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Apr 16, 2015
Sixteen members of the APU Baseball Club traveled to Sri Lanka for seven days, from February 19th to 25th, 2015, to engage in international exchange and community outreach activities. Aiming to help promote baseball in Sri Lanka, the trip was initially proposed to the club by RAIGALA Dasili Lekamalage Shanaka Chathumadha J. (College of International Management 2nd year, Sri Lanka), a Sri Lankan student who used to belong to the national baseball team of Sri Lanka and has networks in the country.
When they found out that baseball facilities and equipment were not readily available in Sri Lanka, the members of the APU Baseball Club decided to collect equipment in Japan that they could donate to Sri Lanka; they also decided to run a baseball clinic for junior high and high school students there. The club collected travel money and old equipment with the support of a Baseball Association, companies, alumni who used to be in the Baseball Club and the general public.
In Sri Lanka, the APU team played exhibition matches against the Sri Lanka’s national University Baseball Team, Royal College's U-19 team, and Asia Baseball Club, an amateur baseball team that accompanied the APU team on its week-long tour. Royal College arranged venues and provided other support during the trip.
The members of the APU team gave lectures about each position at the baseball clinic for junior high and high school students before donating around 150kg of baseball equipment. Since baseball equipment is very expensive in Sri Lanka, the students were extremely happy.
After the excursion, club member TANAKA Shogo (College of International Management 3rd year, Japan) remarked as follows: "It was moving to see the sparkle in the students' eyes and watch them chase after brand new baseballs during the baseball clinic. I realized that playing baseball was a rare opportunity for them and felt I should be more grateful for getting to play baseball in Japan." MASUMOTO Yoshiki (College of International Management 3rd year, Japan), the club's leader, discussed plans for the future: "If we keep doing this, then our initial efforts will continue to bear fruit. I will do my best to ensure the club can keep this initiative going."
The team's efforts to engage in international exchange and community outreach through sports were covered by the press in both countries. In related news, Sri Lankan APU graduate SIRIGAMPOLAGE Sujeewa Jayantha Wijayanayake, (Class of Spring 2010, APS) was chosen to umpire for the 87th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, a move that is sure to deepen APU and Sri Lanka's baseball connections.