Despite a killer heat wave, the starting pitcher threw a 173-pitch complete game. It’s not a professional baseball game, it’s a Japanese high school baseball game.
It’s the final game of the Toyama Regional Qualifying Tournament for the Japan High School Baseball Championship (Sommer Koshien) at Toyama Civic Stadium in Toyama, Toyama Prefecture, Japan, on July 29. Right-hander Kaito Ueda, the captain and ace of Toyama Sango, started the game against Toyama North and pitched a nine-inning, three-hit shutout.토토사이트
He threw a whopping 173 pitches. The game started at noon.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning with a single run, Ueda pitched the ninth to end the game. Toyama Sango, who capitalized on their early chances to score runs, won 7-3.
Ueda said, “My teammates encouraged me to throw as hard as I wanted to because it’s okay to score with the bases loaded. I threw with my shoulders relaxed and was able to keep it to one run.”
Toyama Sango advanced to the main round of the 17th Summer Koshien, nine years after their last appearance in 2014. The offensively potent Toyama North had runners on base in every inning, but were held in check by Ueda. The team failed to qualify for the main draw for the first time in 54 years since 1969.
According to Japanese media, Ueda entered the final having thrown a total of 282 pitches in the quarterfinals and two semifinals. The semifinals were held two days earlier on July 27.
Koshien Stadium during the Japan High School Baseball Championship. Photo credit: Japan High School Baseball Federation website
No matter how you slice it, the ace fulfilled his responsibilities as a pitcher, but the schedule and the number of pitches he had to throw in the sweltering heat could be described as overwork. It was the first time Ueda gave up more than two runs in a game.
In the postgame press conference, Ueda said, “I wasn’t tired because I practiced like I was going to die in the winter. I’m grateful to my teammates for helping me get this far.”
The Summer Koshien, now in its 105th year, is a dream event for the top teams in Japanese high school baseball. Forty-nine teams from each of Japan’s 47 prefectural qualifiers (Tokyo represents east and west, and Hokkaido represents north and south) will compete. This year, the group draw will be held on August 3, and the tournament will kick off on August 6 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and run for 17 days.
Last year, Sendai Ikueigakuen (Miyagi Prefecture) won the championship, defeating Shimonoseki International High School (Yamaguchi Prefecture).