Stacey Porter and Aussie Spirit qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo bound: It was mission accomplished for Stacey Porter, here leading Australia out, and her Aussie Spirit side as they secured an Olympic berth. Photo: WBSC
Tokyo bound: It was mission accomplished for Stacey Porter, here leading Australia out, and her Aussie Spirit side as they secured an Olympic berth. Photo: WBSC

It has been a long journey but Stacey Porter could be chasing a third Olympic Games medal next year after leading Australia to victory in the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier in China.

Softball was cut from the Olympic schedule after the 2008 games in Beijing, but was reinstated for the 2020 games in Tokyo back in 2016.

"I waited for 12 years to return to the Olympics and it is so rewarding to be back at the Tokyo Olympics," Porter told the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

"It was not an easy path but the girls stuck in there and we worked hard to qualify. They fully deserve the slot."

After winning silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008, the Tamworth export is aiming for gold in Tokyo.

"It is not going to be easy, but we are determined to emerge tops this time around," she said.

Now 38, she said she is "far from quitting the game".

"I simply love the game too much. I will be around as long as I can contribute," she said.

She didn't have much time to celebrate the achievement as she had to fly straight to Japan to link up with her club side.

The Aussies secured their spot with wins over Chinese Taipei 5-1, Indonesia 8-0, Hong Kong 8-0, Philippines 7-0 and China 9-3.

It was a shaky start in their final game with China scoring in the first innings.

However, as has been the case for the entire tournament, the Aussie bats caught fire to blitz their way past their final opponent.

Stacey McManus and Clare Warwick recorded hits with Leigh Godfrey blasting a triple for the Aussie Spirit to run in five scoring plays and regain control of the game in the bottom of the second.

China closed the gap to two runs in the top of the fourth to get back into the ball game 5-3, but Australia answered immediately as Porter drove home two runners off a single and dashed home herself off a Carmie Sorensen double to wrestle the game back. They added another for good measure to end the innings up 9-3.

Kaia Parnaby pitched the entire game to keep China to three and seal the deal for the Aussie Spirit in the top of the seventh inning.

Australia joins the United States, Italy, Japan, Canada and Mexico as the six competing nations at the Games, and will be shooting for a fifth medal in as many appearances following bronze in 1996, bronze in 2000, silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008.

The softball will commence two days prior to the opening ceremony from 22-28 July 2020 at Fukushima Azuma and Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

Softball Australia

This story Aussie softballers qualify for 2020 Olympics first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.