History was made on Saturday, 21 October, as the WBSC U-15 Women’s Softball World Cup officially opened in the Japanese capital Tokyo. Five exciting matches are lined up to open the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Japan delighted the home crowd at the Komazawa Olympic Park Sports Complex Baseball Stadium when they claimed the lone run of their 1-0 win over their Asian rivals Chinese Taipei.
Among the hosts in the win-column in Group A are Italy and Mexico, who won by 7-0 score lines against New Zealand and Peru, respectively.
In Group B, the USA posted the biggest winning margin of the day, defeating Brazil 10-0, while the Philippines overcame Czechia with a 3-2 victory in a thrilling opening game of the tournament.
On the other hand, Puerto Rico earned a 7-0 forfeit victory against Uganda.
Day 1 Results
Philippines vs. Czechia 3-2
The Philippines avoided a late surge by Czechia and escaped with a 3-2 win in the Group B opener. Erica Arnaiz led the Philippine squad with 14 strikeouts, allowing four hits and two runs.
The Philippines got off to an aggressive start with three of their batters reaching base from a walk, a fielding error and a single. Czechia was able to stop their opening struggle and got two outs, until Cristine Calaguas hit a single that put the Philippines up 1-0.
Arnaiz held off the Czech hitters with three quick outs in the bottom of the first, while teammate Sheena Panteria hit a triple to right-center, putting herself in a good scoring position until Jannel Santos’ sacrifice bunt helped him reach home plate and score the Philippines’ second run in the next inning.
After two scoreless innings, the Philippines got back on the board in the fifth, with Leian Baylen scoring on a fielder’s choice for a 3-0 advantage.
In the seventh inning, Czechia made a comeback on an error that scored Bara Jedelska and Lucie Horova for two runs, putting the pressure on their opponents. However, the Philippines got out of the jam to win by a narrow 3-2 scoreline.
Peru vs. Mexico 0-7
Mexico scored in four straight innings to win the opening day of Group A, as they defeated Peru 7-0.
The game started with a scoreless first inning until Mexico found their rhythm in the bottom of the second, where a walk by Karina Rodriguez, a single by Aryanna Salazar and a fielder’s choice scored the first run for the Philippines.
Salazar later scored the second run off a stolen base before Katya Alarcon scored Romina Casillas for a productive shutout of their second inning stint.
Mexico carried their momentum into the bottom of the third, scoring two more runs for Rodriguez and Salazar off a double by Carla Montoya and a single by Aztrid Reyes, respectively.
Mexico extended their lead to 7-0 over the next two frames, scoring a run each in the fourth and fifth innings. The single to right center field by Mayte Figueroa was definitive for the Mexicans as they recorded their first win in the U-15 tournament by 7-0.
Chinese Taipei v Japan 0-1
Japan got revenge against Chinese Taipei with a 1-0 victory in Group A at the Komazawa Olympic Park Sports Complex Baseball Stadium.
These two sides previously met in the 2023 U-15 Women Softball Asia Cup, where Chinese Taipei defeated Japan by a 3-0 scoreline.
In their most recent encounter, Rachika Sakuragi accounted for two of the four hits to lift Japan to a successful opening game campaign on their home turf.
The first two innings of the game were even for both sides to measure each other, with Chinese Taipei allowing Japan two hits without surrendering a run. The hosts finally got their break when Sakuragi singled, followed by a double by Yumeka Kagen that plated Sakuragi to score their first run.
Despite their aggressive start to their offense, two hits would not turn into a run for Chinese Taipei in the bottom of the fifth, before the game was knotted in the seventh.
Brazil at USA 0-10
USA needed just four innings to start their campaign with a win. They posted a 10-0 win over Brazil behind a stellar performance by Lily Pullen, who threw a no-hitter.
Stevie South got a walk and later a run off a Jordyn Johnsen triple to start the USA’s offense in their game against Brazil in Setagaya, ending the first inning with a 1-0 lead.
USA’s offense exploded in the bottom of the second, putting up eight runs to update the score to 9-0. This huge advantage put the game out of Brazil’s reach, and the USA took the lead with Brooklyn Paratore’s final run 10-0.
New Zealand v Italy 0-7
Italy ended the day with a win over New Zealand, putting up seven runs in three straight innings and leaving their opponents scoreless in the game.
After a thrilling first inning duel, Italy got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second on Georgia Colino’s single that plated Letizia Giunchi. Colino later scored a run on a dropped fly error to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Italy had another encouraging performance in the bottom of the third, scoring on two more run off errors to take a 4-0 advantage. The Europeans ended the game with three runs.