Japan Cup Game One: USA 3, Australia 1
The Aussie Spirit battled hard but came up short against the world champions Team USA in their opening game of the Japan Cup in Takasaki today.
Continuing a trend that prevailed through much of the recent World Championship campaign in Canada, the Spirit had their share of base-runners but failed to convert opportunities into runs.
Taylah Tsitsikronis blasted a home run in the fourth inning, but that was the only run the Aussies would score as they went down 3-1 in a high-standard game at the Jonan stadium.
The USA took the lead in the second inning with two runs scored on base hits by Janie Takeda and Aubree Munro.
The homer by Tsitkikronis, which reduced the lead to 2-1, was one of only three hits the Spirit could produce off USA starting pitcher Jessica Moore. The 178cm right-hander, a former collegiate star at the University of Oregon, struck out two and walked one in five innings.
Moore was relieved by Delanie Gourley, who was equally effective, allowing just one hit and one walk in a two-inning save.
An early scoring chance for Australia came to nothing when the speedy Janice Blackman had a bunt single in the first inning and advanced to second on Stacey Porter’s groundout, but was out on a fly ball double play.
Starting pitcher Kaia Parnaby gave her team a chance by restricting the USA to just two runs in three innings, striking out four and not issuing a walk.
Parnaby was relieved by Sandy Holden, who allowed just one run in 2.1 innings, striking out one and walking one. Debutant Amelia Cudicio finished up, pitching 1.2 innings and not allowing a hit or a walk, with one strikeout.
Australia will next play Chinese Taipei and Japan, with Sunday’s opponent depending on results from the first two days.