Michelle Cox from Australia crashes into USA infielder Lauren Gibson after a close call at second base during round robin play at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch tournament. Team U.S.A. defeated Australia 6-1 this afternoon to qualify for tonight's championship game against Team Japan at 6:30 p.m.

U.S.A to face Japan for Canadian Open championship

Team Canada eliminated, places fourth

The only team to defeat Team U.S.A. at Softball City this week will have to do it a third time to claim the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship tonight at Softball City.

Team Japan, 4-3 winners over the Americans in this this morning’s semifinal game, will face the U.S.A. again in the women’s championship contest at 6:30 p.m. Japan defeated the U.S.A. 1-0 nine days ago, before losing their second round robin contest 5-1 last Tuesday.

Team U.S.A. stayed alive in this weekend’s double knockout playoff by blasting Australia 6-1 this afternoon. Australia scored in the bottom of the first inning on a home run from Stacey Porter, but managed just three hits the rest of the way. Team U.S.A. tied the game in the third inning, took the lead with a run in the fourth, them crossed the plate three more times in the sixth frame.

Australia eliminated Canada 8-1 in the second of two games played this morning. Kaleigh Rafter of Guelph, Ontario drove in Canada’s lone run.

The loss left Canada in fourth position at the eight-team tournament.

Three championship games will be played at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Softball City. The Japan/U.S.A. women’s final will be on Diamond One, with the Futures (under-19) Gold and Showcase (under-16) Gold finals on Diamonds Two and Three respectively.

The California Worth Firecrackers have qualified for the Futures final, and will play either the Canadian National Youth Team or the Southern California Breakers. Canada and the Breakers playoff at 4 p.m.

The Abbotsford Outlaws ’96 are in the Showcase final, awaiting the winner of a 4 p.m. contest between the Richmond Islanders ’95 and Hawaii Lokahi.

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