3 Fil-Ams to boost Blu Girls medal bid
Gerry Carpio (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2014 - 12:00am

INCHEON, Korea – With three new Fil-Am recruits, the Philippine Blu Girls is all set to do battle against the best in the region, eyeing no less than a bronze medal in softball competitions in the 17th Asian Games here.

“The girls are all set for battle,” said assistant coach Ana Maria Santiago before helping oversee the team’s practice yesterday with competitions set to fire off Saturday.

The Blu Girls flew straight here from the US where they trained for three months, including competing in tournaments against some American and Fil-Am squads.

“We need to apply all the things we’ve learned from our months of training for this event. We will go for a medal here, that is for sure,” said Santiago.

The Blu Girls even had the opportunity to recruit three more Fil-Am players to join the three other Fil-foreign players already in the team.

Santiago said their top recruit is Dani Gilmore, a center-fielder from Irvine, California who had played for Oregon State University in the Division I of the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Tabbing Gilmore was somewhat easy, according to Santiago. She had been in contact with the Blu Girls since they put up a website detailing the team’s activities.

When the Blu Girls’ coaching staff announced its search for Fil-foreign players to bolster the squad, they received an unexpected e-mail from Oregon State U coach Laura Berg, an Olympic gold medalist for the US softball team.

Berg is also presently an assistant coach for the US softball squad.

It was Berg who recommended Gilmore to the national team.

Gilmore joined the Blu Girls’ practice sessions in the US, including a long stop in Florida, and saw action in the World Cup.

The coaching staff has reasons to feel positive about their prized recruit with the Beavers’ website listing Gilmore’s achievements. She finished second on the team in average (.322) while leading the Beavers in home runs (9), runs (48) and stolen bases (17), named to both the Pac-12 All-Freshman and Pac-12 Honorable Mention teams, scored 48 runs in 2012 for the third all-time in single-season history at OSU and had second best 17.

Santiago, meanwhile, said Japan remains the team to beat in the Asiad while China and Chinese-Taipei are the other contenders.

A third place finish here will give the Blu Girls a spot in the world’s Top 10.

The best finish for the Blu Girls was a bronze medal finish in the 1970 World Championship in Osaka, Japan. The team dropped to fourth place when the World Championship was held in 1974 in Stratford, Connecticut.      

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