HITTING the fast ball. Nicole Hamoude of the Philippines struck a fast ball, a rare occasion, as she was intentionally walked twice during the playoffs game between the Philippines and Italy at the Women’s Softball World Cup in Castions di Strada, Italy. (Photos from WBSC Website)
By Marlon Bernardino
MANILA, Philippines – The RP Blu Girls gave their best, but they fell a run short from clinching the World Cup Finals slot as they lost to the much bigger Italy in the Women’s Softball World Cup 2024 Group Stage Playoffs for third place.
The Italians took a vengeful 6-5 win, the same score in the elimination round that went to the Blu Girls the other day.
ASAPHIL President and Cebuana Lhuiller CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier lauded the RP Blu Girls, despite the outcome:
“While this may not be the outcome that we were hoping for, I am still immensely proud of the Blu Girls. They never flinched despite being grouped together with higher-ranking teams like Japan, Canada, Italy, and Venezuela. I believe that our girls will bounce back from this and come back stronger than ever at the next World Cup. Of course, I, with the support of the Filipino people, we will be supporting the girls for what is to come and prepare them for their future battles.”
The Philippine team wrapped up their World Cup 2023 run with a standing of 2 Wins and 3 Losses (excluding playoffs). Japan finished first in the group after defeating Canada.
Giulia Koutsoyanopulos homerun on the second inning was pivotal for Italy’s victory as it pumped up the host team when they were trailing after the first inning. Koutsoyanopulos finished with a 4RBI on a 10-hit offensive effort of Italy.
Philippines jumped ahead in the score in the top of the first. Alaiza Talisik found leadoff hitter on second base with two outs, and she delivered a single to help Skylynne Ellazar score.
However, the efforts of the Filipinas were doused when Koutsoyanopulos homer resulted to three runs for Italy.
The Blue Girls did not buckle down pressure as they managed to even the score at 5-all at the top of the fourth inning.
However, all it took was a sacrifice fly by Barbara McKenzie that helped Alessandra Rotondo to reach the home plate was all it took for Italy to win the game as both teams went scoreless on the next three innings.
PRE-game huddle. The RP Blu Girls was in a light mood during the pre-game huddle in the playoffs match against Italy in Castions di Strada in Italy.