The White Sox have started their Asia Pacific Cup campaign off in promising fashion despite two losses thanks to some strong performances from veterans Lara Andrews and Jennifer Feret-Brear.
The New Zealand women's softball team, who are fielding five debutants in their 15-strong squad at the tournament, were comfortably beaten 5-1 by China in their first game in Sydney after they managed to convert on a prime hitting situation.
After going ahead 1-0 in the first innings China added four runs in their next at-bat when Ying Lu smashed a grand slam to centre field.
Despite the early rush, China couldn't manufacture any more runs off relief pitcher Erin Blackmore but it proved to be enough.
New Zealand, who are currently ranked 11th in the WBSC world rankings, showed some life in the fourth innings when captain Andrews sparked things with a one-out double before Feret-Brear brought the run home with an RBI single to centre.
After the loss to eighth-ranked China, the White Sox returned to the diamond to square off with hosts Australia last night and were engaged in a tightly-contested contest that was forced to go to extra innings.
The Aussie Spirit, who finished fourth at last year's world championships, managed to take a 1-0 lead in the second innings thanks to a costly error but they were kept in check thereafter by Feret-Brear who pitched the entire game.
The White Sox finally locked the game up in the sixth innings when Andrews launched a solo home run over the left field fence for her third hit of the match, forcing the game to go to a tiebreaker with the scores locked at 1-1.
The White Sox managed to load the bases in their at-bat but couldn't bring a run home, giving the Aussies a chance to win the game.
They did just that, scoring on a wild pitch.
Despite the results, manager Aroha Metcalf said they were feeling positive about the results.
"It was two tough games in 39 degree heat," she said.
"We were competitive and played some great ball."
The White Sox are back in action today with games against World No.2 Japan and sixth-ranked Chinese Taipei this afternoon.