The team arrived at Narita Airport today. About 140 fans greeted the team at the airport.
Kenta Maeda, Hirokazu Ibata, Shinnosuke Abe, Koji Yamamoto, general pitching coach Osamu Higashio, and general position player coach Masataka Nashida attended a press conference at a hotel in Narita, Chiba.
Sports Hochi has a portion of Yamamoto's press conference interview in Japan:
On looking back at the tournament.
The team came together as one during the 2nd Round. I am relieved that there were no significant injuries to any of the players.
You fought with the flag of Japan on your back.
There was pressure from the moment I accepted [this position]. I spent the last half-year making sure the team pulled together with [Shinnosuke] Abe at the center.
What do you remember the most?
[Takashi] Toritani's stolen base and [Hirokazu] Ibata's timely hit in the 2nd Round. The entire dugout pulled together as one as it hoped for that big hit.
A base-running mistake may have led to the loss in the semifinals.
It is important that double-steals are 100%. We determined it was possible. The end result was not good, but I have no regrets.
Do you have any words for the players you managed?
Each player felt what it meant to compete in an international tournament and each did their absolute best. I am grateful to them.
Source: Sports Hochi 3/19/2013
Nikkan Sports posted a portion of an interview TBS' news information program NSta conducted with Hirokazu Ibata:
You have to be 120% certain when you make try for third. I felt caught and decided not to run, but if I knew the play was going to end the way it did, I would have gone. The timing was not great, but I should have forced it.
Four Chunichi players were selected but three were cut. I wanted to do the work of all four players. I will do my best over the next four years so that I can play in the next tournament.
Source: Nikkan Sports 3/19/2013
Sponichi posted the top ten tweeted Samurai Japan players during the WBC, as provided by Twipple Trend.
Top Ten Tweeted Players
Source: Sponichi 3/19/2013
A portion of Yamamoto's post-game press conference:
On why the team lost...
The pitchers on the other team pitched well and did not allow us many opportunities.
There are questions as to why [Atsushi] Nomi was left in to face the right-handed hitting Alex Rios in the 7th.
The decision was made on prior results. He was pitching well and he was in good shape. You have to let him pitch.
On [Seiichi] Uchikawa in the 8th inning.
We gave them a green light for the double-steal. [Hirokazu] Ibata got a bad start and it ended the way it did.
Thoughts on the captain and clean-up hitter [Shinnosuke] Abe.
He pulled the team together, the veterans provided their support, and the younger players followed. The team started functioning as one during the 2nd Round. I am lucky that I was able to participate with such wonderful players.
Thoughts on the players?
We went with domestic players and each managed to get ready in a very short amount of time, even though things are really rough right now because it is still the pre-season. I think we came together as a team.
Thoughts on [Kenta] Maeda.
I think he pitched well.
There was a lot of pressure with a third straight championship on the line.
I felt the pressure I applied to myself and the pressure to win over the last half year. It was a good experience. I had the opportunity to taste the hardships of competition at this age. I did feel the burning desire.
Source: Sanspo 3/19/2013