/

Japan three-peats in Women’s World Cup of Baseball

Kyodo

Defending champion Japan defeated the United States 3-0 in the final at the Women’s World Cup of Baseball Sunday, securing its third consecutive title.

The Japan team loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning on an uncaught third strike and consecutive singles, and pushed across the opening run when Yuki Kawabata was hit by a pitch. Tournament RBI leader Yukiko Kon added a two-run single down the right-field line, chasing U.S. starter Jennifer Hunter in the process.

“This team is really reliable,” said Japan manager Hiroshi Shintani. “Whoever we were up against, I never felt we were going to lose. We had great teamwork. This is a valuable achievement.”

Japan starter Yukari Isozaki went the distance in her second straight game after a semifinal win over Australia, getting in and out of jams, and got defensive assistance particularly from Ayako Rokkaku.

“I am relieved to win. I was determined to buckle down in the final,” said Isozaki. “I’ll be happy if this third straight victory helps spread women’s baseball.”