The 51st season of the Japan Women’s Softball League (JWSL) kicked off this weekend with six games in the Nagoya Dome. The first three games were played on Sunday, in front of a huge crowd of 12.855 enthusiast fans; while the other three matches were held yesterday.

Twelve teams will play a total of 22 games each to complete the 2018 regular season of the JWSL, with the top four advancing to the playoffs for the title. The round robin will end on October 21, while the page system playoff will be played 17-18 November, in the Meiji Jingu Stadium, in Tokyo.

The JWSL is one of the most important pro leagues in the world, with some of the biggest stars in the game competing for the title, including players from Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and USA.

All the games of the opening weekend were streamed in the JWSL website, where the 144 regular season games will be covered.

Last year Bic Camera Takasaki Bee Queen earned the title, beating Taiyo Yuden Solfille in the final, by 3-0. Japanese star Yukiko Ueno was the MVP of the season, with a 0.53 ERA, and a 13-0 record over the season.

Opening weekend scores

March 31

  • Toyota Motors Red Terriers 3-0 Toyota Shokki Shining Vega
  • Shionogi Popon Gals 4-0 Ogaki Minamo Softball Club
  • Bic Camera Takasaki Bee Queen 3-0 Taiyo Yuden Solfille

April 1

  • Iyo Bank Vertz 7-2 Honda Reverta
  • Hitachi Sundiva 1-6 Denso Bright Pegasus
  • SG Holdings Galaxy Stars 2-1 Toda Medics

In addition, to promote men’s softball in the country, the Japanese Softball Association featured a special exhibition match between the Japan Men’s University Selected team and the Japan Men’s Softball League Selected team to close the first day of competition.

It’s the first of many important softball events to be held in Japan this year, highlighted by the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship, scheduled to happen in Chiba from 2-12 August, where the champion will earn a berth in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.