Reflecting on History: Maebashi High School’s Perfect Game at the 1978 High School Baseball Invitational Tournament

Shigeki Kawakita (front) talks about his memories.Nine were in their Maebashi High School uniforms, while Minoru Matsumoto (second from the left in the back) attended the talk show in his Kiryu High School uniform, where he is the coach. = At ​​AQUEL Maebashi in Maebashi City.

A talk show looking back on the 1978 High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, in which Maebashi High School (Maebashi City) achieved a perfect game for the first time in the history of the spring/summer Koshien tournament, was held at the “Aquel Maebashi” complex in front of JR Maebashi Station. At an event commemorating the publication of “Showa High School Baseball Story – Mae High School Perfect Game Miracle” (Gunma Kawara Edition) written by former captain Shigeki Kawakita, Nine members including Kawakita and ace Minoru Matsumoto talked about their miraculous trajectory. . (Manabu Suzuki)

At that time, there were only eight new third-year students at Maebashi High School. Although they had the shortest average height of the participating schools and won runner-up at the Kanto Tournament last fall, their previous reputation was not great. Meanwhile, in the first round against Mt. Hiei (Shiga), a great record was created in which not even a single player was allowed to get on base. Pitcher Matsumoto pitched only 78 pitches and won 1-0.

Matsumoto knew he was playing a perfect game during the match, but “I thought there were three or four people playing.” In fact, he was not feeling well until about four days ago, but when he lowered his elbow height by about 3 centimeters and threw the ball, he regained his strength. He looked up to the sky on the mound in the ninth inning. He revealed, “I decided to do it when I had time. When the TV cameras caught him, I thought he would be a good picture.”

Shortstop Akihiko Sakai said, “I wasn’t too nervous” about the game at Koshien. However, due to this unexpected feat, his “body became stiff” (Mr. Kawakita). In the second round against Fukui, they suffered a crushing 0-14 loss due to six mistakes and poor defense, making it a taste of heaven and hell. However, Kawakita was grateful for his high school baseball experience, saying, “It made me believe in working hard.”

Nine is now over 60 years old. The conversation went beyond perfect games, and Yuji Aizawa told the crowd that the reason he had been converted from catcher to right fielder the previous year was because “I learned from a magazine around age 50 that I didn’t get along with Matsumoto.” It made about 120 people laugh.

A book in which former captain Kawakita looks back on his first perfect match at Koshien.

Kawakita wrote the book after he was hospitalized in 2019 and wanted to leave a will. By piecing together his own memories and records as well as interviews with his friends, he serialized his story over the three years since he enrolled in the school, including his miraculous perfect match, in the web version of the Maebashi Shimbun “mebuku,” and made corrections and additions for publication. He also devoted pages to the tough training sessions he had at the time, and to scenes from his youth when all members of the same grade went to the girls’ high school school festival. A5 size, 317 pages. 2200 yen.

2024-04-07 02:17:33
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