MEMBERS of the national women’s softball team popularly known as the Blu Girls are geared up for three major competitions in the second half of the year, including the inaugural Co-ed Slow Pitch Softball World Cup in Mexico in December.
The Blue Girls also qualified for the Softball World Cup (fast pitch) in Italy next month and will also vie in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September.
Coach Ana Santiago, who’s on top of the preparations for all three tournaments, graced Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“Maganda naman ang preparations, thanks to our supporters,” said Santiago, who was joined in the public forum by team captain CJ Roa and mainstay Angelu Gabriel.
The Blu Girls made it to the Co-ed Slow Pitch World Cup by finishing second behind Chinese-Taipei in the recent Asia Cup in Pattaya, Thailand where they also faced teams from China, Thailand and Singapore.
Under the co-ed setup, teams are allowed an even number of male and female players on the field. Normally, teams field male pitchers but are required to field female catchers.
“It’s newly organized that’s why our players in the co-ed slow pitch are the same players in our fast pitch squad,” said Santiago in the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Milo, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“It’s also my first time to coach a team with male players and in slow pitch that’s why I needed to study all the rules. They are almost similar,” said Santiago.
“But for now, our preparations are focused on the fast pitch World Cup on July 22 to 27 in Italy. Wala na kami international exposure for that. But we will do a two-week camp in Baguio,” she said.
In Italy, the Blu Girls will face the world No. 1 team in Japan along with Canada, New Zealand, Venezuela and the host country.
“Then we focus on the Asian Games and the Co-Ed World Cup and for that we are hoping to get international exposure. Gusto sana namin sa Japan so we can train with their national team,” Santiago said.