It was a grand debut as national coach of Japan’s U18 women team for Yuhei Yamauchi as his team chalked a 8-0 victory over four innings against Chinese Taipei in a Group B match in the U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 at the Pingtan Softball Stadium yesterday afternoon.
It was Japan’s first match it played yesterday in the competition, as on the opening day on Tuesday, their match against India was not played, as latter had not arrived because they were delayed by visa issues. The match was awarded to Japan with a 7-0 win.
“I am a very happy person today because it was my first official international as a national coach of the U18 women’s team and we won,” said the 41-year physical education teacher and coach at a High School.
“I was a national assistant U18 coach five years ago before the Covid-19 situation derailed everything. I was appointed as head coach of this U18 team six months ago, it is a great feeling to have started my stint on a winning note.
“Chinese Taipei was among the two teams, I had rated as strong opponents in this tournament and having beaten is indeed great.”
Yamauchi rated host China as the other team who could be a threat to Japan’s favourite tag to win the inaugural Asia Cup for U18 women here.
“I am happy that the team played well to keep Chinese Taipei at bay and win,” said Yamauchi.
“Everything now probably boils down to us battling for the title with China and after having seen them play, I realise they have strong players. We need to device our speed against them to have an upper hand. But I am confident that we will overcome to win the title here and qualify for the World Cup as the top team from this competition.”
In the game against Chinese Taipei, Japan playing on the bottom half, started off impressively to get four runs before increasing the lead to 5-0 in the second inning, before wrapping up the game in the fourth inning with another three runs, while Chinese Taipei failed to get a run till the fifth inning, when the game was called with the run ahead rule.
Japan play Singapore in their final Group A match tomorrow morning, while Chinese Taipei play India, who arrived last night after having missed their earlier two fixtures.
In the later match yesterday evening, host China showed no mercy to the smaller physique Filipinas as they beat them 11-0 in five innings.
China started the game with two runs before increasing it to 3 runs in the second inning and went ahead to lead by 6 runs in the fourth before going overdrive to claim six runs in the fifth inning for a total 11 against nil by Philippines.
China play against win less in two games Hong Kong tomorrow, and should have no problems to remain unbeaten after three matches in Group A.
Philippines on the other hand will play Korea and with both teams with a win over Hong Kong and loss to China, will battle among themselves in a do-or-die match for the second place in Group A to qualify for the Super round and try to finish third for a World Cup berth.
Japan and Chinese Taipei will qualify from Group B.
The highlight tomorrow will indeed be match between Korea and Philippines at 3.30pm.
India 0 v Singapore 7 (match forfeited as India has not arrived)
Hong Kong 3 Korea 12
Japan 8 Chinese Taipei 0
China 11 Philippines 0
Philippines 7 Hong Kong 0
India 0 v Japan 7 (match forfeited as India failed to show-up)
Singapore 2 Chinese Taipei 15
China 10 Korea 0
8.30am India v Chinese Taipei
10.30am Japan v Singapore
3.30pm Korea v Philippines
5.30pm China v Hong Kong