2004 To Spring 2006
Tanaka moved on to Komazawa University Tomakomai High School in Hokkaidō, now playing solely as a pitcher for the team. Armed with a fastball that sat in high-80s and a hard slider, he led his team all the way to a championship in the 87th National High School Baseball tournament held at Koshien Stadium in the summer of his second year (eleventh grade). His very last pitch of the tournament was clocked at 150 km/h (93 mph), the first time a pitcher had ever clocked that speed as a junior in the history of the tournament. Tanaka, already a highly coveted talent by NPB scouts, was chosen to the Japanese team that would play in the IBAF AAA World Junior Championships following the tournament and contributed to the team's title.
Now given the uniform number 1 and officially appointed the team's ace pitcher, Tanaka led Tomakomai High to a regional title as well as a championship in the Meiji Jingu Tournament that fall, hitting home runs in four straight games in the latter himself. While his team was viewed as the favorite going into the 78th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament to be held the following spring, Tomakomai High was forced to withdraw from the tournament because of allegations of misconduct of some of the players.
Famous quotes containing the word spring:
“Feed him ye must, whose food fills you.
And that this pleasure is like raine,
Not sent ye for to drowne your paine,
But for to make it spring againe.”
—Robert Herrick (15911674)