Pioneer ‘Ambassadors’ bring their brand of baseball to Japan, return to Cal State East Bay with a lifetime’s-worth of memories
Cal State East Bay’s baseball team matched the program record for victories in 2013 and appeared in the national top-25 rankings for
the first time since 1977. But if you ask the student-athletes who were there, the more memorable experience occurred months after the season ended.
Last August, 26 Pioneer baseball players and three coaches traveled halfway across the world to Japan for a week of cultural immersion and friendly competition with the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT). They stayed in on-campus residence halls with the FIT students and played six games against the school’s team.
When they weren’t on the field, the student-athletes spent their time interacting with their hosts and engaging in various activities in the city of Fukuoka. The team participated in a judo exhibition, attended a professional baseball game and sampled lots of local cuisine.
“We had a special, tight-knit group of student-atheletes, so I’m happy they were able to have that cultural experience together,” says Head Baseball Coach Bob Ralston (B.S., ’88, M.S.,’92). “The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us.”
Cal State East Bay’s student body comes from more than 80 countries, and U.S. News and World Report recently ranked it among the top institutions in the West for international students. With philanthropic support, immersion trips like this one will be possible for future Pioneers.
“This trip to Japan was a unique opportunity for our students to act as ambassadors for the University and grow as citizens of the world,” says Director of Athletics Sara Judd. “We hope to be able to continue our relationship with FIT in the coming years.”