Japan Spring High School Baseball Tournament Canceled

Sports

Osaka, March 11 (Jiji Press)--The Japan High School Baseball Federation decided Wednesday to call off the 92nd national spring invitational tournament due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The first-ever cancellation of the spring high school baseball tournament was decided at an extraordinary meeting of the federation's steering committee, held in the city of Osaka, western Japan. This year's spring tournament at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, near Osaka, was to begin on March 19.

At an extraordinary board meeting March 4, the federation presented a plan to conduct the tournament behind closed doors. But the organization eventually decided to cancel the event amid growing fears over the virus.

"We know very well players' hopes and dreams (about playing at Koshien), but we made the tough decision as educators in light of (the need to protect) their health," Eiji Hatta, head of the federation, said.

The spring tournament, which started in 1924, was suspended between 1942 and 1946, during and in the aftermath of the Pacific War, part of World War II. The competition was held with simplified procedures in 1995, after the huge earthquake that hit the western Japan city of Kobe and surrounding areas in January that year, and in 2011, after northeastern areas of the country were heavily damaged by the powerful quake and tsunami in March in the year.

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Jiji Press