Can Kazuhiro Kiyohara’s Second son Surpas his Father with His Surprising Ability?
It was a persistence inherited from his father, who recorded a total of 2,122 hits while receiving 196 dead balls, the most in professional baseball history.
On September 17, in the quarterfinals of the Kanagawa Autumn High School Baseball Tournament. Standing up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning against Tokai University Sagami, Keio University High School’s Katsuji Kiyohara, a freshman, hit a ball to left field while fighting off the pain in his right thigh. After the game, Katsuji told the press.
“It hurt when I was at bat, but as long as I’m out there, I have to do it. I hit the ball with spirit.”
Katsuji had scored the game-winning run on a squeeze at the previous at-bat, but his right leg cramped up as he ran to first base. In a game against Kamiyabe on September 10, he hit a grand slam home run, his first official home run. The estimated distance was over 100 meters. He commented as follows: “My father praised me for my performance.”
“My father praised me for my performance. I hope to do my best so that I can give a good output.”
Why is he still a freshman even though he entered the school last April?
Katsuji’s father is Kazuhiro Kiyohara (55), who hit 525 home runs, the fifth most in his professional career, for the Seibu and Giants teams. His older brother, Shogo, is a sophomore at Keio University and has been assigned the number four spot in the freshman tournament.
Shogo’s number is 5, the same number that Kazuhiro wore when he was with the Giants and Orix. His position is third base. He has been playing baseball at Keio since he was five years old. In elementary school, he played for “All Azabu”. He participated in the professional baseball junior tournament as a member of the ‘Giants Junior'” (sports newspaper reporter).
Katsuji entered Keio High School last April. He should be a sophomore now. What is the reason he is still a first-year student?
At the prestigious Keio High School, it is not enough just to play baseball; students are expected to be both literate and athletic. If your average in all subjects and does not reach a certain level, you will be retained. Unfortunately, Katsuji did not receive enough credits. Even so, he is cheerful and akerakan. People around him make fun of him and tease him about it.
Katsuji is 173 cm tall, which is small compared to his father, who is 188 cm tall, and his older brother, who is 186 cm tall. He says his ideal hitter is his father because “I can hit home runs anywhere, left or right. He is also good at taking chances. I want to be a great professional baseball player like my father.”
Keio High coach Takahiko Mori said, “He is one of the best hitters on the team. However, he is not a slugger like his father. He is a dexterous batsman who excels at small tricks, such as the squeeze in the aforementioned game against Tokai University Sagami.
His father, Kazuhiro, seems to have this assessment of his sons. The older one (Shogo) is my type of long-distance hitter. The younger one (Katsuji) is a Kazuyoshi Tachinami type (a junior at PL Gakuen who recorded a total of 2,480 hits as the manager of Chunichi). He is still in his first year of high school, but his performance has attracted a lot of attention, and I think he has a lot of room to grow.
The semifinal match will be against Nichidai Fujisawa on September 24. If they win this game, they will be one step closer to the Koshien Tournament, where their father hit 13 home runs.
Photo by： Nishi Keisuke Kyodo News