Prep baseball: Classic gives Rancho Bernardo High’s Katoh new outlook on life
By Michael Bower
Rancho Bernardo High’s Gosuke Katoh will always remember the moment he first ran out of the dugout and onto the baseball field at Petco Park during Sunday’s Perfect Game All-American Classic.
But playing baseball for the first time on the home field of the San Diego Padres isn’t what impacted the senior the most out of the Perfect Game experience.
It was the events the players did leading up to the game, especially the visit to Rady Children’s Hospital. The hospital is dedicated to pediatric health care and discovering cures for childhood diseases.
“The visit there really touched me, because it really showed how fortunate we were,” said Katoh, who went 0-for-1 with a walk in the West’s 7-6 victory over the East in Sunday’s classic. “These kids were battling for their lives and still had a smile on their faces when we came in there.”
Katoh and the other 47 players invited to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic, which puts the top senior players from the West against the ones from the East, visited with the children at the hospital for two hours. They played board games and baseball with a huge plastic beach ball.
“The whole event has really changed my life, not only knowing my competition level for baseball, but also the visit to the hospital was really nice. It made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to go out there and play the sport I love.”
Katoh and the players also got a tour of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
“We got to go in the planes and the air traffic control tower,” he said. “It was amazing.”
Katoh entered the game on Sunday at second base in the fifth inning. He admitted to being a bit nervous, as friends and family in the stands cheered and held up signs with his name on them.
“I have been to about 20 Padres games and actually being on the field instead of the stands just gave me chills,” Katoh said. “I was nervous. It was under the lights and all my friends were there. But it was a lot of fun.”
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