Junior Roos 2019 Japan Tour

The idea was simple, take a team of 12-14 year olds to Japan to learn to play baseball and understand what they needed to do to improve. What followed was was anything but simple. It became a lifetime experience for players, parents and coaches alike that involved baseball, bullet trains, temples and more.

Brisbane International Departures

Although our journey started with a domestic flight from Sydney to Brisbane it wasn’t until our customary team photo at Brisbane international Departures that the feeling became surreal

After venturing into a baseball store in Tokyo the Junior Roos attended a pre season baseball game at Meiji Jingu Stadium. The stadium is home to the Yakut Swallows and we saw them take on the Hiroshima Carp.

The Swallows fans celebrate their team scoring runs by raising umbrellas and singing the team song.

Japanese baseball fans are known for their enthusiasm and team dedication. At many games fans from each team seated in different sections to keep them apart from each other as they tend to get a little too enthusiastic.

The Junior Roos fully embraced the umbrella tradition.

The team had a training session with Mr. Imamari on a very cold and windy afternoon. Mr. Imamari demonstrated Japanese warm up’s, ways to take leads and steal bases. The team also learnt about respecting their equipment, each other and the field.

Training with Mr Imamari

The first game of the tour started with a chilly warm up in Saitama Prefecture where the morning temperature was in single digits. Later in the day it even started sleeting.

Ready to play in Saitama

The team enjoyed traditional Bento boxes for lunch with a side of hot soup providing welcome relief from the cold weather.

Japanese players preparing the field

After 2 days of double headers it was time to pack the bags and take the Bullet Train to Osaka but not before a farewell party put on by the host families, and a birthday cake for Ed.

Friendship party and birthday cake for Ed Noy

The Japanese High School Baseball Tournament is played at Koshien stadium. Contested by schools from across Japan it is sudden death all the way, loose just 1 game and you are out. There are 2 tournaments each year, the summer tournament and invitational spring tournament. The Junior Roos players were lucky enough to get prime seating directly behind home plate.

Koshien High School Tournament

The Japanese are well known for their hospitality and the local teams that we played against hosted a party for the Junior Roos. It soon became apparent that the source of entertainment was going to be the players themselves with on stage introductions and performances.

Osaka Welcome Party

Caleb trying his hand at Sumo Wrestling

The pit crew at work in Wakayama

After another 2 double headers it was time to hang the boots up for a day and take in some more culture. We were in time to catch some early Cherry Blossoms

No visit to Japan is complete without a visit to an authentic castle and Hikone Castle was superb behind the spring cherry blossoms.

We made an afternoon stop at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto before heading to Osaka Dome to watch the opening round of the Japanese Professional Baseball League between the Hanshin Tigers and Yakult Swallows

7th inning tradition of Hanshin Tigers fans. Balloons are inflated by the fans and released into the stadium.

And a birthday cake for Caleb

We had played 10 hard games in 10 days as well as taken in the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka. The tour was not about the result or winning. The team were in Japan to learn what they needed to do in order to step up to participate in high level baseball. The immersion experience introduced the players to the life of a Japanese ball player as well as taking in the cultural aspect. Players gained an understanding how discipline and respect in daily life played a big part in the way Japanese approach baseball.

The 2019 Junior Roos Team

  • Adam Bates
  • Harrison Dobb
  • Callum Donnelly
  • Shannon Gibbins
  • Baden Hagarty
  • Matthew Harris
  • Luke Hayhow
  • Hunter Horsley
  • Luke Jacobs
  • Joshua King
  • Jackson Muldoon
  • Edward Noy
  • Liam Padovan
  • Caleb Tunkin
  • Reilly Vanzanten
  • Jett Watson
Created By
Andrew Ross

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