Tireless Chukyo finally wins 50-inning marathon in high school baseball tourney
AKASHI, Hyogo Prefecture–In a scoreless game that spanned four days and captivated a nation, Chukyo High School broke through with three runs in the 50th inning to beat Sotoku High School in the semifinals of the 59th National High School Rubber Baseball Tournament here on Aug. 31.
If that wasn't enough for the weary players, Chukyo, of Gifu Prefecture, defeated Miura Gakuen High School from Kanagawa Prefecture 2-0 in the championship game in the afternoon at Akashi Tocalo Baseball Stadium. Chukyo starting pitcher Taiga Matsui, who threw 709 pitches in the 50 innings, had enough left to come on in relief in the fourth inning of the final game and pitch the rest of the way.
Along with Matsui's herculean effort, Jukiya Ishioka of Sotoku, of Hiroshima Prefecture, also threw all 50 innings in the semifinal, totaling 689 pitches. “This game was the physically hardest ever for me," Matsui said after the semifinal game. "But I showed my (fighting) spirit. As my teammates scored three runs (in the 50th inning), I was able to throw in a relaxed manner in the bottom of the inning. Ishioka was a good rival for me.”
Ishioka said, “Though I was beaten in the end, it was a good experience for me to pitch until the last. I had fatigue not only today (Aug. 31) but also yesterday and the day before yesterday. But I asked our coach to use me as a starter today.”
I’m reminded of George Carlin’s routine about baseball and football comparing football’s precisely timed quarters with baseball’s innings, “We might go extra innings – we don’t know when we’re getting out of here.”
I can’t imagine a four day game but kudos to all the players