Host Korea was blaming themselves for their narrow 0-2 loss to Philippines and putting additional pressure to finish among the top four in the Women Softball Asia Cup 2023, to qualify to the to the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup next July in Europe.

For Korea, who had a dream start to the tournament when in the opening day and opening match in the morning, easily dispensed of Thailand 10-0 at the LNG Sports.

Korea and Thailand team

However, playing against Philippines, who had an easy path in their opening game against Hong Kong China whom they won 7-0, Korea was close to their second consecutive win, but blew it.

Although, Philippines were higher ranked in the world ranking – 30th- as compared to Korea – 35th -, it was the latter who had the upper edge throughout the game, but simply failed to capitalise on the advantage.

Korean team before their match against Thailand

Korea had more hits and more players on bases, but simply failed to capitalise on it, as Philippines must be credited for defending well to keep Korea at bay.

Korea also had the benefit of an American coach, Robert Scott Cranford, assisting them and several players had been sent to America for exposure.

Korea managed to put eight players on base yet scored no run whereas Philippines managed to put three players but score two runs from that. 

Philippines pitcher Mary Ann Antolihao pitched seven innings, facing 29 batters but the ball only left infield four times. The player of the day was Cristy Joy Roa, the Philippine’s centre fielder, who not only brought in the second run scored by the Philippines and made a crucial throw from centre field to gun down Korea’s Ju Hyo Ju at home plate, preventing Korea from scoring a vital run as it chased the game. 

Anxious moments for the Philippines players against Korea

After five innings of stalemate, Philippines, playing the bottom half, took the one run lead in the fifth inning before taking crucial 2 run lead in the sixth inning, to put the pressure or a do-or-die mission on the Koreaans final inning.

“We had a 50-50 chance to win this game before the start of the game, but in the game today, we should have emerged winners, but blew our chance,” said head of delegation Kim Eunyoung.

Korea’s Hoe Ha Na is all upswing

“We knew we had to win this  game to put ourselves in the driver’s seat to finish among the top four, but maybe the pressure got to the players.

“We certainly did not play to our true capabilities today, where our hitting and runs let us down.”

But Eunyoung said that all is lost because he still strongly believes that his team has the quality to make the last four.

Korea’s remaining matches are tomorrow against Chinese Taipei (who won both their matches today – defeating India 19-0 and Hong Kong 10-0), Hong Kong (two losses) and on Tuesday against minnows India.

Philippines veteran coach, Verernado Dizer, said that the Korean team was a much improved side and  and only some excellent defending by his players narrowly saw them edge the the host.

“Both teams fought a close battle, but our defence helped us great deal to keep Korea in check and keep our chances alive,” said Vererando.

“We rose to the occasion when it mattered most to get the runs and at the same time keep a tight rein on Korea.’

Thailand’s pitcher Suwannaree Yanisq

On the other hand, Thailand who have come with relatively young and new look team for the competition, were hardly surprised with their opening match lost to Korea 0-10 in four innings.

Thailand’s Japanese coach, Yusa Hajime, said that they have players in the team as young 16 and this a long-term planned team.

“We formed this team only a month ago with a majority of the players from universities and are looking at the team maturing in two years time.

“Even our specialised coaches for batting and pitching are young who are groomed the future.

“Thus, I am not surprised we went down to Korea, in fact winning matches here is going to be tough for us.

“But we happy to return richer with experience and exposure”.

Korea v Philippines

“We are here to gain experience and know for a fact that we lack experience and cannot match the strength of the teams here,a” said Yusa has been with Thailand from may last year.

Thailand lost their second game of the day when they went down to Japan 0-11 in the afternoon.

Joining Thailand in losing both their matches today was Hong Kong and India.

Besides, Philippines who won both their opening day matches, Chinese Taipei and China did the same.

Philippines Elsie Dela Torre on the run to bases

China chalked the highest run win today with their 21-0 win over India after earlier having defeated Singapore 11-0. 

Chinese Taipei beat India 19-0 and Hong Kong 10-0.

Japan and Singapore only played one match today which saw Japan winning their match, while Singapore lost.

The defending champion in the championship held last in Jakarta in 2019 was Japan, while China finished runners-up. Chinese Taipei finished third, while Philippines finished fourth.

Philippines Khrisha Genuary Cantor batting as Hong Kong’s catcher Wong Cho Hei gets set

Tomorrow, the second day will see another eight matches played in the tournament’s round robinformat for the nine teams competing.

The top four teams in the standings advancing to the semifinals (first place vs fourth place; second place vs third place) on April 7. The bronze medal game, will be played on April 8 at 8:30 local time, while the final is scheduled at 11:00.



Korea 10 Thailand 0

Philippines 7 Hong Kong China 0

Chinese Taipei 19 India 0

China 16 Singapore 1

Korea 0 Philippines 2

Japan 11 Thailand 0

Chinese 10 Taipei Hong Kong 0

India 0 China 21