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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 愛媛・入野貴大「四国の浅尾(中日)を目指して」 〜アイランドリーグ注目選手に訊く(Vol.2)〜

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独立リーグ結果&ニュース : 愛媛・入野貴大「四国の浅尾(中日)を目指して」 〜アイランドリーグ注目選手に訊く(Vol.2)〜
投稿日時: 2012-07-10 19:33:00

 四国アイランドリーグPlusは後期シーズンの戦いがスタートしている。NPB入り、または復帰を目指してプレーする選手たちにとっては、野球人生を賭けた熱い夏がやってきた。リーグ5年目を迎えた愛媛の入野貴大は今季を「ラストシーズン」と定めている。昨季は中継ぎで41試合に登板し、リーグ3位の防御率(1.74)をマーク。スリークォーターからキレのいい直球とフォーク、スライダーなどを投げ込む。180センチ、76キロと細身の右腕は最後のチャンスで夢をつかむことができるのか。23歳に今の思いを訊いた。
(写真:今季はここまでチーム最多の20試合に登板。2勝0敗1セーブ、防御率2.30)

――今季も中継ぎとして2試合に1回ペースでフル回転しています。調子はいかがですか?
入野: 開幕から決して調子は良くなかったですね。でも、悪いなりに投げられているのはいい経験になっていると感じます。これからは良かった時のフォームを参考にしながら、どんどん調子をあげていきたいですね。

――改善点はもう自分で把握できていますか?
入野: 僕はどうしても投げ急いで上体が前に突っ込んでしまう悪いクセがある。その部分を修正して軸足にしっかりタメをつくって投げられるようになれば、自分のピッチングができると思います。

――ただ、昨年までと比較すると、ストレートの威力が増したように映ります。
入野: それは自分でも感じています。昨季から星野おさむ監督以下、コーチの方も代わって、練習量や内容が大きく変わりました。その積み重ねで体の力がついてきたことがプラスになっています。

――昨季からオリックス、ヤクルトなどで中継ぎだった萩原淳コーチが就任しました。どのような指導を受けているのですか。
入野: 細かい点まで、いろいろと教えていただいています。褒められることはほとんどないですね。いいピッチングをしても、「ここがダメだ」と指摘を受けますから。

――萩原コーチから特に言われている課題は?
入野: メンタルの部分ですね。どうしても僅差のゲームでの登板と、点差がある時とではマウンド上での気持ちが変わってしまう。点差が開くと、「1点くらい取られてもいいや」と知らず知らずのうちに気が緩んでしまうんです。萩原さんからは「常に1点差ゲームのつもりで集中して投げろ」と言われています。

――星野監督は「球の出どころをいかに見えにくくするか」もNPB入りのハードルだと話しています。
入野: その通りですね。フォームはもちろん、投げ急いでテンポが一定になってしまう。同じリズムで投げるとバッターもタイミングを合わせやすいですから、マウンドさばきが落ち着いてできるように意識しています。

――入野投手は高知の岡豊高時代は主に野手だったそうですね。アイランドリーグで本格的に投手を始めたわけですから、まだまだ伸びしろがあるのでは?
入野: はい。アイランドリーグに来たことで、かなり成長できたと感じています。でも、もう5年目ですから、今年でNPBに行けなかったら野球を辞めようと心に決めています。

――今季はNPBでも活躍した橋本将さんが入団しました。バッテリーを組んでみて、感じたことは?
入野: 最近は練習でも試合でも橋本さんに受けてもらうことが多いのですが、その都度、いいアドバイスをいただけます。やはり投げていて安心感があるし、心強いですね。

――たとえば、どんなアドバイスを?
入野: 「練習の1球1球を試合のつもりで投げろ」と。それまでの練習では、ただ普通にストライクを入れることを考えて投げていましたが、橋本さんからは「それでは練習のための練習だ。上達しないよ」と言われました。単にストライクを入れるだけではなく、バッターやカウントを想定したピッチングを磨かないと上のレベルにはいけない。それを橋本さんから学びました。

――念願のドラフト指名に向けて、後期でスカウトにアピールしたいポイントは?
入野: 真っすぐの質ですね。真っすぐでもプロのバッターと勝負して勝てるというところを見せたいと考えています。もうひとつはランナーを背負った時のピッチング。たとえピンチになってもしっかり抑えられるところを見せられれば、NPBが見えてくると信じています。

――体の線は細そうに見えて、シーズンの半分以上で登板するなどタフな一面もあります。その点も強みになるのでは?
入野: 昨年、中継ぎで大活躍した浅尾拓也投手(中日)のようなピッチャーを目指しています。浅尾投手と比べれば、まだまだ馬力も、打者を圧倒する力も足りませんが、チームから絶対的な信頼を置かれるピッチャーになりたいです。

――11月で24歳ですから、田中将大投手(東北楽天)、斎藤佑樹投手(北海道日本ハム)、前田健太投手(広島)とは同級生です。
入野: 彼らに負けたくないという気持ちは強いです。とにかく残りのシーズン、悔いのないよう精一杯頑張ります。そして来年はNPBのユニホームを着て、各球団の同級生と対戦できるようになりたいですね。

(Vol.3では香川・星野雄大選手のインタビューを掲載します) 

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(聞き手:石田洋之)


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