The Japan High School Baseball Federation said Wednesday it will hold a series of games at Koshien Stadium in August between teams that had been selected for the canceled Japanese High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, which had been scheduled to take place in the spring.
The federation said the 32 teams invited will each play one game behind closed doors at the iconic stadium in Hyogo Prefecture from Aug. 10 to 12 and Aug. 15 to 17.
Games will be postponed if it rains, and an opening ceremony will not be held. The draw will be decided via an online lottery on July 18.
When this year’s spring invitational tournament was canceled in March for the first time, Japan High School Baseball Federation Chairman Eiji Hatta said he hoped the student athletes “could come to Koshien somehow” or “at least step on the dirt” of the stadium. He indicated a desire to come up with a “relief measure” for students who would miss out on the event.
In May, the 102nd edition of the summer’s Japanese National High School Baseball Championship, along with its regional qualifiers, was also canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Like the spring tournament, the summer event is held at Koshien Stadium, a symbolic place for many young boys in Japan who dream of becoming professional baseball players.
Many prefectural federations are aiming to hold independent events to replace the summer tournament.