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Japanese high schools duel in 50-inning marathon affair

Four days, 50 innings, two pitchers and a combined 1,398 pitches.

It was the marathon affair of all marathon affairs, and it happened this week in the semifinal of Japan’s 59th National High School Rubber Baseball Tournament — played in Akashi, Hyōgo Prefecture.

Winning pitcher Taiga Matsui of Gifu Prefecture’s Chukyo High School tossed a complete-game, allowing no earned runs on 709 pitches in a 3-0 victory.

“This game was the physically hardest ever for me,” Matsui told The Akashi Shinbun. “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.”

Arguably more impressive is that following its win over Sotoku High School, Chukyo had to come back out that same afternoon to play Miura Gakuen High School in the championship — a game it would win 2-0.

And somehow Matsui came on in relief in the fourth inning and finished the final few innings off for the victory.