Trenton's Page All Baseball Stories

Baseball

Japanese exchange student Ando set to make an impact for Trenton PHOTO GALLERY

  • Trenton junior Ryunosuke Ando is an exchange student from Nagoya, Japan who will pitch and play third base this spring for the Trojans. (Photo Gallery by Frank Wladyslawski)
While Trenton Coach Todd Szalka has several familiar faces back this spring on his baseball team, he also has one first-year Trojan who had last laced up his cleats more than 6,000 miles away.

On the roster this year is junior Ryunosuke Ando, a Trenton High School exchange student from Nagoya, Japan who opted to continue his baseball career in the U.S. in 2014 while studying and learning English here.

Szalka has wasted no time getting him on the field this season, as Ando pitched 3.1 innings in the opener last Wednesday against Woodhaven and didn’t allow an earned run in a 10-4 Trojans’ win. Three days later he started at third base in the first game of a doubleheader at Edsel Ford and went 1-for-3 at the plate.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Szalka said. “I didn’t even know about him until the winter. A couple of kids told me ‘hey there’s a Japanese exchange student and he throws a dodge ball pretty well.’ Somebody else came and told me he pitched and we finally got him on the mound and we were impressed.”

As a pitcher, Ando said he’s already found U.S. high school hitters to be tougher outs than those he faced in Japan and as an infielder he’s enjoyed playing on grass infields at times, as he said dirt infields are the norm in Japanese high school play.

While here in the U.S. as an exchange student, Ando’s host family is that of Trenton teammate Drew Johnson, who is the squad’s center fielder this spring.

Szalka said that the living arrangement with Johnson has been beneficial because it gives Ando the opportunity to supplement what he learns from the coaching staff.

“He’s able to go home and they’re able to discuss things that happened at practice and kind of have somebody to bounce stuff off of. That helps out a lot,” Szalka said.

One adjustment Ando said he’s had to make has been to the cold weather, as the winter and spring months are typically warmer in Nagoya, which is located south of Tokyo and has about 2.1 million people, making it Japan’s fourth most populous city.

Now that the local weather seems to finally be improving, however, the Trojans and other area sports teams should finally get into full swing in the next week or so.

Szalka said that having Ando going forward in 2014 should give Trenton a boost as his club competes for a DRL title this spring.

“Overall we were really impressed by his ability to make guys swing and miss,” Szalka said. “I think he’s really going to help us out this year and I think he’s going to be a guy we’re going to throw in the league.”

Last Updated: 4/7/2014 11:01:29 PM EST

Promotions & Specials

See All