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Australia Pacific Cup: Fujita shines as Japan claims title

Australia Pacific Cup: Fujita shines as Japan claims title
02/02/2020
World No. 2 Japan team defeated Australia 7-0 in six innings to win the Australia Pacific Cup for the second time.

Yamato Fujita pitched six scoreless innings and Minori Naito produced three runs to lead Japan to a 7-0 victory over world No. 8 Australia in the final of the Australia Pacific Cup on Sunday. The world No. 2 team claimed the title for the second time having won the inaugural edition in 2018. China claimed the honours in 2019.

Japan shutout Australia behind another stellar performance by Fujita, who pitched six innings and allowed only three hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. The right-handed pitcher was named after the tournament the Best Player of the Final.

Japan, who dominated the Australia Pacific Cup winning all of their eight games played throughout the week, advanced to the final after a close 3-2 win over Italy in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Australia beat Mexico, 3-2, in an extra innings.

Fujita was also the winner against Italy, pitching four innings. Saki Yamazaki plated the three Japanese runs, with a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the third. Italy scored twice in the sixth with a two-run double off the bat of Andrea Howard.

In the other semifinal, Leigh Godfrey hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to the right field to plate the game-winning run. Mexico took the lead in the second with a two-RBI double by Estefania Aradillas but the host team tied the game with RBI singles by Chelsea Forkin and Godfrey. Ellen Roberts tossed two innings in relief to win the game for Australia.

In the other games on Sunday, Australia A beat New Zealand 9-1 to advance to the playoff with Chinese Taipei for the fifth and sixth positions, which they won 7-2.

After the final game, the Australia Pacific Cup individual awards were announced. Stacey Porter was named MVP of the tournament, Australian lefty Kaia Parnaby was named the best pitcher, while Japanese infield Hitomi Kawabata was the best hitter.

Final standings

  1. Japan
  2. Aussie Spirit
  3. Mexico
  4. Italy 
  5. Australia A
  6. Chinese Taipei
  7. New Zealand 

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