OKLAHOMA CITY – Misato Kawona hit a leadoff homer during a three-run first inning and added a run-scoring single in a three-run fourth, helping Japan beat the United States 7-4 on Saturday night in the eighth World Cup of Softball.
Japan (3-1) clinched a berth in tonight’s gold-medal game with its second straight win over the U.S. (2-1) in international play. Japan beat the U.S. in the gold-medal game in last year’s world championships.
Japan’s seven runs were the most scored against the U.S. in a major tournament. Still, the U.S. could advance to tonight’s title game with a win this morning over struggling Puerto Rico (0-3).