The Japanese high school baseball championship series is such a big deal in that country that fans pack the 50,000 person stadium for 15 days to watch 56 teams compete, and millions more watch at home. One high school hurler threw a 17-inning complete game so he could remain involved in what was likely the biggest sporting event of his life.
On Sunday, one of the high school players reminded the world about the meaning of sportsmanship.
In the seventh inning, Kennobu Sugawara from Tokuei Hanasaki was hit by a pitch. But he refused to take his base, and instead admitted to the umpire he’d leaned into the pitch.
After the admission, Sugawara bowed to the pitcher, then bowed to the opposing dugout, and finally stepped back into the batter’s box…where he promptly hit the ball out of the park.
His efforts weren’t enough, as his team lost 4-3, but a win wouldn’t have been the memorable part of the experience anyway.