TOKYO – The games’ first competition started with a ball and ended with a home run.
Michelle Cox, the Australian softball team’s first hitter, took a low blow from Japanese pitcher Yukiko Ueno at an empty stadium in Fukushima on Wednesday in the first competitive act of the Tokyo Olympics.
The pitch – after a bit of pre-match pageantry that included the introduction of several officials and dignitaries – officially kicked off an edition of the Games that had been brewing for years and was delayed for a year by the pandemic of coronavirus.
It was also Australia’s last offensive highlight. Japan responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, two in the third and three in the fourth. And when Yu Yamamoto hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, Japan’s lead was 8-1 and the leniency rule was invoked, ending the game.