In this year's Senbatsu, two schools from Nagasaki Prefecture participated for the first time in history. These are Kaisei High School and Nagasaki Nichidai High School. Kazuo Matono (2), who served as a coach at each school and developed them into one of the strongest teams in the prefecture, watches the tournament with warm eyes while nostalgic about his coaching career.
(Senbatsu Interview Team Maji Yamaguchi)
"Watching from Nagasaki"
The two schools in Nagasaki Prefecture played their first matches against Kaisei on the 2th and Nagasaki Nichidai on the 20st.
Matono watched each match on his home TV.
Kazuo Matono said,
"It's really a dream to go to Koshien with the team I coached, and I think high school baseball is my life. I'm so grateful for the flowers that have added flowers to my life."
Developing two schools into powerhouses
In the summer of Showa 34, Matono contributed to the team's first appearance in Koshien as the captain and ace of Kaisei.
In Showa 39, he became the coach of his alma mater.
Kaisei had not won in five previous Koshien tournaments. He was asked to win one game in Koshien, and he says that he naturally became enthusiastic about coaching.
Then, in the summer four years after taking office, he won his first Koshien victory.
Kazuo Matono "I felt that I was destined to win, so I remember the moment I won my first victory, I was happy to hold hands with the manager at the time on the bench.
In September of Heisei 4, Mr. Matono was appointed as the coach of Nagasaki Nippon University in recognition of his skills.
At that time, I had no experience playing in Koshien, so I was entrusted with building the team from the beginning.
"I try to train each one carefully, and I write my thoughts in a notebook and the students write down their replies. I exchanged notes with 9 members every day. Through this, he can teach his students how to play baseball. The students can play baseball with confidence. I'm glad that I was able to instill confidence and build a relationship of trust."
Under Matono's guidance, just six months after taking office, Nagasaki Nichidai made his first appearance in Senbatsu. We advanced to the last eight.
The two schools, which Matono has a strong affection for, have since grown into teams competing for the Koshien tournament in the prefecture.
And this time, I decided to participate in Senbatsu at the same time.
When Mr. Matono received the news, he was overjoyed.
For the battle in Koshien
With Matono watching, Kaisei made it through the first match brilliantly.
Although Nagasaki Nichidai also lost, they played well against a strong school that boasts the most appearances in Senbatsu.
"I thought the biggest reason for the victory was that Kaisei was able to play baseball with outstanding defence and mobility. If the desire to win is too strong, it leads to strength. I felt that it was necessary to adjust the fighting spirit. I want them to do their best for the summer with the image of reviewing what they have done in practice, such as practicing for a one-goal situation."
It has been 18 years since he stepped down as coach, but when I interviewed him by phone after the match, he spoke passionately as if he was playing with the players on the bench.
In Senbatsu, the battle of Nagasaki Prefecture continues. Kaisei will face three-time spring champion Koryo in the next three rounds. Mr. Matono also sends cheers.
Kazuo Matono said, "It's going to be a tough battle,
but we're high school students, so I think it's important to clash with each other as equals. I want them to show the full results of their training and win the match."