TOKYO — The first hug was spontaneous. Cat Osterman had pitched six shutout innings in Team USA’s first Olympic softball game in 13 years, and Monica Abbott had struck out the side to beat Italy 2–0. They saw each other in the handshake line after the game and embraced.
Abbott found Osterman after the second game, a 2–0 win over Canada, and grabbed her again. By the time they beat Mexico 2–0, Australia 2–1 and Japan 2–1, it had become tradition: One or both of them would fire a dominant pitching performance, then they would hug.