Canada advances to semifinal

Canada won in a walk-off for the second time Thursday, defeating China 1-0 and guaranteeing itself a medal at the world women’s softball championships.

Canada 1 China 0

CARACAS, Venezuela — Canada won in a walk-off for the second time Thursday, defeating China 1-0 and guaranteeing itself a medal at the world women’s softball championships.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Caitlin Lever of Buffalo, N.Y., hit a sinking liner that got by a diving left-fielder for a double, and Jenn Yee of North Delta, B.C., was intentionally walked, placing runners on first and second.

After fouling off several pitches, Calgary’s Sheena Lawrick came through with a single past the third baseman into left field, allowing Lever to score from second.

The win sets up a meeting Friday with Olympic champion Japan.

The winner will face the United States in the gold-medal game later Friday, while the loser will settle for bronze.

Canada has only won a medal at the tournament once before, taking silver in 1978.

Danielle Lawrie of Langley, B.C., pitched a two-hitter for Canada, striking out three.

Earlier Thursday, Canada beat Australia 3-2 with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Mel Matthews of Surrey, B.C., hit a two-run, go-ahead single.

Australia led 2-0, when Saskatoon’s Erin Cumpston and Kaleigh Rafter of Guelph, Ont., singled to start Canada’s rally.

Corriene Dommberg of Langley followed with an RBI single and Matthews drove in Rafter and Dommberg to win it.

Australia opened the scoring in the top of the first on a double by Stacey Porter, and Australia hit another RBI double in the fourth.

Lawrie started for Canada and gave up both runs while striking out four and walking one in three and a third innings of work.

Toronto’s Jenna Caira worked three and two thirds scoreless inning sin relief, striking out one and walking one while surrendering four hits.

Elsewhere, Katie Cochran singled in two runs in a four-run first inning and the United States clinched a spot in the final with a 4-0 win over Japan.

Earlier, China eliminated host Venezuela 6-1.

Venezuela president Hugo Chavez attended the game to cheer for his team and chat with players in the dugout.

He congratulated the Chinese squad following the game. China’s players gathered around the socialist leader for a group photograph.