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Yaeyama yanked from Japan baseball tournament lineup

Date Posted: 2005-12-08

It was an exciting time when Yaeyama Commercial High School was chosen to participate in the nation’s top baseball tournament next Spring.

The media descended upon the southern Okinawa school campus, only to learn that the invitation had been rescinded by tournament organizers. Yaeyama school officials were puzzled, because they believed Commercial High School was the epitomy of a model school.

Then came the blow. A star player on the school team smoked, and that was a disqualifying character trait. Officials were stunned, calling it “a very sad story.” Smoking is not allowed for high school students, so a school official says “we don’t want to accept a nomination from the Japan High School Baseball Union.” The boy had been seen smoking in an apartment stairwell November 26th, and a bystander notified the school.

Yaeyama Commercial High School contacted the Okinawa Prefecture sports union, which cancelled the nomination. Commercial High School coach Yoshimori Ishimine says “I’m so sorry to trouble everybody. We betrayed everybody’s hope. I would like to give advice more strongly now, and that is for students not to break the law.” The coach says the boy who smoked was a good baseball player, and an important member of his group. He says “we really would like to go play in the Kyushu Tournament and we want to be champions. Please forgive us.”

A final decision from the Japan Sports Union is still pending.

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