We’re halfway through the Asia Pacific Cup and Japan are the only undefeated team left in the competition after four games.
Day two was massive with Japan winning through with a tight and tense 3-0 win over the Aussie Spirit helped by a two-run home run in the seventh inning.
Double wins for China and Chinese Taipei helped the sides into the top four and all but sealed the inaugural Asia Pacific Cup’s four finalists.
Japan will look to stay undefeated with matches against Chinese Taipei and All Stars to come on Saturday, while Australia play both Chinese Taipei and China as the penultimate day shapes as an important decider of the positions for Sunday’s finals.
With the top four all but set unless All Stars can claim two wins and the Spirit, China or Chinese Taipei lose both games, the All Stars will likely be fighting it out with Italy and New Zealand for fifth position on Sunday.
Before the feature match of the night between Japan and the Aussie Spirit, two of Australian softball’s favourite daughters Melanie Roche and Natalie Ward were inducted into the World Baseball Softball Confederation Hall of Fame.
Ward said it was a huge honour to earn the accolade for playing a sport that she loves.
“I got to play a lot of sports when I was young and softball captured my heart,” she said. “It was something I loved and I made so many friends, so to have this as the icing on the cake is amazing.”
Roche and Ward both represented Australia at four Olympic Games, winning three bronze medals in 1996, 2000 and 2008, while winning silver in Athens in 2004, an achievement both said was a highlight.
Roche said it was a special to receive the Hall of Fame award in front of family and friends at Blacktown International Sportspark, the location of the Sydney 2000 Olympics softball program.
“It brings it home,” she said. “It’s a hard experience performing in front of everyone like that. It’s where you want to be but the pressure to perform is bigger than you get overseas.”
Play starts at 11am on day 3 with Italy playing New Zealand on diamond 1 and both sides looking for their first win in the competition.
Results – Day 2
Schedule – Day 3
11am – China Vs All Stars @ Diamond 1
1.30pm – New Zealand Vs Chinese Taipei @ Diamond 1
1.30pm – China Vs Italy @ Diamond 2
4pm – Aussie Spirit Vs All Stars @ Diamond 1
4pm – New Zealand Vs Japan @ Diamond 2
6.30pm – Italy Vs Chinese Taipei @ Diamond 2
8pm – Aussie Spirit Vs Japan @ Diamond 1