Monday, March 19, 2012
Hawker, Australian Capital Territory — Tonight, the Japanese national team beat the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) softball team 1–0 in the first of a two game series before Japan plays a three game test series against the Australian national team.
The game was a low scoring pitching duel. Japan brought five pitchers to Canberra for their Australian tour. Since the last Olympics, Japan has been in a rebuilding period. The side is young and many of their best players have not had much international experience. One of their best pitchers is only nineteen years old.
The ACT side included Australian national team members Aimee Murch and Clare Warwick; Olympic bronze medalist Brenda De Blaes; Victorian state team representative, national team member and Olympic bronze medalist Justine Smethurst; and Clare Currie, who narrowly missed the cut for the national team.
De Blaes started the top of the first with a hit. She ended the inning stranded on base. Murch was pitching for the ACT to start the bottom of the first. Number 15 for Japan opened the inning with a single, and was advanced to third on another single. She was tagged out after trying to score a run after her teammate hit a pop up caught by the ACT’s centre fielder. Number 6 hit a double during this inning, scoring Japan’s only run.
The top of the second saw ACT players 1, 5 and 3 tagged out after hits to the infield. The bottom of the second saw number 13 out on a foul ball caught on the fly by the ACT’s third baseman, and number 11 and 24 out on balls hit into and caught by the ACT’s centre fielder.
The top of third inning saw numbers 24 and 21 ground out. De Blaes ended the inning by striking out. The bottom of the third saw Japan’s first batter ground out, number 8 getting a single on an infield hit, another playing getting an out, and the inning ending with number 11 hitting an infield ground out.
The rest of the game followed much the same pattern. Two players, an ACT player and a Japanese, were struck by balls and required trainers to look at them. Smethurst came in and pitched a few innings in relief. Between the fifth and sixth innings, there was a small delay in the game when a dog named Streaker, owned by Australia men’s national softball team player Adam Folkard, ran onto the the infield.
The game ended 1–0. An announcement was made at the end of the game that the match scheduled for tomorrow would start fifteen minutes earlier than the advertised start time of 18:00.