Australia fell to a narrow defeat against the United States ©Facebook/Surrey 2016

United States eased into the play-off stage of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Softball World Championship after a narrow win over Australia in Surrey, Canada.

The Americans, the silver medallists behind Japan at the last two editions, had been yet to taste defeat in the competition this year heading into the tie.

However, they found themselves trailing 1-0 in the early stages of the contest, only for Amanda Chidester and Kelsey Stewart to hit back immediately to put their team 2-1 in front.

Despite the Australian team's best efforts they proved unable to get back on level terms, with the Americans eventually winning 5-3.

“Every time that Australia scored we answered back,” said Ken Eriksen, head coach of the American team.

“That’s the mark of a good team.

“Even more important than that, we had a great showing by athletes like Jazmyn Jackson, Aubree Munro, Kasey Cooper and Ali Aguilar, athletes who are in their first World Championship.”

The result places the United States top of the Championship Group Two standings with two victories, while Australia are tied for second place with China.

The Championship group stage continued with several tight matches ©Facebook/Surrey 2016
The Championship group stage continued with several tight matches ©Facebook/Surrey 2016

It followed the Chinese team beating The Philippines 7-1 in their clash, leaving them facing Australia tomorrow to decide who joins the United States in the next phase of the tournament.

Hosts Canada boosted their chances of progression by defeating Puerto Rico 10-0 in Championship Group 4 to move into joint second place with their rivals.

Venezuela top the group after their victory over Italy yesterday.

Mexico earned a vital 3-2 victory over The Netherlands in Championship Group 3, leaving all four teams in the standings with one win and a defeat from their matches, with Brazil and Cuba having enjoyed a rest day.

Already eliminated Chinese Taipei beat bottom team Britain 2-1 in Championship Group 1, with the already advanced New Zealand and defending champions Japan not playing today.