Waseda’s Saito opts for college

Yuki Saito, who led Waseda Jitsugyo to its first title in a victory over Komadai Tomakomai at the national high school baseball championship last month, said Monday he has decided to attend university instead of playing pro baseball.

“After discussing the matter with family and school advisers, I have decided not to become a candidate for pro baseball. I have decided I will attend university,” the 18-year-old Saito said in a news conference held at his school in Tokyo’s Kokubunji.

In the final at Koshien Stadium, Saito struck out 13 in his fourth complete game in as many days in a replay of a game that ended the previous day in a 1-1 tie after 15 innings, helping Waseda Jitsugyo dash Komadai Tomakomai’s hopes of becoming only the second team to win a third straight national title.

Saito was closely monitored by professional scouts during the duration of the summer tournament and his decision on whether he would turn professional or attend university had recently become the focus of attention in the news.

Many pro teams had already shown interest in acquiring the services of Saito, who boasts a fastball in the mid-140 kilometer range and a nasty change-up.

“I want to go to university and develop my skills as a baseball player and also grow as a person. I might be taking the long route by going to university for four years, but I’m not that naive to think I can just go directly to the pros and perform at a high level,” said Saito.