Japan Women’s Softball League to open awaited 2020 season on 5 September

Japan Women’s Softball League to open awaited 2020 season on 5 September
Originally scheduled to happen on 28 March, JWSL's opening day has been delayed the last five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Japan Women’s Softball League (JWSL) 2020 season is set to open on Saturday, 5 September, with 12 teams taking the field over the inaugural weekend. The 53rd edition of the league will close on 8 November with the final game.

The JWSL is one of the top professional softball leagues in the world, with some of the biggest stars in the game competing in Japan, including international players from Australia, Czech Republic, Mexico and USA. 

A total of 12 teams will compete in the shortened 2020 season: Bic Camera Bee Queen (defending champions), Toyota Motor Red Terriers, Denso Bright Pegasus, Toda Medics, Hitachi Sundiva, Iyo Bank Vertz, Honda Reverta, Toyota Shokki Shining Vega, Taiyo Yuden Solfille, SG Holdings Galaxy Stars, Shionogi Popon Gals and the Nippon Seiko Brave Bearies.

The first half of the 2020 season, originally slated to run 28 March to 26 April, was cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The opening weekend will take place at Yamato Stadium in Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, just 13 miles away from Yokohama Baseball Stadium, one of two venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball and softball competitions.

This is the opening weekend schedule:

September 5th (Sat)

  • 10:30 - Shionogi Popon Gals vs Denso Bright Pegasus
  • 13:00 - Taiyo Yuden Solfille vs Toyota Shokki Shining Vega
  • 15:30 - Honda Reverta vs Hitachi Sundiva

September 6th (Sun)

  • 10: 30 - SG Holdings Galaxy Stars vs Toda Medics
  • 13:00 - Toyota Motors Red Terriers vs BicCamera Takasaki Bee Queen
  • 15:30 - Iyo Bank Vertz vs Nippon Seiko Brave Bearies

Tickets are on sale to watch the JWSL games. The league will carry out temperature measurement, while fans must wear face masks at all times, disinfect and wash their hands, respect social distancing and avoid close contact.

The finals will be played from 7-8 November at Paloma Mizuho Baseball Stadium in Nagoya with the top five teams in the opening round playing for the championship. Fourth and fifth place finishers will open the final stage in Game 1, with the winner advancing to face the regular season third-place finisher in Game 3. For Game 2, the first and second place teams in the standings will play for a spot in the final, with the loser falling into the second semi-final, waiting for the team coming from Game 3.

Yukiko Ueno’s Bic Camera Bee Queen claimed the title in 2019, with a 1-0 victory over Honda Reverta in the final. Ueno went the distance, while slugger Yu Yamamoto produced the only run of the game with a grounder to second base, allowing Yuka Ichiguchi to score the tournament-winning run.