(ATR) For the first time in the history of the Women's Baseball World Cup two Asian squads will compete for the gold medal.
Japan has qualified for all finals, eight in total including this one at the Space Coast Complex stadium in Viera, Florida.
Japan’s extraordinary pitcher, Ayami Sato, 28, could win her fifth gold medal and possibly third MVP of the tournament.
She has confessed that she dreams the Baseball Hall of Fame will recognize her accomplishments.
The championship Game between Japan and Taipei begins at 1800 EDT. Canada defeat USA 8-5 for the bronze medal.
In the consolation round of play this week, the Cuban team ended the tournament in eighth place with three consecutive wins in the consolation round.The wins came despite the apparent defections of two of their stellar players and one of the team's coaches.
"I will never forget that defeat to Hong Kong, we were one strike away from the triumph and the pass to the final," Margarita Mayeta, the head of the Cuban delegation and head of women's baseball in Cuba, tells ATR.
The consolation round was led by Australia, seventh, a team that in 2010 had played the gold medal game against Japan, bronze medal in 2014, and five times semifinalist.
Watching from the grandstands this week was film director Francis Ford Coppola. A baseball fan, his winery is also a sponsor of the tournament.
"Women need a chance," says the legendary filmmaker about the baseball tournament. He backs a minor league team in Sonoma, California. Coppola met with journalists and fans sitting in the stands behind home plate this week.
Reported byEd Hula in Viera, Florida.
Coverage of the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup is made possible in part by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.