It was a session that seemed to last forever. After more than half a week, the game of baseball ended in Akashi, Japan. Seen by a rapt audience that spanned the entire eastern country, the playoffs were exciting and exhilarating despite the extended time span.
Chukyo High School snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. This winning team gave a TKO punch to Sotoku High School. The baseball players were definitely facing quite a few sore muscles and “weltschmerz” by the end of the hellish experience.
And they had also defeated Miura Gakuen High School besides the Sotoku High School team. That makes them doubly worthy of respect and a whole lot of accolades.
The winning team’s pitcher Taiga Matsui was a seasoned player and showed his stuff on the diamond. The opposing team’s Jukiya Ishioka also was up to the challenge yet something went amiss in the end and so the Sotoku High School team lost in the final countdown.
Matsui spoke of how it was a gargantuan effort he had to muster for the sake of his team. Yet he showed the sportsman spirit and emerged victorious in the end.
“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.”
And of course Jukiya Ishioka was a tough contender and opposed him lock, stock and two smoking barrels. It was the cooperation between the interlocking players on the team that made triumph a possibility in the last round.
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.”
Meanwhile, Ishioka said that the tiredness and drudgery got to him and so that was his downfall. However, he played with gusto and aggression and conquered where he could.
You cannot win them all and so he and his team took the loss with stoicism and serenity. The game had progressed with brutal intensity for almost 96 hours and so it was a fight to the finish.
The team players finally shook hands in a spirit of good sportsmanship and camaraderie since winning or losing is not everything. It is how you play the game that matters in the end.