Blu Girls soar in latest WBSC women's softball ranking

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PHOTO: Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines
The Philippines was the top climber of 2023 in the latest women's softball world rankings per the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
Climbing 17 spots from world no. 31, the Blu Girls are now ranked 14th globally as of December 31, 2023.
"The Philippines have been the most improved nation, climbing 17 positions from No. 31 at the beginning of the year to No. 14 at the end," WBSC said in a statement on its website.
"Closing the year with pride in our softball accomplishments, let us brace ourselves for a thrilling chapter where we raise the bar and continue to deliver top-notch performances in the diamond, all while exemplifying sportsmanship and unity," said Jean Henri Lhuillier, Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president.
The Southeast Asian had 868 points behind 13th-ranked Great Britain with 936 points and above world no. 15 China with 845 points.
In 2023, the Philippine women's softball squad qualified for the 2024 Women's Softball World Cup by finishing fourth in the Women's Softball Asia Cup behind champion Japan, silver medalist China, and bronze winner Chinese Taipei.
The World Cup group stage didn't go smoothly for the Philippines after losing three straight matches, but the Filipina batters proved they didn't come to Italy just to complete the number of participants.
The nationals finished Group C on a strong note as they toppled New Zealand, 5-3, before scoring a huge upset over host that time's eighth-ranked Italy, 6-5, to reach the playoffs.
Facing the Italians anew during the Group C playoffs, the Filipina crew missed the repechage after suffering a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Europeans.
It was still a remarkable return for the Blu Girls in the World Cup after missing the 2022 edition.
Come the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, the Philippines nearly ended the country's medal hunt in the quadrennial meet.
Since the inclusion of the women's softball event in the 1990 Asiad, the SEA nation never won a medal, finishing fourth at best twice in 2014 and 2018.
Blu Girls barged into the super round by finishing second in Group B, with their only loss coming from China. However, the Philippines failed to overcome powerhouses Japan and Chinese Taipei, which relegated them to the bronze medal game against the Taiwanese.
Taiwan for the second tournament in a row kept its record clean against the Philippines after beating the latter, 3-2. In the Women's Softball Asia Cup, Chinese Taipei defeated the Blu Girls in the preliminary round (5-0) and battle for third (10-5).
For the third straight Asiad, the Philippines wound up fourth.
Meanwhile, topping the list is defending world champion the United States with 4,301 points, marking the third straight year the US topped the rankings.
Next to the US are Japan at second with 2,899 points and Puerto Rico at third with 2,875 points. Completing the top 10 are Chinese Taipei (2,573 points), Canada (1,885 points), Italy (1,816 points), Mexico (1,717 points), the Netherlands (1,602 points), Czech Republic (1,483 points) and Australia (1,379 points).

How Other Philippine Softball and Baseball Teams Rank in the Latest WBSC Rankings?

Other Philippine softball and baseball teams either improved their previous rank or retained favorable placing in the recent WBSC rankings.
The Dreamers, the country's men's national baseball team, leaped 12 places from 40th at the start of 2023 to 28th.
A fourth place finish in the 30th Asian Baseball Championship helped the Philippines attain their highest men's baseball ranking since 2015.
Like their female counterpart, the men's softball team also ended 2023 at rank 14.
Their most notable achievement is qualifying for the 2025 Men's Softball World Cup by claiming bronze in the Asian Men's Softball Championship in Kochi, Japan last June.
The women's baseball team, meanwhile, fell two places.
From rank 11 to 13, the Philippines remained inside the top 15 teams worldwide.
In the 2023 Women's Baseball Asian Cup, the nationals failed to progress into the super round. They landed third in Group B, winning their game over Indonesia while getting beaten by Japan and South Korea.
On the brighter side, the Philippines took the fifth spot by sweeping their two classification matches against China (16-1) and India (12-2).

Last Modified: 2024-Jan-05 10.00.09 UTC+0800