Saturday, May 15, 2021

Softball not so soft to Africa’s envoys

As Botswana is crushed 16-0 to create biggest mark at softball worlds.

The on going ISF XI Women’s World Championships is far from generating warmth to Africa’s envoys, Botswana and South Africa.

The two teams have been at the receiving ends of some of the most merciless drubbings at the tournament, being held in Beijing, China.
Most Africans had probably thought that “the African Gods” have decided to smile on the teams when Botswana won their first game by virtue of forfeit as their opponents, Columbia, did not arrive in Beijing in time for the game.

This ‘game’ went into the books as 7-0 in favour of Africa’s number one ranked side, Botswana.
When many expected the Botswana team to be spurred on by the “soft” points they got from their aborted fixture, they crumbled against Greece. The “Hellas” of Greece, gave the Donald Fergus son drilled Botswana side a good 8-0 drubbing.
The Botswana batters in this game were guilty of woeful misses. Only Keybee Mhotsha seemed to match the pitching qualities of the “Hellas” master pitcher, Christa Dalakis, who also played as right fielder.

Kelebogile Lesesere was not at all overawed by the occasion as her catching abilities caught the eye.
The Greeks had little problems in dealing with Tebogo Poifo’s balls. Lindsey Bashar was particularly a thorn in the flesh of the Botswana side as she led her team offensively.

The game ended early due to the international runÔÇôahead rule. This was after the “Hellas” kingpin, Stephani Skegas, pitched five innings of three-a hit ball.

In their other game, Botswana was outrun by the Netherlands 11-0. This game was also called off due to the international run-ahead rule. The Dutch made their intensions clear in the early stages of the game. They made nine runs in the first inning, highlighted by their master skimmer Daisy De Peinder’s two-RB1 tripple.

On day 4, Botswana met an unbeaten Australia side who hammered them 9-0. The Aussies proved their superiority over Botswana by holding them to just one hit over five innings, with Kellie Gentle handling all the work herself in the circle for Australia. She struck out nine and her teammates provided offence in each of the four innings they batted in.

Botswana committed four errors and six Aussie players had hits, including Maricca Carpadios, who hit a solo run in the fourth inning for the game’s final run.

On Thursday, Botswana got the tournament’s heaviest loss at the hands of Japan who mutilated them 0-16 within four innings.

Japan took the match as a good training class of teamwork. Every Japanese batter in the starting list scored and the line-up rotated four times in four innings, which was the fastest rotation in the tournament so far.

Botswana never managed to touch the second base during the one-sided game with only one single and one reach of the first base on Japan’s error when the short stop and second base fielder bumped into each other. The ever green Marea Modutlwa got the only hit for Botswana in the first against Yuko Endo.

Botswana coach, Donald Ferguson had this to say after the heavy defeat:

“Very tough game. Very difficult. But I think my team has learnt a lot. We meet Japan only once in every four years. So at least you know the standard of softball leaders now. I am satisfied with them. You know, from the beginning of the tournament, we never even had a chance to hit the ball, but today, at least we got a bit of contact with the ball. This encourages us now.”

South Africa did not have the fortune of getting soft points as Korea arrived in time to give them a 3-0 hiding in their first game. The South African side showed a lot of competitive spirit. The likes of Nicolene Jones and Ronelle Buitendag really fought gallantly.

In their second fixture, they went down 0-4 to Great Britain before succumbing 0-2 to New Zealand in their third game.

South Africa, on this day, suffered a 2-6 defeat at the hands of Italy. This happened to be Italy’s first win of the tournament. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, South Africa took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

This was short-lived as Italy bounced back with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth inning. Rebecca Laccino and Sara Avanzi of Italy each had two of their team’s eleven hits.

South African Pitcher, Buitendag, took the loss for the African side who dropped to 0-4.

It remains to be seen if the two African teams will resurrect their games for the African course. Will Botswana, just like South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the AFCON in Egypt, exit a major showpiece without scoring?


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