After the final of the Women’s Baseball World Cup we had a chance to collect quotes from the managers, MVP Ayamy Sato and top run producer Iori Miura.
Japan’s manager Megumi Kitta welcomed reporters her way: with a respectful bow.
She then showed confidence: “We were not nervous. This was the last game of the tournament, so I told the players they should not think about winning or losing. They were supposed to go out there and have fun.”
You didn’t think about your ongoing streak? “Of course, there was still pressure, but it was good pressure…”
How do your best players react, when you ask them to bunt? “We need to move runners, if we want to score runs. We practiced a lot and we talked a lot. Players know what I think.”
Talking about good players who bunt, Iori Miura was the best run producer in the tournament, but was asked to drop quite a few bunts.
“The way I play” she said through an interpreter “When I step into the box I want to build something for the team. I don’t play for myself. So, if I can produce a run, I do my best to produce a run. If I need to help the team with a bunt, I am very happy. Group play was very hard, we had difficult games. The difficulties helped us come together as a team.”
Ayami Sato won her third MVP title in a row.
“I am very happy” she said through an interpreter “Above all, because I helped the team win.”
The number one fan of Sato is her father: “He is ill right now. It was difficult for him, but he still sent me a message this morning. I felt like he was with me all of the tournament, anyway.”
How could you manage to come back and start on a two-day rest? “I was not particularly tired. I am not a power pitcher and I like relying on my defense.”
Your control was outstanding: “I always try to get ahead in the count, this puts a lot of pressure on the hitter. It looks like it worked.”
Why do you think Japan is so dominant? “We are not particularly strong. There are teams that have better athletes than Japan. But we work hard and any individual brings his best when we come together as a team.”
And your personal secret? “When I was in High School, I thought my only goal was pitching well. Then I met a coach that taught me to have fun when I pitched. That’s my secret.”
Chinese Taipei manager Yung Hsin Hsu recognized Japan as a stronger team.
“We can only learn from Japan” he said through an interpreter.
Still, you improved from 2016 and earned your first medal: “This team is growing and has a lot of potential. Hopefully, in the next two years we will grow more and will be able to challenge Japan again in the final.”
You have players performing in the Japanese Professional League. Does this help? “It is very important that we share knowledge with Japan. As I said, you can only learn from Japan.”
How is Women’s Baseball developing in your Country? “The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association is organizing National Tournaments. Things are developing well.”
During the closing ceremony, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari spoke about the coverage of the tournament: “Viewers from over 190 Countries followed this Women’s Baseball World Cup across different platforms.”
Fraccari sent a special thanks to USSSA: “I want to thank our great partner for bringing the Women’s Baseball World Cup to the United States for the first time.”