How the “Best Second in Koshien History,” an Alumnus of Shizuoka’s Tokoha Kikugawa, which participated in the Senbatsu Tournament, Became President in the “World of Welfare | FRIDAY DIGITAL

How the “Best Second in Koshien History,” an Alumnus of Shizuoka’s Tokoha Kikugawa, which participated in the Senbatsu Tournament, Became President in the “World of Welfare

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He takes the shortest distance to the ball, and is quick in transitioning to and coordinating with his delivery. His shoulders are not strong, but he made up for it with his fielding (photo left, courtesy of Machida himself).

If you hit it to second, there is no hope–” That was how the play-by-play announcer described Tomohiro Machida, 32, second baseman for Tokoha Kikugawa High School (now Tokoha Dai-Kikugawa High School), as he ran around the field in the 2008 summer Koshien. The play-by-play announcer described Tomohiro Machida, 32, as “the best second baseman in Koshien history. He was described as “the best second baseman in Koshien history,” and was instrumental in the golden era of Tokiyo Kikugawa’s four consecutive seasons in the Koshien Tournament. However, he later disappeared from the amateur baseball world, let alone the professional world.

Fifteen years later, the famous second baseman is still in Hamamatsu. He is now the president of Gree Corporation, which operates an after-school support facility for children with disabilities. Despite his setbacks, Machida is thriving in his new field. I’m getting more and more people saying, ‘I saw your playbook on YouTube,'” he laughs, “but I was never very good at defense.

I made seven errors at a regional tournament in the fall of my freshman year, and it cost my team. I didn’t like that, so I spent the entire winter taking knocks with my senior shortstop in addition to overall practice. The coach at the time told me, ‘Don’t make the wrong choice’ on a play. Even if I could make an out, it was not good if it was not the right choice. On the other hand, if I made the right choice and made an error, he would just say, ‘Practice makes perfect.

It was a solid defense backed up by a lot of practice. In the summer of 2008, Tokoha Kikugawa advanced to the finals, but suffered a 0-17 loss to Osaka Toin High School, a team that featured Eito Asamura (now Rakuten).

I saw Yoshinori Sato (former Yakult), who was one year older than me, and Asamura, who was in the same grade, play, and I felt there was an overwhelming difference between them. Players who go on to the pros have different physical strength and potential. It is especially amazing that they can produce results at the critical moment even when they are not in good shape. Even if I had made it to the pros, I didn’t think I had the ability to continue to produce results for years.

After graduation, he entered Waseda University and joined the baseball team. After graduation, he entered Waseda University and joined the baseball team, but left after less than a year and quit the university as well. Mr. Machida chose his words a little carefully as he explained how it happened.

I was living in a dormitory at the university and I took things seriously at the time that I would be able to ignore now. I was immature myself. About six months after I left, I was approached by the Yamaha baseball club and made the decision to go into the workforce.

Machida made a “triumphant return” to Yamaha, a local company, and was warmly welcomed by the fans. But this time, however, his body would not listen to him.

I was doing my best to repay the favor of Yamaha, which had taken me off the baseball field once before. However, the back pain that had plagued me since high school worsened. As I moved up from college to the workforce, and as I moved up through the categories, it became less deceptive. In the end, I decided to retire at the age of 23.

Children called me “Machi-kun

After retiring, he chose the path of “welfare,” a career in which he had zero experience. The impetus for his choice goes back to his high school days.

At a debriefing session after the team won the 2007 Senbatsu tournament, I was approached by a parent and child who said, ‘Mr. Machida’s play has encouraged me. That child was a disabled person, and I realized that I could deliver courage through baseball as well. I thought that someday when I retired, I wanted to be someone who could directly contribute to children with disabilities.”

Through a network of friends, he gained experience and opened an after-school support facility called “Greenpeace. About 100 children, including those who have difficulty communicating in society due to disabilities, attend the facility, which will expand to five locations in April of this year. Although it has become a successful business, the company is not resting on its laurels. As one of the staff members, Machida makes the most of his time to interact with the children, who affectionately call him “Machi-kun, Machi-kun.

What I have learned through baseball has been put to good use in my current job,” he says. Communication is important between the two players, and even though I know what I’m doing, I make sure they are working together in detail. At the facility, we are entrusted with precious lives, so we are constantly checking safety and support methods among the staff. Children express great joy when they are able to do what they could not do. It is similar to the joy they feel when they play well.

His alma mater is in its first spring campaign in 10 years. If they had won, they could have met last summer’s champion Sendai Ikuei or powerhouse Osaka Toin in the final, but they were defeated in their first game by Sendai University Matsudo (Chiba).

When I participated in the tournament for the first time, I was not a candidate for the championship. Koshien is a place where anything can happen, and a team can grow tremendously during the tournament. I would like them to do what they can do now instead of looking for results.”

The shouts of the genius who once excited the Koshien are now encouraging the future of the children and their juniors, who will be aiming for the Koshien again in the summer.

Even children with severe disabilities who have difficulty communicating open up to Mr. Machida from time to time. It is important for them to feel that they are in a safe place.
Mr. Machida is also the president of the Shizuoka branch of the Japan Future Sports Promotion Association, which provides baseball equipment to children from single-parent households and orphanages. He says, “Baseball has trained me to be a better person. I thought it was my turn to give back to the baseball world.
  • PHOTO Courtesy of the photographer (1st photo) Shinji Hamasaki

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