The No. 2 Women’s National Softball Team of Japan chose the United States to run a training camp and play some high-level games against opponents from the Americas. After winning the championship in the Asian Pacific Cup three weeks ago, Japan crossed the ocean, continuing with its preparation to reclaim the WBSC world crown in women’s softball.
Japan will be the host nation in Chiba for the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018, and used their trip to America to get ready for the most important tournament of the year. However, they also have a long term goal: the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Japan is the only nation qualified so far for the next Olympics, being the host country. In front of the home crowd, they will try to repeat the gold medal performance from Beijing 2008, the last softball appearance in the Summer Games.
A Japanese team in California
Japan ended on Sunday a two-week, 11-game tour in California, including two matchups against No. 7 Mexico.
During the first weekend in American soil, Japan swept the series against the Mexican Senior and Junior National Teams, in a pair of doubleheaders at Barber Field in Irvine. The first day of competitions, the number two team in the world defeated Mexico U-19 by 4-1; and after that they shutout the Senior National Team by 2-0. The second day was a slugfest for the Japanese team, with victories by 15-1 over the U-19 and 13-3 against the senior Mexican team.
After that, Japan played seven games against some of the top NCAA universities, plus a three game series against the USSSA Pride, from the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF). Japan defeated Fordham University, UCLA and Oregon, tied its game against the NCAA champions Oklahoma, and lost the series against the Pride by two games to one, in their only two losses of the tour.