GB Women lose third game at Worlds to Japan

Sun 5 Aug 2018

By Bob Fromer

Sunday 5 August – The GB Women’s Team dropped its third straight game at the 16th WBSC Women’s World Championship this evening (Japanese time) at the Zett.A. Ballpark, losing 6-0 to Japan. 

Although GB pitchers have done well, and the team has played good defense, with only two errors in three games, offense has been the problem.  GB has yet to score a run, and only has nine hits over those three outings.

Four of them have been by second base player Nerissa Myers, two by Kendyl Scott, and two by Lauren Evans, who have been the top three batters in GB’s order.  GB’s only other hit, against China, came from Chloe Wigington.

To reach the Championship playoff round which begins on Friday 10 August, GB will probably have to win all four of its remaining games in the first round-robin, against Italy tomorrow, Botswana and Australia on Tuesday and Venezuela on Wednesday.

It’s certainly the easier end of GB’s schedule after games against Canada, China and Japan, but “easier” is very much a relative term.

Thursday 9 August will be a rest day for all teams.


Quick start

GB stayed with the Japanese in this game, and were never over-run, but Japan had too much firepower, scoring runs in five of the seven innings on 11 hits, including two doubles, a triple and two home runs.

The host team started early, with two runs in the top of the first inning off GB pitcher Carling Hare.  Carling retired the first two Japanese hitters, but then Saki Yamazaki doubled to left centre field and clean-up hitter Yu Yamamoto, one of the best players in the world, hit a long home run over the left field fence.

In the bottom of the second inning, with one out, Japanese pitcher Yamato Fujita belted another long home run to centre field and catcher Haruka Agatsuma singled.  This brought Georgina Corrick to the circle to replace Carling Hare, and though Georgina gave up two quick singles through the left side of the infield to Mina Atsumi and Misato Kiwano, loading the bases, she struck out Yuka Ichiguchi and Saki Yamazaki, both swinging, to end the inning without further scoring.

Georgina then pitched the remainder of the game, retiring the Japanese in order in the third and fifth innings, and giving up single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh, striking out seven in 5.2 innings – a creditable performance against the best or second-best team in the world (we’ll know at the end of the tournament).


Quiet bats

Meanwhile, Japan’s right-handed starter, Yamato Fujita, had a perfect game through six innings, with the first 18 GB batters going up and down in order.

Fujita finally wavered in the bottom of the seventh inning, and GB, down 6-0, loaded the bases with no one out.

Steph Pearce drew a walk in a pinch-hitting role and Kendyl Scott and Lauren Evans followed with singles.  A run seemed possible, and optimists may even have been thinking of a rally that would get GB back in the game.

But Fujita pulled herself together, got Chiya Louie to ground into a force out at the plate, then struck out Chelsea D’Avilar and Kirsten Mack to preserve the shutout.

GB has yet to score a run in the tournament in three games, and Japan has yet to give up a run in four.


Scores

Scores from today’s games are:

Pool A
USA 11, Netherlands 0 (4 inns)
Puerto Rico 12, Chinese Taipei 11
Philippines 5, Netherlands 4
Mexico 8, South Africa 0 (5 inns)
USA 7, New Zealand 0 (5 inns)

Pool B
Italy 8, Botswana 0 (5 inns)
Australia 2, Canada 0
China 6, Venezuela 0
Japan 6, GB 0


Standings

Below are the first-round pool standings after Day 4 of the competition:

Pool A
Puerto Rico (4-0)
USA (4-0)
Mexico (2-1)
Philippines (2-2)
Netherlands (1-3)
New Zealand (0-3)
South Africa (0-4)

The USA and Puerto Rico won’t meet until Wednesday, the last day of the opening round-robin phase, and that could be an interesting game.  But Puerto Rico also have to play Mexico tomorrow in what should be a close encounter.

Pool B
Japan (4-0)
Australia (3-1)
Canada (3-1)
China (3-1)
Venezuela (1-3)
Italy (1-3)
GB (0-3)
Botswana (0-3)

While Japan have had a relatively easy time so far, they will play Canada on Tuesday and Australia on Wednesday, and those games should provide the first real tests for the hosts in their bid to regain the World Championship title they lost to the Americans in 2016 in Canada.
 

Photos by Simon Mortimer

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