Konan rallies in 12th

Kyodo

Okinawa’s Konan scored five runs in the top of the 12th inning to beat Nichidai Daisan of Tokyo 10-5 in the final of the National High School Invitational Tournament on Saturday.

Yosuke Shimabukuro threw a complete game and doubled in two runs in the key inning to lead Konan to its first title in the spring tournament or the National High School Baseball Championship in the summer at Koshien Stadium.

“I told the players not to give up till the end and that if you stay patient, there will definitely be a chance to win,” said Konan manager Masaru Gakiya.

Konan became the first Okinawa school to win the meet since 2008 champion Okinawa Shogaku.

Konan broke a 5-5 tie in the 12th when Toshitake Yokoo’s errant throw home on a grounder by Shun Agena plated runners from second and third.

Shimabukuro followed with the double and Tairiku Kuniyoshi capped the big inning with an RBI grounder.

Shimabukuro struck out 11 and gave up eight hits and five runs, two unearned, in a 198-pitch outing and contributed with four RBIs.

“I wasn’t tired at all and threw comfortably overall,” said Shimabukuro. “I thought if I keep the opponent scoreless, my teammates would score runs.”