Hosts China survived an early scare before beating New Zealand 8-3 in their opening match of the Asia/Oceania softball qualifier for Tokyo 2020. The Kiwis, who performed a haka before the game, raced into a surprise 3-0 lead against the world number eight side who many consider tournament favorites. Olympic Fans who want to watch the live competition of Olympic Softball can get Olympic Softball Tickets online.
“It is not the best way to chalk a win, but I am glad we recovered from the early deficit to get back into the game,” China’s American coach Corey Myers said.
“We have tougher games ahead, and in a way, I am glad we had to come from behind to win because it will serve us well for our remaining tough games. The players showed good character to get back into the game despite having some defensive issues in the early stages. In the end, it was a great start to the tournament, but we have to keep on improving.”
China’s play was riddled with defensive mistakes but they turned things around, with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. The other match in Group A at the Shanghai Chongming Sports Training Center saw the Philippines thrash South Korea 10-1.
In Group B, Chinese Taipei, the highest-ranked side at the event at number six in the world, were beaten 5-1 by world number seven Australia. There was also success for Hong Kong, who piped Indonesia 6-5. The top two teams from each group qualify for the super round phase where results will carry over.
Only the winners of the event will qualify for Tokyo 2020, where both baseball and softball are returning to the Olympic program following their axing after Beijing 2008. They will complete a six-team line-up in Tokyo which so far includes hosts Japan, world champions the United States, America’s qualifiers Canada and Mexico and European qualifiers Italy.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation event continues tomorrow. In Group A China takes on the Philippines with South Korea playing New Zealand while Australia will lock horns with Indonesia in Group B where Chinese Taipei faces Hong Kong.
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