First ever woman Samurai skipper will lead charges once again in next year’s World Cup
Post-event interview - 11 September 2017 09:00 - While Japan had sent a gifted Under-18 squad to participate in the inaugural Women’s Baseball Asian Cup, the Samurai was also led by a woman head coach for the very first time ever – a significant milestone in the program’s distinguished history.
Kitta Megumi certainly did not disappoint and comfortably led her charges to the top of the Women’s Baseball Asian Cup 2017. With the Asian Cup trophy now firmly in the bag, the Samurai skipper will once again be in charge of the team for next year’s World Cup.
Kitta, who is a Physical Education teacher by trade, gave her overall assessment on the team’s performance in the recently-concluded Asian Cup.
“This is a team that is made up of Under-18 players and despite winning certain games as expected, there were also games when we could have played better,” Kitta analyzed. “For some of the players, it was their first time ever playing international baseball and therefore they were a bit nervous. It was not until the latter part of the tournament that they settled down and started to perform.”
“For the players and myself, the chance to take part in the Women’s Baseball World Cup has been a fantastic opportunity. We thank the Hong Kong Baseball Association for hosting the tournament and allowing our team to have such a wonderful experience.”
Despite going 5-0 and conceding only one run throughout the tournament, coach Kitta insisted things were far from easy. “Chinese Taipei demonstrated great ability to put runs on the scoreboard and it is a solid opponent,” Kitta offered.
“We played nervously at the start of the tournament due to our inexperience and found it hard to communicate on the field. The match venue, warm-up location and local weather were all different than what we were used to in Japan and that took a lot of adapting to. We needed to adjust mentally and the team certainly needed more patience for this kind of tournament.”
Coach Kitta revealed Japan will likely deploy a more experienced squad for next year’s World Cup and the team will need to become more united to handle various challenges.
“I never represented Japan when I was a player, therefore it is a great experience for me to lead the team as the first ever woman head coach of the Samurai. We will likely pick more senior players for the World Cup squad but I will try to select several youngsters from this team for the World Cup tournament as well.”
Text: 901 Media and Agency
Images: ©WBFJ/The HOCHI Shimbun