PH Blu Girls blank Thais, gain quarterfinals in Asian softball
Mary Joy Lasquite pitched a seven-inning shutout in a 3-0 triumph by the Philippines over Thailand that boosted the Blu Girls into the quarterfinal round Saturday of the 10th Asian Women’s Softball Championship at the Ciaoguang grounds in Nantou, Taiwan.
The 27-year-old right-hander, a former University of the East stalwart, struck out seven and yielded just two hits while her teammates backed her up with a six-hit attack against two Thai hurlers.
The third victory in five games assured the Blu Girls of a place in the quarters from Pool A regardless of the result of their round-ending date with defending and Olympic Games champion Japan set Sunday afternoon.
Jocel Aguilar, back in the Blu Girls’ lineup following a two-year hiatus, Sherrylou Valenzuela and Dione Macasu took care of the offensive for the Filipinos.
Aguilar opened the fourth inning with a single, took second on another hit by Valenzuela and scored behind still another single by Macasu. Valenzuela, who reached third on the play, then made it 2-0 on a wild pitch.
They repeated the sequence in the sixth, this time with Valenzuela advancing Aguilar to second on a sacrifice before Macasu drove home Jocel again.
After Japan, the Blu Girls, who are seeking one of the three slots at stake for the 2012 World Championship, will next face Singapore in another page-system format that will eventually determine the two teams that will dispute the crown.
The Singaporeans, whom the Blu Girls clobbered for the 2007 Southeast Asian Games plum, routed Indonesia, 10-5, to end up third in the lighter, six-team Pool B.
Making up the Final Eight aside from the Philippines, funded here by the Philippine Sports Commission and supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Pera Padala, Le Soleil de Boracay and Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions in Pool A are the Japanese and the two Koreas.
Advancing in Pool B aside from Singapore are China, host Chinese Taipei and Indonesia.
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