Public Viewing- Ishinomaki Technical Highschool in the National Baseball Championship！
The Ishinomaki Technical High School appeared in the 84th National High School Baseball Championship!
Their school ground was covered in mud, their equipment was washed away, and around 70% of the team members’ houses were destroyed by the disaster. In this harsh condition, the team secured for their first time the right to take part in the national baseball championship. Unfortunately, they did not make it through the first round. However, their fighting spirit touched the heart of many.
Here is a report on the opening of the tournament and the game we watched with the residents of Ishinomaki at Aitopia Shopping Mall/former Coop Miyagi which was turned into the “Public Viewing Venue” for the day.
On Wednesday, 21 March at 9:00 a.m., the opening ceremony began. At the venue, 200 inch screens as well as 60 inch and 40 inch monitors were set up by the Aitopia Shopping Mall and the alumni network of Ishinomaki Highschool baseball team, watched by local residents and Peace Boat members in the morning. When the Ishinomaki Technical High Sschool made their entrance to the stadium, cheers and applause broke out from the spectators.
The Urawagakuin High School Baseball Team, who volunteered in Ishinomaki through Peace Boat, was also introduced.
And finally the pledge of fair play by Abe Shoto, the captain of Ishiko (Ishinomaki Technical High School.)
“To all people across Japan, we will send inspiration, courage, and smiles. Let us show you the true strength of Japan, oneness.”
His dignified attitude and words which could only be spoken by those who experienced the disaster brought many to tears.
The following day, Thursday 22 March at 14:00, the long awaited first game began. About 150 people including those from the shopping mall, local residents, and volunteers in Ishinomaki, gathered at the venue.
On the matching team support jackets, it says “Ishinomaki will never give up! We will be the driving force!”
Playing against Kamimura Gakuen High School, champion of the Kyushu region, Ishiko easily gave away first runs facing their strength.
However, running 4 runs behind in the 4th inning, they managed to score 5 runs altogether with the clutch hit of the captain Abe, which led them to reverse the score! A roar from the spectators!! So impressive!!
They seemed to catch the momentum. But unfortunately, their opponent reversed the score again, leading the Kamimura Gakuen High School to victory. People gathered at the public viewing venue seemed chagrined, yet there was endless applause for the Ishiko team who showed endurance throughout the game.
Although they lost the game 9-5, they were winning against a leading contender at one point. This itself gave energy to the people of Ishinomaki and Tohoku for recovery.
We have been blessed also for being able to cheer on in this special game with the residents of Ishinomaki. Almost a year has passed since we started our work there. This game reminded us once again that Ishinomaki has become our “second home”.
Thank you Ishinomaki Technical High School! Thank you for the inspiration and courage! Let’s keep moving Ishinomaki! Hang in there Tohoku!