NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Shinnosuke Ogasawara hit a tiebreaking home run in the top of the ninth inning as Tokaidai Sagami of Kanagawa Prefecture beat Miyagi’s Sendai Ikuei 10-6 in the National High School Championship final on Thursday.
Leading off the ninth with the game tied 6-6 before a crowd of 43,000 at Koshien Stadium, Ogasawara homered on the first pitch he saw to spark a four-run inning.
Tokaidai Sagami won the title for the first time in 45 years and its second overall, becoming the seventh team from Kanagawa to capture the championship.
“I didn’t care if I struck out, I went up there and swung as hard as I could,” said Ogasawara, who threw 161 pitches in going the distance, allowing five earned runs and striking out six.
Sendai Ikuei reached the final after a 26-year absence, but came up short in its bid to become the first school from Tohoku to win the tournament.
Tokaidai Sagami wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring twice in the first and tacking on two more runs in the third.
Tokaidai Sagami pulled away again with two more runs in the fourth. Sendai Ikuei tied the game with a three-run sixth, but would never take the lead as Tokaidai Sagami went up for good in the final inning, starting with Ogasawara’s heroics.
Tokaidai Sagami manager Keiji Monma credited Ogasawara for a resilient outing, but was never expecting any pop from his ace.
“I was shocked,” Monma said. “He was fighting his way through on the mound and I think he was rewarded for it in the end. I wanted to hug him forever.
“This is the greatest.”