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VI U-15 Baseball World Cup 2024 - Official Payoff
Samurai Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata ready for Global Baseball Games
15/01/2024 1 Minute Read

Samurai Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata ready for Global Baseball Games

The 48-year-old formed NPB star will manage Samurai Japan through the WBSC Premier12 2024. During the season, he will also serve as U-15 National Team head coach.

World No. 1 Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata spoke about the forthcoming season in an interview with the Samurai Japan YouTube Channel.

The former Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman made his debut as Samurai Japan manager at the Asia Professional Baseball Championship.

He will lead Japan at the Global Baseball Games against Team Europe, scheduled on 6 and 7 March in Osaka. He previously served on Atsunori Inaba's staff at the WBSC Premier12 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He managed the U-12 National Team at the 2022 and 2023 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup.

"For about three years, I worked at the youth level. People are different, and you have to approach them the right way. Kids would do anything you ask them to do. I learned a lot, and there are something that I can apply for the adult National Team players."

Ibata added: "I think there are a lot of talented players. I saw a lot of kids who showed a lot of promise as future professional players. The baseball population is decreasing, but the level is surely rising. Samurai Japan must be a goal for kids and baseball players. The National Team needs to leave good results."

In 2024, Ibata will also lead Japan at the VI WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup.

"Players I first selected for the U-12 National Team will turn 15 in 2024, so it would be great if we could move together to the U-15 National Team. When I join the U-15 National Team, I intend to share with the players what I learned with the adult National Team. I view Samurai Japan as one team, ranging from the U-12 age bracket to the adult players. I invite all generations to play baseball to support Japan."