Hong Kong women demolish Pakistan in baseball’s Asian Cup
Perfect start as home team aim to top the tournament leaderboard
A composed Hong Kong team brushed aside Pakistan 17-2 in the opening match of the inaugural BFA Women’s Baseball Asian Cup in Sai Tso Wan Baseball Field this afternoon.
The lopsided rout over the world number 12 Pakistan is the perfect start to coach Anthony Bennett’s campaign to top the tournament leaderboard.
Hong Kong – who are ranked 10th in the world – initially seemed overawed by the occasion and it showed in the first innings.
“We were a bit nervous because of the crowd, but we gathered round, accepted that we were here, and performed confidently from then on out,” says captain Sinney Cheuk Woon-yee.
A strong start from opening pitcher Sandra Hung Yik-shan allowed the home side to get into their groove shortly after, much to the delight of Bennett and head coach Au Wing-leung.
“Sandra really attacked the strike zone, which kept [Pakistan] off balance. It also let our offence time to gel,” says Bennett, who has been brought in specifically for this tournament. Bennett also coaches the Australia women’s team.
“Our shortstop, [Lau Tsz-chin] was really vocal defensively and came out with some timely hits when we needed them.”
“Most importantly, we collectively turned up defensively and offensively.”
Pakistan’s struggle to field and communicate effectively helped Hong Kong’s overall point difference. “Our opponents were making a lot of mistakes, so we wanted to widen the scoreline,” adds 25-year-old infielder Cheuk.
The composure demonstrated by the 20-strong team of Hongkongers was something Bennett has been trying to implement since his short spell in the city.
“It’s one of the things I’m known for,” he explains. “When we’re in control of our mental thought processes – realising how much time we have to complete a basic play – you get a lot done. That’s one of the things the girls have bought in to.”
“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t want to be up there. That is what we’ve practised for, and hopefully we can keep this momentum up,” says Bennett, who has been brought in specifically for this tournament.
The tournament consists of Asia’s top six ranked national women’s teams – Japan (1), Chinese Taipei (6), Korea (7), Hong Kong (10), India (11) and Pakistan (12).
Topping the table is by no means easy, but Cheuk reveals the team is ready to show Hong Kong baseball is here to stay.
“We are confident. We prepared a lot in our attack, and it’s more stable compared to most of our opponents.”
Hong Kong take on India tomorrow afternoon, Chinese Taipei on Monday, Japan on Tuesday, Korea on Wednesday, before the table-topping team is crowned champion of Asia.