA injured, however. OU's Lauren Chamberlain was also held out of the championship game, because she sustained a mild concussion sliding head first into second during Team USA's game against Puerto Rico.
When she hit her RBI double, she slid head first into the second baseman's knee. She will undergo an examination Monday.
“So there's no sense at all of even putting those guys back out there,” Eriksen said. “A couple days, 48 hours, every two hours, and we'll assess Lauren tomorrow when we get to Vancouver. We'll see how Freeman bounces back, hopefully she'll be ready to go by Wednesday.”
Lauren Gibson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third, but the closest the Americans got to Japan was in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Valerie Arioto hit an RBI double into right field that brought in Amanda Chidester.
That would make the deficit to three scores, but Taylor Hoagland would pop up in the next at bat and that would end the game.
Team USA has a lot to look forward to for the rest of its summer, however. The team has only been together for a week and half, and its about to travel to Surrey, British Columbia, Canada to take part in the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship.
With added practice and time together, the team expects a be great.
“I think we're going to end up being really successful,” Gibson said. “Our team is just so talented, we have so much strengths, and we're going to continue to improve from here on out. We've literally been practicing for like a week and half together, so I can't expect to beat one of the best, amazing teams. I mean I really wanted that, but I expect a lot out of this team, I think we're going to be great.”