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Web exclusive: The Keller/Cloney Japan Diaries, Part 4

Local pitchers embark on a baseball journey in Japan

Posted: June 18, 2011 10:19 p.m.
Updated: June 18, 2011 10:19 p.m.


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

The teenagers will be pitching in Japan as part of the 2011 USA-Japan Friendship Series, June 19-23, in Tokyo and Osaka.

Only 18 players were chosen for the series.

Over the next week, Keller and Cloney are sending us a diary that will run exclusively on

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 Keller's first diary entry.


June 11

We started out today with breakfast in the hotel and then a two-hour bus drive back to the high school for practice.

It is still raining lightly but when we arrived at the high school, they allowed us to practice outside on their turf football field (we didn’t know they played American football). After a long practice, they then served us lunch and allowed us to shower in the dorms of the high school team that lives at the field year round.

When we entered the dorm areas, we all had to take our shoes off and wear slippers.

We then experienced the fun side of Japan as the school was having a group track meet.

Each of the school’s groups, including track and field, baseball, karate, swimming, band, etc. all dressed in their group attire and participated in races.

They ran around the dirt track in a relay race all dressed in uniforms that represented each group while the audience of nearly a 1,000 cheered. The entire audience was very loud and having a very good time.

When we arrived at the track, we had girls and boys all rush up to us wanting to have their photographs taken with us.

We spent about 45 minutes at the event and had our pictures taken with students one after another.

They were the most friendly and polite people I have ever met and we somehow found ways to talk to each other and understand what we they were saying. Some of the girls were quite shy, but wanted pictures.

After taking a picture, they would quickly say, “I love You,” and then giggle. We felt like rock stars. It was a lot of fun.

After leaving the school, we then went to a large temple in downtown Tokyo, where we experienced the religious side of the people.

It was raining, yet the temple was filled with people both visiting the temple and the shops surrounding the area. After a long day, we then left for the hotel to make an early curfew as we have a doubleheader the next day at one of the local universities.

It will be quite the honor as Ryan and I have been selected to start the first two games for the team.


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