World No. 11 China will play No. 4 Puerto Rico in the final of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group B on Saturday after they finished first and second respectively in the Opening Round, which was completed on Friday at the Camp Municipal de Beisbol i Sofbol de València, Spain.
China, Puerto Rico and Cuba all finished with a 4-1 win-loss record but Cuba and Puerto Rico finished in the top two and will play for the first ticket to the Finals 2024 while Cuba finished third due to their Team Quality Balance (TQB). Cuba will play the Netherlands in the 3 v 4 game with the winner advancing to a playoff against the loser of the final for a chance to claim the second ticket to the Finals 2024.
Day 4 Results
Puerto Rico v Netherlands 6-1 Box Score/Play by Play Highlights
China v South Africa 10-0 Box Score/Play by Play Highlights
Cuba v China 2-1 Box Score/Play by Play Highlights
Puerto Rico v Spain 11-2 Box Score/Play by Play Highlights
- Puerto Rico’s win over the Netherlands at the start of the day confirmed them a spot in the top four. The China v Cuba & Puerto Rico v Spain games determined the final positions.
- Due to Puerto Rico v Netherlands finishing at 12:25, China v South Africa started at 12:55
- Six home runs hit in the tournament so far
- Day Three Review – China, Cuba, Netherlands book Playoff spots, two teams in contention for remaining place
- Day Two Review – Cuba and China stay undefeated; top standings
- Day One Review – Wins for Cuba, China and Spain on opening day
- Group C starts on Saturday – Japan, Canada and Italy expected to lead the way
- Great media coverage of the tournament including in major Spanish sport’s paper Marca on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
- Group B in Valencia, Spain sees the hosts, ranked 12th in the world, welcome No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Netherlands, No. 11 China, No. 28 Cuba and No. 38 South Africa from 18-22 July. See Preview
- Valencia ready to welcome the world
- 12 players to watch
- By the Numbers
- Watch Live on GameTime.Sport
Photos of the Day
Puerto Rico v Spain
The last game of the Opening Round sees world No. 4 Puerto Rico needing to beat the hosts Spain, ranked 12th in the world, to force a three-way tie for first place.
But its Spain who gets on the board first with Maria Caicoya’s single to left field scoring Sorangel Ledezma. Spain 1-0 up after two innings.
Spain doubled their lead in the bottom of third with Candela Garcia punching to centre field to allow Carmen Caicoya to run home from second and put the hosts up 2-0.
Puerto Rico pulled one back in the top of the fourth when Aminah Vega got home as Carsyn Gordon grounded out before Puerto Rico launched their comeback in the top of the sixth.
A Karla Claudio double to right centre scored Aminah Vega and Jenna Cozza to put Puerto Rico in front 3-2 before Carsyn Gordon, Janelle Martinez, Odalys Cordova, Kathyria Garcia and Tatianna Roman get home to extend the lead to 8-2.
Odalys Cordova, Macey Cintron, Garcia and Vega scored again in the seventh to complete the scoring at 12-2 and confirm Puerto Rico in second place in the group standings.
Cuba v China
The top of the table clash between China, who just beat South Africa to maintain their unbeaten record, and Cuba, who has only suffered one defeat against Puerto Rico.
If China wins, they will be confirmed in the Playoff game between 1 v 2, however if Cuba wins we will have to wait unto Puerto Rico’s result against Spain to determine the final Playoff positions.
Cuba broke the deadlock in the top of the third with great hustling from Elisabeth Robert, who stealing second, forced the first error by China in this tournament and she made it on to third. Next at bat, Yanisleidys Casanova took her tally to nine hits from 13 at bats with a double through centre field before a single from Yilian Rondon scored Casanova to give Cuba a 2-0 lead.
China pulled a run back with Xiaoyan He scoring after Yilian Tornes, who is on fire in the pitching circle, unable to pick up a bunt as she ran towards first base. With the error, He screamed home to make it 2-1 Cuba after three.
And the game stayed locked at 2-1 as Torres continued throwing thunderbolts, pitching 13 strikeouts across all seven innings, the third time four games she has pitched the whole game.
For China, as is customary for all their games, they used three pitchers – Yinan Chai, Yuchen Wei, Lan Wang – to share the workload and in the end, they also did the job since a 2-1 defeat keeps China in a strong position to finish in the top two.
Only five hits for Cuba and four for China showcasing what a tight battle the game was and what an exciting preview of tomorrow’s playoffs will be like.
China v South Africa
Unbeaten China take on South Africa, who are still looking for their first win of the tournament. It’s the first of back-to-back games for China who play Cuba in the game following.
World No. 11 China got straight into their work with Yue Xie hitting a triple to centre field as lead off hitter before getting home on a wide throw into Elri Herman at third base. Jia Xu, Min Ren and Jiaxin Xie also scored to put China up 4-0 in the top of the first.
Xiaomin Lu scored again in the top of the third after Zixuan Dong managed a triple, squeezing a ground ball between Mercedes March and first base before Jiaqi Li scored thanks to Min Ren’s single up the middle.
But it was top of the fifth where China combined good hitting and base running to collect four more runs. Lu, Bei Wang, Zixuan Dong and Xiaoyan He all get home to confirm the win for China by the run ahead rule.
Puerto Rico v Netherlands
The Netherlands and Puerto Rico is the opening game on Friday which for Puerto Rico is an important game. If the Central and Carribean Games champions win this opening game they are through to the Playoffs while for the Netherlands, they are already assured of a playoff spot having won two out of four games and can’t finish worse than fourth since they beat Spain on Thursday.
Beijing 2008 Olympian Britt Vonk scored for the Netherlands in the bottom of the first after Karla Claudio miss fielded Maxime van Dalen’s ground ball next to first base, allowing Vonk to scoot home from second base to put the Netherlands 1-0 after one innings.
Every single game they’ve played this week the Netherlands have scored first, only to see their lead disappear against Cuba and China.
And it’s the same script in this game with Puerto Rico getting back in the game in the top of the third with Aleshia Ocasio, playing left field in this game, reaching home on a line drive down left field by Jenna Cozza. With Netherlands pitcher Lindsey Meadows struggling to find the strike zone, it was soon loaded bases and a walk to Aleimalee Lopez scored Claudio. Puerto Rico ahead 2-1.
Puerto Rico start stretching the lead in the top of the fourth with Kathryia Garcia scoring on an Ocasio double to centre field before Ocasio also scored on a Cozza single to left field.
Pause in play at 11:15 for an injury treatment after van Dalen got knocked in the head by runner Lopez as she stretched for a ball low to the ground at first base. Claudio scored in the process. Van Dalen left the game to be replaced by Vonk at first with Sterre Den Duijn coming on at short stop. Game resumed at 11.20 with Puerto Rico 5-1 ahead.
Another run to Puerto Rico in the top of the fifth with Odalys Cordova getting home on a Aminah Vega single to centre field and that sealed the game for the world No. 4 as they claimed the win and with it, confirmed they can’t finish worse than third with one game left against Spain this evening.
After some rain yesterday, today’s weather forecast says clear and fine all day with even cooler temperatures than previous days with a high of 30°.
- Where to watch
- First time that Spain, like Ireland and Italy, hosts a WBSC tournament.
- New sustainable Mizuno ball – the M170 – in play.
- Six teams participating in three groups. Top two teams from Group B “punch a ticket” to the Finals next year. Learn more about the tournament format here.
- USA and Australia advance to Finals 2024 after finishing first and second in Group A in Ireland. Great Britain finished third. Check out the Group A review.
- Group C in Castions di Strada and Buttrio, Italy sees world No. 2 and Olympic champions Japan, No. 5 Canada, No. 8 Italy, No. 26 Philippines and No. 29 New Zealand in action from 22-26 July.
- First time the new two-stage format is being used in a WBSC tournament.
- WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Full History
- XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Finals to be played in July 2024 in Italy
More great coverage of the WBSC Women’s Softball World including Group B as it heads towards the business end of the tournament and also Group C, which is in preparation mode for a start on Saturday while Great Britain’s performance in Group A in Ireland is still making waves.