Japan outscored Australia, 8-1 in 5 innings, and won the first big match of the U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup. Starting pitcher Miu Goto gave no-chance to Aussie line-up and left fielder Chiharu Shiharashi got two hits and scored three runs.

Chiharu Shiharashi doubled to left to lead off the second. It was the first hit of the game. With one out, first baseman Shuri Kasahara reached on an infield hit and took Shiharashi to third. Kasahara was then the second out, caught stealing second. Shortstop Ako Imamura gave Japan the lead with a base hit to left field.

A single by catcher Brooke Stewart in the bottom of the third was Australia’s first and only hit of the game. Australia will score only in the bottom of the fifth on a defensive error and against reliever Mio Sakamoto.

Japan opened the score in the top of the fourth. With one out, Shiraishi reached on a single, her second hit of the day. Australia gave the call to reliever Shinai Gibbons. Opposing pitcher Miu Goto welcomed her with a triple to left field that sent Shiraishi all the way to home plate. After Kasahara walked, a sharp liner by Imamura went just off the glove of centre fielder Isabelle Hanna and extended the lead to 4-0. Pinch hitter Yuki Kondo was all over the first pitch she saw and turned it into a three-run home run.

Shirahashi walked in the fifth, then stole a couple of bases to score her third run and the eighth for Japan.

Miu Goto at bat

Miu Goto was the winning pitcher and also batted in a run for Japan