While devastation and despair effects millions in Japan following the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the lacrosse team from Keio High School in Tokyo is getting a welcome distraction during an on-going U.S. tour.

In Baltimore this week to play three games against MIAA junior varsity squads, the boys from Keio remained focused on what is occurring in their homeland.

“Of course I pray every day.  We always watch the news and hear about how difficult the situation is for people,” said junior midfielder Yu Tateiski, the best English speaking player on the squad.  “I don’t have any relatives or family members around those areas, but I hear about so many people who died or who were hurt by the earthquake.  It is very sad.”

On Tuseday, the team was at Kenilworth Mall in Towson to visit LaxWorld and they were treated to a pizza lunch by LaxWorld owner Jim Darcangelo.

“We were concerned.  We weren’t sure they were gonna, but they made it out,” said Darcangelo, a member of the Maryland chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame and a Towson University legend.  “They got out one day after (the earthquake).  About every other year, those teams from Tokyo come over and of course we invite them to come by the store to do a little shopping and (we) do a little pizza party for them.”

Talking to the players and coaches, Darcangelo said the Keio team was fortunate.

“They are all concerned.  Some of them have family members that live up north, so they are terribly concerned, but they know they were lucky,” added Darcangelo.  “They experienced a little of the quake, but little to none of the tsunami, but they are very concerned about their countrymen.”

From a lacrosse point of view, Tateiski says the trip has been very worthwile for his team.

“We won some games and we lost some games,” said Tateiski.  “This is a really good experience for us.  We’ve had fun and we’re learning a lot of stuff.”