Five players who improved their rating and five players who decreased their rating” in the summer Koshien.
Koshien, a summer festival that has been held for 104 years, has come to a close.
Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) came out on top of the nation’s 3547 teams. They defeated Shimonoseki Kokusai (Yamaguchi), who had beaten Osaka Toin and Omi (Shiga), the two teams favored to win the tournament, 8-1, to become the first Tohoku team to win the championship. The victory was won by a “tSUNAGUCHI BASEBALL” approach in both offense and defense, with five pitchers in the lineup and an offensive output of 47 runs scored in the five games.
This year, too, many dramas took place at the Koshien Stadium. Some players were highly rated by scouts and university baseball officials, while others left Koshien before they could show their full potential. In this issue, sportswriter Masahiko Abe and Michio Toda, former editor-in-chief of the high school baseball magazine “Home Run,” selected five players each who were rated higher and five who were rated lower.
Yosyo Yamada (Pitcher, Omi) 175 cm, 78 kg
He led Omi to the top four last summer, the runner-up this spring, and the top four last summer as ace, No. 4 pitcher, and captain, and kept the excitement going at Koshien. Although they did not win the championship, Yamada is the most likely candidate for the annual MVP in 2022. As a pitcher, he won a total of 11 games in spring and summer, and his 115 strikeouts are among the top records of all time. As a hitter, he showed his ability to play a thousand roles, including a grand slam homerun in the third round against Kaisei.
He has an unrivaled competitive spirit and a competitive spirit. His slider and two-seamer are “magic pitches” that would be his winning pitches in the pros, while he consistently maintains a speed of around 145 km/h. His potential is terrifying (Mr. Abe). His potential is terrifying.
Shogo Asano (outfielder, Takamatsu Sho) 170 cm, 86 kg
In the first game against Saku-Nagasei, he hit two home runs in a row despite being severely marked. In the quarterfinal matchup against Omi’s Yamada, he hit a powerful shot into the back screen in the center of the park. With three home runs in this tournament, including one last summer as a sophomore, he became the 10th player in history to hit four home runs in Koshien in the summer. His hitting accuracy was also astonishing, in addition to his long-ball hitting ability (Toda).
He was alerted by the “invitation pitch,” but he did not waver at all, and with one swing of his bat, he hit just the right pitch for a homerun. His technique and concentration are already at the professional level (Abe).
Shin Nakai (Pitcher, Shimonoseki International) 177 cm, 70 kg
Nakai took the mound in the middle of the 6th inning in the quarterfinals against Toin Osaka and in the middle of the 2nd inning in the semifinals against Omi in relief. His spirited pitching, which made full use of a fastball with a maximum speed of 146 km/h and a sharp breaking ball, was the driving force behind the successive defeats of the runners-up and the winner of this spring’s Sembatsu Tournament. He also has excellent defensive skills born of his high athleticism, and in a game against Osaka Toin, he successfully completed a triple play by handling a pitcher’s fly ball after a failed bunt (Toda).
Reiji Toi (Ruger, Tenri) 180 cm, 85 kg
He hit a double left and right, and hit several balls close to the fence that were almost home runs, impressing us with his improved batting skills. What raised his rating even more than his batting ability was his defensive ability. His stable fielding with an excellent sense of distance from the batted ball when he catches it has been rated by scouts as better than Muku Ota, the school’s senior and the first overall pick in the 2018 Orix Draft (Abe).
Warmi Hidaka (Pitcher, Tomishima) 187 cm, 77 kg
His opponent in the first game was Shimonoseki Kokusai. He hit a fastest speed of 144 km/h and struck out 9, but he gave up 13 hits and 5 runs on 162 pitches. He threw a straight from his 187cm height with a max. velocity of 148km, and said he “found many things to work on” after experiencing the mound at Koshien (Toda).
Five players who received harsh evaluations
While some players shined, others struggled to produce the results they were capable of. Here we introduce five players who were highly rated before the opening day of the season, but left the hallowed grounds without showing their true potential.
Rudai Morishita (Pitcher, Kyoto International) 180 cm, 75 kg
Discomfort in his left elbow limited his pitching opportunities in the Kyoto qualifying rounds this summer, and he was ultimately unable to return to his best form. He started the first day of the tournament against Ichinoseki Gakuin, but gave up four runs on five hits in three innings, and the team that was considered a favorite to win the tournament lost in an extra inning in the 11th (Toda).
The team, which was considered a favorite to win the championship, lost in the 11th inning in extra innings. Although he may have been rated lower than before, many scouts were relieved to see that he had returned to a pitching condition. The real evaluation of this pitcher will be made this fall. I look forward to seeing how far he will go in his post-retirement training…and hope for his resurgence (Mr. Abe).
Keita Murakami (infielder, Kyushu Gakuin) 190 cm, 94 kg
Perhaps it was Murakami himself who suffered the most from the cross of being “the younger brother of Munetaka Murakami. Although he had some long balls, he must have been unwilling to hit them. His inability to see a pitch to the end and hit it hard may have been due to a lack of confidence and an impatient desire to get results by hitting quickly. However, if he takes the time over the next five to six years to steadily develop his technique, there is a possibility that he will bloom into a big flower around the age of 25. His physique and his power when the timing was right shone through (Mr. Abe).
Chikashiro Sakura (infielder, Kyushu International University) 184 cm, 104 kg
His issues are batting accuracy and competitive spirit. However, just by looking at his posture, with his right shoulder so far inside that you could see his back number, perhaps because of his self-consciousness, I thought he might have a tough time with a national-class ball (……). Especially against left-handed pitchers, he couldn’t see the line of the ball, and his body opened up quickly and he was plugged in (Abe).
Haruya Tanaka (Pitcher, Nipponbunri) 186 cm, 92 kg
In his first start against Kaisei, he was hit hard from the start and gave up 7 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings. Although he had a top speed of 148 km/h, he was unable to pitch to the end due to a crushed and bleeding blister on the index finger of his right hand. As a batter, he allowed four hits and struck out two. His appearance at Koshien, following last summer, ended with another grim result (Toda).
Margard Maiki Kian (Pitcher, Seiryo) 186 cm, 90 kg
In this spring’s Sembatsu tournament, he threw a cut ball and change-up that evaded the bats of opposing batters, but this summer he struggled this time because his cut ball was fouled off well by the Aikodai Meiden batting line. Perhaps upset by the opposing batting line’s clever strategy, he was hit hard by a fastball that went in too softly, and he surrendered an unexpected 9 runs in the middle of the 2nd inning (Mr. Abe).
Many of the players mentioned above are scheduled to submit their applications for professional baseball. The fateful draft meeting will be held on October 20.
Photo: Kyodo News： Kyodo News