16U: Q&A with Japan’s Manager Yoshitaka Katori
The 16U Baseball World Championship will be played from August 19 to 28 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. IBAF did a short Q&A with Japan’s manager Yoshitaka Katori, a former pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball.

IBAF: What are your expectations for the 16U Baseball World Championship?

Yoshitaka Katori: We would like to promote international friendship among young players. Equally important it is to offer them an extraordinary experience of playing against other top players in the world.

IBAF: Which team(s) do consider as favorite(s) to win it all? Who is the favorite in your group?

Yoshitaka Katori: I think Cuba, Venezuela and Dominican Republic should be considered as favorites for this tournament.

IBAF: What are the keys to play a successful tournament? Do you think the format is playing to your team's strength?

Yoshitaka Katori: Two things, cohesion of team and maintaining a good health.

IBAF: How and from which leagues did you select your players for the 16U BWC? Did you hold any tryouts?

Yoshitaka Katori: Players have been selected from these seven youth leagues: Little Senior, Boys, Young, Pony, Sun, Fresh and Japan. We had tryouts of two out of the seven teams and visited games of the other leagues to select the players.

IBAF: Do you already have a set starting lineup and which pitchers are you planning to use as starters?

Yoshitaka Katori: We have an idea of a starting lineup and starters, going with right or left handed pitchers.

IBAF: How did you prepare for the tournament? Did you have the opportunity to hold any exhibition games?

Yoshitaka Katori: We held successful two-day training camps in Chiba but had no exhibition games