02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019

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Atsunori Inaba: “Winning the Premier12 and the Olympics has been our goal the last two years”

17/11/2019

Atusnori Inaba won tonight his first title as the manager of the Japanese Baseball National Team. After being part of the staff in the Premier12 2015, today his team claimed the title defeating Korea by a score of 5-3.

“Since I became manager of the Japanese National Team two years ago our goal has been to win the Premier12 and the Olympics next year,” stated Inaba during the press conference. “I think all the players in our team had the same determination to become world number one.”

Analyzing the tournament, the Japanese skipper said: “Each game has been very challenging, but our players have worked in a very persistent manner and this allowed us tp win the event.”

Thinking ahead about Tokyo 2020, Inaba paid attention to Mexico and Korea, the two qualified teams to the Olympic Games. “Mexico has very powerful hitters, and also a very strong pitching staff. About Korea, they are a very good team. We played two times in the Premier12, and we were able to win both games. However, both games were very close. So thinking ahead in the Olympics, it’s going to be a very good match.”

Inaba had all the players involved with the team, giving playing time to all of them. “For this tournament, we changed our lineup every day, so all the players were able to start for our team. I tried to talk with the substitute players before each game, to make it clear that probably we would need them later in the game. And all the players understood it very well and came to the field with a very good preparation to play each game.”

Japan was losing 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning. An RBI double by Saiya Suzuki, who was named MVP of the Premier12, set the tone for Japan to come back and win the game later. “In the first inning the Korean team hit two home runs, so my thinking was ‘If it goes that way, it’s going to be a very difficult night for us’, "said Suzuki in the press conference. "Also the Korean pitcher is very good so I wanted to be aggressive in my at-bat, and this approach allowed me to hit the ball. Hayato Sakamoto run the bases very well and that also allowed him to score.”



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