Japan Wins the 39th Edition of the USA-Japan International Collegiate Series – Sanctioned by IBAF
By Baseball Federation of Japan
After playing 4 games in the cities of Matsuyama, Hiroshima and Utsunomiya, the Collegiate National Team of Japan and USA with the series knotted at two games apiece, Japan won the decisive game 7-3 at Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo (photo) on July 11 bringing the longest-running series 22 wins for USA and 17 for Japan.
Pitcher Ryota Sekiya (Meiji University) was honored as MVP, Taylor Sparks (UC Irvine), top American player, Shori Okido (Hosei University as leading hitter (.467) and Sachiya Yamazaki (Meiji University) as best pitcher.
Manager Tatsuya Yoshinami of Japan commented that most players of his team who had no experience of international events tapped their potential with the progress of the series. "The series came down to who pitched better, who played better defense and who got the timely hits. Obviously Japan did that and that's why they won the series," remarked manager Jim Schlossnagle (Texas Christian University). "I'm proud of the effort from our guys but you have to tip your cap to Japan. They pitched better than us and we didn't adjust to what they were doing on the mound."
USA team leader Eric Campbell reiterated prior to the trip to Japan that the series with Japan has always been about more than just baseball. By taking his team across the globe to compete against Japan’s best collegiate crop, Campbell hopes that Americans can begin to gain a better appreciation for the Japanese culture and their love of baseball.
“You could say ‘Omaha’ to top Japan players and they would know what you were talking about,” he said. “When you talk about (their stadiums and universities) we don’t know as much about it. I want that to be a household concept in our country.”