XVI Women's Softball World Championship

2018-08-02 - 2018-08-12

@wbsc   #WorldSoftball   Chiba, JPN

XVI Women's Softball World Championship - Official Payoff

Stewart, Ueno and managers speak after the final of the Softball World Championship

2018-08-12

Kelsey Stewart will celebrate her twenty fourth birthday next week but she made herself the best present. The hit that won it all for USA at the Softball World Championship: “It feels amazing. Every single person on this group has been working for this. It was so incredible…all the emotions…what a night.”
What was the key in getting to that pitch by Ueno? “I think the secret was staying with myself. I didn’t tray to do too much, because I was sure she would provide the power.”
This will definitely be a night to remember: “Absolutely, it was really amazing. This game, these fans…I think we just had a great taste of what Tokyo 2020 will be.”

Head Coach Ken Eriksen praised his players: “A bunch of good people who played really good softball.”
Which was the secret? “I think the key was persevering. We overcame some bad luck. Think about the double by Munro. The ball went out, it was ruled a ground rule double. Had it stayed inside the park, we would have won it earlier.”
Can we say it was a team effort? “If you look at the scorecard, it will show you exactly that it indeed was a team effort. We had 16 out of 17 players on the roster on the field tonight and Abbott was the last pitcher available.”
Can we say this was a highlight, in the history of international softball? “Well, you look at 10 innings of play, in the final of the World Championship, in front of those fans. Could it ever get any better than that?”
On a final note, Eriksen felt like honoring the losing team: “As a softball purist, I am more than impressed by what Yukiko Ueno did. We talk about one of the best pitchers of all time, pitching 17 innings, over 200 pitches, on the same day. You need to show respect to what this woman did.”

Yukiko Ueno

Yukiko Ueno commented through an interpreter: “The defeat makes me really feel exhausted. I’m mentally exhausted”
This won’t stop you from competing in the 2020 Olympics: “Well, I will try to do my best. In the next couple of years I will be aging a little bit more, but I definitely want to play.”
If you could go back, would you try something different against Stewart in the tenth inning: “Maybe yes. If I think of it now, I would say yes. But maybe I would do something different and the result would turn out to be the same…”

Japan’s Head Coach Reika Utsugi doesn’t have second thoughts about not bringing Ueno in the game against USA on Saturday: “There’s no regret, really. Of course, I am aware that the result did not turn out our way.”
Today Ueno had to pitch in two games: “I am very confident in Ueno, she is always our ace. I know she can pitch two games on the same day. She’s done it before.”
What was the difference between you and the USA? “The difference was pitching. They have a much bigger possibility of choice. The truth is, our young generation of pitchers doesn’t match the quality of the older one.”

During the closing ceremony WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “Tonight you showed the world why we name you the best softball players. This tournament showed that softball is indeed a global platform and that this sport belongs into the Olympics.”
Fraccari congratulated the USA for being the first team to qualify for the 2020 Games. WBSC President added: “The Continental Qualifiers will keep the Olympic Dream alive.”

Riccardo Fraccari during his speech at the closing ceremony