OSAKA — Osaka’s PL Gakuen has been barred from participating in this year’s prefectural championship after revelations that older team members had bullied younger players, the Japan High School Baseball Federation ruled Friday.

The decision effectively prevents PL Gakuen from taking part in this year’s national championship tourney in August at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Formal sanctions will be determined when the investigative office of the Japan Student Baseball Association meets July 6.

PL Gakuen has won the national championship crown four times in the past along with titles in the spring national invitational tourney.

According to media reports, the club has had trouble with its third-year students assaulting the younger players over the past year. In May 2000, a second-year student required seven stitches after being hit in the head with a baseball bat.

In January, a first-year student required four stitches after being hit in the head with a bat grip by a third-year student.

In the most recent incident, a third-year student allegedly assaulted a former member of the team. The school and the student paid 1.9 million yen in compensation to the victim and wrote a letter of apology.

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