POWERHOUSE Japan regained the Asian Junior 19-Under Women’s Softball Championship with a 4-0 rout of Chinese Taipei on Saturday at the Clark International Sports Complex in Pampanga.
Yuki Masuda yielded two hits and fanned out five batters in a no-relief job while the rest peppered pitchers Yu Ling Pan and Ya Ting with 10 hits to underscore the Japanese dominance of last year’s champions.
“My players played good and Yuki (Masuda) excellently manned the mound,” said coach Yosuke Sato through an interpreter, whose wards completed a sweep of the weeklong tournament organized by Softball Confederation Asia in partnership with the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines, supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee.
Chinese Taipei staged a last ditch stand in the seventh inning but Masuda retired Chi Hsuan Yen, Chia Hui Ko and southpaw Jia Ling Yu to preserve the lead and clinch the crown.
“The Japanese played well and their batters found their mark. They deserve the win,” said Chinese Taipei coach Tseng Hsin Chang through an interpreter.
Japan racked up nine wins and reaffirmed its supremacy of Asian softball in the eight-team competition.
Aside from winning the plum in convincing fashion, Japan swept all the individual awards with Kudo Kanna collaring four honors – MVP, most homeruns (3), most RBI (14 RBI) and best slugger. Okuda Mei was recognized as best hitter and Iha Hanna with most stolen bases (six).