Blu Girls shut out opponents in World Cup Asian qualifier


THE national women’s softball team-popularly called Blu Girls—shut out Hong Kong and host South Korea to kick off their campaign in Sunday in the Asia Cup—a qualifier for the XVII World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s Softball World Cup—at the LNG Sports in Incheon.

The Blu Girls had Hong Kong at t    he palms of their hands for a trouble-free 7-0 victory in only five innings on Sunday morning.

The Blu Girls returned to the field in the afternoon and, although outhit by the South Koreans, worked behind their stingy infield defense for a 2-0 triumph ending to share the early lead with highly-touted China.

China was the runner-up the last time the tournament was played three years ago in Jakarta ahead of bronze medalist Chinese Taipei.

The hosts’ losing pitcher Korea’s Ju Hyo Ju limited the Filipinas to only three hits in their seven-inning collision, but could only blame her teammates for the loss in what could jeopardize their bid to finish at least with a bronze medal to make it to the World Cup.

Her Blu Girls counterpart at the mound, Mary Ann Antolihao, on the other hand, surrendered five connections of the 29 Koreans she faced besides allowing three to the bags.

But thanks to her teammates who showed their superiority defending and intangibles, she still came out winner.

Emerging as the Philippines’ brightest star for the day was centerfielder Cristy Joy Roa, who not only drove in the Blu Girls’ second and insurance run at the bottom sixth onning, but also made a crucial perfect throw from center to gun down at home plate what could’ve been a tying run ending the fifth frame.

The Koreans consoled themselves by winning their first assignment for the day—a mighty 10-0 blanking of Thailand in only four innings.

The world No. 30 Philippines and No. 35 Korea fought toe-to-toe for five innings until the Filipinas broke the ice in the bottom fifth and the tie on a base-on-ball freebie given to leftfielder Krishma Cantor, who scored from first on a double to left by rightfielder Alaiza Talisik.

Blu Girl lead-off hitter and shortstop Ma. Angelu Gabriel greeted the enemies with a single at the start of the pivotal sixth, sacrificed to second by Mary Joy Maguad and leisurely scooted home on another two-base-hit by Arianne Vallesteros.

Cantor, Gabriel, Talisik and Vallesteros are all members of the “10-peat” University Athletic Association of the Philippines champions Adamson University Lady Falcons.

“We had a 50-50 chance to win before the start of the game, but in the game today, we should have emerged winners, but blew our chance,” head of delegation Kim Eunyoung said.

Korea has American Robert Scott Cranford as assistant coach and several of its players had been sent to the US for training and exposure.

Chinese Taipai and China also won both their opening day assignments—Taiwan beat India, 11-0, and Hong Kong, 10-0 and China clobbered India, 21-0.

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