The White Sox have broken two-decade long shackles when they beat Chinese Taipei in a must-win game at the Women's Softball World Championships in Surrey, Canada, yesterday.
The Kevin Gettins-coached Sox booked an entry into the top eight with a 4-0 victory. The win means they avoid the desperate scenario of having to beat back-to-back world champions Japan today.
The pitcher-dominated match was scoreless until the New Zealand batters came alive at the top of the sixth inning.
Kingsley Avery took third base to lead off the inning, when captain Ellie Cooper bunted her to second before taking ownership through a fielder's choice to second base.
Lara Andrews bunted the two runners over to bring Hailey Breakwell to the plate. The powerhouse hitter sent the ball to the fence, scoring Avery for the first run.
Taipei read a suicide squeeze to catch out Cooper at third base. First base Jennifer Feret walked to bring up pitcher killer Mikayla Werahiko, who doubled down leftfield line scoring two further runs. Katrina Nukunuku drove in Werahiko for the fourth.
Left-handed Rita Hokianga was sublime on the mound, giving up five hits and taking 10 strikeouts.
Gettins' tactical ploy to disadvantage predominantly left-handed Taipei batters yielded dividends. World No 5 Taipei recently implemented a four-team women's professional league in anticipation of softball regaining entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
New Zealand play Japan at 3.30pm (NZ time) today.