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Web exclusive: The Keller/Cloney Japan Diaries, Part 8

Posted: June 22, 2011 3:23 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2011 3:23 p.m.

The Akashi Commercial High School team marches out on to the field to face the United States Friendship Series team.

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Newly graduated West Ranch High pitcher Ryan Keller and West Ranch pitcher and senior-to-be J.C. Cloney are embarking on quite an adventure.

The teenagers are pitching in Japan as part of the 2011 USA-Japan Friendship Series from Sunday until Wednesday, in Tokyo and Osaka.

Only 18 players were chosen for the series.

Keller and Cloney are sending us a diary that will run exclusively on the-signal.com. They will touch on various topics from both on and off the field.

Some of the players representing the U.S. were selected based off of playing at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton.

All are considered some of the best players in the country.

The following is Cloney’s third diary entry.


June 23
Today we had our third baseball game. We traveled from our hotel in Osaka to Akashi, Japan, which is about 90 minutes away, to play the No. 1 team in Akashi, the Akashi Commercial High School team. The field we played on is located on the grounds of the Akashi Castle, one of only a few hundred castles in all of Japan.

Just like the games before, we were greeted by many people and treated like royalty when we arrived. They provided us with everything we could need, and they were very interested in watching our batting practice and infield before the game began.

This game started out very close, with the United States team ahead until the fifth inning, when the Japanese team capitalized on our errors and took the lead that led to a win. But during the game, it was very interesting to see the difference between the two teams. The Japanese team was very regimented in what it did. They all yell the same things at the same time. They all approached the game in the same manner, while the United States team has many different styles and is much more individualized.

After the game, we were taken to a nearby hotel for a dinner reception, and again the Japanese team joined us. As before, we had a great time and were laughing and joking almost immediately. They sang songs for us and we all got up and sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” together. I have noticed that all of the people we have met are so polite and do whatever they can to make us more comfortable so we have a nice experience while in Japan.

Tomorrow is our last game and hopefully we can take away a win.

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