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List of Articles by Eddie Alinea


 

Sports Feature: The making of Julita Tayo, the world’s best left-handed pitcher

By Eddie Alinea
PhilBoxing.com
29 Oct 2017


Julita Tayo.

She barely stood five-foot flat. Her arms and legs were short. She weighed competitively at 145 pounds, too heavy for her built. In short, she looked everything but a softball pitcher.

No less than the then United States Softball Commissioner Joe Barber pronounced her as such during a dinner tendered in honor of the Philippine Blu Girls in their visit to Stratford sometimes in 1968 in preparation for the second World Women’s Softball Championship set in Osaka in 1970.

“Miss Tayo here is the best southpaw pitcher I’ve ever seen. I reiterate -- she is the best!” Barber proclaimed in the presence of Rizal Provincial Gov. Isidro Rodriguez, then the president of the Amateur Softball Association-Philippines and other team officials.

In the same U.S. visit, this time in Ohio, another top Amerian softball official echoed the same observation, saying in one gathering: “She (Tayo) is the best left-handed hurler in the world today.”

A wealthy lumberman, also in Ohio, offered Julita a high-paying job plus free education if only she plays for his team.
One noted Japanese official butted in: “There’s no doubt about it. She is one of the best in the whole of Asia, if not the world.”

And there were basis for these observations. In two Asian championships, one world tournament coupled with a two-month tour of the U.S., this chubby, fat girl from San Miguel town in Bulacan, proved to be one of the big factors in the Blu Girls successes. Friends and fans alike nicknamed her “Dari” sort for Darigold, a brand of locally-made milk owing to her size.

Philippine softball owed this to Julita’s father, Mang Adriano Tayo, a World War II veteran and a frustrated athlete who after his first child, a girl, with his wife Maria had been praying for a boy, had continuously been, all those years, frustrated.
The elder Tayo, from childhood, had dreamed of becoming an athlete. He tried many sports like volleyball, softball, baseball and even basketball to no avail. Had his second child been a boy, he often told friends and neighbors, he could hve trained him to be an athlete and satisfied his failure to be one.

With the birth of Leonisa and Julita, Mang Adriano could not do anything but think of what sports his two daughters can excel. And he finally thought of softball, a sport played by both men and women.

Juilita was only six when Mang Adriano thought it was time to try her in softball. She was then no more than three feet tall. Friends and neighbors alike cautioned him it was too early to expose his second baby to the rigor of training. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning daily, whisked to an open field back of their house and train from 5 to 7 a.m.

The young Tayo never complained.

The Tayo sisters were soon seen competing in the schools meet, representing San Miguel High School in the Central Luzon Athletic Association competitions nationwide.

They both made it to the Philippine Blu Girls team to the 1967 Asian Championship whith Julta merely playing backup to sister Leonisa and Purita Jacinto on the mound. With Leonisa heavy with her first child, only Julita made it as reliever to Ms. Jacinto in 1968 in Taipei where the Philippines retained runner up honors to Japan.

That also made her a cinch to the national squad to the Second World Championships in 1970 in Osaka where she finally came of age with her performance, including a 1-0 blanking of the United States as the Blu Girls barged into the championship round with their victims, eventual champion Japan, and defending titlist Aaustralia.

The Americans avenged thir elims loss to the Blu Girls on error, but nobody cared for the Blu Girls completed the Australians’ dethronement with a 4-0 shutout to bring home the bronze medal, thus, gifting the country the distinct honor of emerging the third best softball-playing nation on the planet.

When the Blu Girls returned to the country, Julita, who became Mrs. Dela Cruz later, was already the Philippines’ no. 1 pitcher besides making official, too, the recognition as the best left-haned pitcher in the world.


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