The finals of the Australia Pacific Cup are set with Japan remaining undefeated through the regular fixtures to secure top spot but not before a tough eight innings slog against the Travelodge Aussie Spirit.
In an epic closeout to the regular rounds, the Aussie Spirit and Japan played out a tight battle, with Australian captain Stacey Porter starting things with a bang.
Her home run in the bottom of the first inning put Australia up early with Chelsea Forkin also crossing for a 2-0 lead and a strong position.
A further run was scored by Shannon Keevers who raced home courtesy of a Tahli Moore triple, giving the hometown team a three-run buffer.
Japan answered back with two runs in the top of the fourth and equaled the Aussies in the sixth, neither team could score in the seventh forcing an extra inning.
The 2020 Olympic hosts took the lead in the top of the eighth with a Mana Atsumi belting a double to get the winning run of Eri Yamada home to take the game 4-3.
The final result means the Travelodge Aussie Spirit will face Mexico in the semi-final while Japan will take on Italy for a spot in the Grand Final.
Australia A again recorded a win (3-0 over Italy) and a loss (2-0 to Japan) to round out their regular fixtures, they’ll play New Zealand with the winner to take on Chinese Taipei to decide fifth position.
Day 3 Results
Italy 6 d Chinese Taipei 3
Travelodge Aussie Spirit 8 d New Zealand 1
Japan 2 d Australia A 0
Mexico 6 d Chinese Taipei 3
Australia A 3 d Italy 0
Mexico 6 d New Zealand 3
Japan 4 d Travelodge Aussie Spirit 3
Australia Pacific Cup Final Standings
1. Japan 12
2. Mexico 8
3. Travelodge Aussie Spirit 8
4. Italy 6
5. Chinese Taipei 4
6. Australia A 4
7. New Zealand 0
9:00am – Australia A v New Zealand (6th v 7th)
10:30am – Japan v Italy (Semi Final)
11:20am – Travelodge Aussie Spirit v Mexico (Semi Final)
11:30am – Chinese Taipei v Winner of 5th v 6th
1:30pm – Grand Final
Streaming / Broadcast information
Sunday’s Semi-Final featuring and Grand Final will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS Australia and Kayo from 11:00am AEDT.
International viewers will be able to tune in through the Olympic Channel on Sunday 2 February.
Tournament Schedule available at softball.org.au.