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Bulls softball coach leads U.S. national team to Olympic bid (UPDATED)

Led by Ken Eriksen, Team USA has reached the final of an international tournament in Japan
If Team USA reaches the 2020 Olympics, USF's Ken Eriksen likely would continue as its coach. (Times file photo)

The U.S.  softball team, coached by USF's Ken Eriksen, has earned an Olympics berth for the first time in 12 years.

The bid was secured Saturday when the Americans edged Japan 4-3 to advance to the gold-medal game of the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan.

The tournament champion earns a quota spot in the Olympics, but since Japan is hosting the Games and earns an automatic berth,  the U.S. claimed the berth regardless of Sunday's outcome.

The teams were tied, 4-all, entering the ninth inning of Sunday's final.

Softball and baseball were dropped from the Olympic program after the 2008 Games but have been restored for 2020.

Related: Softball, baseball back in Olympics

The women who represent the U.S. at the 2020 Games will be selected that year. Eriksen, entering his 23rd season as USF skipper, appears a favorite to continue as its coach.