SHAOXING – Japan clinched their sixth consecutive Asian Games softball title in impressive style after defeating China 4-0 in the gold medal match at Shaoxing Baseball & Softball Sports Centre on Monday.
Both old and new stars stood out for Japan with starting pitcher GOTO Miu (JPN) and veteran UENO Yukiko (JPN) combining to pitch a shutout.
Double Olympic champion UENO has high hopes for the 22-year-old GOTO.
“I would like her (GOTO) to be able to go the full distance and take the title as a Japanese ace pitcher,” UENO said.
China had to settle for silver and the gulf between the two sides was evident on the night.
“I feel there is room for improvement,” said pitcher CHAI Yinan (CHN).
“There is still a slight gap between us and them (Japan), but it’s not unreachable.”
Chinese Taipei (TPE) took bronze after beating the Philippines 3-2 in a tense affair.
Right fielder LIN Feng Chen (TPE) had three runs batted in, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning that proved to be the difference for Chinese Taipei.
“I told myself I must be the hero and seize the opportunity,” LIN said.
“At crucial moments, it’s important to stay calm because everyone tends to get nervous. It would have been a regret if we lost this game.”
With Japan, China, and Chinese Taipei winning medals once again, no other country has reached the podium in softball at the Asian Games since its introduction in 1990.