The Black Sox have suffered their second loss at this year's Softball World Championships in the Czech Republic after being handed a 5-1 defeat by rivals Japan.
Japan got the better of the Kiwi side for the fourth time this year thanks to their hitting and speed on the bases which is on full display in the first innings as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
With two outs, Hikaru Matsuda and Tsukasa Oishi scored back-to-back inside-the-park home runs to give their side a lead they wouldn't forfeit for the rest of the match.
Both hitters found space in the right corner and while Matsuda collided with Black Sox catcher Zane van Lieshout at home plate as he came in to score, Oishi was in with time to spare.
Japan followed up with a third run in the second innings before the Black Sox looked to mount a comeback in the fifth but with loaded bases, they only managed to score a single run through an infield hit by captain Nathan Nukunuku.
Japan responded immediately with two more runs while pitcher Reo Koyama went on to keep the Black Sox bats relatively quiet.
Koyama finished the game with seven strikeouts, five walks and five hits in seven innings of work while Black Sox pitcher Nik Hayes earned all five runs in the loss while also recording eight strikeouts and no walks.
Japan now sit atop Pool A undefeated with five wins while the Black Sox are third with three wins and two losses.
They play Philippines, who are last in Pool A with four losses, tonight.