Asian Cup MVP hopes to earn World Cup opportunity with Samurai
Post-event interview - 11 September 2017 09:00 - Japan deployed a talented Under-18 side for the inaugural Women’s Baseball Asian Cup in Hong Kong and while the players are all high school students, the team had proven to be more than capable baseball players, eventually powering the Samurai to the Asian Cup crown.
Tournament MVP Ogata Yuka admitted the team was a bit nervous playing overseas for the first time but acknowledged the squad gradually improved as the tournament progressed.
“I am very happy to see Japan coming out on top in the tournament, as well as earning the MVP honor. We started the competition a bit slow but as we adapted to the playing conditions and the environment, our performance started to pick up as a result,” Ogata, who appreciated the experience of playing international baseball away from home, commented after the award presentation ceremony.
“It is my first time playing baseball away from Japan and I have always heard Hong Kong is an international city. But I did not know how big Hong Kong actually is until I got here. I have been pleasantly surprised by a lot of things over here,” said the shy Ogata.
When pressed upon her most memorable experience over the past few days, the Japanese catcher pointed to the occasion when the Samurai team trained with Pakistan after their game. The young Japanese star expressed her genuine enjoyment of the experience, especially grateful to the opportunity to build up new friendships away from competitions.
Ogata went on and touched on her understanding that Japan might go with more experienced players for next year’s World Cup. Yet that did not stop the immensely talented catcher from harboring hopes of making the team as one of the young guns, while displaying her promising baseball skills at a higher level.
Image and Text: 901 Media and Agency