What's buzzing:

Big League Stew

Japanese high school game spans four days and 50 innings

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

In a pitching duel to end all pitching duels, Chukyo High School and Sotoku High School were held scoreless for days — literally — during a semifinal matchup at the 59th National High School Rubber Baseball Tournament in Japan.

It wasn't until the 50th inning — which took place on Sunday morning, four days after the game had started — that Chukyo finally broke through for three runs. Fortunately for them, and pretty much everyone involved, that would hold up, allowing them to advance to the finals later on Sunday.

Amazingly and ridiculously, both starting pitchers went the distance during the marathon. Chukyo starting pitcher Taiga Matsui threw 709 pitches and allowed 26 hits over his 50 innings. 

“This game was the physically hardest ever for me," Matsui said after the semifinal game. "But I showed my (fighting) spirit. As my teammates scored three runs (in the 50th inning), I was able to throw in a relaxed manner in the bottom of the inning. Ishioka was a good rival for me.”

His counterpart, Jukiya Ishioka of Sotoku, totaled 689 pitches and allowed 22 hits.

Ishioka said, “Though I was beaten in the end, it was a good experience for me to pitch until the last. I had fatigue not only today (Aug. 31) but also yesterday and the day before yesterday. But I asked our coach to use me as a starter today.”

We appreciate the competitive spirit, but we'll politely disagree that throwing nearly 700 pitches over four days is a good experience. It's excessive and irresponsible for coaches to sign off on such usage, even though Ishioka admits volunteering to continue on. And really, it's questionable that the game was allowed to continue on as it did, although at least it was broken up into 15 innings per day.

View photo

(The Asahi Shimbun)

(The Asahi Shimbun)

The Asahi Shimbum reports that had the game remained tied after 54 innings, the winner would have been decided in a drawing, with the reward being to play in the championship game just hours later. Why 54 innings is anybody's guess, but that's a lot of effort to have the game basically decided on a coin flip.

Perhaps a pitch count would be a better way to help determine a winner without having to run the young pitchers into the ground. It would allow some other kids to get some experience as well, which is never a bad thing.

It's also reported Chukyo went on to win the championship 2-0 over Miura Gakuen High School. They used a different pitcher to start the game, but Matsui was called on to throw 77 pitches in relief, bringing his two-game and four-day total to 786.

BLS H/N: Deadspin

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (370)
  • Cavaliers return to home court for 1st time since Finals

    LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers took the court at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night for the first time since losing Game 6 of the NBA Finals in June. The Cavs held their annual Wine and Gold scrimmage, and in a callback to the Finals … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • After encouraging season, D-backs GM says 'we're close'

    After encouraging season, D-backs GM says 'we're close'

    A 15-game improvement in the standings with a core of talented young players and an aggressive style has the Arizona Diamondbacks believing they are headed in the right direction. ''We're close,'' general manager Dave Stewart said. Diamondbacks … More »

    AP - Sports - 31 minutes ago
  • Blashill looks to give Wings continuity

    Blashill looks to give Wings continuity

    The Detroit Red Wings have been a model of consistency, becoming the only NHL franchise to make the playoffs every year of the salary-cap era and 24 straight overall. For the first time in a decade, Mike Babcock won't be their coach. The Red Wings … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Va. Tech QB Brewer cleared to practice

    BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer has been cleared to return to practice. … More »

    AP - Sports - 36 minutes ago
  • As daily fantasy eschews 'gambling' label, scrutiny grows

    Stock market traders and chess players - that's who's playing DraftKings, according to CEO Jason Robins, who told a crowd of casino executives last week in Las Vegas that fewer than 15 percent of the players on his site make wagers in traditional … More »

    AP - Sports - 38 minutes ago