Japan solidifies status as baseball power with Women’s World Cup win

Complementing Japan’s bronze medal at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the Japanese women’s team has claimed a gold medal at the 2014 Women’s Baseball World Cup. Known as “Madonna Japan”, the squad posted an undefeated mark on home soil.

With the gold medal game in front of 14,500 fans at Sun Marine Stadium, Japan blanked the United States by a 3-0 mark, while Australia bested Canada for the bronze medal. Of note, the gold medal triumph marked the 13 consecutive World Cup win for Japan in World Cup play. The streak dates back to 2012 at the World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, when the United States defeated Japan in an opening round-robin contest.

Japan capitalized on two errors from the US, which provided the squad with a pair of unearned runs. It was part of a remarkable pitching battle between 17-year-old American pitcher Sarah Hudek and Ayami Sato. Hudek gave a valiant performance, allowing four hits over six innings, along with four walks.

Despite outhitting Japan seven to four, the US could not claim its third World Cup title (having also won in 2004 and 2006). Sato logged the complete game shutout against the US. For her efforts, which included a 2-0 record and ten strikeouts, she was the recipient of the World Cup’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Keeping their position atop the IBAF World Rankings, Japan has claimed its fourth consecutive World Cup victory (dating back to 2008). At the 2014 edition of the World Cup, Japan was nothing short of dominant, outscoring opponents by a 63-2 combined score. The only country to score against Japan was Canada. Of note, the team had a combined .421 average while committing just one error.