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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 第174回 高知・定岡智秋「巻き返しに不可欠な屋宜の成長」

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野球西国巡り(第1、3火曜更新) : 第174回 高知・定岡智秋「巻き返しに不可欠な屋宜の成長」
投稿日時: 2013-05-21 23:00:00

 21日から高知ではウエスタンリーグのオリックス−福岡ソフトバンク戦が開催され、挨拶も兼ねて、ひさびさに古巣の試合を観に行きました。2軍とはいえ、両チームのメンバーは豪華。オリックスは先発が井川慶で、T−岡田がスタメン。ソフトバンクにはコーチ時代に指導した松中信彦をはじめ、ウィリー・モー・ペーニャ、田上秀則ら1軍の主力クラスが来ていました。実績のある彼らが2軍ということは、それだけ若手が出てきている証拠です。アイランドリーグからもいい素材をどんどん送り出さなくては、と改めて刺激を受けた観戦となりました。

 チームの現状は4勝15敗1分の最下位。前後期とも最下位に沈んだ昨季と変わらない成績になっていることは申し訳なく思います。ただ、16敗のうち2ケタ失点は1度もなく、7つが3点差以内の接戦です。一方的にやられているわけではなく、巻き返しへの手応えも感じています。

 投手は先発の井川博文が1勝4敗と負け越しているものの、防御率は2.27と安定しています。抑えの吉川岳も期待通りの仕事をしていますから、7年目の野原慎二郎、6年目の山中智貴ら先発陣が調子を上げてくれば、勝ちゲームも増えてくるでしょう。特に山中は好不調の波が激しく、四球で自滅するパターンが相変わらず目立ちます。この壁を打ち破らない限り、先は見えません。若いといっても、もう25歳。そろそろ自分をコントールする術を身につけてほしいものです。

 そして高卒ルーキー左腕の中村正利はNPBのスカウトから注目される存在になっています。四国に来てから、同じ左腕の吉田豊彦コーチの下、フォームを修正。一時は球速が落ちたものの、ここに来て球速も140キロ近くに上がってきました。17日の阪神2軍戦ではアイランドリーグ選抜の先発を務め、同級生の藤浪晋太郎と投げ合っています。結果はお互いに3回3失点でしたが、いい経験になったでしょう。

 リーグ戦でも15日の愛媛戦では初めて彼に先発を任せました。2回に2点を失ったものの、3回からは3イニング連続の三者凡退。しかし、6回に連続四球から乱れ、3点を失って逆転を許しました。初先発だったことを考慮すれば、いい時に5回でスパッと交代させてやるのもひとつの方法だったかもしれません。続投させたために、初勝利のチャンスを逃す結果になり、彼には悪いことをしました。

 中村の課題は、6、7回まで試合をしっかりつくれる投球術です。これは実戦で投げ続けて身につけるしかありません。高校生上がりでも力のある選手ですから、今後も先発、中継ぎと登板機会を増やして伸ばしたいと考えています。

 打線もチーム打率こそ.201と低迷していますが、チーム本塁打は9本とリーグトップです。昨季が打率.192、7本塁打でしたから、それを考えれば今季は悪くありません。特に中軸に座るデイビー・バティスタが15日の愛媛戦から2戦3発と当たってきました。ルーキーの河田直人も18日の香川戦でチームの連敗を止める満塁ホームランを放っています。

 バティスタは俊足の内野手で、本来は1番タイプ。長打もアピールすればNPBでも助っ人として候補に入ってくるはずです。守備は送球ミスがたまにキズですが、これは決して足の速くないバッターランナーでも慌てて投げてしまうのが原因です。今後、他チームの選手の特徴がしっかり頭に入ってくれば、落ち着いてプレーできるようになるでしょう。米生活が長く英語のできるサードの曽我翔太朗が、試合中もコミュニケーションをとって確認作業を行うことも大切です。

 前期のリーグ戦は残念ながら高知だけがすべての借金を抱え、他の3球団が優勝を争う展開になっています。とはいえ、戦いはちょうど半分の試合を消化したところ。ここから新たなスタートのつもりで、ひとつずつ白星を重ね、上位にくらいついていきたいと思っています。 

 巻き返しにおいて欠かせないのが扇の要、つまりキャッチャーの存在です。昨季は屋宜宣一郎が78試合に出場し、正捕手となりましたが、今季は20歳の夏山翔太にスタメンを譲る機会が増えています。理由は昨季から課題に挙げてきたインサイドワーク。同じバッターに同じミスを繰り返して痛打を浴びるケースが多く、なかなか成長がみられません。

 彼は肩が強く、スローイングだけをみればNPBでも通用するレベルです。しかし、ドラフトで指名されるには、リードでもスカウトをうならせることが求められます。本人もその点を自覚して、試合前にはチャートを分析しているのですが、タイミングが遅すぎます。何事も直前の詰め込みでは身になりません。少なくとも前日にチャートをもらって、味方のピッチャーと相手のバッターを想定して準備すべきなのです。

 キャッチャーは「守りにおける監督の分身」と言われる重要なポジション。昨季、マスクを被ってあれだけ負けた悔しさを彼には忘れてほしくありません。勝敗の責任は自分が背負う。その覚悟を持って1球1球のサインを出してほしいと感じています。

 扇の要を担う屋宜が変われば、チームはもっと強くなるはずです。素質がいいだけに、今のままでは本当にもったいない選手で終わってしまいます。彼の奮起が自身と、そしてチームの今後を左右する。そう言っても言い過ぎではないでしょう。
 

定岡智秋 (さだおか・ちあき)プロフィール>: 高知ファイティングドッグス監督
 1953年6月17日、鹿児島県出身。定岡三兄弟(次男・正二=元巨人、三男・徹久=元広島)の長男として、鹿児島実業から72年、ドラフト3位で南海(現ソフトバンク)に入団。強肩の遊撃手として河埜敬幸と二遊間コンビを形成した。オールスターにも3回出場し、87年限りで現役を引退。その後、ホークス一筋でスカウトや守備走塁コーチ、二軍監督などを歴任。小久保裕紀、松中信彦、川崎宗則などを指導し、現在の強いソフトバンクの礎づくりに貢献した。息子の卓摩は東北楽天の内野手。08年より高知の監督に就任。現役時代の通算成績は1216試合、打率.232、88本塁打、370打点。


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