Kiwi captain's hitting heroics can't save Sox
Lara Andrews' captain's knock couldn't prevent the New Zealand White Sox from crashing out of the women's world softball championships playoffs.
The White Sox finished eighth - their highest placing since 2002 - after losing 0-3 to Chinese Taipei in Haarlem, near Amsterdam yesterday.
Andrews, a Hutt Valley product now playing in the United States Pro League, slugged two safe hits to take her tournament tally to seven - one behind New Zealand's top batter Danica Ferriso (Hutt Valley).
Both teams had five safe hits, with catcher Kyla Bromhead also swatting two singles for the White Sox.
One player turned the game for the Taiwanese. Third baseman Lin Pei Chun had three hits from three at-bats for a perfect 1.000 average and batted in all three runs.
Chinese Taipei strung their hits together when it counted to score runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings.
Centrefielder Chen Miao Yi and danger hitter Lin both produced single-base hits as Chinese Taipei grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third.
The second run was a soft concession by the Kiwis. Chen was walked in the top of the fifth and advanced on a throwing error by catcher Bromhead. She scored on Lin's sacrifice fly RBI.
Chinese Taipei produced two hits to score their second run in the seventh frame when Liu Yu Han singled and Lin slammed a double to right-centrefield.
New Zealand pitchers Jennifer Feret and Tyneesha Houkamau combined for four strikeouts and did well to hold the Taiwanese to five hits.
Feret also underlined her value as a batter, picking up her fifth hit of the tournament with an infield single to third base.
World champions Japan qualified automatically for today's final after a 6-1 win over the United States, the nine-time champions who were previously unbeaten in Haarlem.
The Americans were to play Australia overnight for the right to meet Japan, and their world No 1 pitcher Yukiko Ueno, in the final.
Playoff results: Japan 4 Australia 0, USA 6 Canada 1, Chinese Taipei 3 New Zealand 0, Netherlands 7 China 5, Australia 8 Netherlands 0, Canada 2 Chinese Taipei 1, Japan 6 USA 1, Australia 7 Canada 3.