Australia sent a shockwave through the Womens World Cup after defeating defending Champions Japan 10-9 in a thrilling game on Wednesday night.
The game was the first for the Australians in the second round. The top three sides from both groups progress to the next stage and Australia finished third in Pool A. The other teams to have qualified include USA, Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Japan.
Australia got on the board early with a run in the first after a Natalie Rawlings reached with a double and was knocked in by Katie Gaynor.
Jacinda Barclay started on the mound for the Australians and Japan looked the goods early, putting up three runs in the first inning on four hits and one error.
However Australia answered straight back after Tahnee Lovering knocked in Amy McCann who reached via a walk.
Although Japan took another in the second to take the score to 4-2, Australia took a 7-4 lead after a five run third highlighted by a double to Christina Kreppold and hits to Samantha Hamilton, Janna Loudoun and Natalie Rawlings.
Japan reduced the lead to just one in the bottom half of the third, however the Australians held them scoreless across the next three innings with some great work by Barclay and reliever Laura Neads.
In the sixth, the a Kreppold blast to deep centre field knocked in two further runs and in the seventh, Lillywhite and Lovering combined to add another insurance run.
In the seventh, Japan staged a late comeback scoring two runs, and had the go ahead run on first base when the side was evenutally retired.
But with the crowd building in anticipation for the Venezuelan night game, the Australian's celebrated their first win over Japan in front of over 15,000 people.
The loss was also Japan's first since the 2006 World Cup final.
With the bat, Lovering (3-3, 2RBIs), Kreppold (2-3, 3RBIs) and Katie Gaynor (3-4, RBI) were the standouts. Whilst on the mound, Barclay, Neads and Kreppold combined for the win.
Head Coach John Gaynor was ecstatic with the win.
"It was effective, maybe not the best game we have played, but it was a solid effort from start to finish," he said adding, "I want the girls to really soak this in and enjoy the moment, but for us, this is only the start of it as we have tough games still to come. "
The Australian's now face Cuba in the second quarterfinal match at 10am on Thursday.To follow Australia’s results please visit the below websites.
|IV Women World Cup > Website|
|IV Women World Cup > Game results|
|IV Women World Cup > Australia v Japan BOX SCORE/PLAY BY PLAY|
|Australian Womens Team - Facebook Page|