Blacktown may be one of the more isolated Olympic venues - but
it failed to keep the fans away for Australia's make-or-break
clash against Japan.
Somewhat surprisingly for those who are new to it, softball remains
one of the most popular world-wide sports - in terms of participation.
According to the International Softball Federation, there are over
50 million registered players. Oh, and the ball isn't soft.
There are four different types of the game, though only one is
played at the Olympics: women's fast-pitch.
It resembles baseball in virtually every sense - except
that the pitcher can only throw the ball under-arm. Japanese pitcher
Mariko Masubuchi was notching up speeds of close to 70mph
on Tuesday and although that's around 20mph less than in Major League
baseball, softball pitchers throw 20 feet closer to the batter.
Japan's 1-0 victory places them in pole position for a medal.
Their draw has not been kind - but they have now defeated all three
of the major players - China, the USA and Australia.
The top four teams from the round-robin tournament progress
through to the knockout stages and though Japan have yet
to lose, coach Taeko Utsugi said she had no intention of allowing
her team to ease up.