Favourites Japan have not put a foot wrong so far and do not intend to, and were hoping for a double clash against host China in their final Super round match tomorrow and the final on Sunday, but it was not to be, in the ongoing U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 tournament at the Pingtan Softball Stadium, China.
Instead, Japan will just have to contend playing China in the Super round clash tomorrow and instead meet Chinese Taipei in the final on Sunday.
While Japan should have no problem to make the final, especially after this afternoon’s, expected 12-0 win over Philippines over four innings in an hour in the first Super Round match.
The Japanese team showed all round quality, as the small built Philippines team represented by their national champion – Bacolod City High School – were no match.
While Japan had 12 runs from nine hits and no errors, Philippines had no runs, one hit and four errors.
That summed up the superiority of the Japanese girls, while the Philippines girls’ pitching was very much slower as compared to the Japanese girls, who were also hard hitters.
Japan’s coach Yuhei Yamauchi, was naturally happy with the performance of his team and immediately after the match described today’s match as a warm-up for the match against China.
But little did he know that Chinese Taipei who played in the later Super Round match, had other plans.
Yamauchi had said after his team’s win over Phiippines: “It is tomorrow match’s against China, which is crucial, whom we will be playing in the final on Sunday too. As far as I am concerned, it is a double final, which we want to win both,” said Yamauchi.
“Of course the match against China is going to be much tougher than the matches we have played so far. But I have watched them play and get to watch them again later when they play Chinese Taipei and we have a strategy.
“They are a tough team and as host and crowd support, naturally they will be looking to beat us, even more so in the final.
“We respect them as opponents, but do not fear them. We are not under-rating them, but believe in our strength and know we are capable of beating them.”
But all that came to nought when Chinese Taipei came from behind to beat China 8-6 in a nail biting match which went to seven innings for the first time in the tournament.
Nevertheless, Japan still play China in the Super round match and is expected to beat them.
Japan will certainly not want any more surprises, like them losing to China, because it would mean a three-way contest for the two berths in the final.
Chinese Taipei will play Philippines tomorrow in their Super round tie and as much as the latter want to win, it is highly unlikely.
Philippines coach, Sheirylou Valenzuela, admitted the superiority of Japan and was thinking about their match against Chinese Taipei tomorrow
“It is going to be a do-or-die match for us if we want to play in the third placing match for a chance for to finish third and qualify for World Cup,” said Valenzuela.
“As long as we have a chance, we are going to fight for it and give our best. But if our best is not enough, then so be it and we will be satisfied we gave our best.
“Against Chinese Taipei, it is not going to be easy, but we have nothing to lose but everything to gain and will be going all out.
“Do not rule out a surprise from us,” warned Valenzuela.
But Chinese Taipei head coach, Kao Chun-Sheng discounted any possibility of Philippines beating.
“I don’t think we will so unlucky to lose to Philippines. Besides after our victory over host China today, the players confidence has further soared and in the best frame of mind to think about the final against Japan on Sunday,” said Chun-Sheng.
Chinese Taipei had lost 0-8 to Japan in their Group A match tie on Wednesday, but Chun-Sheang said that the match could be even more tighter and did rule out any upset too.
“Let’s wait for Sunday and see what happens.
“Let us savour our victory over China tonight.”
Chun-Sheang said that he always believed that Chinese Taipei was better than China, he was not surprised with the win.
It was China who started off well from the start yesterday with a run in the first inning and another one in the third, before Chinese Taipei batting on top, pulled back one in fourth inning.
But China went ahead to lead 4-1 when they had one run to add on the bottom of the fourth inning.
However, all things went haywire for China, when they started making errors in fielding which saw Chinese Taipei score 7 runs in the fifth inning to lead 8-4.
China reduced their deficit with another two runs in the sixth inning for score to stand at 8-6 going into the final 7th inning. But Chinese Taipei kept the score at 8-6 to triumph.
HONG KONG 2 (fourth placed team in Group A) v SINGAPORE 17 (third placed team in Group B) – Placement # 2
SOUTH KOREA 8 (Group A third placed) v INDIA 2 (fourth placed Group B) – Placement #1
PHILIPPINES (Runner-up Group A) 0 v JAPAN 12 (Group B champion) – Super Round#2
CHINA 6 (Group A champion) v CHINESE TAIPEI 8 (Group B runners-up) – Super Round #1
YESTERDAY’S GROUP RESULTS
India 0 Chinese Taipei 7 (match forfeited although India arrived and as they had missed two earlier Group matches. India fielded a team and played Chinese Taipei in a friendly and lost 0-9 loss)
Japan 24 Singapore 0
Korea 1 Philippines 11
China 17 Hong Kong 0
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
FINAL STADINGS AFTER GROUP ROUND:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Chinese Taipei
TOMORROW’S FIXTURES (SECOND DAY SUPER ROUND AND PLACEMENT MATCHES)
9.00am: HONG KONG (fourth placed team in Group A) v INDIA (fourth placed Group B) – Placement #3
11.00am: SOUTH KOREA (Group A third placed) v SINGAPORE (third placed team in Group B) – Placement # 4
3.30pm: PHILIPPINES (Runner-up Group A) v CHINESE TAIPEI (Group B runners-up) – Super Round #3
5.30pm: CHINA (Group A champion) – Super Round #1 V JAPAN (Group B champion) – Super Round#4