Pictures by Eagle Photography
HOST Chinese Taipei turned the tables on favourites Japan to win 3-2, in a closely fought battle, no thanks to the latter crumbling under pressure, in the U15 Women’s Softball Asia Cup at the Softball Stadium in Puli Township, Nantou, Chinese Taipei.
The odds were stacked against Chinese Taipei despite being host, the home crowd behind them and 0-3 defeat in the preliminary round fixture yesterday.
Both teams had expressed confidence to wrest the inaugural Asia Cup title as both have qualified for the World Cup – Japan as host in October and Chinese Taipei as one of the top two teams in the tournament.
Philippines booked the second ticket when they edged Korea 10-0 in the bronze medal play-off earlier.
Japan’s coach Yu Yamato was magnimious when she said that she will take responsibility for the defeat.
“We could have done better, but were overawed by the occasion and the home crowd support that we started making mistakes from the start,” said Yu.
“But I take full responsibility for the defeat because the players tried their best to recover from the early errors and came close, but was not enough.”
Chinese Taipei starting on the top inning went ahead to get three runs despite no hits because of Japan’s errors.
Japan in the first bottom inning pulled back one run, but after that Chinese Taipei boosted by their early lead kept the former at bay till the fourth inning.
While Japan too did well to prevent Chinese Taipei from increasing their lead, they had themselves of not taking advantage of loaded bases in the 4th and 5th inning.
Yu said that her team will learn from this experience and train harder to be in better physical condition, strategically better prepared and psychologically for World Cup.
“We are sad that we failed to wrest the inaugural Asia Cup, but we hope to give a better performance in the World Cup although the opposition will be even more tougher.”
Chinese Taipei coach, Chen Mei-Fun, said her team did well to capitalise on Japan’s early mistakes and nervousness in this close battle.
“We knew that Japan will recover from their mistakes and comeback strongly, but we well to cope and keep our cool to keep them at bay,” said Chen.
“It was a close and tight game, and I am glad we survived the onslaught to win this inaugural title. This really means a great deal because we are host.
“Credit to the players who were hitting well to keep the pressure on Japan.”
Chen also said that the victory over Japan also means a great deal because Japan has always been regarded as the powerhouse in the game and their victory should serve as reminder to other Chinese Taipei teams that they are capable of matching and even beating them.
“This tournament and beating Japan has been a tremendous experience for the these young girls will definitely augur well for the future advancement of softball in Asia.”
There was further joy for Chinese Taipei when their left handed pitcher Chen Mioa Hua was named the Most Valuable Player and saw five of their players (see list below) named in the U-15 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 All Star Team.
Two of Chinese Taipei’s batters (Kai Hua Meng and Wu Pei Wun) were also among the top three batting leaders in tournament.
The award ceremony was held immediately after the final.
Among those present were Softball Asia (SA) president Datuk Low Beng Choo, SA secretary general Sally Lim, Chinese Taipei Softball Association president Lo Yu-hsin and his officials, dignitaries from Nantou County and Puli.
Indeed it was a memorable day for Chinese Taipei and as expected a classic final was displayed.
UMPIRES FOR FINAL:
HP: Franky Tso Wai (HK); 1B: Nam Younsung (KOR); 2B: Jerome Hermogeno (PHI); 3B: Wong Yin Wai (HK); LF: Ou Shu Hong (TPE); RF: Chen Hua-Wei (TPE)
FUTURE STAR OF EACH TEAM FROM U15 WOMEN SOFTBALL ASIA CUP 2023:
Chinese Taipei: Kai Hua Zeng (Pitcher)
Japan: Yumeka Kagen (Catcher)
Philippines: Cristine Angel Calaguas (Shortstop)
Korea: YeoJin Son (Shortstop)
Hong Kong: Chan Yu Tung (Right Fielder)
Singapore: Jalene Qin En (Pitcher, Shortstop)
India: Soumyarani Sumkapaka (Shortstop)
FUTURE STAR TEAM FROM U15 WOMEN SOFTBALL ASIA CUP 2023 BASED ON STATISTICS:
Right Hand Pitcher: Ritsu Namuda (Japan)
Left Hand Pitcher: Chen Miao-Hua (Chinese Taipei)
Designated Player (DP): Mao Hashimoto (Japan)
Catcher: Yumeka Kagen (Japan)
First Base: Zeng Kai Hua (Chinese Taipei)
Second Base: Rachika Sakuragi
Third Base: Erikca Gonzales (Philippines)
Shortstop: Jian Yu Chian (Chinese Taipei)
Left Fielder: Jeon Park (Korea)
Centre Fielder: Wu Yuling (Chinese Taipei)
Right Fielder: Xu Riao-Xin (Chinese Taipei)
Kai Hua Zeng (Chinese Taipei)
Kagen Yumeka (Japan)
Wu Pei Wun (Chinese Taipei)
Ritsu Namura (Japan)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Chen Miao-Hua (Chinese Taipei)
TODAY’S RESULTS (FINAL DAY – SATURDAY)
Placement: PR#5 (HONG KONG) 3 PR#6 (SINGAPORE) 2 (tie breaker 7th inning win after 2-2 tie at end of fifth inning)
Bronze Medal: PR#3 (PHILIPPINES) 10 PR#4 (KOREA) 0
Gold Medal: PR#1 (JAPAN) 2 PR#2 (CHINESE TAIPEI) 3
- Chinese Taipei (qualified for World Cup for first berth for Asia)
- Japan (qualified for World Cup as host)
- Philippines (qualified for World Cup for second berth for Asia)
- Hong Kong
DAY 1 (JUNE 13 – TUESDAY):
Philippines 6 India 0
Japan 14 Singapore 0 (Run ahead win after 4 innings. The U15 plays a total of 5 innings)
Hong Kong 2 India 1
Philippines 2 Korea 1
Chinese Taipei v Singapore (match postponed owing to unplayable conditions after heavy rain).
DAY 2 (JUNE 14 – WEDNESDAY)
Chinese 15 Taipei 0 Singapore (postponed match from yesterday due to unplayable conditions after heavy rain).
Japan 10 India 0
Korea 17 Hong Kong 2
India 0 Chinese Taipei 16
Singapore 0 Hong Kong 2
Philippines 0 Japan 14
Chinese Taipei 9 Korea 0
DAY 3 – (JUNE 15 THURSDAY)
Korea 14 Singapore 0
Hong Kong 0 Chinese Taipei 16k
India 0 Korea 10
Japan 15 Hong Kong 0
Philippines 2 Chinese Taipei 4 (Game halted after 2 innings because pitch unplayable due to rain. Match to be continued now tomorrow morning 8am)
DAY 4 – JUNE 16 FRIDAY
Philippines 2 Chinese Taipei 4 (Game halted after 2 innings yesterday because pitch unplayable due to rain. Match continued this morning at 7.50am)
(Match continued from yesterday’s postponed tie)
Fulltime Result Philippines 5 Chinese Taipei 3
Japan 10 Korea 0
Philippines 10 Singapore 1
Japan 3 Chinese Taipei 0
India 0 Singapore 8
Hong Kong 0 Philippines 10