The Travelodge Aussie Spirit will face China in tomorrow’s semi-final at Blacktown International Sportspark after finishing in second place on the Asia Pacific Cup ladder.
It was a scrappy start for the hometown team in their opening game on day three of the tournament against Chinese Taipei.
Costly errors in the outfield in the top of the 1st by the usually stoic Australian side proved costly and they quickly found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 score line before stepping up to bat.
A home-run from Szu-Shih Li put Chinese Taipei up by a formidable four runs before a fightback began from the Travelodge Aussie Spirit.
Leah Parry, Verity Long-Droppert and two runs from Tamieka Whitefield levelled the score forcing an 8th inning.
Chinese Taipei were able to put two runners home in the top of the 8th and held Australia out to record the win.
More costly mistakes in defence again proved Australia’s undoing against Japan.
The defending champions reached an early 1-0 lead following the 2nd inning, Australia drew level after Leigh Godfrey scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 6th.
Japan were able to load the bases in the top of the 7th as Saki Yamazaki hit a triple to bring them home before crossing herself, handing them the lead and eventual win 5-1.
“We just had a discussion with the girls, we talked about our defence and that definitely let us down today,” said Laing Harrow, head coach of the Travelodge Aussie Spirit.
“Elle (Roberts) threw a great game and the girls battled hard to get back to one all against Japan but we gave them opportunities, once you give them those they’ll punish you.”
Despite the tough back-to-back losses Laing remained upbeat about his team’s performance.
“We did make some great defensive plays but we need to play seven innings and at this level mistakes can be very costly.”
Laing added the team would relish the chance to meet Japan again in a possible grand final replay.
“That’s what we’re here for, we’re here to play the best and I think it’s the only way you can improve, the more opportunity these girls get to play at that level is a chance for us to improve on our game,” added Laing.
“We’re not far off, we saw some a lot of good things against Japan so we’ve just got to keep building on that.
“Hopefully we get the chance to play them again tomorrow afternoon.”
Following the final regular fixture games, the ladder finished as follows;
- Japan – 12
- Travelodge Aussie Spirit – 8
- China – 8
- Chinese Taipei – 8
- Italy – 4
- Australia A – 2
- New Zealand – 0
The three-way tie on points is resolved as per the Tournament Rules, contained in the Tournament Handbook.