Japan clinches top spot as heat continues to rise on Day 3

Aussie All-Stars - Photo courtesy of Luis Veniegra Photography

Japan clinches top spot as heat continues to rise on Day 3

The Sydney summer sun did not let up on Saturday as temperatures soared above 45 degrees out west throughout the day. As a matter of player and volunteer health and welfare the scheduling for Saturday nights games were pushed back 2 hours as games commenced from 7pm (AEST) and a slight (albeit warm) breeze swept through the playing fields.

Japan kicked things off in emphatic fashion as they comfortably defeated NZ in an 11-0 contest. 5 runs in the 4th, thanks to a Mikiko Eguchi grand slam homer over centre field, got the Japanese within reach of a 5th inning mercy rule to which they capitalized on.

Over on the main diamond saw close friends and countrywomen do battle as the Spirit and All-Stars played their second contest together for the tournament. This time the All-Stars were not so easily swept aside seemingly taking lessons from the previous days game. In a pitchers dominated game, it was Kaia Parnaby (Spirit) who had all the moves as she collected 8 SO’s giving up only 2 hits for the match. A solitary run to the Aussie Spirit in the bottom of the 3rd was enough to secure the victory.

Aussie Spirit had another chance to bring down heavyweights Japan on Saturday night with the game kicking off at a late start time of 9:30pm (AEST). Unfortunately a series of errors in the top of the 4th gifted the Japanese two runs in what was otherwise another very even contest.

The NZ Whitesox picked up their first win of the tournament in the final game of Day 3, as their young group continue to gain experience from the tournament. In another low-scoring contest, NZ managed to capitalize on a wild pitch following a single to Aaria Tawha giving them a 1-0 lead in the 4th. The All-Stars could not muster a run for the game.

With the Day 3 results as they were, both first and second spot have been locked in. The Down Under Series final will give the Spirit one more chance to defeat the Japan team which have conceded only one run for the tournament.

2017 DOWN UNDER SERIES FINAL

1:00PM, Japan v Aussie Spirit, Diamond 1 (LIVE STREAM LINK)

Game 7 New Zealand 0, Japan 11
Game 8 Aussie Spirit 1, All-Stars 0
Game 9 Aussie Spirit 0, Japan 2
Game 10 New Zealand 1, All-Stars 0