Baseball: Ichiro goes back to school again

Ichiro Suzuki continued his offseason ritual of coaching high school students, wrapping up a two-day session with Okinawa Prefecture's Miyako High School baseball club Sunday.

The high school is the eighth the 50-year-old Suzuki, who retired in March 2019, has worked with as a special instructor. He said it was a "good omen" that the school is located on Miyako Island, where his first pro team, the Orix BlueWave, held its spring training camps.

On Saturday, the school's 17 players took batting practice while the former MLB star threw 448 pitches over the course of an hour and 15 minutes, after which the players begged him to continue.

"I'm afraid this old man has reached his limits," said Suzuki, who took some swings on Sunday and hit some mammoth shots.

This year, the school was runner-up in the prefectural spring tournament, and reached the semifinals of Okinawa's summer tournament, whose winner advances to the national championships at iconic Koshien Stadium.

The team's manager, Eiji Taira, expressed his gratitude for the inspirational visit.

"This made me feel like we have to go to Koshien," he said.

© Kyodo News