Sunday, August 20, 2017

Card Of The Week August 20

Osaka Toin is one of the power houses of Japanese high school baseball.  They've won the Summer Koshien tournament three times in the past ten years and they've also won the Spring (Invitational) Koshien tournament twice in same time period (this year and also 2012 when they became only the seventh team to win both tournaments in the same year).  Still - winning three times in 10 years means that they didn't win it seven times so it wasn't a huge surprise that they got eliminated yesterday.  What was a surprise was how they got eliminated.

They were matched up against Sendai Ikuei in what was the third game of the tournament for both teams.  The game was surprisingly tight - scoreless until the top of the eighth when Osaka Toin finally rode a double and a single to score a run.  The game moved into the bottom of the ninth with Toin still up 1-0.  They got two quick outs but then a single and a walk put runners on first and second for Sendai Ikuei.  But the next batter hit a ground ball to shortstop who quickly threw to first and it looked like the game was over.  But the umpire called the runner safe - the first baseman had left the bag before he caught the throw.  Given new life, the next batter lined a shot to left center that scored two runs, winning the game for Sendai Ikuei in dramatic fashion.  Here's a couple photos I swiped from Kyodo News Service's Photo twitter feed (@kyodo_photo) showing the agony and the ecstasy:

For more details about the game, check out the Koko Yakyu blog's post for the game.  The box score for the game can be found here.

There are a number of NPB players who are Osaka Toin alumni.  The school didn't add the baseball team until 1988 so all the players are relatively recent.  The list of alumni includes Hideto Asamura, Takeya Nakamura and Tomoya Mori of the Lions, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Shintaro Fujinami of the Tigers, Sho Nakata of the Fighters and Ryosuke Hirata of the Dragons.

In recent years BBM has issued a couple of cards that highlight the Osaka Toin connection between players.  Here's a card from the 2014 Icons - Big Guns set showing Nakamura, Nakata, Asamura and Hirata:

2014 BBM Icons - Big Guns #27
The 2015 BBM Lions set featured a subset of "combo" cards that featured two players on each card.  One of the cards was for Nakamura and Mori being from the school:

2015 BBM Lions #L71
There's a variant version of this card that was available as an insert to Sports Card Magazine #112 that added Asamura to the other two.  It's actually labeled as #L82 from the Lions sets as well as SCM card #336:

SCM #336

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