Three New York-area independent baseball teams are squaring off against an all-star team from Japan this month. The Shikoku Island All-Stars, a group of players from four independent teams on the Japanese island of Shikoku, have a total of ten exhibition games against three area teams, the Sussex County Miners, the New Jersey Jackals, and the Rockland Boulders. The games are part of a month-long international showcase of the Can-Am League, and independent league with teams from Quebec, Canada, to Little Falls, New Jersey.
Shikoku Island defeated the Miners 7-1 in its first game on Thursday, June 9, behind the pitching of starter Yuki Harada and big hits from Taiju Furukawa, Takahiro Hayashi, and Zak Colby, a California native who turns 27 on June 16 and who previous played for the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League. Prior to the start of international showcase competition, the All-Stars played an exhibition game against the Amsterdam Mohawks in Montgomery County, New York, where Colby was a member of the Mohawks’ 2012 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) championship team. In Shikoku’s 13-0 trouncing of Amsterdam, Colby was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI.
Playing under the slogan “Kabuki Spirits!” the Shikoku Island All-Stars visited Japanese schools in New Jersey last weekend, and they will have a reception at the Japanese General Consulate in Montreal later this month.
Sponsored by JR Shikoku and the Shikoku Coca Cola Bottling Company, the Shikoku Island League is one of four in the Japan Independent Baseball League Organization. The teams play 80 games a year and have had a number of foreign players on their rosters, including players from the Dominican Republic, China, and Myanmar.
Kyuji Fujikawa, who briefly pitched for the Cubs and the Rangers, had a stint with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League, and former New York Yankee pitcher Hideki Irabu also played for Kochi after his major league career ended.
- vs Amsterdam Mohawks at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam, New York
Monday, June 6 – Shikoku Island won 13-0
- vs Sussex County Miners at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, New Jersey
Thursday, June 9 – Shikoku Island won 7-1
Friday, June 10 – Shikoku Island won 4-1
Saturday, June 11 – Shikoku Island lost 5-4 in 12 innings
Sunday, June 12 – Shikoku Island lost 4-3 (walk-off)
- vs New Jersey Jackals at Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls, New Jersey
Tuesday, June 14 – Shikoku Island won 6-4 in 11 innings
Wednesday, June 15 – Shikoku Island lost 6-5 in 10 innings
Thursday, June 16 – Shikoku Island lost 5-3
- vs Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, New York
Friday, June 17 – Shikoku Island lost 7-2
Saturday, June 18 – Shikoku Island won 9-8
Sunday, June 19 – Shikoku Island won 5-4 in 10 innings
- Tuesday, June 21 through Thursday, June 23 vs Quebec Capitals
- Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26 vs Trois-Rivières Aigles
- Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30 vs Ottawa Champions
- Saturday, July 2 vs the Cuba team in an exhibition game in Trois-Rivières, Quebec
Can’t see the games in person? All of the games are streaming live at Can-Am TV.
Many thanks to Yumi Tanaka for providing details of the Shikoku Island League’s visit to the area.