Australia has defeated Italy, 3-0, at the end of a tight contest to clinch a spot in the Super Round of the WBSC U19 Women’s Softball World Cup.
Earlier, the Junior Spirit defeated South Africa, 11-0 in four innings to start day 3 action in group B.
Starter Jorja Barrett went three innings, allowing just a two-out double in the third, Shinai Gibbons pitched the fourth.
Australia wasted no time in getting to South Africa’s starter Grivonne Rhoda. Second baseman Jenna Trim doubled over the head of centre fielder De Beer in the top of the first to break the score open and Australia went on to collect 10 hits. Designated player Georgia Hood went 2 for 2 with three RBIs.
In their third and final game of the opening round against Italy, a two-out single by Sasha Willems broke the tie early to give Australia the lead 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, but not without controversy.
With two outs, Italian starter Alexia Lacatena walked left fielder Phillipa Adkins and third baseman Shaylan Whatman followed with a single.
Willems would have been the third out on a fly to centre field, but her swing occured on an illegal pitch. She was then brought back to the box, with the runners advanced to second and third. She swang and missed at the first pitch and singled on the very next to allow both runners to score.
Until that moment, Italy had enjoyed the best scoring chances.
In the top of the second, with two outs and a runner at first, Kayla Hancox got the third out on an error by opposing right fielder Alessia Colonna thanks to a great running catch.
In the top of the second, Italy put runners at the corners.
Left fielder Naomi Giacometti led off the fourth with a double. Italy failed to bunt her to third and on an error by Lacatena left fielder Philippa Adkins got the second out with a diving catch.
Australia added a run in the bottom of the fifth, centre fielder Isabella Hanna singled and pitcher Georgia Hood sent her home with a double off the wall in centre field.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Lacatena tripled to the right foul line. Italy failed to advance her further.
Hood threw the complete game to earn the win.
The schedule for the Junior Aussie Spirit in the Super Rounds available below, all times AEDT:
Wednesday 14 August 10:30am V China
Thursday 15 August 3:00am V Mexico
Friday 16 August 5:30am V Puerto Rico
Friday 16 August 10:30am V Canada
Saturday 17 August 8:00am V Chinese Taipei
Saturday 17 August 1:00pm V USA
All games are available live and free through Game Time Sport