Draft Candidate Monsters are all here…The “Golden Eggs” gather at Koshien for “Senbatsu 2024”! The true value of the “Golden Eggs” gathered at Koshien for the “Senbatsu 2024 | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Draft Candidate Monsters are all here…The “Golden Eggs” gather at Koshien for “Senbatsu 2024”! The true value of the “Golden Eggs” gathered at Koshien for the “Senbatsu 2024

Ace of the new second-year team with a 150km/h max, power hitter with Sri Lankan parents, and fast left arm whose father is a former Chunichi pitcher!

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Mori Yoju 《Pitcher, Osaka Toin High School》he is 190 cm tall and 86 kg. He is from Miyazaki Prefecture. He was already hitting 143 km/h in his junior high school days. Over the winter, he has improved his stiff arm.

There have been whispers that this year’s high school baseball tournament, which opens on March 18, will be “star-less.

It is true that there are no monsters this year, such as Rintaro Sasaki (18, Hanamaki Higashi graduate), who will attend Stanford University in the U.S., or Yugo Maeda (18, Osaka Toin graduate), who was drafted first overall by Fukuoka Softbank, and has been a home run hitter and strikeout hitter since his junior year. However, there are “golden eggs” all over the country who may not be as well known, but who have the potential to become great players.

One such player is Haruki Mori, a rising sophomore who came to Osaka Toin, one of the most prestigious teams in Japan, from Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, last April.

He said, “Koshien is a place I have longed to go since I was a small child. I want to show what I have to offer and make a splash. I hope to grow in Koshien so that I can get one step closer to my goal of becoming a professional player. ……

He grew 3 cm taller in one year to reach 190 cm, and last fall his fastball’s maximum velocity exceeded 150 km/h. He has 67 wins in Koshien. Koichi Nishitani, 54, the manager of the 67-win Koshien team, said of Mori, “I want to bring him up big,” a common phrase for his pupils who go on to the pros. Osaka Toin has several other strong right-handed arms, but everyone involved in high school baseball in the Kinki region agrees that the fearsome new sophomore is the de facto ace of the team. Mori said, “He is still weak.

He is still weak, so we worked on strengthening his body this winter by running and weight training. I haven’t measured the velocity of my pitches since spring, but my fastball’s rotation rate has increased and it has become stronger.

In addition to his slider and curveball, he mastered the split this winter.

I had never had a pitch that changed vertically before. I learned it from Mr. Nishitani, but I tried to find a grip that felt right in my own way. It falls in a good way.”

His target is Akinori Sasaki (22) of the Chiba Lotte. Like the monster from Reiwa, Mori says he hopes to reach 160 km/h while still in high school. The previous record for the fastest time in the Sembatsu Tournament was 153 km/h, held by senior Shintaro Fujinami (29, Mets) and others, but when Mori sets a new record in the Sembatsu Tournament, it will be the beginning of a new legend of a monster.

Ramal Givin Ratanayake, a new third-year player, is a right-handed cannonballer born to parents from Sri Lanka. He hit an extra-large home run in the opposite direction at the Meiji Jingu Tournament last fall. With his distance, the new standard of low rebound bats to be introduced from the Sembatsu may not matter. Looking at his hitting ability alone, he is probably one of the top rated players in this fall’s draft.

However, his defense at third base and his delivery of the ball are the biggest concerns for this year’s Osaka Toin. Coach Nishitani has been patiently using him at third base, but in a practice game just before the Sembatsu, he played first base. Lamar said.

I’ve spent a lot of time this winter practicing defense. I want to play my role at both third base and first base.

Lamar Givin Ratanayake《Infielder, Osaka Toin High School》Tall, 180 cm, 92 kg. Born in Aichi Prefecture. His father was selected for the Sri Lankan national volleyball team. Needs to improve his defense.
Hiro Samihira 《Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei High School Pitcher》177 cm tall, 76 kg. Born in Chiba Prefecture. His father, Tatsuya, is a former Chunichi baseball player, his uncle, Hayato, played baseball for working people, and his older brother, Ayuto, played in the Koshien National High School Baseball Championships.

Aomori, a snow country, has a left fielder who has already stepped on the mound at the sacred ground twice and has more experience than anyone else. His father is Tatsuya (45), a former Chunichi player. Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei of the Hiro Arai Taihei (rising junior). His name is said to be derived from Hiro Kunimi, the main character in Mitsuru Adachi’s popular baseball manga “H2. He himself must be a manga fan, for on the back of his hat is the alias of the popular “One Piece” character Ace, “Fire Fist. Perhaps it was a sign of his determination to lead the team as an ace himself. Sawayama replied with a grin.

Yes, that’s right. But I don’t look at the letters on my hat during games. And as for manga, I prefer ‘Touch’ (laughs).

With a pitching form that softly uses his shoulder blades, he makes full use of his 147 km/h fastball and a variety of breaking pitches, large and small. He is scheduled to face Tokyo champion Kanto Ichi in the opening game of the Sembatsu Tournament.

I think I get nervous no matter how many times I come to Koshien. And this is the first time for us to play in the opening game. (I think there will be a lot of spectators (since it will be after the opening ceremony), so I want to enjoy it and use it as energy for pitching.

I want to become a professional baseball player like my father.

I want to become a professional baseball player like my father. I want to do my best so that the team can win, while keeping my career plans in the back of my mind.

On the brim of his hat were the three characters for “divine left fielder. If he can earn the title of the number one left fielder of his generation, he will be closer to his dream.

Kanto Ichi has Shintaro Sakamoto, a rising sophomore, one year younger than Senpei, who “got hit around a lot in national tournaments” when he was a junior high school player for Sakura Senior (Chiba). A left-handed outfielder, he is a former member of the U-15 Samurai Japan team and also takes the mound despite his 167 cm height. Manager Takamitsu Yonezawa, 48, said.

He was unable to pitch in the fall due to an elbow injury, but we have high expectations for him as a pitcher. He has more baseball sense than anyone else.

昨秋の明治神宮大会で優勝した 星稜 (石川)の主将である 芦硲晃太(あしさここうた) (新3年)も侍のユニフォームを着た過去を持つ。 大阪府に生まれ、中学時代は黒川史陽(22・東北楽天)や達孝太(19・北海道日本ハム)を輩出した泉州阪堺ボーイズに所属した。 大阪から地方の強豪私立に野球留学するような球児は、新天地でも関西弁を貫くケースも多いが、芦硲のイントネーションはすっかり金沢に馴染んでいるように聴こえた。

「とくに関西弁をやめようとか思っていたわけじゃないですけど……(笑)。 I have only half a year of high school baseball left, and I want to give it my all and finish it without regrets.

As a school from Ishikawa, a prefecture hit by the Noto Peninsula earthquake, the Senbatsu Tournament will draw great expectations and attention. Naturally, the team is aiming to win the Japan championship at Koshien, something that their seniors Hideki Matsui (49, former Giants, etc.), Yasunobu Okugawa (22, Tokyo Yakult), and Shinnosuke Yamase (22, Giants) were unable to accomplish.

Last fall we won the Jingu Tournament, but we lost in the first round of the summer Koshien Tournament, so we have no experience of winning in Koshien. I watched the seniors’ games from the bench, but the atmosphere of Koshien swallowed me up, and the time passed by quickly.

In the semifinals of the Meiji Jingu Tournament against Toyokawa, he had four hits and drove in six runs. バットコントロールに長(た)けており、的確なミート技術を持つ芦硲は、飛ばないバット時代の申し子のような球児かもしれない。

「芯でとらえた時の飛距離はそこまで変わらないと思うんですが、ミスショットしたらぜんぜん飛びませんし、前に飛んでも打球速度が遅い。 Even if it flies forward, the speed of the ball is slow. Even a hit that seems to go between the outfielders can be caught up with. Defense will become more important, and as an outfielder, I think I will have to be more careful when defending.

Coming to Koshien from Wajima, closer to the epicenter of the earthquake than Seiryo, is Japan Aviation Ishikawa. The two new sophomores, Hachiya Takuma on the right and Yumei Kouki on the left, are the two mainstays of the team. Hachiya, from Chiba Prefecture, was the ace of the Honshinetsu Tournament last fall with his 143 km/h straight ball, while Yuumei, who was recruited by 30 schools in junior high school, throws a change-up that drops like a sinker from his 184 cm height. Japan Aviation Ishikawa has the potential to create a whirlwind with warm encouragement from all over the country.

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Kota Ashizouzou 《seiryo high school outfielder》 175 cm tall, 75 kg. He has been selected for the U-12 Japan national team, and his coach, Toshihisa Nishi, praised him as “a very useful kid.
Mitsukizuna Grace《Pitcher, Japan Aviation Ishikawa High School》Height 184 cm, 82 kg. He is from Ishikawa Prefecture. He once played the infield, and his 141km/h straight ball and quality change-up are very attractive.

From the March 29, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Reporting and writing Yuji Yanagawa (non-fiction writer) PHOTO Yuji YANAGIKAWA (Senpei, Nenoaki, Asuzuya), Asuka EHARA (Mori), Kyodo News (Lamar)

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