Team Japan's Ryosuke Kikuchi shows off his world-caliber defense with a backwards glove flip
There's some good defense on Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Andrelton Simmons makes plays like this look routine, Jonathan Schoop can do things like this, plus you have Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Jurickson Profar … I could go on.
Surely, then, Team Netherlands must have appreciated Ryosuke Kikuchi's diving, backwards glove flip to nab Profar at second base during Japan's 8-6 extra-innings win on Sunday:
Well, considering they were on the receiving end, maybe a grudging appreciation, at least.
As one might suspect from the play above, Team Japan's second baseman is pretty good at defense himself -- in 141 games for the Hiroshima Carp last season, Kikuchi committed just four errors, and he's won four Gold Glove Awards during his career in the Japan Central League. But there's nothing quite like making a maneuver like that on the world stage.
With the win, Japan moves to 1-0 in Pool E play, and will face Cuba in Game 4 on Tuesday at 6 a.m ET. Check back in then to see if Kikuchi will make any more infield plays that probably shouldn't be possible.