• Kyodo


Hiroshima Carp manager Koichi Ogata said Tuesday he will step down after his fifth season at the helm, a year in which the team was neither able to defend its Central League title nor advance to the Climax Series.

Under the guidance of the 50-year-old Ogata, the Carp won their third straight CL pennant last season, the first three-peat in franchise history. But this year, they finished fourth in the six-team league standings.

“We fought with the goal of winning the Japan Series and achieving a four-peat, but we couldn’t live up to expectations,” Ogata told reporters at Mazda Stadium.

“I take responsibility as manager and I’m full of apologetic feelings.”

This season, the Carp were without slugger Yoshihiro Maru, whom they lost to the Yomiuri Giants via free agency, and were held back by underperforming players like leadoff man Kosuke Tanaka and closer Shota Nakazaki.

Hiroshima had an impressive showing in May, when the team won 20 games, but finished with the worst record in interleague play and had an 11-game losing streak in July.

Ogata joined Hiroshima as a third-round draft pick in 1987 and had the most stolen bases in the league for three seasons in a row from 1995. He became a coach after retiring as a player in 2009.

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