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SYDNEY 2000 SUMMER OLYMPICS | SPORT BY SPORT : SOFTBALL

Australia Charges Into Medal Round

September 23, 2000|Associated Press

Melanie Roche and Brooke Wilkins combined on a no-hitter to beat Cuba, 8-1, in Blacktown, leading Australia (6-1) into the medal round where it is guaranteed at least a bronze medal.

Roche struck out nine in four innings and Wilkins fanned six for Australia.

Australia, which beat China, 1-0, on Thursday, will play Japan, the only team to beat them in the preliminaries, in the second semifinal Monday for a chance at the gold medal.

"I'm happy to have another game with them," Australia Coach Bob Crudgington said of Japan.

The Australia-Japan loser plays the winner of the other semifinal for the other berth in the gold-medal game.

In other action, Haruka Saito doubled and scored the game-winning run in the first extra inning at Blacktown as Japan won, 2-0, to remain undefeated and damage Italy's bid for a playoff berth.

Japan (6-0) has already clinched the top seed in the medals round and at least a bronze medal. Italy (2-4) could still advance with a victory over the U.S. (3-3) later today.

Yan Fang had two hits and scored the only run as China (5-2) beat Canada, 1-0, at Blacktown. Canada (1-6) joined Cuba (1-6) in failing to make the medal round.

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