The jubilant mood following Japan's win over the United States in the final of the World Baseball Classic extended to Japan's Hanshin Koshien Stadium, where the 95th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament is underway, with a congratulatory message flashing onto the scoreboard on March 22.
News of Japan's WBC win arrived at the stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, during the bottom of the first inning of a game between Tokoha University Kikugawa High School from Shizuoka Prefecture and Senshu University Matsudo Senior High School from Chiba Prefecture, drawing cheers and applause.
Before the start of the third inning, a message reading "WBC Japan national team congratulations on world No. 1" in Japanese was displayed on the scoreboard.
Many members of Samurai Japan, as Japan's national baseball team is known, attended schools that participated in the spring invitational tourney, including two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Kaoru Takara, president of the Japan High School Baseball Federation, congratulated Japan on reaching the No. 1 spot for the first time in 14 years, and added, "The teamwork displayed by the manager, coaches, players and staff has something in common with high school baseball, and I feel that there was a lot to learn from it. At Hanshin Koshien Stadium, high school baseball players are competing in heated games every day. We will go ahead with the tournament so as not to be outdone by the good showing of the Japanese national team."
(Japanese original by Shohei Kawamura, Tokyo Sports News Department, and Yuki Ohigashi, Osaka Sports News Department)