Korean coach Jang Jeho was so confident that his team will finish third in the inaugural U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 tournament in Pingtan, China, but it was not to be, as his team finished fifth.
The 48-year-old who was making his debut as national youth coach for this team in Pingtan, a former professional baseball player for well known team Hanhwa, was naturally disappointed that he could not see his team qualify for the World Cup, as third, placed team.
This morning in their final placement match against Singapore, Korea won 15-1 in four innings, but he could not hide his disappointment with the final ranking here.
“We were certainly good for a third placing here, but the team did not overall play to my expectations and their true strength. Our performance was not consistent. Maybe because they are young, raw and lack experience,” said Jang had six days preparation with the team – selection of players from various schools.
Korea, shot themselves in the leg in this tournament, when they lost to Philippines 1-11 in their Group A match on Thursday, which denied them a second place finish in the Group to qualify for the Super round.
“My job with this U18 team was only for this assignment and having failed to qualify for the World Cup, my job has ended,” said Jang who started coaching softball because the game attracted him more and coaches who coaches full time with the Daejeon Electronic Design High School for the last 13 years.
“I hope in the future I will be considered for other national youth coaching jobs.”
This morning, Korea proved to be too good for Singapore as they raced to three runs in the top the first inning, before stamping their superiority with another 7 runs to lead 10-0 at the end of the second inning.
Korea had another two and three runs in the third and fourth inning to complete their rout of 15-1.
Singapore showed some signs of resurrection when in the first inning they pulled level, but fizzled out as Korea dominated play.
Meanwhile, in an earlier placement match, Hong Kong ended their competition win less, when they surprisingly went down 1-2 to finish last in the eight team competition.
The match which lasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes and over seven innings, saw both teams struggling to play some decent softball.
But it was Hong Kong who took the lead in the first inning with a run, before India went ahead with two runs in the third inning.
After that it was a battle of struggle by both teams to find their footing and get hits.
In the end, India holding one to their slim lead, went away grinning ear to ear, as they had come late for the tournament – two days late – because of visa issues, had missed their opening two matches in their Group B and played their third when they finally arrived as an ‘unofficial’ match and played in two placement matches.
It was indeed a blow for Hong Kong to have gone down to India and may have to face the music when they return home, although from the on start they had said they were here in Pingtan for experience.
HONG KONG 1 (fourth placed team in Group A) v INDIA 2 (fourth placed Group B) – Placement #3
SOUTH KOREA 15 (Group A third placed) v SINGAPORE 1 (third placed team in Group B) – Placement # 4
PHILIPPINES (Runner-up Group A) v CHINESE TAIPEI (Group B runners-up) – Super Round #3
CHINA (Group A champion) – Super Round #1 V JAPAN (Group B champion) – Super Round#4
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
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 China v Philippines (Bronze Medal)
3.30pm Chinese Taipei v Japan (Gold Medal)