GB Women beat Philippines to stay in Worlds

Fri 10 Aug 2018

By Bob Fromer

10 August –  Spectacular pitching in relief by Georgina Corrick, and a late rally by the GB Women as the Placement playoffs began at the Women’s World Championship today gave GB a 2-1 win over the Philippines that keeps them alive in the tournament.

The highlight of the game – and the play that won it – was a heads-up steal of home by Kendyl Scott when GB scored both their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.  We’ll get back to that play later.

The win means that GB will play Chinese Taipei at 10.00 tomorrow (Saturday) Japanese time (2.00 am in the UK) in a Placement semi-final, and a win will put them into the Placement final tomorrow at 4.30 pm Japanese time (8.30 am in the UK).  Placement games determine teams’ final ranking in the tournament, which in turn contributes points towards their WBSC world ranking.  So these games are still important.

All remaining games in the World Championship are available to see on webstream through https://wswc.wbsc.org/schedule-and-results.

Great relief

GB had trailed 1-0 since the top of the second inning, when the Philippines scored a run against starter Carling Hare and looked set to get more.  But with one out, a run in, and runners on second and third, Georgina Corrick came in to put out the fire, striking out lead-off hitter Chelsea Suitos and getting Angelie Ursabia to fly out to left field.

From that point on, only one Philippine hitter reached base – but that was on a triple by Skylynne Ellazar leading off the top of the fourth inning. 

Georgina got out of that one too. 

Francesca Altomonte went down swinging, third base player Chloe Wigington made a great play on a bunt to get Ellazar into a fatal rundown between third and home, and Jenette Rusia took a called third strike on the inside corner.

After that, the remaining Philippine batters went up and down in order, as Georgina finished the game with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings, one hit allowed and no walks, and threw less than 70 pitches.

Going behind

Carling Hare got through the top of the first inning against the Philippines, despite giving up a walk and hitting a batter.

The bottom of the first inning started promisingly for GB, as Nerissa Myers opened the game by slicing a double deep into the left field corner, and Kendyl Scott bunted her to third.  But Lauren Evans hit a sharp one-hopper to Philippine third base player Skylynne Ellazar and Nerissa had taken a first step towards home after her primary lead.  She was out in the ensuing rundown, and Kirsten Mack struck out to end the inning.

There was immediate trouble for Carling Hare in the top of the second inning.  Skylynne Ellazar led off with a bunt single and was bunted to second base by catcher Francesca Altomonte.  Centre fielder Christy Roa then hit a soft single to centre field, scoring Ellazar, Jenette Rusia walked, and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. 

Enter Georgina Corrick, and that was the end for the Philippine offense for the rest of the game.

Chasing the lead

But GB was now trailing 1-0 to Philippine starter Riflayca Basa, who was efficient and accurate, walking no one and giving up very few hits, and for a long time it looked like it might be another game of frustration for the GB offense.

There were chances, some better than others.

Chloe Wigington reached on an error in the bottom of the second inning, but was forced at second on Sydney Brown’s bunt, and Sydney was then thrown out trying to steal her way to second base.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, GB were unlucky.  Kendyl Scott led off with a line drive to centre field that looked a sure base hit until Christy Roa made a fine shoestring catch.  With two out, Kirsten Mack blooped a two-out double down the right field line.

But catcher Amy Moore’s hard line drive went straight to second base player Chelsea Suitos.

Would the Philippines ever crack?


Taking the lead

They did – in the bottom of the sixth inning, when they gave GB one run and let them steal another.

Tori Charters opened the inning by punching a single between third and short, and Nerissa Myers bunted her to second base. 

Kendyl Scott then hit a pop fly into short centre field that dropped between three fielders for a single, but Tori had to wait to see if the ball would be caught, and could only get to third base.

And then – cruelly for the Philippines – everything changed.

The first pitch to Lauren Evans by Riflayca Basa was a wild pitch, her first of the game.  Tori Charters came in to score and Kendyl Scott came flying all the way around to third, drawing a throw from the Philippine catcher who recovered the ball at the backstop, but too late.

But then Kendyl realised that third base player Skylynne Ellazar was still holding the ball but wasn’t looking at her, and catcher Francesca Altomonte was walking slowly back towards an unguarded home plate – so Kendyl took off.  She had virtually crossed the plate before Altomonte even looked up and saw her, and it was the run that won the game.

It was also the end of Riflayca Basa, who was unconsolable when she got to the Philippine bunch.

Her replacement, Mary Ann Antolimao, lasted only one batter.  Lauren Evans hit a sharp single to right field, and Antolimao was gone, replaced by Sierra Lange. 

Lange got Kirsten Mack to line out to third base and Amy Moore to bounce out, but the damage had been done.

The game ended when pinch-hitter Reese Guevara took a called third strike in the top of the seventh inning on a ball beautifully located on the inside corner by Georgina Corrick.

Tactics

Georgina Corrick has only started two of the eight games GB has now played in the tournament – against Canada and Australia – and in five other games, the tactic has been to start Beth Fleming or Carling Hare, with Georgina ready in the wings at the first sign of trouble.

That tactic has been effective in GB’s wins over Venezuela and the Philippines the past two days, and could have been effective against China and Italy had GB been able to score any runs.  In all four games, Georgina came in with GB one run behind, and gave the opposition nothing.  Against China, she only had to pitch two-thirds of an inning after Beth Fleming threw a great game, but Georgina came into the games against Italy and the Philippines in the second inning, and against Venezuela in the third inning.

It will be interesting to see who starts against Chinese Taipei tomorrow.

In general, results in this tournament have shown that Japan, the US, Canada, Australia and possibly Puerto Rico are a cut above the rest, and the two African teams, South Africa and Botswana, are still some way behind.

But the other nine teams in the tournament are clearly very closely matched, as results have shown.  The Philippines beat the Netherlands in pool play and lost only narrowly to Puerto Rico, Mexico and Chinese Taipei.  Yesterday, New Zealand beat the Philippines and today they beat Venezuela, but new Zealand’s only other win was against South Africa.  GB’s losses to Italy, who made the Championship playoffs, and China, who didn’t were both by 1-0.  Italy beat China 1-0; the Netherlands beat Chinese Taipei 5-4.  One could go on.

There is a growing middle class in world softball; the question is when they will make that next step up to challenge the teams at the top.


Scores

Other playoff results today are:

Championship Playoffs
Mexico 1, Italy 0
Canada 6, Netherlands 1
USA 3, Australia 1
Japan 7, Puerto Rico 0 (6 inns)

These results mean that Italy and the Netherlands are eliminated, and will finish in places 7-8.  Tomorrow, Mexico will play Australia and Canada will play Puerto Rico.  The winners of these games will play each other in one semi-final; Japan and the USA will meet in the other.

Placement Playoffs
Chinese Taipei 8, Botswana 1
China 3, South Africa 0
GB 2, Philippines 1
Venezuela 4, New Zealand 0

Tomorrow's Placement semi-finals are GB v Chinese Taipei and China v Venezuela.  Botswana, South Africa, the Philippines and New Zealand are out of the tournament and will finish in places 13-16.
 

Photos by Simon Mortimer

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