Philippines qualifies for Super Round in dramatic tie breaker

Philippines qualifies for Super Round in dramatic tie breaker
26/09/2019

Philippines qualified for the Super Round by the skin of their teeth with a win in the final crucial Group A match by a single run in a tie-breaker against New Zealand

Philippines qualified for the Super Round by the skin of their teeth when in the final crucial Group A match by a single run in a tie-breaker against New Zealand in the WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Shanghai Chongming Sports Training Center, this afternoon.

Philippines ranked 13th as compared to New Zealand’s 11th, both went to the game knowing whoever wins, will be second placed in their Group to China and qualify for the second round.

Both Philippines and New Zealand had lost to China on identical 8-3 scores earlier.

It was indeed a close fought battle and Philippines raised their game to match the Sox and had them in check and stay in the game to force the game to tie-breaker. The game lasted one hour and forty-five minutes.

It was Chelsea Suitos singles through the right side which Sierra Lange scored from third base, that gave Philippines the one run edge over New Zealand who were on bottom eight.

The Sox gave Philippines anxious when base umpire Lin Yu-Sung called for hit by pitch on Philippines Ann Antolihao when Avery Kingsley was batting.

But Philippines stood their ground to deny New Zealand any runs.

Philippines coach Venerando Dizer was in tears after the game as he gathered his players around to say a prayer to thank for the victory.

“Yes we are lucky, but we worked hard to earn this victory and showed character to beat a higher ranked team,” said Dizer with tears in his eyes.

Philippines almost gave the game away when a costly error in top 6 when Arianne Vallestero fumbled to catch a left field hit by Sox’s  Makea Merean which saw her reach second base.

“But we recovered each time we made an error. We have proved to people back home that we are a team to be reckoned with.

“We came here to make the Super Round and now that we made it, we are going for broke. We have nothing to lose.

“Yes we have to play Australia and Chinese Taipei and China are the favourites. But after this victory, we are in high spirits and want to continue to raise our game.”

New Zealand’s coach Stanley Doney was obviously disappointed but sportingly said that is why the game is so interesting.

“It was a very close game and we could have won the game. But it was not to be. Both teams had their opportunity to win the game and Philippines did and we did not,” Doney.

“Credit to Philippines because they played well. But we too did well but not enough to win it.”

Philippines started their game as their game plan by hitting low balls and bunts but New Zealand did well with some great pitching and hits.

As the game progressed it looked obvious that only and error or a good home hit is going to do the trick.

As it turned out both teams recovered well from their errors until Philippines rose to the occasion when it mattered most in the tie breaker.