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Fire And Ice

Time-Out: Osaka Toin trounces Tokoha to claim title

I would like to take a time-out from the usuals, in this, my 500th post on the Bedlam (woo hoo! osu!) to raise a glass of sake to Osaka Toin High, for delivering in the 2008 Summer Koshien.

Whether or not they will outlast Wilson High from Long Beach is anyone's guess.

Osaka Toin trounces Tokoha to claim title

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Shoma Okumura hit a grand slam in the first inning as Osaka Toin battered Tokoha Gakuen Kikugawa of Shizuoka Prefecture for a 17-0 victory to claim the National High School Championship on Monday.

News photo
Osaka Toin players celebrate victory Monday in the National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, after beating Tokoha Gakuen Kikugawa of Shizuoka Prefecture 17-0 in the final. The title was Toin's second in the tournament's history after winning it on their first attempt 17 years ago. KYODO PHOTO

Yuto Fukushima struck out nine over the distance, limiting Tokoha to five hits at a packed Koshien Stadium to give the Osaka school its second triumph in the summer classic after winning in 1991 as a newcomer.

The Toin offense, which had double-digit hits in all five games the team played before reaching the final, erupted again with 21 hits — a record in a final game — including a bases-clearing double by Fukushima and a two-run homer by cleanup hitter Keigo Hagihara.

Catcher Yuta Ariyama and outfielder Kohei Fukushima also drove in two runs apiece. Hagihara amassed a record 15 RBIs for a single player in a championship, including three Monday.

Tokoha, which beat Toin en route to winning the 2007 national invitational meet in the spring, failed in a bid for its first championship victory as starter Toshiki Togari and three other pitchers were left helpless before Toin's sluggers.

"I didn't think the kids had this much power left at the very end," said Osaka Toin manager Koichi Nishitani. "We had been described as a team that can't hit, but today we were able to play baseball the way we really wanted to by keeping the offense rolling."

Nishitani said his players had their feet on the ground all the way with a well-balanced spirit, technique and physical condition, adding he wants to "commend them to the highest degree today" even though he normally always scolds them.

It is the first time in 17 years that a school from Osaka has won the competition, giving the prefecture the championship flag for a record 10th time.