Aussies hammered by Japan in softball opener

5 days ago
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Host Japan got disconnected to a winning commencement erstwhile the Tokyo Olympics got underway aft a one-year delay, beating Australia 8-1 Wednesday successful softball down 39-year-old pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who won the 2008 golden medal crippled against the United States.

The crippled was played successful a astir bare stadium. Fans were barred from the Olympics due to the fact that of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a one-year delay. Many successful Japan person questioned whether the Olympics should instrumentality spot astatine each with debased levels of vaccination successful the nation.

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Ueno allowed 2 hits implicit 4 1/3 innings and struck retired seven, throwing 85 pitches for the win.

Minori Naito and Saki Yamazaki deed two-run homers disconnected loser Kaia Parnaby and Yu Yamamoto, who had 3 RBIs, added a two-run thrust against Tarni Stepto successful the 5th that ended the crippled nether a rout rule.

Pitcher Yukiko Ueno #17 of Team Japan winds up for a transportation successful the archetypal inning against Australia. (Getty)

Ueno started Australia's Michelle Cox with a shot astatine 9.02am section clip earlier a astir bare Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, opening an Olympics whose viability has been repeatedly questioned.

Playing much than 200km from the main Olympics sites successful Tokyo, the teams lined up for the nationalist anthems successful a stadium with a listed capableness of 30,000 that had astir 50 spectators, presumably squad and Olympic officials, positive media.

It was 31 degrees with 60 per cent humidity for the greeting start, which had the prima successful the eyes of left-handed batters. The artificial turf made it look adjacent warmer, and Stepto pitched without a cap.

Ueno forced successful a tally successful the archetypal by hitting Chelsea Forkin with a pitch, her 2nd consecutive deed batter.

Yamamoto singled successful a tally successful the bottommost fractional and Japan took a 3-1 pb successful the 3rd erstwhile Naito fouled disconnected a 1-2 change-up, and drove a hanging change-up implicit the left-centre tract fence.

Yamazaki reached connected a grounder starring disconnected the 4th erstwhile Forkin dropped the propulsion astatine first, and Fujita drove a 1-0 transportation implicit the 220-foot obstruction successful near centre. Nodoka Harada added a sacrifice alert for a 6-1 disconnected Stepto for a 6-1 lead.

Michelle Cox #47 of Team Australia beats the propulsion to Minori Naito #14 of Team Japan. (Getty)

Australia near the bases loaded successful the 5th erstwhile reliever Miu Goto threw a called 3rd onslaught past Forkin.

In the 2nd crippled of the opening tripleheader, the top-ranked United States played No.9 Italy, and No.5 Mexico followed against No.3 Canada.

The archetypal 2 days of the softball tourney are being played astir 40 miles from the tract of a 2011 atomic powerfulness works disaster. The remainder of the tourney volition beryllium successful Yokohama, adjacent Tokyo.

Most of the astir 11,000 athletes are successful the Tokyo area.

Japan is defending softball golden medallist aft upsetting the US successful the 2008 final. Softball and shot were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. The already person been dropped for the 2024 Paris Games and are apt to beryllium restored for 2028 successful Los Angeles.

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