Japanese Baseball Team Faces Hornets
The Alameda High baseball team hosted the Jyoto High baseball team from Fukuoka, Japan, for an exhibition match at the College of Alameda Friday, March 3.
The contest was a friendly scrimmage that did not count against either team’s records. Jyoto took a commanding lead in the fifth inning. After two walks early in the inning, one of the visiting players hit an RBI single to give Jyoto its first lead of the game at 3-2. Two batters later a Jyoto batter hit a three-run home run over the right field wall. The Japanese team led 6-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Jyoto would not relinquish their lead. Both teams scored runs late, but the Hornets could not mount a comeback and lost the game.
Alameda struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Chris Regan led the inning with a single. He later scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Greg Sagara. Junior Tristan Wiley scored the second run of the inning when Jyoto’s starting pitcher’s throw to first base traveled past the first baseman to the visiting dugout.
Jyoto’s starting pitcher regrouped and pitched three shutout innings thereafter. He did not have good command of his fastball, but was effectively delivering his curveball. He used his curveball to strike out six pitchers before he was pulled in the bottom of the fourth.
On the other side, Alameda pitcher Bryan Woo was also effective on the mound. He struck out four batters in 4 and 2/3 innings.
Both teams displayed good sportsmanship during the pregame festivities. Both teams stood for the singing of each national anthem. Former Alameda Vice Mayor Lil Arnerich threw ceremonial first pitches to both team catchers.
The exhibition was several years in the making. The Hornets traveled to Fukuoka in 2008 to face off with Jyoto. Alameda was due to travel back in 2011, but a tsunami in Tokyo disrupted those plans.
The Jyoto players took part in several other exhibition matches against the Alameda junior varsity team and the Encinal High baseball team Saturday, March 4.
The traveling team also visited the Alameda High campus on Monday, March 6. The Japanese players and coaches stayed with families of several Alameda baseball players and coaches during their stay.