Japan clinched today in Irvine its fourth consecutive win in the WBSC U-19 Women’s Softball Super Round, with a 6-1 victory over China. Haruka Sumitani and Miu Goto combined to hit 5 for 5 and led the Japanese offense.

Catcher Haruka Sumitani showed all her skill in the first inning, both defensively and offensively. In the top of the frame she threw Xiaomin Lu out trying to steal second base, to end the inning; and in the home half of the first she hit a 2-out stand up triple to right field, and clean up hitter Chiharu Shirashi sent the first pitch she saw to the left field line for an RBI single, giving Japan the early lead in the game.

Two innings later Sumitani and Shirashi singled and doubled respectively, and set the table for an RBI single off the bat of designated player Miu Goto to make it 3-0.

In the top of the fifth China scored one. Jingyun Zhang reached on a defensive error with outs, and Yuan Wang made her score from first with a stand up triple to right field to make it 3-1.

However, the Japanese team answered with a big inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, leadoff hitter Rino Setoguchi hit a 2-RBI single, leaving runners in the corners, and then Ikue Funasaka scored on a stealing base play.

Mio Sakamoto pitched six quality innings allowing only 3 hits and 1 unearned run, with 9 strikeouts. Left hander Chise Yamashita entered in the seventh and retired the side, with 2 strikeouts.

Japan improves to 4-0 and later today will face Canada. China is still winless after three games.