Momozaki Thankful for Teammates as They Lose from Behind in National High School Baseball Championship

The team suffers a comeback defeat… Momozaki expresses gratitude to his teammates

In the first game of the 105th National High School Baseball Championship Memorial Tournament, held at Hanshin Koshien Stadium on the 10th, Tokai Kumamoto Seisho University faced a 2-5 loss against Hamamatsu Kaiseikan (Shizuoka). Ao Momozaki, a third-year student and skilled shortstop with a impressive high school record of 39 hits, made a strong start with a double as the leadoff batter. Throughout the game, he showcased his abilities with 2 hits and 1 walk in 4 at-bats, marking his first appearance at Koshien.

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In the intense ninth inning, with the team trailing by 3 runs, Momozaki gave it his all, hitting a ground ball towards second base and sliding into first base with determination. Reflecting on the game, he shared, “As I contemplated the potential end of this team, I was struck by the amazing memories of everyone enjoying the game on the field. Those joyful moments are the most powerful,” expressing gratitude towards his teammates.

Momozaki had played a significant role as a key player since his first year at Tokai Sagami University (Kanagawa), a formidable team. However, in his second year, he made the decision to transfer to his hometown’s Tokai Kumamoto Seisho University. Due to regulations set by the Japan High School Baseball Federation, he had to sit out of official games for a year at his new school. Overcoming this challenging period, the team finally reached the sacred grounds of Koshien in their final summer.

Reflecting on his journey, Momozaki remarked, “It was a challenging year, but the support and acceptance I received from many people allowed me to complete my high school baseball career at Koshien, and for that, I am truly happy.” While he refrained from explicitly stating his intention to pursue a professional career, he emphasized, “Since I was little, my dream has always been to become a professional baseball player, and that has not changed.”

(By Daiki Mori)

The team loses from behind… Momozaki thanks his friends

The 105th National High School Baseball Championship Memorial Tournament was held at Hanshin Koshien Stadium on the 10th, and in the first game on the fifth day of the tournament, Tokai Kumamoto Seisho University lost to Hamamatsu Kaiseikan (Shizuoka) 2-5. Ao Momozaki (3rd year), a professional shortstop who has a total of 39 hits in high school, hit a double as the first batter, and was active in Koshien for the first time with 2 hits and 1 walk in 4 at bats.

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In the last at bat with no deaths in the 9th inning, where he was chasing 3 runs, he hit a ground ball to 2nd base and slid his head into 1st base with all his might. “When I thought about the end of this team…I remembered how everyone was having fun playing baseball on the field, and I was amazed. The fun memories are the strongest,” he said, expressing his gratitude to the team.

Momosaki had been playing in games as a main force since his first year at Tokai Sagami University (Kanagawa), a strong team, but in May of his second year, he transferred to Tokai Kumamoto Seisho University in his hometown of Kumamoto. Due to Japan High School Baseball Federation regulations, he was not allowed to participate in official games for one year at the school he transferred to. Overcoming the “period of trials”, they reach the holy land in the last summer.

Looking back, “It was a difficult year, but a lot of people supported me and accepted me, and I was able to finish high school baseball in Koshien, so I’m very happy.” As for the future of coverage, he avoided saying that he would submit a professional application, but said, “I want to be a professional baseball player, and it hasn’t changed since I was little.”

(Daiki Mori)

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