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Japan's Senbatsu spring HS baseball tourney to be held with no spectators due to virus

This file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on March 23, 2019, shows the opening ceremony for the 91st National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, commonly known as "Senbatsu," at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Onishi)

OSAKA -- This year's National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, known commonly as "Senbatsu," will be held without spectators due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, the organizing committee decided on March 4.

The 92nd edition of the tournament is scheduled to open on March 19 at Hanshin Koshien Stadium -- home field for Nippon Professional Baseball's Tigers -- in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan. The decision to go ahead with the event was made by the organizing committee during a meeting at Nakazawa Saeki memorial baseball hall in Osaka, also in west Japan.

However, as the coronavirus situation is changing daily, the committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 11 to re-evaluate its position. If the body decides to move ahead with the current plan, it would mark the first time Senbatsu had ever been held with no one in the stands.

The committee furthermore decided to call off the tournament's opening ceremony, team practices at Koshien Stadium, the choosing of team representatives by lot, and discussions among the team captains.

(Mainichi)

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