By Gary Anderson

Japan have made an impressive start to the defence of their Women's World Softball Championship title ©AFP/Getty ImagesReigning champions Japan maintained their impressive start to the Women's Softball World Championships with a comfortable 9-2 win over Puerto Rico to record their third win from three games in Haarlem, The Netherlands.

The Japanese followed up wins over China and Russia on the opening two days of action in the Dutch city with another win against their Caribbean rivals to top Group A.

Yu Yamamoto and Rei Nishiyama both picked up two runs followed by singles for Minami Sato and Haruna Sakamoto to give Japan a 6-1 lead after three innings.

A two-run homerun by Sakamoto in the fourth innings set the reigning champions well on the way to victory with Nozomi Nagasaki and Rie Nagayoshi sealing the win.

The Japanese are joined at the top of Group A by Canada, who defeated New Zealand 8-1 with Sara Groenewegen and Kaleigh Rafter starring, to follow up wins against Puerto Rico and Czech Republic.

Elsewhere in Group A, Czech Republic picked up their second win of the Championships with victory over China, while Cuba defeated Russia.

Meanwhile in Group B, the United States kept their quest for a 10th Championship title on track with a 5-1 win over Chinese Taipei which keeps them top of the group following earlier wins over hosts The Netherlands and Botswana.

The runs were scored early in the game, as the final four innings all remained scoreless.

Samantha Fischer and a double from Lauren Gibson give the US a 3-0 lead before Yi Ting Yang pulled one back for Chinese Taipei.

But the Americans hit back through Fischer again and Valerie Arioto to secure the victory.

Four teams have maintained their 100 per cent start to the Women's Softball World Championships ©ISFFour teams have maintained their 100 per cent start to the Women's Softball World Championships ©ISF

Joining the US with a three-from-three record is inaugural World Championship winners Australia, who backed up wins over Chinese Taipei and Italy with another dominant display against Great Britain.

The Australians scored six runs in the first innings with Rachel Lack, Leigh Godfrey and Stacey McManus all registering runs.

McManus scored another run in the fourth to add to earlier runs by Melinda Weaver and Erin Thras.

After suffering losses to the US and Chinese Taipei, The Netherlands finally registered a win to delight home fans as they overcame European rivals Italy 8-1 in a five-innings game.

Dominican Republic sit third in Group B as they hammered Botswana 11-1 to record their second win in Haarlem.

Josefina Mercedes and Maribel Pie starred for the Dominicans, picking up two doubles as they followed up their 14-6 win over Britain yesterday.

The Championships are scheduled to finish on Sunday (August 24). 

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