Koryo to face Saga Kita in final

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Shohei Habu led the offense with a first-inning homer and Yusuke Nomura struck out 12 as Koryo held off a late rally to beat Tokoha Gakuen Kikugawa 4-3 on Tuesday, denying the Shizuoka school a spring-summer double in high school baseball.

News photoKoryo starter Yusuke Nomura celebrates after a 4-3 victory over Tokoha Gakuen Kikugawa in the semifinals
of the National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium on Tuesday. The Hiroshima school
advanced to Wednesday’s final.

Hiroshima powerhouse Koryo reached the National High School Baseball Championship final for the first time in 40 years, setting up a meeting in Wednesday’s final with Saga Kita, which shut out Kyushu neighbor Nagasaki Nichidai 3-0 in the other semifinal at Koshien Stadium.

Koryo took a three-run lead after four innings on Habu’s solo homer, a run-scoring error by Tokoha shortstop Yusuke Hasegawa in the second and an RBI groundout by Nomura in the fourth.

Left fielder Takuma Yamashita gave Koryo what proved to be the decisive run on a squeeze bunt in the top of the eighth before Tokoha rallied on Hasegawa’s RBI single in the bottom half and run-scoring hits by pinch-hitter Kento Kobayashi and Keisuke Takano in the ninth.

Nomura allowed 12 hits but hung on to notch his fifth win of the tournament. The right-hander issued one walk and fanned at least one batter in every inning in going the distance.

A victory on Wednesday will give Koryo, runnerup in the 1967 tournament, its first national championship title.