Who will stop “Toin Osaka” in the Summer Koshien? All the players to watch! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Who will stop “Toin Osaka” in the Summer Koshien? All the players to watch!

Opening day on August 6! Rudai Morishita (Kyoto International University), Shogo Asano (Takamatsu Sho), Kyojiro Sakura (Kyushu International University), etc.

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Osaka Toin explodes with joy after a 7-0 win over Rushousha in the final of the Osaka Tournament. Even the reserve players are among the starters at other schools.

This summer has been a series of ups and downs from the regional qualifying rounds. Strong schools such as Hanamaki-Higashi (Iwate) and Hiroyo (Hiroshima) were eliminated one after another. The team that showed overwhelming strength in this situation was Osaka Toin, which won seven games in the fiercely competitive Osaka region, scoring a total of 54 runs and conceding only one goal.

Osaka Toin won the Meiji Jingu Tournament last fall and the Senbatsu Tournament this spring, and if they win the summer Koshien Tournament, they will become the second school in history since Yokohama High School in 1998 to win the triple crown of major high school tournaments. Leading this generation’s strongest team is Maeda Yugo, who is already being called “the best left fielder in Toin history” as a sophomore. He mixes a 148 km/h straight ball with a cut ball, change-up, and a curveball in the 100 km/h range, and has a high strikeout rate. In the Senbatsu Tournament, he posted a 0.78 earned-run average, the best among all the pitchers who participated. Sports journalist Masahiko Abe noted Maeda’s “high degree of perfection” as one of his characteristics.

Even though he is a sophomore, he is already rated at a level that would make him a first-round pick in this year’s draft. In addition to his fastball and a variety of breaking pitches, he is perfect in other areas as well. Even when he gets runners on base, he is skillful in checking the runners and does not allow them to steal bases. Even if a batter bunts, he does not allow the base runner to advance easily with his accurate and quick fielding. His pitching technique is also first-rate, as he reads the batter’s target and takes advantage of it. His overall strength as a pitcher and his unshakable confidence, backed by his skill, that “there is no way I can get hit by a pitch! This unshakable confidence makes Maeda an impregnable left-handed pitcher.

Shion Matsuo, a third-year student who plays the role of his wife, is another gem of a player who is sure to be a top draft pick.

He played shortstop for a strong school when he was in junior high school, and he plays with a great sense of speed, with a bouncy body and quick footwork. He was the only sophomore at the time to play regularly in the Koshien Tournament last summer. His batting, which had been lacking in power, has improved over the past year, and he has grown into a slugger who has hit 35 home runs in high school,” said Abe.

The team is also packed with other super-high-school talent, including fast-rising right-handed ace Tsugutaka Kawahara (Shiki) and No. 4 Kazuki Maruyama. There is no doubt that Osaka Toin is the leading candidate to win this year’s tournament.

The “Toin Envelope” of the “Toin of Osaka” Players

All of the participating schools in this year’s tournament are committed to “defeating Osaka Toin. The right wing of this group is Kyoto Kokusai, which boasts a left-handed pitcher, Rudai Morishita, whom Abe praises as having the potential to close out a tournament even against Toin. Michio Toda, former editor-in-chief of the high school baseball magazine “Homerun,” explains the power of the number one pitcher of his generation.

His fastest straight ball is 145 km/h, and he has a variety of breaking pitches, including a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. He has the control to hit the corners hard, and his pitching tempo is good. He was the driving force behind the team’s top four finish in its first appearance at Koshien last year. A concern is that he pitched in only two games in the preliminary round due to discomfort in his left elbow. Morishita must be in perfect condition to beat Osaka Toin. How can we reduce the ace’s workload? How to reduce the ace’s workload will be the focus of manager Noritsugu Komaki’s usage of him.

Manager Komaki is pinning his hopes on right-handed ace Junta Hirano, who, like Morishita, has a speed of 145 mph. Like Morishita, Hirano’s appeal lies in his aggressive pitching, using his 145 km/h fastest straight ball as a weapon.

On the other hand, there are also teams with super-high-school-class sluggers who aim for the gold star by playing baseball to win. The first of these teams is Kyushu Kokusai Daigaku (Fukuoka), whose 182 cm, 106 kg, home run hitter, Kyoshiro Sakura, plays the No. 4 position.

Although only a sophomore, he has hit a total of 21 home runs in high school. Nine of those were in official games, and his competitive spirit is appealing. He and Osaka Toin’s ace Maeda are rivals in the same grade, and he hit a home run off Maeda in last year’s Jingu Tournament. After the game, Maeda revealed his true intentions in a LINE, saying, ‘I wanted to play straight in the first at-bat. Sakura looked back on the confrontation and said, ‘It gave me a lot of confidence that I was able to finish that off with a single shot.

Another slugger to watch is Shogo Asano, a right-handed gunner who boasts 64 home runs in high school and is the No. 4 player for Takamatsu Commercial (Kagawa), which became a hot topic last year after Ichiro (48) coached him.

He is small in size at 171 cm and 86 kg, but he has a strong arm and a lot of power. His defense, which boasts a laser beam with a long throw of 115 meters, is also attractive. Furthermore, under Ichiro’s tutelage, he has tried his hand at batting left-handed. He seems to be making the most of it when he faces anomalies such as right-handed underthrowers,” said Toda.

Other players to check out include Keita Murakami, the younger brother of Munetaka Murakami (22), who is blowing up with the Yakult Swallows and plays the No. 4 position for Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto), and Haruto Yamada, the main gun for Omi (Shiga), the runner-up in the Senbatsu tournament, who hit 30 home runs in all.

Sibling Players to Watch Out For

Last year’s Koshien champion, Chiben Wakayama, is aiming for another championship with a super high school cleanup. In order not to be beaten by Toin’s ace Maeda, they set their pitching machine to 160 km/h and swung the bat for more than two hours at times until they were able to hit. As a result, the team defeated Toin Osaka 3-2 in the final of the Kinki Tournament this spring. The aforementioned Mr. Abe said, “Kazuteru Takemoto is the ace of the team.

The ace, Ikki Takemoto, throws a fastball close to 150 km/h and also has the technique to get his breaking ball down low. He plays the 5th position in the middle lineup and takes his chances with his super-high-school swing speed and distance. Yuya Okanishi, who bats in front of him, is a strong hitter who also played 4th for Japan’s U-15 national team. Together with his wife, Kai Watanabe, who plays the No. 3 spot, the three of them make up a cleanup lineup that is a great wonder.

The “Morimoto Twins” are at the center of the team from Funabashi City (Chiba), which will compete in Koshien for the first time in 15 years.

The younger brother Tetsusei is the ace and the older brother Tetsuta is the center fielder. Tetsusei’s weapons are a 143 km/h straight ball and a curveball with a large drop-off. In the final of the Chiba tournament, he proved his stamina by throwing a complete game of 180 pitches. Their mother’s support was a major factor in their success in high school. She raised them single-handedly and moved from Tottori Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture to continue playing baseball at a strong school. His desire to return the favor to his mother must be stronger than ever.
Also of note are the Araihei brothers of Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori): the older brother, Ayuto, a third-year student, is a right-handed ace with a top speed of 144 km/h. The younger brother, Hiro, a first-year student, is a left-handed pitcher with a top speed of 138 km/h. In the preliminary final, the team won a close game thanks to a six-pitcher relay that included the brothers’ relay. If the tenacious pitching strategy of the relay can be employed, it would not be a dream come true.

Will Osaka Toin win the tournament as the rumors had predicted? Will Osaka Toin win the tournament as the rumors had predicted, or will another team emerge to overtake them? The heated competition will begin on August 6.

Shion Matsuo [Osaka Toin
178 cm, 76 kg, right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitter.

He is also a super-high-school catcher, boasting a 1.88-second second-base throw time and a strong shoulder that is on par with the top level of the pros.

Shion Matsuo [ Toin Osaka ] 178cm 76kg Right-handed pitching and hitting

Yugo Maeda [ OSAKA TOIN]
179 cm, 75 kg, left-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

Since entering high school, he has only lost once to a black star. Even in Toin, which is known as the “Pitcher Kingdom,” his presence is tremendous.

Yugo Maeda [ Osaka Toin] 179cm 75㎏ Left-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

Shogo ASANO [ Takamatsu Commercial]
171 cm, 86 kg, right-handed pitcher and hitter

A rare switch-hitting slugger. He has attracted attention as a DRA1 candidate, as all 12 teams sent scouts to the qualifying rounds. 5.9 seconds at 50 meters gives him a good range of defense in center.

Shogo Asano [ Takamatsu Commercial] 171cm 86㎏, right-handed pitcher

Kyoshiro Sakura [ Kyushu International University] 182㎝ 106㎏
182 cm, 106 kg, right-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

His form, in which he lowers his center of gravity and raises his bat high, is said to have been inspired by Seibu’s Tomoya Mori. The key to his success against Toin will be how far he has improved his ability to deal with the in-course pitching that is said to be a problem for him.

Kyoshiro Sakura [Kyushu International University] 182 cm, 106 kg, right-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

Rudai MORISHITA [ Kyoto International University] 178cm 74㎏ Left-handed pitching and hitting
Jundai Hirano [Kyoto International University] 171cm 69㎏ Right-handed pitching and hitting

Hirano plays No. 1 and Morishita No. 4, leading the team in hitting. With seven regulars from last year’s team still on the team, they are second only to Toin in terms of experience.

Rudai Morishita [Kyoto International] 178cm 74㎏ Left pitching Left batting Junta Hirano [Kyoto International] 171cm 69㎏ Right pitching Right batting

Keita MURAKAMI [ Kyushu Gakuin] 189㎝ 93㎏
189 cm, 93 kg, right-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

In a practice game, he once hit a 130-meter shot to left-center field. His power is perfect, but what he lacks is certainty. Can he fix his problem of “the probability of getting the ball in the air with a single shot” before the tournament?

Keita Murakami [ Kyushu Gakuin] 189 cm, 93 kg, right-handed pitcher, left-handed batter

TAKEMOTO Ikki [Chiben Wakayama] 187 cm, 86 kg, right-handed pitching, left-handed batting
WATABE Umi [Chiben Wakayama] 180 cm, 80 kg, right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitter

Takemoto’s weapon is a straight line of 148 km that he delivers from his height of 187 cm. His punching power is also attractive, as he has hit 14 home runs in his high school career. Watanabe handles short bounces well, and Takemoto has great confidence in him.

Ikki Takemoto [Chiben Wakayama HS] 187 cm, 86 kg, right-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter Umi Watabe [Chiben Wakayama HS] 180 cm, 80 kg, right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitter

MORIMOTO Tetsusei [ Ichiritsu Funabashi
175 cm, 73 kg, left-handed pitcher, left-handed hitter

The younger brother of the Morimoto Twins, he leads the team as the ace left fielder. The team also features an active batting lineup, including Yuu Katano, a catcher who is attracting attention from the pros, and Nanaki Ohno, a freshman who plays 5th on the team.

Tetsusei Morimoto [ Ichiritsu Funabashi ] 175 cm 73 kg, left-handed pitcher, left-handed batter

MORIMOTO Tetsuta [ Ichiritsu Funabashi]
175 cm, 71 kg, right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitter

Tetsuta’s older brother was a catcher in junior high school. They also participated in national tournaments as a twin battery. He has a powerful punch and hit a running home run to support his younger brother in the final of the Chiba Preliminary Round.

Morimoto Tetsuta [ Ichiritsu Funabashi ] 175 cm, 71 kg, right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitter

From the August 19 and 26, 2022 issues of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Asahi Shimbun (Osaka Toin, Maeda) Afro (Matsuo) Jiro Yamada (Sakura, Murakami) Haruki Shimokoshi (Morishita & Hirano) Kyodo News (Takemoto & Watanabe) Hoshitani Takeshi/yellsports Chiba (Morimoto brothers)

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