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Okinawa Yaeyama team racks up first round tournament win

Date Posted: 2006-08-11

A ninth inning rally got Okinawa hearts pumping as the Yaeyama Commercial High School brought drama to their first round contest in the high school baseball championships, then added more cheers with an extra-innings victory.

Yaeyama Shogyo was facing Chiba in the annual tournament at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture. Chiba drew first blood in the third inning, then added three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Yaeyama struggled, then finally found the big sticks and scored three runs of its own in the sixth and another in the seventh inning to even things out.

Chiba, undaunted, squeezed out a pair of runs in the eighth, setting up the Okinawa rally in the ninth. That rally sent the Tuesday evening game into extra innings. Yaeyama was then on a roll, picking up three tallies in the 10th for the 9-6 win.

“It was the most exciting game I”ve seen in my lifetime”, said Yaeyama Islands Association Chairman Yoshiyuki. “A large group of people originally from Yaeyama was watching the game in our area community hall, and almost everyone thought at the beginning that Yaeyama was going to lose. But at the end, it was the spirit of Yaeyama that carried the day and we had a good reason for Kachashi, a joyous folk dance.”

The game was played on the final day of Okinawa’s Obon celebration. Yaeyama Shogyo’s principal was also enthusiastic. “Our team brought another typhoon to Koshien baseball stadium,” he said, referring to the island’s location in a prime typhoon zone. “We in Yaeyama go through several typhoons every year, so we grow very, very strong and have learned never to give up. This game showed the best of it.”

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