July 12 - The United States asserted their dominance with a 4-0 shutout in a repeat of last year's final against Australia in scorching temperatures here to continue their 100 per cent record and keep on track for a sixth consecutive World Cup of Softball triumph.
American Jessica Moore threw a one-hit shutout against the Australians to secure the win and condemn their opponents to their second defeat of the tournament after they were narrowly beaten by Japan in their opening tie.
"The defence behind me did an amazing job," Moore said.
"They came up with some clutch plays against a tough Australian team."
The Americans themselves managed six hits overall, with Lauren Gibson, Michelle Moultrie, Amanda Chidester and Kourtney Salvarola doing the damage on the scoreboard.
"We got off to a slow start, but we kept attacking the ball at the plate," said Gibson.
"We did a good job of producing in the third inning, but we had a couple other chances to score a couple more runs.
"We came out ready to play today and our intensity stayed up throughout all seven innings."
The US, who defeated North American neighbours Canada 7-0 in their opening fixture yesterday, will now go into what looks set to be their biggest challenge of the tournament as they take on Japan, the team that defeated them in the final of the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championships Final last year.
It ended the American's run of seven consecutive titles - they had also taken k the last Olympic gold medal in the sport at Beijing 2008, condemning the US to silver in the process.
However, the Japanese were on the receiving end of a surprise defeat by Canada earlier in the day, which will surely give the US confidence going into tomorrow's face off.
The Canadians had just eased past Puerto Rico with a score of 13-3, before taking to the field in the very next game to defeat the Japanese 2-1 and apply some pressure on the Americans.
Puerto Rico will play back-to-back games tomorrow against Japan in the day's first game at 10.00 local time, before facing Australia at 12.30pm.
The Australians will then go straight into their game against Canada, before the US close the show in the days most-anticipated match-up against Japan at 8pm.
The day's final match between American and Japan will be broadcast live on ESPN across 140 territories.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]sidethegames.biz
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