Aust softballers 'playing a little scared'

Captain Stacey Porter got Australia's only run in a costly 7-1 loss to Canada in Olympic softball.
Captain Stacey Porter got Australia's only run in a costly 7-1 loss to Canada in Olympic softball.

Australian skipper Stacey Porter says her team look like they are "playing a little scared" after hopes of a first Olympic softball gold medal went out the window with a second big loss.

After getting back on even keel with a win over Italy following a heavy opening defeat by Japan, the Aussie Spirit bombed against Canada, falling 7-1 in Saturday's match in Tokyo.

With the top two countries in the six-team competition advancing directly to Tuesday's medal matches, the second failure ended Australia's chances of gold.

The Spirit have a proud history to uphold, having won a silver and three bronze medals in their four previous Olympic campaigns.

Porter, who crossed for the sole run in their first turn at bat, said her team would now focus on bringing home a bronze medal.

"We got off to a good start again, which is what we planned on doing, and then we just couldn't hold them down," three-time Olympian Porter told Seven Network.

"There's a few things to work on and yes the gold medal is gone but there's still another medal chance so we will be fighting for that now."

Porter said the team need to "go and have a good hard look at ourselves".

"We look like we're playing a little bit scared ... so we will reflect individually as there's something that needs to happen with each of us to change that around on the diamond," she said.

Coach Laing Harrow wanted to see more from his batters and while they had no trouble getting on base, with six hits, they were unable to convert the pressure into runs.

Both of their first and second innings ended with bases loaded, with Porter the only player reaching home plate.

Fielding errors proved crucial while the Canadians twice benefited from hits bouncing over the centre-field fence for a ground rule double to bring players home.

Resting star pitcher Kaia Parnaby, the Australians failed to find their early rhythm, with Ellen Roberts replaced by Gabbie Plain after facing just five batters for two runs by Canada.

Trailing 1-3 at the top of the second innings, the Australians again loaded up the bases but Canada brought captain Jenna Caira to the pitching plate and she managed to strike out big-hitting Taylor Tsitsikronis.

A repeat of a throwing error and a big hit from Erika Polidori over the same spot in centre field saw Canada storm to a 6-1 lead heading into the third innings.

While the Spirit tightened up defensively for the remainder of the match the damage was done.

Australia next face gold medal favourites USA on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press