HOST Japan as expected were crowned champions of the 11th Men Softball Asian Cup, Kochi, 2022 (World Cup qualifier) beating Philippines 9-2 in six innings.
Both Japan and Philippines qualify for the World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand from Nov 26th to Dec 4th, as this Asia Cup also severed as the qualifier for two slots for the seven nations who competed here.
While there was no doubt about Japan qualifying for the World Cup as they were a class above the rest of the field, it was the battle for the second spot, that was the focus here in this beautiful city of Shimanto City in the prefecture of Kochi.
It was a challenging tournament for the organisers as the weather played havoc and the groundsmen had to work overtime to have the pitch ready in the best possible condition for each innings.
Many games were delayed, but everything was managed well, while the teams were patient and cooperative, to make the tournament a success and completed as schedule.
There were surprises in the tournament, where India certainly raised eyebrows with their performance and to finish fourth.
India the Group B runners-up to Japan, also turned spoilers to Singapore, whom they defeated the Group B champions, in the Super League round.
Although Singapore sought revenge in the third placing match against India, when they defeated them 17-5, but Singapore missed out the World Cup berth.
For runners-up in the tournament, Philippines, they had to dig into deep into their reserves to play in the final after their defeat to Singapore in the Super round clash.
Singapore, put a spanner to Philippines’ plans to the final, when they defeated them in come from behind narrow 6-5 victory.
In a three-cornered battle for a slot in the finals, Philippines made the cut, as they had the lowest number of runs against them, as compared to Singapore and India.
Philippines not only has booked the second World Cup ticket as the finalist, but also had the distinction of being the only team to have had two runs against Japan in the tournament, with their 2-9 score in the final.
In their earlier Super League encounter, Philippines had lost 0-7.
“Japan is a world class team ranked No 2 in the World, and I am very happy with my team’s performance against them,” said Philippines head coach Apolonio Rosales.
“We not only had two runs against Japan, but had six hits against them today. That is improvement for us.
“We need more exposure and in preparation for the World Cup where the level competition is going to be high, I will be proposing to my association for us to compete in higher level tournaments or go for a training stint and play friendlies with higher ranked teams before we go to New Zealand.
“We have a young but talented squad and I am aiming for a top six finish in the World Cup from 12 teams.”
Japan’s manager cum head coach Hiroshi Yoshimura, too was full of praise for the Philippines team.
“They are a young and talented team who can go far with better exposure. They have good batsmen and pitchers. They may have lost twice against us, but they gave us some anxious moments,” said Yoshimura
“Am glad we finished tops in the tournament, but now we have to look at the bigger picture – the World Cup.”
In the final yesterday, Japan took control of the game immediately and pitching from the bottom half took five runs in the first inning to stamp their mark
But Philippines shocked Japan with two runs against in the second inning, but Japan comeback to reply with a run in the 4th inning and another in the 6th,] to end the game on runs ahead after the 6th inning.
Bat: Pos: Name Uniform No:
- 7 Denmark Bathan 4
- 8 Efril Ian Mercado 18
- 4 Jerome Bacarisas 73
- 2 Melvin De Castro 21
- 5 Micheal P 33
- 6 John Justine 22
- DP Gerone Riparip 29
- 3 Julius Diaz 72
- 9 Janzen Mark Gaspi 51
FP 1 Reagan Parco 8
Leonel MJ 3
Kenneth Torres 30
Francis Generoso 9
Juliuz Dela Cruz 44
Lyonas De Leon 10
Marlon P 92
Leo Barredo 11
- 4 Hiroshi Sakata 1
- 6 Koutarou Yasumi 8
- DP Hiraku Matsuda 20
- 3 Kazuya Toriyama 35
- 9 Naoaki Kawada 24
- 7 Yusuk Norita 19
- 2 Kitazawa Keisuke 18
- 8 Seii Kuroiwa 23
- 5 Yusuke Sakurba 7
FP 1 Yuya Yamawki 11
Takuro Kawanko 5
Tei Hamamoto 42
Taiyo Kataoka 10
Ryoyu Une 52
Reo Koyama 17
Sora Kataoka 21
- Ramesh, Hashimoto Takasho, A. Masran Hassan, Paulo Tabirara
STANDINGS AFTER PRELIMINARY ROUND
- Hong Kong
- Chinese Taipei
SUPER ROUND AND PLACING MATCHES RESULTS
Japan 7 Philippines 0 (Shimanto Stadium)
Singapore 12 India 17 (Yasumani Field)
Chinese Taipei 9 Thailand 16 (Shimanto Stadium) – placing match
Japan 7 Singapore 0 (Shimanto Stadium)
India 1 Philippines 8 (Yasumani Field)
India 5 Singapore 12 (Bronze medal – 3/4th placing)
Hong Kong 5 Thailand 1 (5th/6th placing)
Japan 9 Philippines 2 (Final)
- HONG KONG
- CHINESE TAIPEI