THE World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Under-12 Mixed Softball World Cup got underway yesterday in Taichung, with host and defending champions Chinese Taipei and Czech Republic who finished third in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2019, starting on winning notes.
The tournament which was supposed to be held from December 1 to 12 last year, but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, sees five countries – Czech Republic, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and host Chinese Taipei – compete till Dec 11.’
After Day 1 yesterday, Chinese Taipei and Czech, gave an early indication that they start as favourties with victories over Singapore (18-0 over four innings) and Hong Kong (10-0 over four innings), respectively.
The game played over five innings saw Singapore open the tournament on victorious note when they defeated a determined India 12-5 in the morning, but Chinese Taipei proved too formidable for them they lost their second game.
Chinese Taipei’s Sheng-Zhi Wu’s three-run homer and Czech’s Marketa Svecova’s great pitching were the top performances of the day.
The opening ceremony was held before the afternoon games at the Jin-Long Field in Taichung City, which was declared open by the WBSC secretary-general, Datuk Low Beng Choo, who is also the tournament director here and the president of Softball Asia.
“It is great to see children playing at World Cup level and this augurs well for the development of the softball game. It is indeed and honour for these young children to be representing their respective countries at the world stage,” said Low before declaring the tournament open.
She also thanked the Mayor of Taichung, Lu Shiow-Yen, for the city’s support to WBSC and host Chinese Taipei Softball Association (CTSA) and CTSA as the local organising committee for supporting WBSC to bring the tournament to Chinese Taipei.
Host Chinese Taipei certainly looking to defending their 2019 title and ceratinly have made a clear indication with the demolation of Singapore in their opening game.
Chinese Taipei play back-to back games this afternoon against Hong Kong (1pm) and Czech, which could turn out to be prelude to the final.
This morning, India played Hong Kong and Czech Republic played Singapore.
“This is my first time coaching a team in a WBSC event,” said Chinese Taipei’s head coach Wu Chi-Tsu.
“I am not a sports professional, but an elementary school teacher and sport is my hobby.
“The main goal is to keep our record and win another gold medal in this event for the country.
“And because this event is being held in Taichung, as hosts, we want to keep winning and we want the trophy to stay here in Taiwan.”
Chinese Taipei had won all seven of their matches in the inaugural tournament, including a 3-2 triumph against Peru in the final.
The Czechs are the only other side making their second appearance at the competition, following their bronze-medal finish in 2019.
“We know that the teams here are strong, so we must play hard in each game, especially against Chinese Taipei because they have a huge advantage as hosts of this tournament,” said Czech head coach Jana Klempířová.
The teams play with a three-day single round robin, with all the teams advancing to the playoffs.
The fourth and fifth qualified teams will play a quarter final elimination game, with the winner facing the best seeded squad in the Opening Round, in one of two semifinals. Second and third qualified teams will play the second semifinal.
The WBSC U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup, the WBSC’s first-ever mixed-gender world cup, boasts a tournament format that is designed to further boost gender equality across all WBSC disciplines. All squads must include 14-16 players aged 10 to 12, and each team must include at least four females and four males on the field of play at any one time, with a batting line-up alternating between five female and five male players.