The Philippines finally chalked up a win in the World Cup of Softball XI as the world No. 23 Blu Girls edged No. 19 Venezuela, 2-1, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at ASA Hall of Fame Complex’s Field 3 in Oklahoma City.
Filipino-American Dani Gilmore blasted a solo home run in the third inning and Angelie Ursabia stole home in the sixth to give the Filipinas the cushion that led to their breakthrough victory after five consecutive losses. Venezuela remained winless at 0-5.
“This tournament gave us a glimpse of how steep the climb we have to make if we want to contend in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. What’s good to see through is that our girls fought hard and continued to improve in each game,” said Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (Asaphil) President Jean Henri Lhuillier.
The Blu Girls will next compete in the World Women’s Softball Championships in Surrey, Canada on July 15 to 24 as part of their four-year plan towards qualifying and competing in the Tokyo Games.
Later in the day, the Blu Girls pushed world No. 3 Australia to the limit before yielding a 2-3 loss.
The upset-conscious Pinay batters enjoyed a 2-1 upperhand up until the bottom seventh, where they conceded two costly runs that allowed the fancied Aussies to escape with the triumph.
“We gave Australia, the No. 3 team in the world, hell in seven innings. This is a good sign going to the World Championships in Canada on July 15-24,” Asaphil Executive Director Jun Veloso said.
Sierra Lange stood at the forefront of the Blu Girls’ defense against Venezuela, pitching a five-hitter in a no-relief job while striking out three batters. She gave up a solo homer to Yaicey Sojo in the bottom seventh but the Pinays held on preserve the win.
The Blu Girls had a big fifth inning against the Australians, leaning on Garie Blando’s sacrifice RBI and Chelsea Suitos’ run to wipe out a 0-1 deficit and storm ahead.
The Australians, though, had the last say. Carmelie Sorensen was hit by a pitch in a bases-loaded situation, allowing Jade Wall to score the tying run. Georgia Blaire then launched a sacrifice fly that enabled Clare Warwick to make the go-ahead run and Australia went on to pick up its fourth win in five outings.