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Updated: February 3, 2018
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)

Japan stays unbeaten; First win Italy on Day 3 of Asia Pacific Cup

BLACKTOWN, Greater Western Sydney, New South Wales (Australia) - Japan remained unbeaten at the Asia Pacific Cup in Australia, adding two more victories on Day 3 of the event in Blacktown, near Sydney. On Saturday (February 3), Japan won 9-1 against Chinese Taipei, then shutout the All Stars, 9-0. Japan is now 6-0 and finished the preliminary round in first place, followed by Australia, which won five of its six games played.

By finishing in first place, Japan now meets Chinese Taipei, which finished fourth, in the Play-Offs on Sunday. Australia will play against third placed China in the second Play-Off game. The winners of these games will advance to the Final, while the losers are eliminated.

Italy won its first game of the event on Saturday, winning 5-4 against New Zealand. Italy closed the preliminary round with a 6-3 loss against the All Stars. With the win, Italy finished in sixth place, while New Zealand remained winless and finished in seventh place. The two teams meet each other again on Sunday. The losing team is eliminated and ends up in seventh place. The winner will play against fifth placed All Stars in the game for fifth and sixth place.

Day 3 of the Asia Pacific Cup opened Saturday-afternoon with the 5-4 win of Italy against New Zealand, which was an exciting game. Italy led 3-2 after three innings, but trailed 4-3 when the bottom of the seventh inning began! Italy then scored twice to leave the field victorious.

New Zealand took an 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning off of Ilaria Cacciamani. She walked lead-off hitter Kingsley Avery, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Danica Ferriso. She scored on a following single by Krysta Hoani, who herself was eliminated trying to advance to second base. With two outs, New Zealand got the bases loaded when Pallas Porter, Katrina Nukunuku and Kyla Bromhead all walked. The three were left behind when 3B Giulia Longhi caught a line drive from Rita Hokianga, which ended what could have been a productive at bat.

Italy came alongside in the bottom of the first off of Rita Hokianga. She walked Laura Vigna, who got into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Marta Gasparotto and scored on a 2-out single by Giulia Longhi.

...Marta Gasparotto hit a walk-off...
...homerun against New Zealand...
...On the photo, she has won...
...the MVP-trophy during the 2014...
...European Junior Championship... Rosmalen (Neth.)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In the top of the second inning, New Zealand re-took the lead. Shannon Hearne led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Erin Blackmore. Hereafter, New Zealand again left two runners behind.

Italy stranded runners on second and third base in its second at bat, but then took a 3-2 lead in the third inning. Lead-off hitter Laura Vigna reached on an error, then scored with one out when Priscilla Brandi homered.

The lead was shortlived, as New Zealand scored twice in the top of the fourth to make it a 4-3 score it its favor. With two outs, Kingsley Avery was at first base, then stole second and scored the tying run when Krysta Hoani followed with a single. When Pallas Porter walked hereafter, Veronica Comar took over the Italian pitching. She got the bases loaded when she walked Katrina Nukunuku, then saw New Zealand take the lead when she hit Kyla Bromhead with a pitch. A force play ended the at bat, but Italy trailed again.

Italy left another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the fourth, then Kingsley Avery singled for New Zealand with two outs in the fifth. However, she was ruled out moments later for runner's interference.

Both teams didn't get a runner into scoring position in the next at bat, but then Italy decided the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Laura Vigna led off with a triple, then Marta Gasparotto followed with a walk-off, 2-run homerun!

In its second game, Italy lost 6-3 to the All Stars, but led 2-1 halfway the sixth inning. Italy opened the score in the top of the first inning off of veteran pitcher Vanessa Stokes. Laura Vigna led off with a double, moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Marta Gasparotto and scored on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the first inning, Italian starter Greta Cecchetti walked lead-off hitter Rachel Lack, then hit Carmelle Sorensen with a pitch. But after the two runners has advanced on a passed ball, the experienced righthander struckout the next three hitters!

After the All Stars stranded another runner on third base in the second inning, Italy added its second run in the top of the third inning. Fabrizia Marrone led off with a walk, but was forced out on a grounder by Alessandra Rotondo. She advanced when Laura Vigna walked, but then also was forced out on a grounder by Marta Gasparotto. Priscilla Brandi followed with a single that brought in Vigna to make it a 2--0 score.

The All Stars cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the third inning by scoring an unearned run on two errors. With one out, Erin Thras reached second base on an error, then scored when next batter Verity Long-Droppert also reached on an error.

Italy came close to adding another run in the top of the fifth. Laura Vigna led off with a bunt-single, then moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Marta Gasparotto, but was was left behind.

After leaving a runner behind on first base in the fourth and being retired in order in the fifth, the All Stars struck in the sixth inning by scoring five runs! Only one run was earned, as two errors contributed to the scoring. Lead-off hitter Jessica Torpey walked, then moved to second base with one out when an error was made on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Lambert. The bases then got loaded when pinch-hitter Stacey Webber walked. Hereafter, the tying run was scored on a bunt-single by Jessica Bahn, which was followed by an error, resulting in another run and a lead for the All Stars. The bases got loaded on a fielder's choice-grounder from Rachel Lack, then Carmelle Sorensen followed with a runscoring single and Erin Thras added a 2-run double to make it a 6-2 score!

Italy scored one more run in the seventh on a double by Marta Gasparotto, but was left empty-handed.

...Yu Yamamoto playing for Japan when the... won the Gold at the 2014 World...
...Championship in Haarlem (Netherlands)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On Day 3 of the event, Japan added its fifth and sixth victory to stay unbeaten. Japan began with a 9-1 win against Chinese Taipei, then shutout the All Stars 9-0 later on the day.

In the first game, Japan led 4-1 when it rallied for five runs in the top of the fifth to take a mercy-rule lead. Japan collected only seven basehits, but the Taipei-defense contributed with four errors.

Japan took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Yu Yamamoto and a sacrifice fly by Yamato Fujita. A single by Natsuko Sugama made it a 3-0 score in the next at bat. In the bottom of the second inning, Taipei scored when Pei-Chun Lin singled with one out and scored on a 2-out double by Ching-Ping Shih, but that would be the lone run of the team.

Japan added a run in the fourth when Nodoka Harada homered with one out, then rallied for five runs in the fifth at bat. Two runs were then scored on a double by Kyoko Ishikawa, followed by a runscoring wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Eri Yamada and an error lifted the lead to 9-1.

The game against the All Stars also ended via the mercy-rule. This time, the dominating Japanese squad scored four runs in the first and third inning. The team recorded 12 basehits. Four players had two basehits, including Nozomi Nagasaki, who also scored twice and batted in three runs. The All Stars were limited to only two basehits.

With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Japan scored its first run on a single by Yamato Fujita, then Nozomi Nagasaki followed with a 3-run homerun. After adding a run on a grounder by Yuka Ichiguchi in the next at bat, Japan scored four more runs in the third. This time, three runs were scored on RBI-singles by Manami Daikuya, Saori Yamauchi and Yuka Ichiguchi. Another run was scored on a wild pitch.

Australia also won twice on Day 3 to finish in second place. The team first shutout Chinese Taipei 4-0, then closed with a 4-1 win against China.

...Lan Wang pitching for China during...
...the 2014 World Championship... Haarlem (Netherlands)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the first game, Australia opened the score in the top of the first inning when Leigh Godfrey led off with a single and later scored on a 2-out single by Taylah Tsitsikronis. In the second inning, Jade Wall led off with a single and scored on an one-out single by Melinda Weaver to double the Australian lead. The third run was added in the fifth at bat when Stacey Porter led off with a single and later scored on a basesloaded walk for Clare Warwick.

In the game against China, Australia trailed 1-0 when it scored three runs in the fourth inning. China took an 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Ying Lu. With one out and two runners on base in the fourth, the tying run was scored on a single by Tamieka Whitefield. With two outs, Australia took a 2-1 lead thanks to a single by Leigh Godfrey, who later scored the next run in a double-steal situation. An error on a sacfrifice bunt by Belinda White led to the fourth Australian run in the sixth inning.

Earlier in the day, China had won 10-2 against New Zealand to record its fourth victory and finish in third place. China collected 13 basehits, including three by Jia Xu (3-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBI's) and Min Ren (3-for-3, 2 RBI's). Winning pitcher Lan Wang struckout seven batters and gave up only five hits.

China broke an 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a 5-run rally, then added four more runs in the sixth. In the fourth, singles by Min Ren, Huan Li, Bei Wang and Jia Chen (2 runs) gave China a 5-1 lead. China ended the game spectacularly. Huan Li led off with a single and with one out, the bases got loaded when Bei Wang also singled and Jia Chen reached on an infield-hit. The lead runner was then forced out at the plate on a grounder by Xiaoqing Wang, but hereafter, Jia Xu ended the game with a walk-off, grand slam homerun!

(February 3)

Related Articles:
Japan adds two wins on Day 2 Asia Pacific Cup. (February 2)
Australia & Japan win 2x on Day 1 Asia Pacific Cup. (February 1)

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