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Olympics

Aussies smashed by Japan in Olympic softball opener

Australia’s softball facet have opened the Tokyo Olympics with a crushing 8-1 loss to Japan in Fukushima, the place the mercy rule was invoked.

Yu Yamamoto cleared the fence early within the backside of the fifth innings, boosting her facet’s result in seven runs and ending the match within the course of.

Dwelling runs from Minori Naito and Yamato Fujita, within the third and fourth innings respectively, gave Japan management of proceedings as empty stands and restricted fanfare marked the beginning of the 2021 Video games.

Pitcher Mana Kuwabara and catcher Himeno Miyata, native faculty college students who skilled the area’s earthquake in 2011, mixed for the ceremonial first pitch.

Australia coach Laing Harrow described the duty of launching the Video games as a “privilege” for his expenses, who’ve waited for his or her sport to return to the Olympics since 2008.

The sense of event didn’t spook the Spirit, who performed with extra composure than the reigning Olympic medallists in the course of the first dig.

An uncharacteristically skittish begin from pitcher Yukiko Ueno, whose record of accomplishments embody the one seven-inning good sport within the historical past of the Olympics, helped the guests seize momentum.

Ueno walked Stacey Porter then hit batters Taylah Tsitsikronis and Chelsea Forkin.

The blow to Forkin’s arm got here with bases loaded, that means Michelle Cox scored the opening run of the event.

Japan levelled the rating on the finish of the primary innings, when catcher Tsitsikronis was referred to as for obstruction as Naito scored the primary of three runs.

The sport remained locked at 1-1 till Naito smashed a two-run homer off Kaia Parnaby.

Australia, who by no means recovered from that blow, subsequent face Italy in Thursday’s late sport.

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