Japan piled the pressure on the Aussies from the first inning, plating three runs in the first two innings to gain momentum.
Australia has been far from dominated in the past two games against one of the world’s best teams, however Japan’s ability to execute in key situations proved the difference.
Despite not having his best on the night, Australian starting pitcher Tim Atherton denied Japan the opportunity to put up big offensive numbers.
For the most part I was throwing strikes and my cutter was there,” Atherton said.
“I struggled with my curveball a little bit tonight. We don’t get the opportunity much to play in an atmosphere like this, so I try to take it in as much as I can.”
🇦🇺 @lukehughes38 😎 Slick. @teamausbaseball pic.twitter.com/ZgBa85KwOp
— ⚾ WBSC (@WBSC) March 4, 2018
The top of the Japanese lineup impressed one again, with Go Matsumoto and Shogo Akiyama both driving in multiple runs.
One of Australia’s strengths in their game in Nagoya was their perfect defence, however a trio of uncharacteristic errors enabled Japan to maintain the ascendency.
In the late stages of the ballgame, Team Australia blooded a number of debutants including pitchers Greg Mosel and Sam Holland which in turn set the foundations for crucial upcoming international competitions.
Australia has gained invaluable experience against one of the most dominant teams in international baseball as they gear up for multiple international events including the 2019 Premier12, the 2020 Olympics and the 2021 World Baseball Classic.
Watch this space, this is only the beginning of our journey.