The Aussie Spirit players gained some valuable experience against high-quality opposition as they split a four-game series against a Japanese professional team in Adelaide over the Australia Day weekend.
Spirit Head Coach Fabian Barlow was impressed by the standard of play both of his team and Denso Bright Pegasus, a team featuring several players who may be vying for spots on the Japanese National Team at the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship in August.
After losing game one 2-0, the Spirit offence came alive for games two and three, winning 8-1 and 10-2. Denso bounced back with a 3-2 win in the final game to square the series at two wins each.
Barlow said a pleasing factor of the Spirit’s performance was the good form shown by some players who had been out of the Spirit squad for a while. “Georgia Casey, Michelle Cox, Jade Wall and Melinda Weaver – all of them had been out of the national team for two-plus years, and it was good to see them get a taste of high-level competition and perform well.”
The Spirit offence was led by Taylah Tsitsikronis, who had seven hits for the tournament, including three home runs. Pitching duties were shared mainly between Amelia Cudicio and Ellen Roberts, who each won one game.
Barlow believes the Denso series was exactly what his team needed as they prepare for the Asia Pacific Cup in Sydney this week.
“With the Asia Pacific Cup featuring three Asian teams, our players had a chance to gain some valuable experience against the Asian style of game, which is different to what they’re used to,” he said.
“Denso had some quality pitching, which gave our hitters some opportunities to get a taste of what they are likely to find at the APC and in other tournaments this year.”
While the Denso series is a new venture for Australian softball, Barlow hopes it becomes a regular feature on the calendar. “We love to have quality teams coming out here. It’s great for us to get strong competition. I hope Denso can work something out with Softball SA and make it out here again.”
Denso 1 0 0 0 1 – 2
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
Hits: Denso – Matsuki (hr), Enomoto, Okuda, Tanaka, Kohne; Australia – Casey 2, Godfrey, Tsitsikronis, Warwick.
WP: M. Yamaguchi; LP: A. Cudicio.
Denso 1 0 0 0 0 – 1
Australia 2 0 0 0 6 – 8
Hits: Australia – Godfrey 3, Tsitsikronis 2 (2 hr), Wall 2, Weaver, Cox McManus; Denso – Kojima 2, Yamane 2, Yoshimatsu.
WP: E. Roberts; LP: N. Hara.
Australia 1 2 0 0 4 3 – 10
Denso 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 2
Hits: Australia – Casey 3, Tsitsikronis 2 (hr), Godfrey, Weaver, Wall, Warwick, Cox; Denso – Matsuki, Ecomoto, Tanaka, Yamazawa, Kemmochi.
WP: A. Cudicio; LP: M. Tatsumi.
Australia 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 2
Denso 0 0 2 1 0 0 x – 3
Hits: Denso – Kemmochi 3, Okuda, Matsuki, Kojima; Australia – Tsitsikronis 2, Casey, Wall, Cox, McManus.
WP: N. Hara; LP: E. Roberts.