Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Tokyo University baseball team breaks run of 94-straight defeats

Japan’s academically elite University of Tokyo finally ended a record run of 94 successive defeats on the baseball field stretching all the way back to 2010.
Pitcher Akihiro Shibata (12) of the University of Tokyo is congratulated by his teammates after putting an end to a record 94-game losing streak, winning for the first time in five years, during their Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League match against Hosei University at Jingu Stadium on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The University of Tokyo beat Hosei 6-4 to win its first game since Oct. 2, 2010. Yohei Nishimura / AP Photo
Pitcher Akihiro Shibata (12) of the University of Tokyo is congratulated by his teammates after putting an end to a record 94-game losing streak, winning for the first time in five years, during their Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League match against Hosei University at Jingu Stadium on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The University of Tokyo beat Hosei 6-4 to win its first game since Oct. 2, 2010. Yohei Nishimura / AP Photo

Japan’s academically elite University of Tokyo finally ended a record run of 94 successive defeats on the baseball field stretching all the way back to 2010.

Second-year science major Hajime Kusuda drove in the winning run in a 6-4 extra-innings victory at Jingu Stadium over Hosei University to spark wild scenes in Tokyo.

Tokyo University, commonly known as Todai, is Japan’s most prestigious university and has produced many of the country’s most prominent politicians, judges and Nobel laureates.

But on the baseball field, the team owned the unwanted record of having gone four seasons without a win, its last a 4-2 victory over rivals Waseda University in October 2010.

Since the war, the team has never finished in the top half of the six-team Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League.

This partly due to its refusal, unlike its rivals, to offer sports scholarships or scout high school talent - a result of the school’s strict admissions policy.

But two seasons ago, the university team hired former Yomiuri Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Masumi Kuwata in a bid to turn around the team’s fortunes.

“I’m honestly delighted,” coach Kazushi Hamada told local media. “We’ve finally made it out of the tunnel. I thought we could pull it out. When the pitchers struggled the fielders made plays. We’ve started to look like a team.”

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Updated: May 23, 2015 04:00 AM