Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rare 1927 Film Footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Japanese American Baseball All-Stars Discovered

FRESNO, Calif., (October 29, 2014) -- The Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP; niseibaseball.com), a non-profit organization founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball, is proud to announce today the public release of rare, never-before-seen footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Japanese American all-stars from 1927.

As Japanese American ballplayers Travis Ishikawa, Jeremy Guthrie and Royals' bench coach Don Wakamatsu take the field for the 2014 World Series, the NBRP proudly unveiled rare 18mm film shot 87 years ago when Ruth and Gehrig barnstormed the west coast after the 1927 World Series.

The film includes highlights from October 29, 1927, when Fresno's Japanese American all-stars Johnny Nakagawa, Kenichi Zenimura, Fred Yoshikawa and Harvey Iwata joined Gehrig on his Larrupin Lou's squad to defeat the Bustin' Babes, 13-3.

The presence of Ishikawa, Guthrie and Wakamatsu in the 2014 World Series honors to the legacy of all Japanese American ballplayers, not just the all-stars featured in this rare footage. Many had the tools and passion to play the game at the highest level, but never received the opportunity. Instead they played in leagues of their own and became America's baseball ambassadors across the Pacific.



To learn more about the legacy of Japanese American baseball, visit www.NiseiBaseball.com or join our Facebook community at www.facebook.com/niseibaseball.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

One Proud Papa: Alan Ishikawa, Father of the Giants’ New Home Run Hero

I suspect that the only thing more exciting than hitting a home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants is to watch your son hit a home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants.

Alan Ishikawa, the father of Travis Ishikawa who hit a historic home run in the ninth inning to secure a spot in the 2014 World Series for the SF Giants, must be one proud papa.



We know a little bit about the Alan and the Ishikawa family from a 2009 blog post by the SF Giants:

Ishikawa is half Japanese on his father’s side. His great-grandparents came over from Japan to work on the railroads and settled in Chicago. During World War II, his grandparents were imprisoned in an internment camp in Colorado. They now are in their 90s and living in Southern California – where decades ago they owned and worked farmland before the freeways came through. Travis has never asked his grandparents about the internment camp.

“They never give you an opening to talk about it,” he says. “My father has never talked about it. I think it’s a cultural thing. There are some things you just don’t talk about.”

Travis never even knew his father had played much baseball until he was going through some old boxes in the attic. In one dusty box were newspaper clippings of Alan Ishikawa throwing a no-hitter and a one-hitter in high school.

Alan Ishikawa, a controller for a chain of Washington supermarkets, is 5 feet 8. His son is 6-3. Obviously, Travis didn’t get his size from his dad. But his paternal bloodlines seem to have passed down strength and resilience from the railroads and farms, and more than a little bit of baseball talent.



In that “dusty box of newspaper clippings” known as the world wide web, I was able to learn a little about Alan Ishikawa’s baseball past. Knowing that the Ishikawa grandparents resided in SoCal/Los Angeles after the war, I searched for Alan Ishikawa on Ancestry.com and found him in the 1970 Compton High School yearbook. I think you might be able to identify Ishikawa in the team photo. Even though he’s only 5’8”, he stands out from his teammates (... just a bit).



As the only Asian-American ballplayer on all African-American team, I suspect that he has some interesting stories to share about that experience. Based on the list of players below, it appears that three of Alan’s teammates went on to play pro baseball:
Some noteworthy observations: Davis played several years in Japan, and -- just in time for the 2014 World Series -- Walton was born in Kansas City in 1952 and drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1972.

Below are pages 169 and 170 of the Compton High School yearbook featuring all members of the 1970 varsity baseball team. 



***

While I am happy for Travis Ishikawa for his accomplishments and helping the Giants make it to the 2014 World Series, I'm intrigued by the life perspective that his father Alan Ishikawa must have right now … yesterday (figuratively speaking) his parents were incarcerated by the U.S. government in a camp in Colorado ... and today his son is a hero in the national pastime. Only in America!


Stay tuned …Travis mentioned in the 2009 blog that little is known about his grandparents’ WWII camp experience. Next I’ll check Ancestry.com archives and see what I can find on the Ishikawas at the Granada Incarceration Camp (aka Amache) in Colorado.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts Win Chandler Girls Softball League 10U Championship

CHANDLER, AZ (June 1, 2014) – The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts were crowned champions of the Chandler Girls Softball League 10U Division with a 7 to 1 victory over the Delta Diversified Black Widows on Saturday, May 31 at Folley Park.

Five runs in the first three innings allowed the Lightning Bolts to put the game away early. A triple by Tristin and an RBI single by Krystyna during the first inning helped spark the Lightning Bolts rally. Tristin got a hit in each of her three at bats.

Pitcher Alison dominated with 14 strikeouts in the Lightning Bolts win. She allowed one earned run, three hits and one walk over five innings.

The Bolts piled on three more runs in the top of the third. A single by Kyndra ignited the offense, scoring Liberty. That was followed up by Tristin's single, scoring Jaila.

The Lightning Bolts pushed across one run in both the fourth inning and the fifth. In the fourth, they scored on an RBI double by Lily, scoring Bella. In the fifth, Kyndra’s single was followed by a line drive to centerfield by Tristin, driving in the final run of the day.

The Bolts' triple threat of Alison, Kyndra and Tristin combined for eight hits and four RBIs to help secure the championship crown.



A SEASON TO REMEMBER
The Lightning Bolts finished their season with a 15-1 record, with one loss coming at the hands of the Black Widows in a close 4-3 battle early in the season.

Over the course of the 16-game clip the Bolts outscored their opponents by an impressive 186 to 22 runs. Offensively, the Lightning Bolts were unstoppable with a team batting average of .467 and a .618 on-base percentage.

On the mound, Alison finished with a 14-1 record, including one save. In 75 innings pitched, she compiled a 0.72 earned run average, 195 strikeouts and allowed just 9 walks. With the support of a solid defense behind her, she also threw three no-hitters and one perfect game during the season.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lightning Bolts Move on to Championship with 4-3 win over Lil' Devils

CHANDLER, AZ (May 30, 2014) – The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts clinched a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Uncle Bears Lil' Devils on Friday at Folley Park.

Alison's 18 strikeouts were enough to push the Lightning Bolts past the Lil' Devils. She allowed one earned run, three hits and one walk over six innings.

The Bolts jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. A single by Tristin, scoring Sage started the inning off. The Lightning Bolts then tacked on more runs when Tristin scored on an RBI single by Alison.

The game was tied 3 to 3 in the fifth inning when Shannon delivered the game winning hit. With two outs and Lily on third base, Shannon drove a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a double, and driving home the game-winning run.

Alison returned to the mound with a 4-3 lead and shut down the side in the bottom of the fifth with three strikeouts to secure the victory and move on to the 10U league championship.



VIDEO LINK: Last inning, game winning hit.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dual-threat carries the Lightning Bolts past Orange Crush

CHANDLER, AZ (May 27, 2014) – Alison was strong at the plate and on the rubber in carrying the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 10-3 victory over All About Orange Crush on Tuesday at Folley Park.

Alison went a perfect 2-2 at the plate for the Lightning Bolts. She homered in the third inning and singled in the fifth inning.

The Lightning Bolts got the win thanks in large part to Alison's dominant, 11-strikeout performance. Alison allowed two earned runs, seven hits and one walk over five innings.

Six runs in the opening three innings allowed the Lightning Bolts to easily put away the Orange Crush. A two-run triple by Shannon and a groundout by Jaila in the second inning fueled the Bolts' offense early.

The Lightning Bolts hit three home runs in the win. Alison homered in the third inning, Lily homered in the fifth inning, and Bella homered in the fifth inning.

The Bolts added three more runs in the top of the fifth. Bella kicked things off with a two-run home run, scoring Alison. That was followed up by Lily's solo blast.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Alison throws no-hitter as the Lightning Bolts defeat the Comets, 15-0

CHANDLER, AZ (May 17, 2014) Alison was great on Saturday, throwing a no-hitter in the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts' 15-0 victory over the Comets.

No Comets batter was able to locate Alison's pitches during the game. She threw a no-hitter, striking out nine batters and walking one while recording her momentous feat. She got the last two Comets batters to strike out to end the game.

Thirteen runs in the first three innings helped the Lightning Bolts blow out Comets. A home run by Alison and an RBI double by Lily during the first inning and an RBI single by Sage, an RBI single by Tristin, and a home run by Krystyna in the second inning supplied the early offense for the Bolts.

Krystyna racked up four RBIs on two hits for the Lightning Bolts.

The Lightning Bolts pounded the Comets pitching, as seven hitters combined for 14 hits, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

The Comets pitcher allowed 15 runs in 3 1/3 innings, walked five and struck out eight.

The Lightning Bolts brought home two runs in the third inning, and matched that run total in the fourth. In the third, the Lightning Bolts scored on a two-run triple by Bella, plating Leah and Tricia.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Zenimura Field Anniverary Celebration Wins Phoenix Marketing Award

PHOENIX, AZ (May 14, 2014) The Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP; niseibaseball.com) was named a winner by the American Marketing Association, Phoenix Chapter (AMA Phoenix) Spectrum Awards.


In a reception held at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix on Wednesday night, the AMA Phoenix chapter named the NBRP the winner of the Top Multicultural, Integrated Marketing Campaign, for the 2013 event "Honoring the Legacy of Japanese American Baseball."

Campaign Overview
Thursday, March 7, 2013, marked the 70th Anniversary of the historic Zenimura Field, and thus the official start of organized baseball played behind barbed wire at the Gila River Japanese American Internment Camp in Arizona during WWII (March 7, 1943). Baseball in the camps gave the 13,000 internees at Gila River a sense of normalcy, hope and made life bearable during this dark chapter in U.S. history.

The NBRP was founded in 1996 to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball though education (events, curriculum development, media, etc.). The Arizona division of the NBRP proposed a partnership with the Oakland A’s during a 2013 Cactus League Sprint Training game to commemorate this once in a lifetime anniversary, honor the legacy of Japanese American baseball, and educate the public about this little-known chapter of our shared history.


The NBRP reached out to the A’s because the team is known as a league innovator, they had supported the Japanese American community in the Bay area in the past, have several players on their roster from Japan, plus their game date and location at Phoenix Municipal Stadium marked the closest MLB site to the historic internment camp ball field, located approximately 45 miles south of Phoenix.

The attendance at the ballgame itself was roughly 5,000 people. However, through the power of social media and earned media, the message from this one day celebration for Zenimura Field and Japanese American Baseball reached an estimated 1.5 million people around the globe.



##

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Lightning Bolts escape the Lil’ Devils behind Alison's 14 strikeouts, 5-1

CHANDLER, AZ (May 10, 2014) Saturday was a great day for Alison, as she struck out 14 batters to carry the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 5-1 victory over the Lil’ Devils at Folley Park in six innings.

Kyndra racked up two RBIs on two hits for the Lightning Bolts. She homered in the fourth inning and singled in the sixth inning.

The Lil’ Devils starting pitcher lasted five innings, walked five, struck out 13, and allowed five runs.

The game's last lead went to the Lightning Bolts thanks to a fourth inning rally that saw two runs cross the plate on a two-run home run by Kyndra.

The Bolts increased their lead with two runs in the fifth. The inning looked promising, as Liberty singled, bringing home Tricia to kick things off. That was followed up by Jaila’s single, plating Bella.

The Lil’ Devils managed to score one run in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout.

It didn't take long for the Lightning Bolts to respond as they scored one run of their own in the sixth. The Bolts scored on an RBI single by Tristin.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dual-threat carries Lightning Bolts past the Red Dragons 13-0

CHANDLER, AZ (May 8, 2014) Alison came up big at the dish and on the rubber, leading the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 13-0 win over the Red Dragons on Thursday at Folley Park.

It was a good day at the plate for the Lightning Bolts' Alison. She went 2-2, drove in one and scored two runs. She singled in the second inning and tripled in the third inning.

She also struck out 11 hitters en route to the Lightning Bolts win. The Bolts' pitcher tossed four innings of shutout ball and allowed only one hit.

Seven runs in the first three innings helped the Lightning Bolts blow out the Red Dragons. An RBI single by Leah and an RBI single by Tricia in the second inning fueled the Lightning Bolts' offense early.

The Lightning Bolts easily handled the Dragons pitching as six hitters combined for eight hits, eight RBIs and nine runs scored. The Dragons starting pitcher allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, walked one and struck out six.

The Lightning Bolts increased their lead with five runs in the third. A ground out scored Shannon to start the scoring in the inning. That was followed up by Kyndra’s single, scoring Jaila.

The Lightning Bolts added six more runs in the top of the fourth. Bella tripled, plating Leah to start the inning. That was followed up by Lily's two-run home run, scoring Bella.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lightning Bolts take out Piranhas with Help from Tristin’s Grand Slam, 9-6

CHANDLER, AZ (April 26, 2014) Tristin knocked in four runs as the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts took home a 9-6 victory over the Future Leaders Piranhas in four innings at Folley Park on Saturday. She hit a grand slam in the third inning.

Alison got the win for the Lightning Bolts thanks to eight strikeouts. She allowed no earned runs, two hits and no walks over three innings.

The Piranhas jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first. They got things going with a single and four consecutive walks.

The Lightning Bolts never trailed after scoring six runs in the third on an RBI double by Krystyna, a home run by Tristin, and an RBI single by Lily.

Two runs in the top of the fourth helped the Piranhas close its deficit to 9-6. A ground out and an error fueled the Piranhas' comeback. Alison got the last out, as the final Piranhas' batter struck out.



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Friday, April 25, 2014

Zenimura Biography Now Available at Manzanar

CHANDLER, AZ (April 25, 2014) The award-winning biography, Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer, by baseball historian and author Bill Staples, Jr., is now available for sale in the Manzanar Store, located at the Manzanar National Historic Site in California. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.

The Manzanar Store is operated by Manzanar History Association (MHA), and features a wide selection of books, DVDs, art prints, posters, T-shirts and other gift items. Purchases from the Manzanar Store directly support educational and interpretive programs at Manzanar National Historic Site.

Baseball at Manzanar
Baseball was a powerful symbol of an American way of life; it boosted morale and brought some sense of normalcy to a confined community. In the words of Takeo Suo: "Putting on a baseball uniform was like wearing the American flag."

Photo: Baseball game, Manzanar Relocation Center,
by Ansel Adams, 1943.
By the summer of 1942 , nearly 100 men's and 14 women's baseball teams were playing a full schedule of games. Teams like the San Fernando Aces and San Pedro Gophers came intact from their pre-war communities while other teams formed in camp. The ManzaKnights grew out of a young men's social club; older men formed their own league. Women's teams included the Dusty Chicks and Modernaires.

Thousands of fans gathered at Manzanar's main baseball field for epic match-ups between the Scorpions, Padres, Has-Beens, and other teams in the camp's 12 leagues.

"Baseball is just one of the many prominent interpretive stories we tell at Manzanar," said Maggie Wittenburg, Executive Director of the MHA. "We have a few baseball DVDs, a t-shirt, a kid's book, and our own baseballs, but no reading matter for adults. Now we have the biography of Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer, to add to the array."

The Zenimura biography received the the 2012 SABR Baseball Research Award, which honors outstanding research projects that have significantly expanded our knowledge or understanding of baseball.

To learn more about the Manzanar Store and the Manzanar History Association, visit: http://manzanarstore.com.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lightning Bolts jump on Subway Wolves early and coast to 14-0 win

CHANDLER, AZ (April 22, 2014) The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts refused to relinquish the lead after grabbing it early against Subway Wolves, recording a 14-0 victory on Tuesday at Folley Park.

Eight runs in the first three innings allowed the Lightning Bolts to put the game away early.

A two-run single by Krystyna, a hit by pitch, an error, and a walk by Liberty during the first inning fueled the Lightning Bolts' offense early. The Bolts' Shannon was perfect at the dish, going 2-2.

Alison got the win for the Lightning Bolts thanks to 10 strikeouts. The Bolts' pitcher gave up just two hits over five shutout innings.

The Lightning Bolts built upon their lead with three runs in the third. Alison started the inning with a single, bringing home Kyndra. That was followed up by Shannon's triple, plating Alison.

The Lightning Bolts piled on five more runs in the top of the fourth. Jaila's triple got things going, bringing home Liberty. That was followed up by Sage's three-run blast, plating Tristin and Jaila.



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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts offense too much for the White Tigers in 20-3 rout

CHANDLER, AZ (April 19, 2014) The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts jumped out to an early lead on the White Tigers and captured a 20-3 victory on Saturday at Folley Park.


The game was decided quickly as the Lightning Bolts exerted their will early with 20 runs in the first three innings.

An RBI single by Bella, a walk by Shannon, a walk by Leah, and a grand slam by Lily in the first inning put the Bolts up 8 to 3. A walk by Kyndra, a walk by Tristin and a home run by Krystyna during the second inning helped the Lightning Bolts extend the lead 13 to 3.

Lily racked up five RBIs on two hits for the Lightning Bolts.

The White Tigers had no answer for Alison, who kept runners off the base paths in her appearance. Alison held the White Tigers hitless over three innings, allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out eight.

Tristin recorded the win for the Lightning Bolts. She allowed three runs over one inning. Tristin struck out three, walked one and gave up three hits.

The Lightning Bolts easily handled the White Tigers pitching as six hitters combined for eight hits, 15 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

The pitchers couldn't get it done on the rubber for the White Tigers, with two hurlers walking eight and striking out none over four innings.

The top of the first saw the White Tigers take an early lead, 3-0 on a two-run home run and an RBI double.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early lead gives the Lightning Bolts easy victory over the Orange Crush, 16-1

CHANDLER, AZ (April 17, 2014) The Lightning Bolts shut the door early on the Orange Crush, capturing a 16-1 victory on Thursday at Folley Park.



Six runs in the first three innings allowed the Lightning Bolts to put the game away early.

An RBI single by Alison, walks by Bella and Leah, a fielder's choice, and a walk by Tricia during the first inning and an RBI single by Alison in the second inning fueled the Lightning Bolts' offense early.
Kyndra racked up four RBIs on two hits for the Lightning Bolts. She singled in the second inning and homered in the fifth inning.

The Lightning Bolts got the win thanks in large part to Alison's dominant, 15-strikeout performance. Alison allowed no earned runs on three hits and no walks over five innings.

The Orange Crush starting pitcher lasted just two-thirds of an inning, walked seven, struck out one, and allowed five runs.

The Lightning Bolts got five-run rallies in the fourth inning and the fifth. In the fourth, the Lightning Bolts scored on an RBI double by Jaila, bringing home Tricia.

The Lightning Bolts built upon their lead with five runs in the fifth. A clutch error scored Lily to open the scoring in the frame. That was followed up by Kyndra's blast, scoring Tricia, Sage and Jaila.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lightning Bolts Defeat Sports Authority 7-0 Behind Alison's Pitching and Krystyna's Bat

CHANDLER, AZ (April 12, 2014) Saturday was a great day for Alison as she tossed a shutout to carry the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 7-0 victory over the Sports Authority Blue Lightning at Folley Park in five innings.

The Lightning Bolts got the win thanks in large part to Alison's dominant, 14-strikeout performance. The Lightning Bolts' right-hander tossed five innings of shutout ball and allowed only one hit. Offensively, Krystyna led the team in with three RBIs, thanks in part to a key home run.


The game remained scoreless until the third inning when the Lighting Bolts bats finally got hot. Sage and Tristin got things started with key walks, then Alison drove in the first RBI of the day with a single, scoring Sage.

With runners on first and third, Krystyna hit a timely three-run home run for the Lightning Bolts. Lily added the fifth run of the day with a solo home run in the fourth inning.

The Lightning Bolts tacked on another two runs in the fifth. Jaila got things started with a single. Kyndra followed with another single, scoring Jaila. Alison added the final RBI of the day with a single, bringing home Kyndra.

Krystyna led the team offensively on the day with two hits and three RBIs. She also leads the team with an impressive .846 on-base percentage for the season.

The victory gives the Lightning Bolts a 5-1 record for the spring season.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Big hitting performance carries the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts past Green Machine 26-0

CHANDLER, AZ (April 5, 2014) An exceptional effort by Lily lifted the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 26-0 win in five innings over the Green Machine on Saturday at Folley Park.

Lily racked up 12 RBIs on three grand slams for the Lightning Bolts. She homered with bases loaded in the second, third, and fifth innings.

On the mound, Alison kept contact to a minimum, striking out 15 Green Machine batters. The Lightning Bolts' pitcher tossed five innings of shutout ball and allowed only one hit.

Fourteen runs in the first three innings helped the Lightning Bolts blow out the Green Machine. A groundout by Tristin and a two-run home run by Alison during the first inning and a home run by Lily in the second inning helped the Lightning Bolts put some runs on the board early.

The Lightning Bolts hammered Green Machine pitching as 10 hitters had a field day, combining for 17 hits, 24 RBIs and 24 runs scored.

The Green Machine starting pitcher allowed 19 runs in 2 2/3 innings, walked five and struck out four.

The Lightning Bolts scored seven runs in the third inning, and then followed it up with seven more in the fifth. In the third, the Lightning Bolts scored on an RBI single by Krystyna, plating Alison.

The Lightning Bolts added five more runs in the top of the fourth. Jaila's solo home run got things going. That was followed up by Alison's blast, scoring Bella, Kyndra and Jaila, who was pinch-running for Tristin.



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Friday, April 4, 2014

No-hitter leads the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts past Thunder 20-0

CHANDLER, AZ (April 3, 2014) Alison was great on Thursday night, throwing a no-hitter in the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts' 20-0 victory over the Thunder.

No Thunder batter was able to locate Alison's pitches during the game. She threw a no-hitter, striking out 10 batters and walking two while recording her momentous feat. She got Erin to ground out on a failed bunt attempt for the final out of the game.

The Lightning Bolts hammered the Thunder pitching as seven hitters had a field day, combining for nine hits, 12 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

Ten runs in the opening two innings allowed the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to easily put away the Thunder. In the first inning a two-run single by Alison, a groundout by Shannon, an RBI single by Bella, and a walk by Tricia scored five runs. The bolts added five more runs in the second inning with a two-run home run by Kyndra, a walk by Shannon, Leah, Liberty and Tricia.

The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts pushed across five runs in both the third inning and the fourth. In the third, the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts scored on an RBI single by Tristin, scoring Lily.

The Lightning Bolts increased their lead with five runs in the fourth. Kyndra singled, scoring Tricia to start the inning. That was followed up by Tristin's double, plating Lily.

Overall, Kyndra went a perfect 3-3 at the plate for the Lightning Bolts, while Shannon led the team with three RBIs on the night.

The Lightning Bolts record improves to 3 wins and 1 loss on the season.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts get 16 strikeouts from Alison, win 5-0 over the Blue Bullets

CHANDLER, AZ (March 29, 2014) -- A superb effort by Alison carried the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts to a 5-0 win in six innings over the Blue Bullets on Saturday at Folley Park.

Alison struck out 16 batters, paving the way for the Lightning Bolts win. She tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed only two hits.

Sage boosted her batting average thanks to a perfect 3-3 day at the plate to pace the Lightning Bolts. She singled in the first, third, and fifth innings.

The Blue Bullets pitcher lasted five innings, walked two, struck out 12, and allowed five runs.

The game's last lead went to the Lightning Bolts thanks to a first inning rally that saw one run cross the plate on an RBI single by Tristin.

The Lightning Bolts pushed across two runs in both the third inning and the fourth. In the third, the Lightning Bolts scored on an RBI triple by Kyndra, bringing home Sage.

The Lightning Bolts built upon their lead with two runs in the fourth. The inning got off to a hot start when Alison doubled, scoring Krystyna.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lightning Bolts lose 4-3 to the Black Widows

CHANDLER, AZ (March 25, 2014) -- Tristin did all she could to give the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts a boost, but it wasn't enough to get past the Black Widows, as the Lightning Bolts lost 4-3 in five innings at Folley Park on Tuesday.

Tristin racked up two RBIs on one hit for the Lightning Bolts. She homered in the first inning.

The Black Widows pitcher allowed three runs over five innings. She struck out 13, walked three and gave up three hits.

Home runs for the Black Widows came in the second and fourth innings.

Alison was the game's losing pitcher. She walked one, struck out 12, and allowed four runs.

The bottom of the first saw the Lightning Bolts take an early lead, 2-0. After Kyndra singled, the Lightning Bolts kept the pressure on the Black Widows pitching, as Tristin homered, scoring Kyndra.

The Black Widows went up for good in the fourth, scoring one run on a solo home run.

The Lightning Bolts answered the Black Widows' top inning with one run of their own in the fourth. The Bolts scored on an RBI single by Bella.


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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts Defeat the Comets 12-0 in Perfect Game

CHANDLER, AZ (March 22, 2014) -- Alison was great on Saturday, throwing a no-hitter in the Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts' 12-0 victory over the Comets.

No Comets' batter was able to locate Alison's pitches during the game. Alison threw a perfect game, no-hitter, striking out 10 out of 12 batters and walking none while recording her momentous feat. She got the Comets' last hitter to ground out to Lily at first base for the final out of the game.

Seven runs in the first three innings helped the Lightning Bolts blow out the Comets. A grand slam by Alison in the first inning, a bases loaded walk by the Comets' pitcher and an RBI single by Alison during the second inning supplied the early offense for the Lightning Bolts.

Alison racked up eight RBIs on three hits for the Lightning Bolts. Sage slammed an amazing double, Kyndra added a key single and Tristin recorded three disciplined walks. Shannon and Liberty each recorded RBI's in the Lightning Bolts' victory.

The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts take on the Delta Diversified ball club next on Mar 25.


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Friday, March 14, 2014

50 Years Ago Today: Masanori Murakami Arrives in Arizona for Spring Training

Marked First Step for Japanese Pioneer in Crossing Baseball’s “Other Color Line”

On March 14, 1964, three young Japanese baseball players arrived in Arizona to pursue their big league dreams. Pitcher Masanori Murakami, catcher Hiroshi Takahashi and third baseman Tatsuhiko Tanaka arrived in Casa Grande, Arizona, 50 years ago today with the hopes of earning a chance to play in the San Francisco Giants organization.


Photo: Rookie Masanori Murakami (center) is greeted by Nikkei baseball pioneers in Fresno, CA, at the start of the 1964 season. Left to right: Kenizhi Zenimura, Sam Yamasaki, Murakami, Johnny Nakagawa, Fred Yoshikawa. Source: Fresno Bee

The article below details how Giants owner Horace Stoneham and Nikkei (Japanese American) baseball pioneer Cappy Harada negotiated the deal that brought the players to the U.S. It also highlights some of the frustrations both the players and the organization experienced with the new cross-cultural situation.


Source: Giants, Japanese Players Mutually Disenchanted, Reno Evening Gazette, April 9, 1964

Murakami's milestone is significant because it marks the start of his journey towards MLB history. Roughly six months later he took the mound at Shea Stadium on Sept 1, 1964, to become the first Japanese player to reach the Major Leagues.

Arizona SABR Chapter president Rodney Johnson does a wonderful job detailing Murakami’s journey from the Cactus League to the majors in the latest issue of the SABR Asian Baseball Research Committee Spring Issue. Check it out.

Instead of recounting Murakami’s journey to MLB history, I’d like to use the 50th anniversary to start a series of blog entries that explore the factors that kept players of Japanese ancestry out of organized ball. I call this baseball’s “other color line.” I want to examine the complex reasons why it existed and also highlight players who attempted to cross it long before Murakami in 1964.

Between now and the September 1, 2014 – the 50th anniversary of Murakami’s first big league game – my blog will cover these milestone events that occurred before “Massy” crossed the “other color line.” They include, but are not limited to:

Major League Milestones

  • 1897, Cleveland Spiders, attempted signing of player known as Sorakichi Matsuda's brother
  • 1905, NY Giants, attempted signing of Shumza Sugimoto, of (“color line” discussed in press)
  • 1934, Philadelphia Athletics, Eji Sawamura, p, declined offer from Connie Mack
  • 1940, Chicago Cubs, Yosh Kawano, Equipment manager (for over 40 years)
  • 1951, STL Browns, Atsushi Aramaki, p, (scouted by Bill Veeck & Abe Saperstein)
  • 1953, NY Giants, Horace Stoneham hires Cappy Harada to scout Japanese talent
  • 1955, NY Yankees, Yankees hire Bozo Wakabayashi to scout Japanese talent

Minor League Signings/Scoutings

  • 1916, Andy Yamashiro, of, Gettysburg, PA (First player of Japanese Ancestry to sign to pro contract, but he passed as Chinese using the name “Andy Yim”)
  • 1932, Kenso Nushida, p, Sacramento, CA
  • 1934, Jimmy Horio, of, Sioux Falls, ND
  • 1941, Henry “Lefty” Honda, p, San Jose, Scouted by the Cleveland Indians
  • 1949, Hank Matsubu, c, Modesto, CA (Pirates)
  • 1949, Jiro Nakamura, p, Modesto, CA (Pirates)
  • 1949, Jose Homma Nakamura, p, Abilene, TX – 1956, Charlotte, NC (Senators)
  • 1951, Wally Yonamine, of, Salt Lake City
  • 1951, George Goto, p, Sacramento, CA (Chi. White Sox)
  • 1952, Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama, of, Stockton, CA (St.L. Browns)
  • 1953, Ned Iwakiri, p, Visalia, CA (Dodgers)
  • 1954, Carlton Hanta, ss, Beaumont, TX (Cubs)
  • 1956, Bill Nishita, p, Fort Worth, TX/Montreal (Dodgers)

In closing, I will end with a quote from another Murakami, Nikkei ballplayer John Murakami (1919-2005), who observed first-hand baseball’s “other color line” as a member of the Portland Mikados during the 1930s-40s.

“When scouts came to watch a tournament game, they critiqued the players afterward, giving white players tips like throw farther, run faster and hit better. But when they came to me, they said, ‘You might as well forget it. Your people are never going to play professional baseball.’ That really took the wind out of my sails.” -- John Murakami, Portland Mikados

Source: Japanese American Baseball Steps Back Up to Plate, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 1998


Photo: My daughter in her 1964 Masanori Murakami #10 S.F.Giants t-shirt.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Signing at Sibley's West Downtown Chandler

Arizona Spring Training 2014
Book Signing @ Sibley's West
Friday, March 7, 2014
6:00 pm to 8 pm

Sibley's West: The Chandler and Arizona Gift Shop
72 S. San Marcos Place
Chandler, AZ 85225
http://www.sibleyswest.com/


From the Arizona Republic (3/4/14):

From 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 7, two Valley authors will sign copies of their baseball-related books at Sibley’s West in downtown Chandler. Susie Steckner, a Phoenix native and former Arizona Republic reporter, wrote “Cactus League Spring Training” and Chandler’s Bill Staples Jr. wrote “Kenichi Zenimura: Japanese American Baseball Pioneer.”

“Cactus League Spring Training” details the history of major-league teams coming to the state for spring training starting with the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians in 1947. Steckner wrote the book as a volunteer project for the Mesa Historical Museum and that organization provided most of the book’s photos.

“Kenichi Zenimura: Japanese American Baseball Pioneer” chronicles the story of the man recognized as the father of Japanese-American baseball. If follows him from his pre-World War II days through organizing a league among Japanese-Americans who were held at internment camps on the Gila River Reservation during WWII. Zenimura attempted to boost professional baseball leagues in Japan during the 1950s.

Article link and info on other Chandler baseball-related events in March.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zenimura.com to Sponsor 10U Chandler Girls Softball Team, Spring 2014 Season


Stay tuned for updates, scores and more this spring as Zenimura.com sponsors the "Lightning Bolts," a team in the Chandler Girls Softball league, 10U division. Opening Day is Saturday, March 22, 2014.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Presentation and Book Signing: Third Thursday at the Tempe History Museum, January 16, 2014

Third Thursday at the Tempe History Museum: Baseball in Japanese-American Internment Camps 

When: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Time: 7:00 pm until 8:15 pm
Location: Tempe History Museum 809 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, Arizona 85282 (MAP)

It's been a long winter. Starting to get that itch for baseball again? Scratch that itch ... Join the staff of the Tempe History Museum on the Third Thursday of each month for a look at the impact sports have had on Tempe throughout the past and how they will shape the future. The topic for January 2014:

Jan 16: Baseball in Japanese-American Internment Camps Baseball
Historian and author Bill Staples Jr. will talk about Kenichi Zenimura, the Father of Japanese American Baseball, and baseball in the World War II era Japanese-American internment camps.

Learn more at: http://www.tempe.gov/index.aspx?page=20&recordid=14014