Misato Kawona hit a leadoff homer during a three-run first inning and added a run-scoring single in a three-run fourth, helping Japan beat the United States 7-4 night in the World Cup of Softball.
Japan (3-1) clinched a berth in the gold-medal game with its second straight win over the U.S. (2-1) in international play.
Former Tennessee Lady Vol Lauren Gibson went 2-for-3 with a run. Former Lady Vol Raven Chavanne went 1-for-3 with a single in the seventh inning, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. Gibson followed with a double but was stranded at second to end the game.
The U.S. can advance to Sunday night’s title game with a win Sunday against Puerto Rico (0-3).