It was with mixed feelings that host China finished third and qualified for next year’s World Cup, when they defeated Philippines 6-1, in the third placing play-off match for the bronze medal this morning on the final day of the inaugural U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 tournament in Pingtan, China.
Probably, the only thing they were happy was that they qualified for the World Cup.
China’s head coach, Huang Wei Gang’s disappointment started with the duration they took to defeat Philippines – seven innings and almost 2 hours.
“I am happy with the result that we won and qualified for the World Cup. But our overall performance was far from our best,” said Huang.
“I am not under-rating Philippines, but we should have finished off the game in lesser innings.”
China started off aggressively when their first batter, Chen Ya Ting, in her first hit, run two bases and went on to come home for the first of two runs in the first inning.
But instead of stepping on the pedal, they seemed to ease off, to take one run in the second inning, one in fourth and two in the fifth and see the game stretched to seven innings, with Philippines collecting a run in the 4th inning to bring the score to 3-1 then.
“The players are still a little inexperienced and I suppose the pressure to win the match to book the World Cup berth took the toll on them.”
Even then, it was inexcusable to have been struggling against Philippines who were smaller built, certainly lacked experience as compared to China’s team, had only come with 11 players (2 reserves only) and were represented by their national champions school – Bacolod City High School.
Huang also said that his players morale took a blow when they failed to make the final when they lost 6-8 to Chinese Taipei.
“Under the circumstances, I think the team still did well to book a World Cup ticket.”
Huang said he will now wait for instructions for the next phase of preparations for the World Cup.
“I will be working with the core of the present team for the World Cup, but will be constantly on the look out if there are any other players who are out there better than the current players, or players who can add strength to certain departments in our team.”
Philippines coach, Sheirylou Valenzuela, was totally happy with her team’s performance against host China, despite their loss.
“We did our best and glad that we stretched China to seven innings and even managed to get a run against them,” said Valenzuela.
“Despite being a school team from one school, we had a good run in the competition here. It was invaluable experience for us, which will certainly make us a better team for they future.”
There was further smiles around the Philippines team after their match when Softball Asia president, Datuk Low Beng Choo, went to congratulate them for a fine performance against all odds and offered encouraging word to the continue to train hard, as she saw future them.
There was further roar of excitement, when Low told the team that they have a remote chance of playing in the World Cup as ‘wild card’ entry.
“I am not promising anything, but if there is an opportunity for a wild card, I will fight for the place. Thay wild card place availability will only be known when the host country is determineed ” said Low.
However, Low warned the players that the World Cup is a different level of competition where the players from Europe, Africa and US are much bigger,
harder hitters and the game itself was a different level.
“Even teams like Japan, Chinese Taipei and China will encounter problems at the World Cup.”
The final between favourite Japan and Chinese Taipei will be played at 3.30pm.
China 6 Philippines 1 (Bronze Medal)
Chinese Taipei v Japan (Gold Medal)
FINAL RANKINGS AFTER TOURNAMENT:
- .…………………………………..(U18 Women Asia Cup 2023 Champion)
- ….…………………………………(Runner-up – silver medal)
- CHINA (Third placed – bronze medal)
- HONG KONG
(Top three ranked teams qualify for World Cup)
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 0 (Runner-up Group A) v CHINESE TAIPEI 5 (Group B runners-up) – Super Round #3
CHINA 1 (Group A champion) – Super Round #1 V JAPAN 8 (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 0 (Runner-up Group A) 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