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Canada and Japan move in opposite directions

It's hard to tell what the bigger story is – the struggles of Team Japan or the triumphs of Team Canada
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Pitcher Sarah Phillips helped lead Canada to a 9-0 win over Venezuela Wednesday night at Softball City

It's hard to tell what the bigger story is – the struggles of Team Japan or the triumphs of Team Canada.

Yes, Canada's senior women's national team moved into second place in the Women's International division last night, taking down Team Venezuela by a score of 9-0 at the 2011 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.

They're riding hot, but their mettle will be tested tomorrow at Softball City. The host nation has a double-header tonight against Team Australia and the powerhouse Team USA.

The Americans beat Canada Monday in the teams' first border battle of this year's Canadian Open, scoring two runs in the extra eighth inning to win 3-1.

Team USA sits in first in the division with a record of 6-1, after pasting Australia 14-2 yesterday  afternoon. The Aussies rebounded in the night game, however, taking down the suddenly struggling Japanese, 4-1.

Japan got off to a hot start at the Canadian Open by winning their first four games, but have dropped their last three. On Tuesday, they lost 5-1 to the United States and 1-0 to Canada. Couple those with their lopsided loss to Team Australia, and the once-dominant Japanese squad has seen their momentum disappear.

All five teams in the Women's International division move onto the playoffs, where they will meet the top three teams from the Women's Elite division.

The final goes this Sunday at Softball City, at 6:30 p.m.

- Kolby Solinsky, Black Press



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