Sports

Japan unbeatable at Softball City, win 4th straight Canadian Open title

Luisa Hernandez of Mexico reaches first base while Japan
Luisa Hernandez of Mexico reaches first base while Japan's Haruna Sakamoto looks on during a game at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship at Softball City last week at Softball City. Japan defeated Team U.S.A. 7-0 in the final Monday night.
— image credit: BOAZ JOSEPH / THE LEADER

It's four in a row for Japan, and likely its most dominant performance at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.

Team Japan capped a 10-0 (won-lost) run at Softball City with a 7-0 victory over Team U.S.A. in Monday night's championship game, a contest called after five innings on the mercy rule.

U.S.A. finished as the second place team, going 9-3 overall. Team Canada, which upset the United States 10-6 in their first playoff game Saturday night, lost to the Americans 9-2 in Monday's semifinal game and settled for a bronze medal after posting a 6-4 record.

In the championship game, Japan took an early lead on a two-out, two-run single from Yukiyo Mine in the top of the first inning.

Japanese pitcher Sayuri Yamane kept Team U.S.A. off the scored board, allowing just four hits and a walk in four and two-thirds innings pitcher, with five strikeouts.

Japan put the game away in the fifth inning, scoring five times on five hits and one error. Back-to-back two-run singles upped the difference to seven runs, and a two-out single from Haylie McCleney was all the U.S.A. could manage in their last at-bat.

Outscoring the opposition 73-11 in the 10 games, Japan was the class of the tournament in 2014.  Last season, they needed extra innings to defeat Australia 2-0 in the championship game.

The closest Japan came to losing was in a 4-2 victory over Canada in a round robin game last Thursday. Five of their 10 victories were by shutout, and only once did they surrender more than two runs, when they defeated Canada 8-4 in the playoff round Sunday night.

That loss sent Team Canada to Monday's semifinal game, where they were eliminated by Team U.S.A. in a five-inning game.

Two runs in the second inning and six more in the third game the U.S.A. a quick 8-0 lead. Canada cut the difference to six runs with a pair in the top of the fifth, but they conceded a score in the bottom half of the inning and the game ended.

- The Delta Heat '97 took second place in the Futures (U19) Gold tournament, falling 12-2 to the undefeated Beverly Bandits of Illinois in Sunday's championship game.

In the Futures Select championship game, the Washington Acers topped the Washington Nitro 7-2.

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