18 Players for National Team in 1st IBAF 21U World Cup Announced!
On October 21st, 18 players of the national team entering the 21U (21 and under) World Cup, which will be held in Taiwan starting on November 7th, were announced (an additional 6 are expected to be announced by the end of October).
This team was composed of a mixture of professional and amateur players. The major players include Naoyuki Uwasawa (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters), who has had eight victories this season, and Seiya Suzuki (Hiroshima Toyo Carp), who has played in 36 games since graduating from high school two years ago, and has a batting average of.344. From the amateur players, Taisuke Yamaoka (Tokyo Gas), who has been active as a leading pitcher in his first year since graduating from high school, and draft candidates Ryosuke Nomura (Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Yokohama) and Yuya Yokoyama (Nippon Steel Kashima) were selected.
National team coach Katsuo Hirata, coach of the Hanshin minor league team who was appointed as coach for this tournament, expressed his thoughts at the conference room: "I consider it a great responsibility to wear Japan's (national team) uniform for the first time. We are aiming to win this first-ever 21U World Cup. As this is the first competition, we still don't know the levels of the other nations, but I have selected players that I think will bear the future of baseball, so I want them to rebound from the pressure."
Also, Fumiya Hojo (Hanshin Tigers), who has played in 102 games this minor league season, more than any other members of his team, and who is expected to make great strides next season, spoke about his enthusiasm towards the tournament by saying, "I feel excited to be playing on the 21U National Team, while wearing the Rising Sun. I want to focus on my results in this tournament, and seek the championship. There will be many amazing players taking part, so I hope to research and observe them in my own way, so I can learn their strengths and incorporate them."
Then, Taisei Makihara (Fukuoka SoftBank), who has played in 94 games this minor league season with a batting average of .374, has also played in 11 major league games and achieved his first professional hit this season, and is gaining attention as a speedy-running, skillfully-batting infielder, expressed his joy in being selected for the Japanese national team by saying, "I consider it an honor to be selected for a national team for the first time in my baseball career. I may feel pressure in wearing the Samurai Japan uniform, but I hope to be able to relax and enjoy all the strains, and to watch and learn from the other players' plays, and incorporate them as my own."
In preparation for the 1st IBAF 21U World Cup, held in Taiwan on November 7th, the 21U National Team will have a domestic training camp beginning on October 30th. They are scheduled to have games with the Yomiuri Giants' farm team on November 3rd and 4th. They intend to press on in their conditioning for the remaining two weeks before the tournament.
1st IBAF 21U World Cup Convention Overview
International Baseball Federation (IBAF)
Nov 7th (Fri) to Nov 16th (Sun)
Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand
Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Venezuela
Samurai Japan 21U Game Dates
Nov 7th (Fri) 13:30 Japan - Australia
Nov 8th (Sat) 19:30 Japan - Venezuela
Nov 9th (Sun) 13:30 Japan - Netherlands
Nov 11th (Tue) 13:30 Japan - Nicaragua
Nov 13th (Thu) to Nov 15th (Sat)11月15日(土) Round-Robin of top 3 teams with top 3 teams of Group A
Nov 16th (Sun) Finals and Consolation Finals (1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th of ②)
*All times are Japan time
Number of Players
Samurai Japan 21U National Team: 24 Players
Players born 1993 or later
*Overage limits allow for 6 players born in 1991 or 92 to be registered, and up to 3 fielded at once.
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