Blu Girls trounce S Africans in world meet opener

The Philippine Blu Girls kicked off their campaign in the XVI WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in smashing fashion, crushing the South African side, 10-0, at the Akitsu Stadium in Chiba, Japan late Friday.

The Blu Girls needed just four innings to wrap up the victory through mercy ruling, giving the team a much-needed boost in their bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, the event serves as the first of five qualifiers for the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo.

Hurler Sierra Lange gave up only two hits in steering the Cebuana Lhuillier-backed Filipinas to the shutout victory with Arianne Vallestero blasting a homerun at the bottom of the second inning before Garie Blando, Cristy Joy Roa, Cheska Altomonte, Chelsea Suitos and Sky Eleazar combined for five runs.

Angelie Ursabia, Janet Rusia, Vallestero and Blando scored four more runs in the fourth to annex the lopsided triumph over the South Africans, who earlier bowed to the fancied Chinese Taipei in the first match of the week-long championship.

“It’s a great start for the Blu Girls. We have high hopes for them though I know tougher games are ahead,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president of the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL). “But I’m confident they will pull off surprises against the top teams in the fold.”

The 15th-ranked Blu Girls, meanwhile, were battling seventh seeded Mexico in the morning and No. 6 Puerto Rico in afternoon play in a tough doubleheader at presstime.