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Softball team out of World Championships

The women's softball team lost all games in Japan
Botswana’s women softball team has been eliminated from the ongoing 2018 World Baseball Softball Championships (WBSC) that are underway in Chiba, Japan. The 'She-Diamond' as the women’s team is affectionately known, could not make it past the preliminary stages.

Botswana and South Africa were the only two African representatives at the competition. Botswana is ranked 33rd in the world, one place above South Africa. The local side was in Group B with Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Great Britain and Venezuela.

They finished last in the group and could not qualify for the playoffs round. The She-Diamonds will play their last game against Chinese Taipei in a placement match before they board the flight back home on Monday. Botswana’s first fixture was against the hosts Japan on August 3, a day after the opening ceremony.

They had watched their opponents thrash 9th ranked Italy 9-0 in the opening game at NASPA Stadium in Narita City, the night before they took to the mound. With 31 ranking places between Botswana and Japan, it was a tough start for the local women. They subsequently succumbed to a 20-0 defeat.

While still reeling from the harrowing defeat, the next day the women in blue and black, drove some 35 kilometres for a meeting with Venezuela at Akitsu Stadium in Narashimo City. They improved in but still lost 8-0.

Their next assignment was in Ichihara City against Italy at Zetta A Ballpark where they lost with an identical 8-0 margin. On August 6, Botswana was at the end of a 14-0 defeat in four innings at the hands of 4th ranked Australia.

Great Britain took advantage of lacklustre Botswana and scored 10 runs to Botswana’s nil.

Third-ranked Canada ruthlessly drubbed Botswana 22-0. Botswana scored their only run against China in a 15-1 loss in a

muddy affair when Kagiso Lopang hit a home run in the second inning. Botswana Softball Association spokesperson, Kelebogile Seitei said the technical team is not overly worried about the outcome. She said the bigger picture is the Olympic Games in 2020.

Seitei said the team has managed to measure how far off they are compared to teams in the first world countries.

She said many mistakes were committed and the technical team has to get back to the drawing board. She said lack of competition in Africa also contributed to the poor display.

“We are building a team that will compete at the next Olympic Games. We have learnt the hard way and we know how much work we need to put in preparing the team,” she said.

“The average age is 25 and this is the team for the future. It is important to go through what they went through, they have learnt that on the world stage, you get punished for every mistake.”

It was the second major tournament for the She-Diamonds after they competed in a similar tournament in 2014 held in Netherlands. Their performance has dipped compared to their last appearance in the world stage. 

In 2014, when they entered as wild card, they stunned Great Britain 5-3.They scored another run in 11-1 loss to the Dominican Republic before they went on to lose 6-0 to Italy, Chinese Taipei 9-0, Australia 17-0 and the hosts, Netherlands 12-0. Their win against Great Britain saw them finish above the Europeans in a group of eight teams.




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