Softball: Black Sox slump to second pool loss at world championship

Defending champions New Zealand have suffered their second loss in three days at the softball world championship in Prague.

The Black Sox have fallen 5-1 to unbeaten Japan in pool play, after suffering an upset defeat to Mexico on Monday (NZT).

Japan took control of the contest in the opeing inning, with two in-the-park home runs and another run in the second to lead 3-0.

New Zealand had a chance to tie the game up in the fifth inning, when they loaded bases, but could only score on run through a single to captain Nathan Nukunuku.

Their rivals scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to seal victory. For the third time in the tournament, the Kiwis were outhit 8-5.

They next face the winless Phillipines at 11:30pm Wednesday night (NZT).

Four teams from each of the two pools qualify for quarter-finals - the Black Sox currently sit tied for third, behind Japan and Argentina, and alongside Cuba.