FASTPITCH: Team Japan takes gold for fifth straight year at Canadian Open in Surrey

SURREY — For the fifth year in a row, Team Japan has taken gold at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.

After nine days of intense competition at Softball City, the returning champions reclaimed their spot on top, proving their dominance in the final with a 10-0 win over Team Cuba.

While Team Cuba entered the final coming off of a hard earned win against Team Canada, they were no match for the international powerhouse. The Caribbean team, which had made an impressive debut in the tournament, fended off Japan’s offence until the third inning, where Japan scored all 10 of its runs. Japan’s fifth consecutive title was all but guaranteed at that point.

Team Japan had a near-perfect performance in the tournament: In 11 games, they had only one loss, falling to Team Canada 7-5 in their first of two games. They bounced back in the rematch, defeating the national team 6-1 in front of a packed house.

Canada ended this year’s tournament in third, losing 4-1 to Team Cuba in the qualifier for the final. The semifinal saw Jenn Salling score Canada’s only run of the game in the fourth inning, only for Team Cuba to respond and secure a three-run lead in the seventh.

Despite taking bronze, Team Canada had a strong showing throughout the tournament, securing eight wins – half of which were shutouts.

In a press release, organizers touted the success of this year’s tournament, which reportedly drew more than a 100,000 fans to Softball City of the course of nine days.

"It’s been a fantastic tournament with an incredible showcase of sportsmanship both on and off the field," stated Greg Timm, president of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship. "As we close out this tournament, our focus now becomes preparing to host the world at Surrey 2016, which will begin 367 days from today."

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