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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Japan Keeps Record Perfect in Softball

September 20, 2000|Associated Press

Japan scored in the eighth inning to beat Australia, 1-0, today and complete a sweep of its top three opponents in Olympic softball.

Japan is the only undefeated team left in the round-robin. It has now beaten No. 4 China, No. 2 Australia and the top-ranked United States, snapping the defending champions' 112-game winning streak.

Australia (2-1) plays the United States on Thursday in a game that has grown in importance. The top four in the eight-team tournament advance to the medal round; finishing first is no advantage over second, but the third- and fourth-place teams would have to win an extra game to win the gold medal.

Japan's last three games in the round-robin are against teams not expected to contend.

Mariko Masubichi and Juri Takayama combined on a three-hitter Australia, which had Kelly Hardie shut Japan down on three hits over the first six innings.

But Melanie Roche walked Hiroko Tamoto to lead off the eighth and, one out later, Misako Ando doubled. A walk loaded the bases and, after a strikeout, Miyo Yamada singled home the game-winner.

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