IZUNOKUNI, Japan (AP) One year after their lives were torn apart by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, players from Ishinomaki Technical High School are preparing to compete on one of the biggest stages in Japanese baseball.

After the magnitude-9.0 earthquake hit on March 11, 2011, 70 percent of the school's players would learn they had lost family members or homes in the devastation.

On Sunday, to mark the first anniversary of the tragic disaster, the team was to fly to Osaka to prepare for the March 21-April 1 spring invitational high school baseball tournament, where they will be a symbol of resilience and recovery to the people of Ishinomaki and the prefecture of Miyagi.