By Gary Anderson

Japan have opened their account at the Women's Baseball World Cup with a win over Australia ©WBSCThe Women's Baseball World Cup in Japan has opened up with impressive broadcast figures of the host country's clash with Australia via cable-network TV Asahi while the game was also broadcast globally online through Mexico City-based AYM Sports.

The domestic broadcasts follow growing demand for content featuring Japan's national baseball and softball teams while global webcasts have been driven by expanding interest in the bat-and-ball sports, claims the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

TV Asahi has secured the national rights to broadcast all of Japan's World Cup contests, while AYM Sports will also stream all of the defending champions' matches in a move that the WBSC claims will boost the exposure and content available for women's sport, as it continues its push for reintroduction on the Olympic programme.

Baseball and softball are among the most popular sports in Japan, host of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"This is another great result," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.

"We are working hard to expand opportunities for more women to participate in sport through softball and baseball.

"Having the support of important sponsors and broadcasters across all our disciplines is fundamental to our efforts to maximise access and introduce new pathways for women to play our sports and indeed other sports."

This year's Women's Baseball World Cup is taking place in Miyazaki and is the sixth edition of the event and the second time it is being staged in Japan following on from Matsuyama six years ago.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addresses athletes before the start of the Women's Baseball World Cup in Miyazaki ©WBSCWBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addresses athletes before the start of the Women's Baseball World Cup in Miyazaki ©WBSC

The hosts opened up their campaign with an impressive 14-0 win over Australia as they seek to defend the title they won in Edmonton, Canada, two years ago.

Japan's shortstop Miki Atsugase was the star of the show as she went three-for-three with two runs-batted-in (RBI), while being involved on a game-leading seven outs on defence

Two-time champions the United States defeated Chinese Taipei 9-0 as they look to make up for losing out to Japan in the 2010 decider.

Malaika Underwood and Tamara Holmes were the main protagonists for the Americans bagging three and two runs respectively.

Venezuela came back from 4-1 down to record a 5-4 victory over Hong Kong scoring the winning run at the bottom of the seventh and last inning.

Hong Kong capitalised on three Venezuela errors to put all four of their runs on the scoreboard in the third inning.

Alva Segovia had two hits and two RBI for Venezuela, while pitchers Kerly Perez and Day Cazorla only allowed one hit in the final four innings to help Venezuela open with a win.

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