• Kyodo

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Naomichi Donoue homered and drove in two runs as Aichi’s Aikodai Meiden banged out 12 hits to crush Kamimura Gakuen 9-2 to win the national high school invitational baseball tournament for the first time on Monday.

News photoAichi’s Aikodai Meiden players rush to the stands to acknowledge their supporters after clinching their first high school baseball championship Monday at Koshien Stadium in
Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Aikodai Meiden beat Kamimura Gakuen of Kagoshima Prefecture 9-2
in the final.

Yohei Saiga held batters to four hits over the distance with nine strikeouts to set the pace for the Aichi prefectural school at Koshien Stadium.

“Finishing runnerup last year was the fuel we needed to motivate us,” said Aikodai Meiden coach Mitsuo Kurano. “The opposing pitcher wasn’t at his best and our players were able to hit off him. It still feels like a dream and hasn’t hit home.”

Aikodai Meiden, the former high school of major leaguer Ichiro Suzuki, took leads of 4-0 and 7-0 before the Kagoshima school rallied for just two runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Kamimura Gakuen hoped to follow in the footsteps of last year’s tournament winner Saibi of Ehime Prefecture, which won the title as a tournament newcomer in its third year since the establishment of its baseball team.

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