OKLAHOMA CITY -- 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 on Saturday night in the eighth World Cup of Softball.
Misa Okubo went 3-for-4 for Japan (3-1), which clinched a berth in the gold-medal game with its second straight win over the U.S. (2-1) in international play. Japan beat the U.S. in the gold-medal game in last year's world championships.
Japan's seven runs were the most scored against the U.S. in a major international tournament. Still, the U.S. could advance to Sunday night's title game with a win Sunday over Puerto Rico (0-3).
The U.S. left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first after scoring a run. Amanda Chidester hit a two-run homer for the Americans in the fifth.