NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo – Japan’s National High School Baseball Championship at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in this western Japanese city returned to a spectatorless tournament on August 10 after a year-long hiatus caused by the coronavirus, with school-only grandstanders in the stands.
Nio Kinoshita, captain of the Komatsu Ohtani High School team representing Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan, made the fair play promise of the opening ceremony. In his oath he said emphatically, “This is the first Koshien Summer Championship in two years. To remind people of the value of pursuing dreams, we swear through the game to show that we are both our best dedicate yourself mentally as well as physically to the truth. ” Spirit of high school baseball players in this dream Koshien stadium. ”
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he said, “Many cannot even lead normal lives because of the global difficulties. Our school life and our club activities are completely different from two years ago. … Last year our high school students collapsed crying because their Koshien dream was shattered. … But we didn’t give up. ”
Thanking those who have supported players, he said, “We have moved step by step as we have been encouraged by the smiles of our friends, surrounded by the deep affection of our families, and inspired by athletes around the world.”
After taking the oath, Kinoshita said with a smile, “I’m proud to have been able to sign up to represent players across the country on a stage I’ve long dreamed of … We are taking on the wishes of last year’s high school students. ” We want to work to make your Koshien dreams come true. ”
(Japanese original by Hitoshi Sonobe, Osaka Bureau)