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[Osaka University Baseball Club] Playing Team Baseball to Become the "Strongest Team in Club History"

Even beginners can find success in a variety of roles

At Osaka University, there are two baseball teams: baseball and rubber ball baseball. Rubber balls are used in the sport of rubber ball baseball, while leather-covered balls are used in standard baseball. This baseball team uses the rubber-covered ball; however, the rules of these two types of baseball are nearly identical.

“We’re often asked why we joined the baseball group that uses rubber-covered balls instead of the leather-covered ones, but everyone has their own reason.

Anyone, from veteran players to beginners, has a chance to succeed if they love baseball and put their mind to it. This variety is what makes our club so appealing,” says former captain Atsuo KYODO (4th year, School of Law). Because there’s no coach, “members of the team learn to become more independent as well,” he added with a smile.

Raising team morale through an imaginative practice regimen

A unique characteristic of this baseball club is its positive atmosphere, and because of this, “umpires and members of other teams often say things like, ‘You guys have a lot of energy. You’re a really great team.’” In addition to this, Mr. Kyodo set the goal of being, “the strongest team in club history” for his year as captain, and his practice regimen is brimming with ingenuity. First, he made a slogan for each month, while the team shared their individual goals together. By using survey forms, he was able to better understand the feelings of each of the over 40 members of the team. He has also raised moral by having all members of the team give each other high fives before each practice and by holding batting practice similar to the kind held before an actual game to allow team members to become used to the tension of a real game. Manager Saori YAMAGUCHI (4th year, School of Engineering Science) reflected on this, saying, “These weren’t just for fun. They helped us come together and grow stronger as a team.”

Finally, a trip to the national tournament

That ingenuity led to huge success, with the club putting together a winning streak of two tournaments in a row. Among the club’s achievements during this run, pitcher Ryou TAKABATAKE (2nd year, School of Engineering Science) won 4 titles in the 2016 fall league, including best pitcher, and he even won stolen base champion in the 2017 spring league. “It’s all thanks to the experience I gained from appearing in games from my freshman year. I’m still aiming for the top. I just want to keep winning,” said Mr. Takabatake. And then, in May 2017, the club won their ticket to the national tournament for the first time in a half century. The club will continue to play “team baseball” in order to keep on winning.

Osaka University Baseball Club

Osaka University Baseball Club belongs to the Kansai Six Universities League, one of the most competitive leagues in Japan. Currently, the club has 37 players and 7 managers, and members practice on the field at Toyonaka Campus four times a week.

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