Training Camp for the U-18 Baseball World Cup
By [Journalist Name]
August 27, 2023
The Japan Samurai U-18 National Team, set to participate in the “31st WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup” in Taiwan from August 31st to September 10th, recently held a training camp. Leading up to this camp, the team had a practice match a day before. During the training camp, the players engaged in three hours of general practice and an hour of individual practice, showcasing their dedication and commitment.
On August 28th, the team will have a send-off match against the Samurai Japan National Collegiate Team at the Tokyo Dome. The practice for this match began at 8:30 in the morning. During the base running practice, the team focused on learning about the foreign pitchers’ characteristics to prepare strategically. The position lineup for the practice match consists of talented individuals such as Itsuki Ogata, Kyosuke Niitsuma, Takanari Terachi, Ren Ogata, Kazuki Takanaka, Hiroto Morita, Junto Kobayashi, Shuya Yamada, Koga Hashimoto, Riku Takeda, and Minato Maruta.
Supporting the team during field practice is Hirokazu Ibata, a former professional baseball player and the current manager of Japan’s U-12 Samurai national team. The transition to playing on artificial turf poses a challenge for the players, as they are more familiar with dirt infields. Ibata advised the players to adjust their positioning and take necessary steps to ensure they are prepared for the faster balls on turf. He also emphasized the need to focus on defending against irregularities that may occur around the base areas.
During the batting practice, Ibata provided guidance to Minato Maruta, among others, complimenting his natural talent and instincts. Ibata emphasized the difference in using wood bats compared to metal bats, reminding the players that wood bats do not offer as much bounce, requiring them to use their push hand effectively. The players displayed a good level of understanding and were motivated by the opportunity to be part of this talented team.
The pitchers dedicated their training to pole-to-pole running, core training, and bullpen sessions for those who preferred to pitch. Yugo Maeda, who will start the send-off game on the 28th, expressed confidence in his form and precision, stating that he is in better shape than during the prefectural tournament final, the team’s last official game.
The collective morale and unity of the players were evident during their lunch break individual training sessions, where each player approached their self-assigned tasks diligently. The upcoming game against the collegiate team on the 28th will be a challenging matchup as they are the reigning champions of the USA-Japan Collegiate Baseball Championship. This game will serve as a crucial test for the Japan Samurai U-18 National Team, as they aim for their first victory in the highly anticipated Under-18 World Cup.
Director/Manager Player Comments – Shiro Mabuchi:
“After tomorrow, I won’t have much time for individual practice, so I utilized today. During the meeting, I explained the differences in strike zones. In the send-off game tomorrow, I plan to give all the fielders an opportunity to showcase their abilities. As for the pitching assignments, I will consider the actual number of pitches thrown.”
Yugo Maeda (Osaka Toin):
“I feel confident in my form and my ability to precisely throw the ball where I want it. I am eagerly looking forward to competing against all the players.”
Takanari Terachi (Meitoku Gijuku):
“Although I have been a catcher for the team recently, I was previously an infielder until last summer. Playing as a first baseman after recovering from a shoulder injury doesn’t feel too challenging. Coach Ibata praised my hitting, stating that it was the best among all the players. In the future, I will fulfill my assigned role and contribute to the team, representing the typical Meitoku playing style.”
The team also announced their participation in the Japan High School National Team vs Japan Collegiate National Team send-off game for the 31st WBSC U-18 World Baseball Cup. The tournament will take place in Taiwan from August 31st to September 10th, with the opening round matches featuring Japan against Spain, Panama, USA, Venezuela, and The Netherlands. The tournament will continue with the super round on September 7th to 9th and conclude with the Final Round and 3rd Place Match on September 10th.
Participating Countries and Regions:
- Group A: Mexico, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Australia, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic
- Group B: Japan, USA, Venezuela, Netherlands, Panama, Spain
Stay tuned for further updates on this competitive tournament as the Japan Samurai U-18 National Team strives for success.
August 27, 2023
On August 27th, a training camp was held for the Japan Samurai U-18 National Team, which will participate in the “31st WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup” (August 31st to September 10th / Taiwan). Two days earlier, we had a practice match the day before, and on this day we sweated in about 3 hours of general practice and about an hour of individual practice.
On the 28th, the send-off match against Samurai Japan National Collegiate Team, “Samurai Japan U-18 Send-off High School National Team vs Collegiate National Team” (from 18:00 at Tokyo Dome) will be held the next day, and the exercise will start at 8:30. In the base running practice after the warm-up, after explaining the characteristics of the foreign pitchers, they practiced the base running.
In the sheet hit, Itsuki Ogata (Sendai Ikuei) and Kyosuke Niitsuma (Hamamatsu Kaiseikan) are the catchers, Takanari Terachi (Meitoku Gijuku) is the first baseman, Ren Ogata (Yokohama) and Kazuki Takanaka (Seiko Gakuin) are’ r second basemen, and the third baseman is the third baseman.Hiroto Morita (Riseisha), Junto Kobayashi (Koryo) and Shuya Yamada (Sendai Ikuei) as shortstop, Koga Hashimoto (Sendai Ikuei) and Riku Takeda (Yamagata Central ) as left fielders, Minato Maruta as center fielder (Keio), Shinnosuke Chibana (Okinawa Shogaku), Yuto Kimura (Kasumigaura) and Yuzuki Nakayama (Chiben Gakuen) entered right field.
Takeda, Kimura, and Nakayama, who are registered as pitchers, also showed light movements, and when they moved to hit the field, Takeda played first base and Nakayama played third base.
Beating in the field, Hirokazu Ibata, an interim coach who has long been active in professional baseball as a famous outfielder and is currently the manager of Japan’s U-12 Samurai national team, is also coaching. Koshien, as well as local high school baseball tournaments, are often held in ballparks with full dirt infields, so the artificial turf in the field (as well as the Tianmu baseball stadium where the tournament is held) is unfamiliar environment for the players.
Therefore, the interim coach, Ibata, preached the need to set up earlier than usual because the ball will be faster. In addition, we also instructed the defense in untsuka around the base where irregularities are likely to occur. “There were a lot of players who were concerned about the boundary (with the turf) when standing in their usual defensive position. I told him it was okay to step back as much as possible,” giving specific instructions.
Continuing from the day before, he instructed Minato Maruta (Keio) and others while watching the pound practice. As for Maruta, he said, “He’s a good instinct player because he picked it with the second and third advice.” As I continued to say, “They’re all good players,” I told them during batting practice, “Unlike metal bats, wood bats don’t bounce, so it’s important to use your push hand ( right-handed for right-handed hitters) .” He seemed to understand, and was impressed by the quality of the players, saying, “It feels good to be chosen in this generation.”
On the other hand, the pitchers perform pole-to-pole running and core training, and those who wish to pitch with a bullpen. Yugo Maeda (Osaka Toin), who will start the send-off game on the 28th, threw about 20 pitches and said, “I’m in better shape than the prefectural tournament final (which is the last official game).”
The awareness and morale of the players rises, as each player has his own task and tackles it with one mind even in the individual training held over lunch.
The collegiate team they will face on the 28th is clearly a higher ranked opponent, as they will win the USA-Japan Collegiate Baseball Championship for the second time in history, but how will they face it? We want to cover the game which will be a big touchstone for the long-awaited first victory of the Under-18 World Cup.
Director/Manager Player Comments Shiro Mabuchi
“After tomorrow, I won’t have much time to practice individually, so I did it today. In the meeting, I explained the differences between the strike zones. In tomorrow’s send-off game, I plan to use all the fielders in order. to understand the abilities of the players. As for the pitches, I will appoint them while anticipating the actual number of pitches.”
Yugo Maeda (Toin Osaka)
“The balance of my form is good, and I can throw the ball where I want it. All the players I’m looking forward to competing against.
Takanari Terachi (Meitoku Gijuku)
“(Even though I’ve been a catcher for the team for the past year), I was an infielder until last summer, and I haven’t been a first baseman since I injured my shoulder, but I don’t feel it be so difficult.” (Ibata) My acting coach praised me, saying, “I hit the best out of all of them. (Regarding my aspirations for the future) I will do my best to fulfill my assigned role and always contribute to the team, playing baseball in a typical Meitoku way.”
Japan Samurai Under 18 Japan High School National Team vs Japan Collegiate National Team 31st WBSC U-18 World Baseball Cup send-off game
Summary of the tournament Participants
Between August 31 and September 10, 2023
Friday, September 1, 19:30 Japan – Spain
Saturday, September 2, 19:30 Japan – Panama
Sunday, September 3, 19:30 USA – Japan
Monday, September 4, 19:30 Venezuela – Japan
Tuesday, September 5, 19:30 Japan – The Netherlands
* Start time is Japan time (Taiwan: time difference -1 hour)
Between September 7th and September 9th, 2023
Final Round / 3rd Place Match
September 10th (Sunday)
Participating countries and regions
Mexico, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Australia, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic
Japan, USA, Venezuela, Netherlands, Panama, Spain
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