The Japan juggernaut rolled on in the opening game of day two at the Asia Pacific Cup recording a 9-2 win over Australia A and 10-0 win over New Zealand at Blacktown International Sportspark.
After a scoreless opening stanza in their game against Australia A, Japan began to pull away in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, their sharp work in defence keeping the Aussies to zero while recording four runs of their own.
Signs of a fightback began in the top of the 5th for Australia when Brooke Spence crossed off a rare error by short-stop Yuka Ichiguchi as Tabitha Callander also stole home to bring close Japan’s lead to just two runs.
The defending champions showed their class and piled on four runs in the bottom of the 5th. Another scoring play in the 6th for Japan wrapped up their third win of the tournament.
New Zealand were next to face Japan and the world number two ranked team immediately flexed their muscle, putting six runs on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.
Another four runs in the bottom of the 2nd was enough to wrap this game up early for Japan, 10-0 in four innings.
After their opening two wins of the tournament were close affairs (2-1 and 3-1) Japan Assistant Coach Lucy Casarez says their team has started to settle into a groove.
“It looks like we’re seeing the ball better now, the first and second game yesterday we had a hard time with our timing but we’re starting to look a little bit better now,” said Casarez.
After only conceding two runs against their team in their 2018 campaign, Japan’s stellar defence was on display again in their two comfortable wins.
“We try to pride ourselves on how we play defensively, we practice defence quite a bit, a lot of reputations.”
The 2019 Asia Pacific Cup defence signals the start of a lengthy campaign for the Japanese team who will jet over to the United States for more tournament play.
All geared of course towards playing host to the return of softball to the 2020 Olympic Games.
“The Olympics is very exciting, we have a few younger players now that we’re trying to test and see how they compete with some international teams and pitchers to see how they adjust.”
Chinese Taipei and Italy went the distance in an 11 inning stretch, Chinese Taipei stealing home in the bottom of the 11th to win 4-3, pitchers Ying Hsin Lin and Greta Cecchetti putting together a massive 27 strikeouts in the marathon match.
Australia A are currently doing battle with the Travelodge Aussie Spirit while Italy are looking to bounce back against China.