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Sports Japan in championship game at Canada Cup with win over Australia

14:32  17 july  2017
14:32  17 july  2017 Source:   theprovince.com

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Japan thrashed Australia 14-2 on Sunday afternoon to earn an automatic spot in Monday’s 8 p.m. championship game . Canadian games at the Canada Cup , or its Canadian Open precursor, routinely draw 2,000 fans to the South Surrey complex.

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The Canada Cup holds its championship final Monday night at Softball City and the most interesting stat to come out of it may be attendance, what with the tournament’s signature team bowing out of title contention early.

Team Canada was eliminated from proceedings Saturday afternoon with a 6-3 loss to the Philippines. Last summer’s bronze medallist at the WBSC world championships at Softball City, Canada finished this event at 3-4, including a forfeit win over Pakistan.

Japan thrashed Australia 14-2 on Sunday afternoon to earn an automatic spot in Monday’s 8 p.m. championship game. Australia plays at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the consolation bracket against Venezuela, which beat Puerto Rico 2-1 on Sunday night.

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“I thought the better team won today,” said Australia head coach Alen Stajcic. Australia also played and lost to Japan in the final of last year’s Asian Cup championships . Star Investigations. Opinion. Canada . World. Business.

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The Americans beat Japan 7-3 in the world finale before a crowd of 4,500 at Softball City last July. Many had watched Japan beat Canada 11-1 in the semifinal earlier in the day.

Canadian games at the Canada Cup, or its Canadian Open precursor, routinely draw 2,000 fans to the South Surrey complex.

“Our sport has shown a lot more parity in the last week than we’ve seen before,” Greg Timm, the Canada Cup tournament chairman, said Sunday morning. “It’s been unbelievably equal on any given day. The Philippines, Mexico, Chinese Taipei, the Canadian team. … They’re all in a group where you can’t tell (who will win) each day.”

Few sell softball like Timm, who was also at the helm of the worlds last summer. He’s also far too savvy to bash the Canadian side publicly, even if he actually felt that’s what they merited.

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“We’re going there to win it. Many will label us crazy, but they did the same at the Olympic Games . Resilient scoreless draws against Australia and Japan , plus a 4-0 win over Vietnam ensured qualification for a third Women’s World Cup .

Japan has qualified for their sixth successive World Cup following a 2-0 victory against Australia at home. Goals from Takuma Asano and Yosuke Ideguchi helped the Blue Samurai to a much-needed win over the Socceroos on Thursday.

Then again, there’s evidence to back up what he’s saying about the level of competition becoming closer. Canada came to Softball City directly from the World Cup of Softball tournament in Oklahoma City, where they finished third overall. They blanked the Aussies 3-0 in the bronze medal game and finished 5-3 overall, including a 9-2 win over the Philippines that ended in a mercy-ruled five innings.

Veteran shortstop Jenn Salling hit .500 (10-for-20) in seven games at that event. The Port Coquitlam native had just one at-bat at the Canada Cup due to an undisclosed injury.

As well, Canadian ace pitcher Sara Groenewegen was uncharacteristically knocked around at this tournament, finishing with an 18.00 earned run average, giving up 18 earned runs over a combined seven innings in three appearances.

Burnout could have easily been at play. The right-hander from White Rock had skipped the World Cup event due to commitments with National Pro Fastpitch, the six-team American pro loop. In May, Groenewegen completed her senior season at the University of Minnesota, earning NFCA All-American honours for a third time thanks to her 31-4 record, 0.63 earned run average and 307 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings.

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Paralympic champions Australia warned up for the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships by securing victory at this year's Canada Cup at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver. In the bronze medal game , Japan overcame Great Britain 52-48 in what was a close encounter.

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Bright spots for Canada included Surrey first sacker Holly Speers, who hit .647 (11-for-17), with two homers and 11 RBI.

Coach Mark Smith’s side now starts preparing for the  Pan American championships, which run Aug. 4-13 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Five teams will qualify for the 2018 worlds in Chiba, Japan.

Meanwhile, Timm and his group are already getting to work on further improving the Canada Cup, which includes youth divisions as well. There’s been influx of money from governments and sponsors into the sport with it set to return to the Summer Olympics at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Oddly enough, the Americans opted to not attend the Canada Cup this year due to budget constraints, according to Timm. He hopes to have them on hand next year.

“We have lots of ideas of how we can recruit even more teams,” said Timm. “We want to build the elite event in the world here.”

The Americans are among the 20 teams slated to be at the Pan American championships. They dropped a 2-1 decision to Japan in the World Cup championship earlier this month.

sewen@postmedia.com

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Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/sports/-37032-japan-in-championship-game-at-canada-cup-with-win-over-australia/

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