Yukiko Ueno, Miu Goto, Yamato Fujita headline Japan National Softball Team 2022 preliminary roster

With Olympic gold medallists Yukiyo Mine, Mana Atsumi, Yu Yamamoto, Saki Yamazaki and Sayaka Mori retiring from the game, and former captain Eri Yamada stepping away from the National Team, the Japanese starting lineup and final roster will have some spots up for grabs.

The Japan Softball Association (JSA) announced a 20-player Women’s National Softball Team preliminary roster for a 2022 international season highlighted by The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. Olympic heroines Yukiko Ueno, Miu Goto and Yamato Fujita headline a roster that includes some young new faces.

With Olympic gold medallists Yukiyo Mine, Mana Atsumi, Yu Yamamoto, Saki Yamazaki and Sayaka Mori retiring from the game, and former captain Eri Yamada stepping away from the National Team, Japan’s starting lineup and final roster will have some spots up for grabs.

See the full Japanese preliminary roster via the JSA website.

Six pitchers were selected for the preliminary roster. In addition to Ueno, Fujita and Goto, the three members of the Tokyo 2020 staff, Misaki Katsumata, Mio Sakamoto, and Sakura Miwa have joined the team. Sakamoto (2019) and Miwa (2017) represented Japan in the U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup.

Two catchers were selected: Haruka Agatsuma, who became a gold medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last summer, and Yume Kiriishi.

Seven infielders are part of the list, including Olympians Yuka Ichiguchi, Hitomi Kawabata and Minori Naito, and newcomers Nana Iha, Kanna Kudo, Yui Sakamoto and Yui Nakamizo.

Five outfielders were included on the roster. The only gold medallist still on the roster is Nodoka Harada. So Kyoko Ishikawa, Risa Kawamura, Ayane Nakagawa and Urara Fujimoto are the candidates for the open jobs in the outfield.

Japan plans to hold a training camp in Yomitan Village, Okinawa Prefecture, from 1-10 March.

The biggest international events of the season for the second-ranked nation in the world are The World Games 2022 from 9-13 July, and the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 in China, scheduled to be held in September.