Japan in World Baseball Classic
3rd Champion is Dominican Republic
Semi-final: vs Puerto Rico
The matches moved to the US. This game was ceremoniously opened by skippers of the first and 2nd champions teams. They are Sadaharu Oh and Tatsunori Hara's throwing the ball at San Franciso's AT&T ball park. As to the game on 17 March, the Samurai's starter was Kenta Maeda. He lost a run. Then in the 7th inning, the Tigers Atsushi Noumi pitched and gave up a 2 run homer. In the 8th, Hirokazu Ibata hit in the team's first run. Seiichi Uchikawa followed with a single while Ibata proceeded to 2nd. Then Uchikawa was seen racing towards 2nd. But Ibata was there. Uchikawa was tagged out. It became known later that both were told to try for a double steal. Japan lost the great chance to score but was unable to and lost 1 to 3.
Second Round: vs Netherlands
Japan faced the Netherlands again. The Netherland clinched the previous day the games against Cuba. The Netherlands team was the first to hit in a run. The Samurai came back strong. In the 2nd inning, Shinnosuke Abe homered twice. HisayoshiChono welcomed all runner on base home with his hit. At one point, Netherlands was just 2 runs behind. The game ended Japan 10 vs 6.
Second Round: vs Netherlands
On Mar 10 Japan played the invincible Dutch team. However, the Carp's Kenta Maeda managed to shut out in 5 innings. The blast was started by a home run by Takashi Toritani. Akinori Inaba who was not in good shape blasted. Hayato Sakamoto grand slammed. Japan called the game in 7 inning with a 16 to 4 win.
Second Round: vs Taiwan
This round is hosted at Tokyo Dome on 8 March. Samurai was behind Taiwan and in the 8th inning hit in its first run. It's by Shinnosuke Abe. Then Hayato Sakamoto followed. In the 9th inning, Japan equalized on the Dragon's Hirokazu Ibata's run batted in . Then in the 10th inning, the Fighters Sho Nakata's sacrifice fly brought home a runner. The game was closed by Toshiya Sugiuchi. Japan won the competitive game 4 to 3.
First Round: vs Cuba
The game was played on March 6. Starting for Japan, Hawks Kenji Otonari. Cuba's Yasmany Tomas blasted a homer in the 3rd inning. In the 4th inning Masahiro Tanaka of the Golden Eagles was on to pitch. Frederich Cepeda hit in a run. In the 8th inning, Alfredo Despaigne slammed a 3 run home run from Takeru Imamura. Japan lost to Cuba 3 to 6. Still the Samurais advanced to the 2nd round with 2 wins.
First Round: vs China
On 3 March, Shinnosuke Abe started as catcher. Starting pitcher was Kenta Maeda of the Carp. Maeda lasted 5 innings without giving up a run. Meanwhile in the 2nd inning, Sho Nakata of the Fighters hit in a run. In the 5th inning, the Hawks Seiichi Uchikawa hit in a run. Until the 8th inning, pitchers who followed such as Tetsuya Utsumi, the Lions Hideaki Wakui and Hirokazu Sawamura kept China from scoring. However in the final inning, Tetsuya Yamaguchi gave up 2 runs. Japan won 5 to 2.
First Round: vs Brazil
Samurai Japan's first game was played in Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka on Mar 2. It's against the Brazilian team made up of many players with Japan connections. Japan's starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of the Golden Eagles was not quite in shape. He lost a run to Leonardo Reginatto. Japan equalized but the Brazilian team constantly took the lead until the 8th inning. After Japan equalized with a base hit by the Dragons Hirokazu Ibata, pinch hitter Shinosuke Abe of the Giants hit home a runner with bases full. Abe is the team captain but did not start due to an injury. The Hawks Nobuhiro Matsuda followed with a single. Samura won in the end 5 to 3.
WBC finalists announced
On 20 Feb, national team manager Koji Yamamoto announced the 28 players that will play in the World Baseball Classic. They include the Giants Shinnosuke Abe his 2nd time, Hayato Sakamoto his first, Toshiya Sugiuchi for the 3rd time but not Shuichi Murata. From the Golden Eagles, Kaz Matsui, Masahiro Tanaka. From the Carp Kenta Maeda.
|Yomiuri Giants||Miyazaki-city, Miyazaki (Feb.1-12) |
Naha, Okinawa (Feb.13 to Feb.26)
|Chunichi Dragons||Chatan, Okinawa (Feb.1-Feb.28)|
|Tokyo Yakult Swallows||Urazoe, Okinawa (Feb.1-27)|
|Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Nichinan, Miyazaki (Feb.1-28)|
|Hanshin Tigers||Ginoza, Okinawa (Feb.1-22)|
|Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars||Ginowan-city, Okinawa (Feb.1- Feb.28)|
|Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters||Nago-city, Okinawa (Feb.1-28)|
|Saitama Seibu Lions||Nango, Miyazaki (Feb.1-22)|
|Fukuoka Softbank Hawks||Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki (Feb.1-27)|
|Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||Kume Island, Okinawa (Feb.1-14) |
Kin-cho, Okinawa (Feb.15 to 21)
|Chiba Lotte Marines||Ishigaki, Okinawa(Feb.1-19)|
|Orix Buffaloes||Miyako, Okinawa (Feb.1-22)|
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