INCHEON, South Korea—The Philippines battered Thailand in only four innings, 13-0, on Tuesday to formally secure the No. 4 slot in the semifinals of the women’s softball competition of the 17th Asian Games.
The victory was the most lopsided that was registered so far at the Songdo LNG Field but, more important, it put the Blu Girls in a position to break the domination of Japan, Chinese Taipei and China of softball in the region.
“We beat them, as expected, but we are more focused on the semifinals,” Blu Girls Head Coach Randy Dizer said. “The players went all out against Thailand, a performance we need for our important game tomorrow.”
Japan got back at Asian championship tormentor China, 4-1, to grab the No. 1 spot in the semifinals, while Chinese Taipei emerged as the No. 2 team following a 6-0 victory that totally knocked host South Korea out of the running.
China closed out the round-robin phase unbeaten in five matches, Taiwan was 4-1 won-lost, China 3-2, the Philippines 2-3, South Korea 1-4 and Thailand 0-4.
The page system semifinals are set on Wednesday, with Japan taking on Chinese Taipei and the Philippines facing China, who beat the Blu Girls, 8-2, in their round-robin duel.
But Dizer said the girls are confident about pulling the rug from under the Chinese.
“If the girls play the way we did today [against Thailand] and yesterday [against Chinese Taipei], then we have a very big chance of advancing,” Dizer said.
In a page system semifinals, No. 1 meets No. 2 with the winner advancing to the finals and the loser facing the winner between the No. 3 and No. 4 squads. The losers duel for the bronze medal.
“China is the team to beat but we are ready for them,” Dizer stressed.
Veronica Belleza struck out three batters she faced in two-and-a-half innings, while Annalie Benjamen fanned two Thais while surrendering two hits.
The Filipinas were so hot at the plate that they shoved three Thai pitchers to a combined 15 hits while committing no errors.
The Thais managed to keep the Filipinas at bay for a scoreless first frame. But the game’s complexion changed totally at the bottom of the second inning when the Blu Girls exploded with seven runs—all on RBIs and a fielding error by Thai third baseman Waraporn Konyuen.
Filipino-American Morgan Terresa was 3-of-3 at bats for thee RBIs and Garnet Agnes Blando and Leia Ruiz had two RBIs each for the Blu Girls. Only Nitchanan Suansara and Pinit Lee Udom got Benjamen’s number for the Thais’ two hits in the match.