Shortly after Hirokazu Ibata’s unveiling as the next Samurai Japan manager in October, he told the assembled media that he wanted to be able to dispense advice to his players in critical moments.

Fast-forward to Sunday night at Tokyo Dome, where Japan was locked in a 3-3 tie with South Korea in the 10th inning of the Asia Professional Baseball Championship final. Makoto Kadowaki, who was 0-for-4 at that point, was about to bat for Japan with two outs and the bases loaded.

As the Big Egg rocked from the cheering of over 41,000 fans — the vast majority pulling for Japan and the rest hoping the Koreans could escape the jam — Ibata approached Kadowaki and offered a few words to the 22-year-old.