ATHENS – Kazue Ito doubled home the only run of the game in the third inning and Juri Takayama and Yukiko Ueno combined on a three-hit shutout Thursday as Japan squeaked by Italy 1-0 for its third victory in the Athens Olympic softball tournament. Ueno hit a 3-2 pitch from Jennifer Spediacci to deep center to score Eri Yamada, who had reached on an infield single, to help struggling Japan come within one win of securing a place in the semifinals. Japan will advance to the semifinals if it beats China in its final preliminary round game. The United States kept its unbeaten record after six games and secured its place in the last four after a 7-0 victory over Greece.
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