Keio University’s Shogo Kiyohara and the Question of Professional League Talent | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Keio University’s Shogo Kiyohara and the Question of Professional League Talent

Overcoming the "six-year blank" and the "burden of being a junior"...

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The gunner, who hit a double directly over the fence in left-center field, yelled out and repeatedly popped his fist on the basepaths.

It was Shogo Kiyohara (21, senior), the fourth baseman for Keio University, who hit the winning run in a game against Rikkyo University on May 4. His father, Kazuhiro Kiyohara (56), a legend who has hit 525 homers in his professional career, was sitting stolidly in the stands and gazing enthusiastically at him. After the game, Shogo spoke to the press about his aspirations.

Shogo gets on the bus after the game against Rikudai on May 5; as of May 8, he is leading the team with a .273 batting average and has four runs batted in.

I want to make my name known as Shogo Kiyohara, not Kiyohara Jr.

His background is unique. He played on a youth baseball team, played volleyball at a junior high school affiliated with Keio University, and played on the football team in high school.

Shogo’s time away from baseball coincided with Kazuhiro’s “rough period. Kazuhiro divorced Aki in August 2002 due to allegations of violence against her, and separated from Shogo and his second son, Katsuji (19). In February 2004, he was arrested for violation of the Stimulants Control Law. Shogo probably wanted to get away from baseball because of his father’s successive troubles,” said a Keio University official.

The COVID-19 crisis was the impetus for Shogo’s resumption of baseball.

The Corona disaster was the impetus for Shogo’s resumption of baseball. “His high school club activities were suspended due to the Corona disaster, and he began practicing baseball with his estranged father. Shogo realized anew how happy he was to be able to play catch with his father and how much fun baseball was.

Shogo has focused on his career path as a professional baseball player. Baseball critic Kiyoshi Hashimoto, an alumnus of PL Gakuen like Kazuhiro, who was recently greeted by Shogo, speaks of his talent.

He was selected as the No. 4 pitcher at a traditional school after a six-year blank, so you can tell that he put in a lot of effort. Whether or not he will be a top pick in the draft depends on how hard he works from now on, but I look forward to seeing his future if he is brought up with a long-term perspective. With a physique (186 cm, 90 kg) similar to his father’s during his working days, he has the potential to grow into a big slugger.

Shogo has overcome the burden of Kiyohara Jr. and is about to blossom as a professional.

Kazuhiro watches Shogo play from the stands at Jingu Stadium. He is present for almost every game against Keio University in the Tokyo Rokugakusei Baseball Spring League.

From the May 24 , 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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