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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:27, August 31, 2006
China, U.S., Japan and Australia extend winning streak
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Hosts China, defending champions the United States, Japan and Australia all beat their rivals to gain their fourth consecutive victory Wednesday in Women's Softball World Championship Wednesday, which is the first Olympic test event in Beijing.

China beat New Zealand 6-0 with a flying start, with all bases loaded and no out, but they squandered the chance to run. After two scoreless innings, China established a 1-0 lead over Zhang Ai's RBI single.

In a more aggressive game in the fifth, China burst up to score four runs. Chinese captain Li Chunxia hit a RBI double before she was driven home by Lu Yi's two-run double.

Substitute Jiang Xin contributed another RBI single then to upset New Zealand 5-0. Li Chunxia posted a RBI single in the closing sixth to seal China their fourth victory in the round-robin matches in Pool A consisting of eight teams.

New Zealand made four errors in the game to surrender their chance of scoring in the second inning with bases loaded and two out.

"Not good. My team did not play out what they should have," New Zealand coach Mike Walsh said.

"I just wanna use all my team and try to give others some chances," Walsh told when was asked of the substitution arrangement.

"We'll regroup and plan for next games. I'll see. "

US swept past Britain 7-0 to claim their fourth win. The defending champions were propelled by Jessica Mendoza's three-run homer and a two-run triple by Laura Berg to stun Britain with 5-0 lead.

Crystl Bustos singled to send Caitlin Lowe and Natasha Watley home in the fourth to cap the game in 7-0 to impose Britain their third loss.

US pitcher Jamie Southern tossed a complete game, only allowing one hit.

British starter Heather Brown pitched three innings, striking out one and giving up five runs and five hits. Reliever Stacie Townsend gave up two runs and three hits.

"I thought we were much, much more relaxed than the game with China, even (when) facing the best team in the world. We played well, but if we make the same mistakes when playing the United States, they punish you. You have to play perfect," Britain coach Craig Montvidas said.

Japan thrashed Netherlands 10-0 to extend their unbeaten stretch with an offensive game. They built a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a home run by Eri Yamada.

Aki Uenishi doubled to drive Ayumi Karino to home plate before running home on Yamada's double, followed by Sachiko Ito's one-run double sending Yamada home in the third to expand the lead to 4-0.

Japan got another burst in the fourth inning with six runs. Megu Hirose and Yuka Suzuki gained two runs before Satoko Mabuchi hit two RBI double. Ito contributed another two-run homer to cap the game.

Pitcher Yuko Endo tossed the game with two strikeouts, allowing only one hit against ten hits, ten runs and one walk rendered by Dutch pitchers.

"Yesterday we didn't get good batting. I changed the batting sequence today, and it worked. Actually I think it is the best game for us till now, and I'm satisfied," said Hidetomi Ikawa, coach of Japan.

Australia cruiesd past minnows Botswana 9-0 to keep a par with China, United States and Japan.

In other games, Italy (1-3) edged out South Africa (0-4) 6-2 to take their first victory; Greece (2-2) picked up a 7-0 win over abandoned Colombia; Venezuela (3-1) edged out Chinese Taipei (1-3) 3-2; Canada (3-1) upset DPR Korea (1-3) 2-0.

The championship will hand out four berths for Beijing Olympic Games excluding the hosts China.

Source: Xinhua

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