The Travelodge Aussie Spirit are off to the perfect start in the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier with an impressive 5-1 win over Chinese Taipei.
It was a pitching and defensive masterclass through five tense innings with neither side able to land the first blow, despite a number of scoring opportunities.
Australia left seven runners stranded to Chinese Taipei’s four over the first five stanzas, New South Wales pitcher Kaia Parnaby coming up clutch to dismiss her opposing batters six times, a number of which had runners threatening on third base.
In the fifth, the Aussie Spirit came to life when Queenslander Chelsea Forkin belted a double and was brought home by a Carmie Sorensen single.
Not to be outdone, perennial big hitter Taylah Tsitikronis smoked a two run homer over the centre field fence to put Australia in control 3-1.
The Australian defence again shone in the bottom of the fifth with Forkin making a crucial catch in the right outfield to dismiss Chinese Taipei when they looked threatening with loaded bases.
Parnaby snuffed out a fightback when Chinese Taipei belted a home run of their own in the bottom of the sixth but it was put to bed by the Australians with two more runs coming in the top of the seventh, Sorensen and Tsitsikronis again doing the damage.
The 5-1 win puts Australia in a strong position in the winner take all tournament and they will play Indonesia Wednesday at 2:30pm AEST.