Shimonoseki Kokusai high school baseball club made history. The final of the 104th national high school baseball championship, Summer Koshien, was held at Koshien Stadium, Hyogo, Japan, on August 22. Shimonoseki Kokusai of Yamaguchi Prefecture, a first-time finalist, lost the game against Sendai Ikuei Gakuen of Miyagi Prefecture. Although it was the first team from Yamaguchi Prefecture to reach the final at the tournament since 1958, it failed to capture its first Summer Koshien title.
Shimonoseki Kokusai, however, attracted many high school baseball fans. They won continuously against the top two Championship contender teams. One of the teams was Osaka Toin high school, who showed overwhelming strength because they won two national tournaments this season, such as Meiji Jingu in Tokyo and the Spring Koshien tournament before the Summer Koshien.
Shimonoseki Kokusai clashed with Osaka Toin in the quarterfinals. Osaka Toin dominantly pushed forward the game, but Shimonoseki Kokusai changed the situation with a triple-play to escape from a pinch of no-outs runners on first and second base. The triple-play was only the ninth time in the Summer Koshien history of more than 100 years. In the ninth, with a 3-4 score, Shimonoseki Kokusai made a chance with one out, runners on second and third base, and a clutch hitter, Yuto Kaya, hit a two-run single to turn the table. Shimonoseki Kokusai finally won a come-from-behind victory, 5-4. No one expected the favorite for the title to lose in the quarterfinals. More than 30,000 fans were excited in the Stadium.
Shimonoseki Kokusai played Ohmi high school, another favorite for the title. Ohmi was the second-place team in this Spring Koshien tournament. They captured one of the best pitchers, Haruto Yamada of Ohmi. Shimonoseki Kokusai effectively scored with unabated vigor from the first inning and made sure to win the game by two squeezes in the eighth, 8-2.
Although Shimonoseki Kokusai lost the final match, they admirably had a performance throughout the tournament. The finalist consisted of two good pitchers, Kosei Koga and Shin Nakai, and a solid hitting lineup. Captain Setora Yamashita put the team together very well.
Shimonoseki Kokusai was a weak team with almost no wins when Hidenao Sakahara became a manager in 2005. Sakahara started from collecting hopeful players and built the team by giving them hard training with affection. The manager successfully led the team to the 99th Summer Koshien in 2017 for the first time in the school's history. After then, the school achieved two-time Spring Koshien participation and five-time Summer Koshien participation with manager Sakahara.
Captain, Yamashita said after the final, "I wanted Mr.Sakahara to be a manager of the No.1 team in Japan."
Pitcher and shortstop Nakai said, "it was good for me to play in this team."
Manager Sakahara said to players crying with tears, "Thank you for coming to this school."
They made high school baseball history.
Shimonoseki Kokusai left a deep impression this summer.
The final of the 104th National High School Baseball Championship was held at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo, Japan, on August 22. Sendai Ikuei Gakuen of Miyagi prefecture beat Shimonoseki Kokusai of Yamaguchi prefecture, 8-1. Sendai Ikuei Gakuen won its First-Ever Koshien title and became the first high school from the Tohoku region to win a national championship.
Ikuya Iwasaki hit a grand slam to the left-field stands to expand its lead from 4-1 to 8-1 in the seventh. Starting pitcher Yo Saito allowed only one run on three hits in seven frames. Koki Takahashi, who relieved Saito, held Shimonoseki Kokusai scoreless in the eighth and ninth.
Shimonoseki Kokusai, who also aimed at its first victory, took second place. It was impressive that it won continuously against the top two Championship contender teams, Osaka Toin high school in the quarterfinals and Ohmi high school in the semifinals. It attracted many high school baseball fans.
Today’s topic is a quick analysis of the 104th summer Koshien tournament in Japanese high school baseball.
This graph shows the number of participating schools and representative schools in each tournament.The participants have been deceased recently. Unfortunately, the 102nd tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.It was the 3rd time to be canceled after the rice riot in 1918 and the Pacific War in 1941 in Japanese high school baseball history. The current 3rd-year students entered a high school in 2020 when the COVID-19 began. They must have experienced many difficulties.
This graph shows the winning percentage and the number of victories per prefecture.This line chart shows the winning percentage.
And this line chart shows the percentage to advance the quarterfinals. Can you imagine the top 3 prefectures with high winning rates?
The Top is Osaka, the 2nd is Ehime, and the 3rd is Kanagawa.
This graph is to analyze the relationship between the number of participating teams and the winning rate in the Summer Koshien per prefecture.The vertical axis is the winning rate, and the horizontal axis is the number of participating teams.
I am plotting both data on the graph. I think that many high school baseball fans misunderstand the relationship between the two data.The correlation coefficient is 0.3522 which is not a strong correlation.
Let’s look at this summer Koshien tournament. These 49 teams are taking part in this Summer Koshien. Congratulations!!
Finally, Let’s look at the overview of this summer tournament.
1. 4 newcomers are playing in Koshien this summer. Welcome to Koshien!
2. Ken Gifu Shogyo makes their 30th appearance, most of any team.
3. Takaoka Shogyo and Chiben Wakayama make their 5th consecutive summer Koshien, the most
4. 13 teams make their consecutive appearances in the Spring and Summer Koshien this year.
5. It takes Eishin high shcool the longest time to return to Summer Koshien. Long time no see!
6. 11 schools won their prefectural tournament as an unseeded team. It’s Gekokujyo in Japanese. Sugoi!!
7. Private schools are more than public schools.
Two teams are aiming at historical achievements.
The first one is Osaka Toin high school. They are aiming at the second team to become a triple crown such as the tiles of Jingu, the Spring Koshien, and this summer Koshien since Yokohama high school in 1998. Also, they are aiming at the first team with a three-time spring and summer victory.
The second team is Chiben Wakayama who is the last year’s winning school. They are aiming at the seventh team to win the championship for the 2nd year in a row since Komadai Tomakomai in 2007.
This summer I am worried about the new coronavirus infection. Anyway, I hope players can have a good performance without regrets.