WBSC Baseball5 World Cup MVP: Ayako Rokkaku – “Looking forward to the future growth of Baseball5”

14/11/2022
Rokkaku was voted as one of the two MVPs of the tournament – alongside Cuba’s Briandy Molina – and the Best Coach of the World Cup, as voted by her peers.
In June of this year, Ayako Rokkaku told The Global Game podcast how she wanted to “represent Japan in Baseball5,” and help her country qualify for the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, which was held last week in El Zocalo, Mexico City.

Not only did she do that, but she took her team all the way to the final of the inaugural WBSC Baseball World Cup and was voted as one of the two MVPs of the tournament – alongside Cuba’s Briandy Molina – and the Best Coach of the World Cup, as voted by her peers.

A remarkable performance from a remarkable athlete. The number of catches and plays the four-time WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup winner and former WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup MVP made in centre field – the only female fielding in the position, one of the hardest spots to play – was impressive, as well as the fact she also coached the side as well.

“The players from all the countries were amazing and I happened to be the one who received the MVP award,” Rokkaku said. “The level of the individual players was also very high, so I am really looking forward to the future growth of Baseball5.”

Rokkaku 31, is a certified WBSC Baseball5 instructor and one of four WBSC Prevention of the Manipulation of Competition Ambassadors. She was also recently elected as a WBSC Athlete Representative. Not only is she looking forward to further growth of Baseball5 but she was equally impressed with the quality of the first ever WBSC Baseball5 World Cup and is already looking forward to the next edition.

“I feel that I was very happy that the historic first Baseball5 World Championships were held in this way in this wonderful venue, such as the location, umpiring, DJ. music,” she said. “It was an emotional final that gave me goose bumps every time. I felt that the tournament was created by everyone, with the help of many people. I am very grateful for everyone and can’t wait for the next edition.”

Rokakku’s words in June sound prophetic when she told The Global Game podcast that “it is the first Baseball5 World Cup, so I really hope that the event will be exciting. I would like to see great athletes from various countries.

“Baseball5 originated in Cuba, and I think Cuban players are very strong. It will be great to see how other countries will compete against them. I am really looking forward to this memorable first edition.”

Just like her excellent anticipation on the Baseball5 court, Rokkaku called Cuba as the ones to beat well in advance and while Japan fell twice at the hurdle trying to overcome the tournament favourites, they were extremely competitive and left enough on the field to keep us excited for the next edition – due to be staged in 2024 – to see how much the gap will have closed.