NANJING, CHINA – Japan had to rally from one-run down and got a run in the top of the eighth inning to successfully defend its International Softball Federation (ISF) Jr. Women’s World Championship title by defeating the United States, 3-2 here on Monday afternoon. The same two teams had met for the title at the last event as well (1999), when Japan reversed their fortunes from the 1995 event when the USA blanked them 3-0.

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Final standings
Head-to-head round robin results
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Yesterday's recap

The two teams have now faced each other in the gold medal game of the 19-and- under fast pitch event in five of the seven ISF Jr. Women’s World Championships, which is played every four years.

Under the international tiebreaker rule, beginning with the top of the eighth, a runner is placed on second base to start each half inning, and Japan converted theirs in the first extra inning, with Kumi Suzuki scoring on Yuri Masuyama’s single. The bottom of the eighth inning saw the United States go three and out, with the runner left on third base, and the team left waiting for their silver medals at the Closing Ceremonies.

Japan had opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second, only to see the U.S. come right back with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Japan tied the game in the top of the fifth, leaving the game tied at two.

Yuir Kashima pitched the first two innings for Japan, with Moe Yamazaki going the rest of the way. Monica Abbott went the distance and took the loss for the Americans.

The Australians picked up their second Jr. Women’s World Championship bronze medal by virtue of their 7-0, six-inning loss to the United States this morning. The Aussies had also finished third at the 1995 event.

The U.S. got all the runs they’d need in the top of the third inning when they scored four times. The Americans would also add single tallies in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.

The scoring began when Lisa Dodd hit a two-out double to score Norrelle Dickson and Emily Zaplatosch. Dodd was scored on the next at-bat when Andrea Duran crushed a home run to left field.

Jackie Rinehart led off the top of the fourth with a bunt single, and would move to the other corner after a stolen base and a wild pitch. She came home on a Caitlin Benyi ground out.

In the fifth, Jodi Legaspi’s RBI single brought the third Australia pitching change.

The scoring wrapped up in the sixth when Benyi doubled in Caitlin Lowe.

The U.S. had hit three homers en route to a 4-0 win when these two teams met in the first round of the playoffs.

The VII ISF Jr. Women’s World Championship was the first event to be played in the new softball stadium on the campus of Nanjing University of Technology, and marked the first time that a softball world championship took place in China.




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