Chinese Taipei was saving the best for tomorrow’s final against favourites Japan, when they rested almost half their team against Philippines this afternoon in the final Super Round match in the inaugural U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 tournament in Pingtan, China.
Chinese Taipei who shocked China to win 8-6 on Friday to book the place in the final, just did enough to beat Philippines 5-0.
However, Chinese Taipei coach Kao Chun-Sheng was quick to add that saving the best players for tomorrow, did not mean that they can beat Japan.
“Japan is a formidable team and a class above the rest. We have very little chance – maybe less than 20 percent – to stage an upset, and whatever chance we have, we will give our best shot and go for broke. We have nothing to lose. But it is highly unlikely that we can beat them,” said Kao.
“We are just glad that we beat host China to reach the final and have qualified for the World Cup. We have a lot of work to improve with the team and we intend to work hard to be a better team by time we compete in the World Cup next year.”
Kao said that playing Japan is an experience and learning curve for them.
This will be the second time, Chinese Taipei will be playing Japan in this competition. Earlier in their Group B encounter, Japan defeated Chinese Taipei 8-0.
“We hope we can give a better performance tomorrow than we did in the first encounter.”
Kao on his team’s performance against Philippines, he said he was happy with the reserve players.
“They did well and Philippines is a reasonably good team with a good pitcher (Liara Dianne Silverio), who gave an overall good run against us,” said Kao.
Philippines coach, SheirlyLou Valenzuela, too was happy with her team’s overall performance.
“We gave our best against a better team and even though they did not field their best team against us, they were still formidable,” said Valenzuela.
“I am happy with my players and it has been an experience for us to get better.”
For tomorrow’s Philippines third placing match against China, Valenzuela said that all she can ask from her team is to give their best.
“It maybe our last shot to win a World Cup berth (as third place) but we have to be realistic about chances, as we are up against another formidable team – China.”
China defeated Philippines 11-0 in their Group A match.
“We will continue to give our best, as we have done in every match we have played here and will not be intimidated by our opponent.
“If our best is not good enough to beat our opponents, then we have to accept and continue to work harder to improve.”
Japan, on the other hand, just like Chinese Taipei, gave several of their regular players a rest and an opportunity for their reserve players a chance to play.
China wanting to make some amends for blowing their chance to make the final, when they lost 6-8 to Chinese Taipei yesterday, was hoping to beat Japan for places in the final to be decided on a three-way-tie situation.
But Japan despite fielding many reserves, still packed enough power to down China 8-1 over six innings.
Japan’s coach Yuhei Yamauchi who was expecting to meet China in the final, said it made no difference that they will be playing Chinese Taipei instead.
“Both China and Chinese Taipei are almost of the same strength. In any case we have played Chinese Taipei (won 8-0) and they have seen us play too. I expect a closer match, but will not trouble us much, as we are confident of victory,” said a confident Yamauchi.
Indeed, Japan are tipped to win the title and Chinese Taipei and China to finish runners-up and third place respectively to book the three places available for the 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
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)