PEOPLE

 

From softball to professional baseball
Into a field of dreams full of expectations!

Mr.Takumi Oshima

At the NPB Rookie Player Draft Conference 2011, a player attracted more attention than other famous players who had made achievements in the world of amateur baseball. His name is Takumi Oshima, picked in the seventh round by the Hokkaido Nippon-ham Fighters. Though he had experienced a Japanese version of baseball played with a hard rubber ball, he had never played baseball, and is a very unique player drafted from the world of softball.

Takumi has always dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player since his childhood, and encouraged by Mr. Tadashi Yoshimura, Manager of the WASEDA University Softball Team (Professor, School of Human Sciences), he decided to challenge for the tryouts of the Hokkaido Nippon-ham Fighters (“Fighters.”) “Thinking that such a reckless challenge can be made only when young, I joined the tryouts as there is no harm in trying.” With his powerful batting, he passed the first and second rounds of qualification. He had an excellent performance of three hits out of his five times at bat, and waited for the draft conference. With his motto, “Live life in the groove,” he has an imperturbable character, but during the TV broadcast of the draft conference, he was so tense he could hear his heart beating.

After many teams had finished their picks, in the seventh round of the Fighters, the monitor displayed “Takumi Oshima, WASEDA University Softball Team, Catcher.” He looked at the screen again and sure enough there was his name. Overnight, the path to becoming a professional baseball player from a baseball fan was wide open in front of him. When we ask him about that night, he recalls, “After celebrating with my peers and manager, I went directly to my apartment. I closed my eyes in bed, but as I felt gratitude for those who had supported me and with unbounded anticipation for the future, I couldn’t get to sleep until dawn.”

Since that, he has done many interviews and being asked for his signature, busy as if he was already a star player. He didn’t neglect his studies though, his duties as a student. The theme of his Bachelor’s thesis was the “Comparison of batting in baseball and softball.” He shot pictures of batting forms of several players including himself with a high-speed camera and investigated the timing of starting to move the bat and the trajectory of the bat. As a result, he found that his timing is similar to that of Takeya Nakamura of the Saitama Seibu Lions, who was the homerun king of the Pacific League in 2011. “Though how to take timing differs from player to player, I was very pleased. It also led to self-confidence.”

In the School of Sport Sciences where he has spent four years, he has plenty of memories apart from studying. He says he will never forget the memory of bursting into laughter during an outing when he was a first year student. “I led a very enjoyable student life, as I had wonderful friends. So I have no regrets.”

Before graduating, he opened the door to a big dream. Regardless of great changes in life, he is only looking forward. “If I translated my expectations and uncertainties into a ratio, expectations would be 100% (laughing). I have no time to worry. I want to train as much as possible.”

When we ask what kind of player he wants to be, he says, “A player who can decide the time of retirement as his own decision.” His challenge has just started.

 

Mr.Ryu Sasaki
▲Mr.Takumi Oshima

After a race when the competition is finished, they can feel relaxed.
▲Can a softball player achieve results in baseball? Expectations are rising


▲Great timing hitting the ball



▲His form gives a glimpse of his talent


▲He attentively answered our questions while busy with his graduation thesis and training



◆ Profile

■Takumi Oshima
Born in Gunma Prefecture in 1990. 4th year, School of Sport Sciences. Devoted to baseball when he was small, but as Niijima Gakuen Junior High School he entered had no baseball team, he joined the softball team. At Niijima Gakuen Senior High School, his team won the championships at a high school athletic event and a national athletic meet, and participated in an international championship as a member of the U-19 Japan Team and was its mainstay in 2008. Exhibited an excellent performance of winning bronze medal in the ISF Junior Men’s Championships. After entering WASEDA, made a record of batting homeruns for 13 consecutive games in official games, exhibiting his extraordinary talent. “I’ve often been asked about the difference between softball and baseball, but I don’t feel there is that much difference except for the balls. I would say though softball is attractive because the game is faster.” His interest includes watching people and checking form. His favorite food is ice cream and loves Super Cup best “because it’s huge (laughing).”

 
From 2012 January 19th issue (No.1268)