Summer Koshien Baseball Tournament Held for 1st Time in 2 Years

Sports

Nishinomiya, Hyogo Pref., Aug. 10 (Jiji Press)--Japan's 103rd national summer high school baseball championship kicked off Tuesday after last year's event was canceled due to the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The tournament at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, will be participated in by 49 teams from the country's 47 prefectures--two each from Tokyo and Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, and one each from the remaining 45 prefectures--and will last for 17 days, including three rest days. The final game is scheduled for Aug. 26.

The start of the championship was originally slated for Monday, but was delayed due to a typhoon. Participating players wore face masks during the opening ceremony, and their march was simplified, in order reduce the risk of novel coronavirus infection.

To express gratitude to front-line medical workers fighting COVID-19, a ceremonial first pitch at the opening game was thrown by Yusho Yoshida and Taishi Kamura, who both began studying medicine at university in spring this year. The 19-year-olds both played baseball at high school.

While this year's tournament will be held with no general spectators, up to about 2,000 people related to each of the 49 teams will be allowed in the stadium, a mecca for high school baseball players in Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press