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Japanese high school game goes 50 innings before winner decided

  • David Whitlock

Hard to believe, but Mark Townsend of Yahoo Big League Stew reports that a high school “Rubber Baseball” game in Japan went a full 50 innings, or 5.6 full length games before being decided 3-0 (no scoring the first 49 innings).  The winner was Chukyo High School over Sotoku in the tournament semifinal game.

Some of the stats are almost too much to be true.  According to Townsend:

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.

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

The game was broken up to 15 innings per day, but still.  Just standing for 15 innings, let alone throwing something is draining.  Rubber baseball is a slightly deadened ball, which may be easier to throw.  And harder to score, apparently.

The kids seem unphased by the length of the game Credit: The Asahi Shimbun

The kids seem unphased by the length of the game
Credit: The Asahi Shimbun

According to Townsend, if the game had gone 54 innings, then the winner (to advance in the tournament) would have been determined by drawing.  I would vote that move to the upper 30s or lower 40s, but that’s just me!

As it was, Chukyo won the tournament (according to Townsend).

– David Whitlock

H/T Deadspin

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David Whitlock

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David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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