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Okinawa Konan wins tourney in 12-inning thriller

Date Posted: 2010-04-09

Yosuke Shimabukuro was confident, strong and solid as he hurled a complete game for Okinawa’s Konan High School team to win the Japan National High School Invitational Tournament 10-5 in a marathon 12-inning outing.

The teenager not only pitched the entire game, striking out 11 while giving up only eight hits and five runs—two of them unearned—but put his own bat into action to double in two key runs in the 12th. Konan broke a 5-5 tie Saturday against Nichidaisanko of Tokyo when a grounder by Shun Agena went to Toshitake Yokoo and his wild throw to home plate allowed two Okinawa runners to score. Shimabukuro then hammered a double and Tairiku Kunihyoshi followed up with an RBI grounder.

“I wasn’t tired at all and threw comfortably,” said Shimabukuro of his 198-pitch outing. “I thought if I kept the opponent scoreless, my teammates would score runs,” He said of Konan’s efforts in the spring tournament championship at Kishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture.

Konan’s Saturday victory was the first by an Okinawa high school in either the spring tournament or the National High School Baseball Championship in the summer at Koshien Stadium since Okinawa Shogaku did it in 2008. “I told the players not to give up till the end,” Konan manager Masaru Gakiya recounted, “and said if you stay patient, there will definitely be a chance to win.”

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