The Philippine Blu Girls fell short in their bid to end a 45-year title drought in the Asian Women Softball Championship after losing 7-0 to Japan yesterday in the final that ended after five innings in Taichung, Taiwan.
The Blu Girls conceded five runs in the third inning that allowed the Japanese to break the game wide open and settle for a runner-up finish that will serve as a momentum-booster in their bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Despite falling short, the national softbelles are assured of berths in next year’s Women’s Softball World Championship and the Indonesia Asian Games after an impressive run during the week-long tournament.
The last time the Blu Girls won the title was during the 1972 edition in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After losing to Japan in the tournament opener, the Blu Girls wound up winning their next four matches to place second in Group A, but fell to Taiwan, 7-3, in the first match of the page system playoffs to fall in the loser’s bracket.
But the Blu Girls recovered to post a 17-0 rout of Hong Kong, then won two matches early yesterday to secure a place in the final against the Japanese.
They survived China, 4-3, in extra innings before exacting revenge on Taiwan, 7-3, in the playoff for the other finals berth.
A mixture of locals and Fil-foreigners composed the Blu Girls roster for the Asian Championship.
They are American-based Chelsea Suitos, Skylar Ellazar, Kailee Cuico, Garie Blando, Kayla Joyce, Dani Gilmore and Hailey Decker and homegrowns Cheska Altomonte, Arianne Vallestero, Angelie Ursabia, Mary Ann Antolihao, Lyca Basa, Mia Macapagal, Ezra Jalandoni, Royevel Palma and Joy Lasquite.