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Asian Games: Ueno, Yamamoto lead Japan to 5th softball gold

JAKARTA (Kyodo) -- Ace Yukiko Ueno and Japan won their fifth straight Asian Games gold medal on Friday with a 7-0 mercy-rule win over Taiwan.

Ueno got some much-needed early help when left fielder Saki Yamazaki robbed Taiwan of a leadoff double by making an over the shoulder catch while racing toward the fence.

Ueno then pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam before her teammates took control of the scoreboard in the home half of the first.

Cleanup hitter Yu Yamamoto drove in the game's first run in Japan's three-run first inning after Taiwan starter Tu Ya-ting walked Yuka Ichiguchi and Yamazaki.

After a wild pitch, Natsuko Sugama's double made it 3-0. Yamamoto put the game away in the second inning by homering for the second straight game, taking reliever Chiu An-ju deep for a three-run blast that capped the four-run inning.

Two-way player Yamato Fujita pitched a 1-2-3 fifth to end the game through the mercy rule.

The final was the fifth in the eight Asian Games softball tournaments, and every final has seen the gold medalist win in a shutout.

Taiwan settled for the silver medal after beating China 5-4 in the bronze medal game to advance to the grand final against Japan. China, Japan and Taiwan remain the only nations to ever medal in Asian Games softball.

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