Australia Pacific Cup: Olympic teams advance to semifinals

Australia Pacific Cup: Olympic teams advance to semifinals
Japan finished the round robin undefeated and will play Italy in the semifinals while Mexico will take on Aussie Spirit in the second semifinal on Sunday. The winners will play the final the same day, at 1:30 p.m. local time

The Australia Pacific Cup has entered the knock-out stage with the semifinal lineups decided. World No. 2 Japan won their six games and advanced to the playoffs as the first seed, while No. 5 Mexico and No. 8 Aussie Spirit closed with a 4-2 record and finished in second and third place respectively. No. 10 Italy clinched fourth place with a clutch win over No. 6 Chinese Taipei and completes the semifinal lineup. The four Olympic teams will decide the champion of the Australia Pacific Cup 2020 edition on Sunday.

Japan and Italy will play for the first spot in the final. Both teams faced off on Friday in round robin play, with the Asian team claiming the win by a score of 2-0.

On Saturday, the Asian champions defeated the two Australian sides participating in the tournament and finished unbeaten in the round robin. The 18-year-old pitcher Miu Goto, silver medallist at the WBSC U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup 2019 in Irvine, USA had a stellar day for Japan earning the win in both contests with impressive numbers. The left-hander started the game against Australia A (the second Australian squad) and pitched four scoreless innings of one-hit ball leading her team to a 2-0 win. Later, Goto worked in relief against the Aussie Spirit, throwing a perfect shift across 2.2 innings with five strikeouts in a thrilling eight-inning, 4-3 win to secure the top spot in the standings. Mana Atsumi doubled in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning.

Meanwhile, Italy clinched their spot in the semifinals with a clutch victory against Chinese Taipei by a score of 6-3. Laura Vigna and Giulia Koutsoyanopulos went six-from-eight in the top two batting spots to ignite a 12-hit offensive attack for the European champions.

The other semifinal will be played by Mexico and hosts Aussie Spirit. During the round robin, Mexico defeated the hosts, 4-3.

The Central Americans secured second place in the round robin standings with a pair of come-from-behind victories over Chinese Taipei, 6-3, and New Zealand, 7-3, to finish with a 4-2 record.

Aussie Spirit defeated New Zealand by a score of 8-1 in the first game of the day, to keep their hopes of first place alive. However, a tough eight-inning loss against Japan sent the host team to third place in the standings.

The semifinal between Australia and Mexico, and the Australia Pacific Cup final will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS Australia. International viewers will be able to tune in through the Olympic Channel.

Day 3 Results
Italy 6-3 Chinese Taipei
Aussie Spirit 8-1 New Zealand
Japan 2-0 Australia A
Mexico 6-3 Chinese Taipei
Australia A 3-0 Italy
Mexico 6-3 New Zealand
Japan 4-3 Aussie Spirit

Finals Schedule
9:00 am – Australia A v New Zealand (6th v 7th)
10:30 am – Japan v Italy (Semifinal)
11:20 am – Aussie Spirit v Mexico (Semifinal)
11:30 am – Chinese Taipei v Winner of 6th v 7th
1:30 pm – Final

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Australia Pacific Cup: Japan sole leader after second day
Australia Pacific Cup: Japan, Aussie Spirit undefeated after Day 1
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Australia rosters announced for Australia Pacific Cup ahead of Olympic year