He was the last batter to hit a shortstop, but the player with the number “5” on his back looked satisfied. His father, seated in the third base infield stand, applauded with a smile.
On October 29, the semifinals of the Autumn High School Baseball Tournament in Kanto were held at Omiya Park Baseball Ground in Saitama Prefecture. Keio High School (Kanagawa Prefecture) lost to Sendai Matsudo (Chiba Prefecture) 3 to 5, but secured a berth in next spring’s Sembatsu Tournament.
The next tournament will be the 95th anniversary of the Senbatsu tournament. The number of “Kanto/Tokyo” slots will increase from six to seven. Keio High School, which finished in the top four, is sure to participate in the tournament for the 10th time in five years,” said a reporter for a sports newspaper.
(Sports newspaper reporter) “There is a pressure that others don’t have.”
The center of attention is probably Katsuji Kiyohara (17, freshman), who plays third base. He is the second son of Kazuhiro Kiyohara (55), who played for Seibu and the Giants. Katsuji spoke to the press about his father watching the game, saying, “I’m happy just to have my father here.
I’m happy just to have my father here. (His father is Mr. Kiyohara.) There is pressure that other people don’t have. I want to use my mentality to turn that pressure into something positive.”
It is not because of his parents’ influence that Katsuji is the center of attention. Kiyoshi Hashimoto, a junior at Kiyohara’s alma mater, PL Gakuen (Osaka Prefecture), and a reliever for the Giants, says, “When Katsuji was in junior high school, he was a junior in high school.
When Katsuji was in junior high school, Mr. Kiyohara organized a baseball camp in Oyado, Chiba Prefecture. I pitched, but Katsuji’s swing was powerful. He could hit the ball at a wide angle and even hit a home run to right field. He is small at 173 cm tall, but he will be a punchy hitter like Shogo Asano (Takamatsu Sho), the Giants’ first-round draft pick.”
Kiyohara hit 13 home runs at Koshien, the most in history. Mr. Hashimoto continues.
Hashimoto continues, “There is a good chance that a father and son will hit a homer at the sacred ground. Katsuji-kun is growing up fast.
It has been 38 years since his father won the national championship in the summer of 1985. The dream of father and son is about to come true.
From the November 18, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Photographed by： Yuri Adachi