Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day 15, Championship - Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) v Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)

So after 48 games we are finally here. At a final that could have been predicted, and probably once we got to the Best 4, wasn't wanted.

Miyagi is looking for it's first ever Koushien title. Of course that means that this would be Sendai Ikuei's first as well. Only twice before has a team from Miyagi reached the finals. Ikuei was first back in 1989, losing to Teikyou 2-0 in 10. Then in 2003 with Tohoku and if you didn't figure it out already, yes - Yu Darvish.

Sendai Ikuei has had to come from deep in the field to get here. The good news was that their first game was relatively early, and they had no problems with Meihou. The closest games they had were in the Round of 16 when they edged out Hanamaki Higashi 4-3, and then the next round where Akita Shougyou put up a fight early before their ace broke down midway.

If we don't count the Meihou game, the team doesn't get extra base hits that often despite what you'd think. Only 11 of the 43 hits have gone for extra bases.

Also, with perhaps the exception of Sasaki Ryousuke, who has been fairly consistent, it is different people delivering each game. Which is good, because you're not overly reliant on one person like some other teams.

As for the pitching, there's Satou Sena, who I swear has been around for forever. He's not an power pitcher by most metrics, as when he's on he doesn't strike out a lot of batters. While his #10 Doumeki Yuuki spelled him for a bit against Hanamaki Higashi, Sena's last outing against Waseda Jitsugyou he struck our just 3, while walking/hitting 7 in all. Not a good sign going into the finals. Don't be surprised if Doumeki starts the game.

The last time a Kanagawa team was in this spot was with Toukaidai Sagami, facing Kounan and Yousuke Shimabukuro, and a revamped Hifumi Shinta who wound up being more wild than effective. Would you believe that the last time a Kanagawa team won a title was back in 1998 with Yokohama and... yep, Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Toukaidai Sagami has only been challenged once against of all teams Hanasaki Tokuharu. Outside of that their schedule has been rather soft, facing Seikou Gakuin, Yuugakukan and last time out Kanto Dai-ichi. They had 19 of their 52 hits go for extra bases, with their 2 key batters being their 3 & 5 hitters Sugisaki and Isoami.

As for the pitching, time is split between ace Ogasawara and #11 Yoshida who have been effective enough. Not dominating, but effective. What is concerning is the end of the semifinal against Kanto Dai-ichi. Yoshida was beginning to struggle late, and when Ogasawara came in, the batters had a bit of a field day. Of course they still won, but with 0 days rest neither pitcher will get themselves right for today. Will they have anything left today?

We're about to find out!

Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
2B Chino Keijirou
CF Miyaji Kyouhei
SS Sugisaki Shigeki
RF Toyoda Hiroshi
1B Isoami Eito
C Nagakura Ren
LF Takeuchi Daiki
3B Kawaji Seitarou
P Ogasawara Masayuki

Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
3B Satou Shouta
CF Aoki Reima
SS Hirasawa Taiga
C Gunji Yuuya
1B Doumeki Yuuki (#10)
LF Kii Kaishuu
RF Sasaki Tooya
2B Yatsu Koudai
P Satou Sena

____________________________________________________________

13:02 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
They will go with Sena to start the game, but Doumeki is lingering at 1st.

First pitch forkball, swing over by Chino. He has to fight off pitches as his ouen-dan sings the school's theme.

And he successfully dumps a ball into left for a leadoff hit, and we're off and running.

After an attempt at bunting, they go for the hit-and-run instead, but Miyaji fouls it off. He does get it into play, and advances the runner with a 6-3 putout.

Sena leaves a ball up! Sugisaki drives one to deep center! It's off the top of the padding! He's in with an RBI double and Toukaidai Sagami is already ahead 1-0!

Toyoda a base hit through the left side! Sugisaki being sent home and the throw is much too late! 2-0 Sagami and it's a quick time-out called by Sasaki-kantoku.

Isoami grounds to 3rd for the 2nd out. And while Nagakura makes contact, it's a lineout to right. Inning over, but Toukaidai Sagami off to a strong start.

Bottom 1st
Ogasawara gets the inside strike on Shouta to start his final campaign.

Aoki hits a changeup off the end of his bat and it's a harmless groundout to short.

Hirasawa alsot gets the ball off the end of the bat, but it shoots through the right side for a base hit. And with 2 down, he'll try and steal 2nd! Nagakura's throw to 2nd is high and into center! Hirasawa moves to 3rd.

Ogasawara decides to hit 149 on the gun, which I think is the fastest we've seen, the result though is a walk to Gunji, bringing up Doumeki.

But he weakly grounds to 1st and the side is retired.

Top 2nd
Takeuchi gets a leadoff single and is moved along via out to 2nd and 3rd, flipping the lineup back over to Chino.

And Chino is being as stubborn now as he was in the 1st.

This time though he gets him on the fastball and the side is retired.

Bottom 2nd
Ogasawara effectively using the inside part of the plate against opposite handed hitters as he strikes out Kii looking

Tooya gets a base hit, but when Sasaki-kantoku puts on the hit and run, Yatsu swings and misses on a high pitch and Tooya is more than dead meat at 2nd.

Yatsu, after fouling off a couple of pitches, swings and misses on the changeup. Side retired.

Top 3rd
Sugisaki guides a ball back up the middle for a 1-out single. Toyoda with a grounder up the 3rd base line, Shouta with it in foul territory, but hesitates and his throw to 1st is late.

Isoami checks in with his hit, and that drives in Sugisaki without a throw. 3-0 as Sasaki-kantoku calls time yet again.

It's no help though as Nagakura lines one down the left field side. Another run scores and Toukaidai Sagami is trying to run away with it early now at 4-0.

Monma-kantoku calls for the squeeze, but Takeuchi misses. Isoami is run down for the 2nd out.

Takeuchi flies out to right, but Sagami has doubled their lead. Worse yet, Sena doesn't seem to be able to fix his control issues.

Bottom 3rd
Ogasawara looked to be heading for a clean inning, but on the 2nd groundball to Sugisaki he airmails the throw to 1st.

Aoki takes advantage stepping out and hitting a ball back up the middle! It's past Sugisaki and there will be no throw home! The error costs them a run as it's 4-1.

Hirasawa rips a ball to center! All Miyaji can do is block it and Hirasawa is in with a double! Monma-kantoku calling time now.

Gunji with a base hit! He singles past Chino! Aoki scores and it's 4-2!

Doumeki single to center! Hirasawa comes in! It's a 4-3 ballgame!!

Kii with a liner, but it's a soft one to Ogasawara! He goes to 2nd and that kills the rally! But not before we have a ballgame again!

Top 4th
But now it's a matter of pitcher attrition. Who can hold out?

Senda walks Kawaji to start the frame. Ogasawara bunts him over.

Sena finally retires Chino. Gets a big assist from Hirasawa on the short chopper, but there's 2 down.

Miyaji hits a ball to left, Kii turning around, sprints back! It's over his head! Kawaji can easily score and it's 5-3! Kii got fooled just enough there and Toukaidai Sagami pulls ahead just a little further again.

With 1st open, they are careful with Sugisaki, eventually issuing a walk.

Toyoda singles to left! Kii misplays the ball again! Miyaji definitely scores, and Kii throws to 3rd and gets an oversliding Sugisaki for the out.

But, 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. It's a 3-run lead for Sagami.

Bottom 4th
The bottom of the lineup for Sendai Ikuei though is unable to make headway as they go down in order.

Top 5th
Yamamoto comes in for Kii to start the inning. Probably due to the 2 plays he had last inning.

Sena gets his first 1-2-3 inning. He needs it, but what he needs more is the offense to get going again now that it's turned over.

Bottom 5th
Sugisaki with another error! Shouta gets on base thanks to the wide throw and Sendai Ikuei has a chance perhaps to cut into the lead again.

Sasaki-kantoku calls for the bunt, and Aoki is able to lay it down. But 1st is open as Hirasawa steps in.

Oooo.... And Ogasawara gets the outside strike to get Hirasawa out. 2 down.

Gunji pops out to 2nd and we're at the break. Sena certainly looks like the worse of the 2 pitchers so far, but Ogasawara is not without his issues as well. Still, Sendai Ikuei is chasing 3 with their offense only showing life in 1 inning.

Top 6th
Kawaji with a drive to right. Tooya running to the foul pole! Is this ball gone?

NO! It's an out! Tooya leaps, makes the catch as his back collides with the padding and hangs on! He's on the ground, but he has the ball!

And quickly Ogasawara flies out to left, and Chino strikes out on 3 straight.

Bottom 6th
One down and Yamamoto gets a 4-pitch walk.

#15 Nishimaki is hitting for Tooya! And he singles through the left side!

Yatsu with a single to center! Manrui for Sendai Ikuei for Sena!

But he goes down on 3 straight and it'll be up to Shouta to bring the runners home. Monma-kantoku calls for time.

Ogasawara not really pitching in the zone, trying to take advantage of Ikuei perhaps pressing. Shouta for his part is at least staying alive by fouling pitches off.

 AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shouta, drive to center! Miyaji ranging over, now back! It's past him! Everyone's going to score! Everyone does score! Miyaji is in at 3rd and we're all tied at 6-6!!!!!

Aoki with a blooper to right center! Everyone converging on it!

It's Toyoda! He has a long slide and makes the catch for the 3rd out!

Damage done! It's a 3 inning game!

Top 7th
Nishiwaki stays in at 1B, Doumeki to RF.

Quick flyout to center by Miyaji. Sugisaki soon follows with a grounder to short.

Toyoda liner to right! Doumeki charging! Dives... MAKES THE CATCH!!!!

That's balls right there. It gets past him, it's 7-6 for sure.

Bottom 7th
But with momentum seemingly with Sendai Ikuei, the middle of the lineup is falling flay. Hirasawa with a popup, and Gunji fly to center - suddenly there's 2 out.

Doumeki gets hit and the inning continues.

Sasaki-kantoku tries to send Doumeki.... But Nagakura just gets him with his throw! Side retired!

Top 8th
One down, Nagakura's grounder to Yatsu is muffed putting on the gyakuten run.

Takeuchi fooled badly on the forkball for the 2nd out.

And Kawaji down on the forkball! 3 out!

Bottom 8th
Perhaps they wanted to take the base so that Yamamoto could either drive in the run, or lead off the inning. However, he grounds out to 2nd.

Nishimaki makes good contact, but also grounds out to 2nd.

Yatsu gets hit, but he's called to be in the zone and not getting out of the way, and is therefore called out! 3 down and we're onto the 9th!

Top 9th
Ogasawara drive to right?? Doumeki going back?????

NO WAY!!!!!!!!!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where in the world did that come from! First pitch for Sena and it's gone! And Sagami has the lead! It's 7-6!?!!!

Uh oh...

Miyaji double down the left field line...

Sugisaki blooper also down the left field line, Miyaji in for 8-6...

Toyoda with a gapper to left center for a double, 9-6.

Isoami fly ball to right center. Doumeki dives... and makes the catch! But he forgets how many outs are there! Toyoda tags up from 2nd and scores for 10-6.

The bleeding finally ends there, but so does Sendai Ikuei's chance at the title.

Bottom 9th
Sendai Ikuei goes quietly in the bottom of the 9th and as Toyoda makes the final out, they win their 2nd ever Natsu Koushien title!

Man, it's a sad way to end such a great game. Satou Sena is understandably inconsolable, especially after holding out as long as he did. I don't know if you prefer losing like that or in sayonara fashion where it's closer. Perhaps if it was closer you could have though about doing something different. But perhaps like this you know you had nothing left... Perhaps if it was close, you'd look back on Kii's plays before he was pulled and wonder if he had played it right, would they have the lead instead of a tie game.

There's a lot of ifs, and it shouldn't take away from what Toukaidai Sagami did, especially Ogasawara who delivered the real final blow that would KO Satou Sena. Just a bummer way to end an exciting final.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 14, Semifinal 2 - Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo) v Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)

So who will play X in the finals?

Will it be Toukaidai Sagami who had their biggest test last time out against Hanasaki Tokuharu? Or will it be Kanto Dai-ichi who has survived 3 close, and yet vastly different, ballgames?

In that game for Toukaidai Sagami, it wasn't until late, and with some help from the defense of Hanasaki Tokuharu that they were able to win. Outside of that 9th inning, they had 5 times when they had runners in scoring position, and converted twice and the on e in the 8th wouldn't have scored if the pitcher wasn't called for a balk.

Their offense literally lives and dies by the middle of the lineup, which was 19/33 in the last 2 games. The 8-9-1-2 batters were 2/30.

Kanto Dai-ichi lives at the top of the lineup. And from their games so far, can play any type of game that is needed and hang in there.

Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
CF Okoye Rui
3B Ihashi Toshiki
SS Itou Masato
1B Igarashi Yuuki
RF Nagashima Ryouma
2B Kuroda Shunta
LF Moriyama
C Suzuki Daichi
P Abe Takeshi (#10)

Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
2B Chino Keijirou
CF Miyaji Kyouhei
SS Sugisaki Shigeki
RF Toyoda Hiroshi
1B Isoami Eito
C Nagakura Ren
LF Takeuchi Daiki
3B Kawaji Seitarou
P Yoshida Ryou (#11)

____________________________________________________________

13:22 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, much like last game, Okoye struggles in his first AB, succumbing to the slider in front of the plate.

Ihashi also goes down swinging.

But Itou draws a full count walk to keep the inning going...

That is, until he's caught stealing 2nd.

Bottom 1st
Chino first pitch swings, and lines a single to left.

Miyaji not bunting, lines a ball over Ihashi down the left field line! Chino given the green light around 3rd, and there's no throw! 1-0 Sagami just like that!

Make that 2-0! Sugisaki lines a ball down the right field line this time for another double!

Oh dear...

Toyoda hits a ball to deep left, that's going... going...

HAITAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tokaidai Sagami off to a dream start! It's now 4-0!

Isoami down the right field line again!! He's in with a double!

Now Abe is broken. He walks Nagakura, and Yonezawa-kantoku's seen enough. #16 Kaneko enters the game.

Top 2nd
Nagashima tries to start the long road back with a one out single back up the middle. They go for the hit-and-run, which saves Nagashima as he beats out Yoshida's throw to 2nd.

Moriyama gets plunked in the inner arm and is down for a little while. Seems ok now.

Suzuki flies out to center and the inning is over.

Bottom 2nd
While Chino gets his 2nd base hit of the game, and in as many innings, they go for the bunt.

With 2 down, it looks like Kanto Dai-ichi is going to get out of it, until Itou's pickof the ball goes off his glove and up his arm instead. It goes in the air and Chino can score making it 5-0.

The inning ends when Moriyama makes a leaping catch sprinting back to the wall on a ball hit by Isoami.

3rd Inning
Kaneko gets a base hit to lead off the 3rd, bit while there is no bunting, none of the top 3 of Kanto's lineup can do anything.

Kaneko is shutting things down on his end, but the offense needs to get going and quick.

4th Inning
Igarashi leads off with another base hit, and is moved over to 3rd with 2 outs.

Moriyama draws a walk, but Suzuki grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Chino gets his 3rd hit of the game - all singles. 2 down and Sugisaki gets his 2nd double, somehow getting it past Sugisaki and again down the right field line.

Kuroda though is fooled and has to reach out to make contact. Flyball to center and Okoye has it for the 3rd out.

5th Inning
Kaneko gets a base hit to start the inning. But after he's moved to 2nd, Kanto Dai-ichi looks to hve gotten a break when Yoshida-Isoami-Chino all converge on a bunt by Isoami. With no play, Isoami fires to 3rd and they get Kaneko out at 3rd.

Isoami gets thrown out trying to steal 2nd, and Kanto Dai-ichi looks done.

Isoami got a single back up the middle. Nagakura bunts, and Ihashi throws the ball high. E5, runners at corners.

Another sac bunt, Yoshida gets to it, sees the runner isn't coming home, tries to fire to 1st, but that's off line too.

Kawaji singles through the right side, 7-0 and Yoshida hands the ball off to #11 Komatsubara. He quickly gets 2 outs, including Chino for the first time this game.

But now Miyaji gets his 2nd hit, and scores 2 more. 9-0.

6th Inning
Kanto Dai-ichi gets a chance to break the shutout, but with runners on 1st and 2nd, Moriyama can't pull the trigger on a slider and the side is retired.

Moriyama guesses wrong on a fly ball by Sugisaki an it falls just fair for a double. 2 flyballs later and it's 10-0.

Rest of game
In the 7th Kanto Dai-ichi as a 2-out single by Okoye comes around to score on a double by Itou. 10-1.

With Yoshida at 130+ pitches, ace Ogasawara takes the hill in the 8th.

And things aren't going as planned. Despite hitting 147, he gives up singles to Nagashima and Kuroda. After a K, Suzuki hits a ball back up the middle. Sugisaki makes the diving stop, finds no play at 1st, goes to 3rd. Kuroda is hung up, so he goes for home. The rundown breaks down immediately as Kuroda passes Nagakura and scores! 10-3.

Ogasawara does get the final 2 outs, but the performance this inning is concerning. I think Toukaidai Sagami's pitching is in trouble tomorrow.

Kanto Dai-ichi continues to get solid contact against Ogasawara, but it's more than too late for Kanto Dai-ichi as the game ends at that score. Still, for Kanto Dai-ichi it's an impressive run given the games they had to play - even though in the end they fell short.

Day 14, Semifinal 1 - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) v Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo)

If you follow my twitter feed, you'd think I was overdoing it withe Kiyomiya Koutarou blabber by the media. If anything, I think I'm understating it.

The only thing is, in his last 2 games, he's backing it up. Against Toukaidai Koufu he went 3-4 with 2 2B, a HR, and 5 RBIs. And in last game against Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, he went 2-4 with a 2B and another HR. So if you're going to be watching the broadcast, there will be a lot of Kiyomiya being said. If you want to make it a drinking game, be careful.

That said, there are other batters too. One of which is 2B Tomita. He hit a HR in 2 consecutive ABs in his last game, though went 0-5 against Toukaidai Koufu.

But for Waseda, their 6 runs last game were on just 8 hits. Sure they made the most of them, but what will happen against what in all likelihood be Satou Sena?

Sendai Ikuei's offensive output, when looked at in hits hasn't declined as they've progressed. There's also no one hitter to single out as everyone can check in with at least 1. That's good in that you won't ever feel like you won't be able to drive a run in, but also bad because you can't call on a hit when you need it.

As mentioned before, Satou Sena is the ace - but he's not alone. His partner of sorts Doumeki is certainly serviceable, though perhaps to be used in short stints as from his Hanamaki Higashi performance.

The crowd today will probably be pro-Waseda. The hype will have encompassed the stadium by now.

Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
3B Satou Shouta
CF Aoki Reima
SS Hirasawa Taiga
C Gunji Yuuya
1B Sasaki Ryousuke
LF Kii Kaishuu
RF Sasaki Tooya
2B Yatsu Koudai
P Satou Sena

Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo)
3B Yamada Jyunpei
RF Tamagawa Ryou
1B Kiyomiya Koutarou
C Katou Masaki
SS Kaneko Kinsuke
2B Tomita Naoki
LF Miyazaki Renta (#11)
P Matsumoto Kou
CF Watanabe Daichi

____________________________________________________________

08:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Shouta work the count deep, and gets a high fastball to drive, but it's right to Miyazaki.

Aoki also works the count full, and grounds out to short.

Hirasawa grounds to short, and Matsumoto has to work for it, but gets the clean inning.

Bottom 1st
Sena not necessarily sharp early, going behind 3-1 to Yamada before getting the out, then not geting what looked like a strike to walk Tamagawa.

The media gets the Kiyomiya hype machine on full bore, but then he grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Dunno what it is with the strike zone, but Matsumoto walks Gunji to start the inning. There will be no bunting though, as Ryousuke flies out to Miyazaki in shallow left center.

Kii though singles to left! That puts a runner in scoring position!

But Tooya grounds to Kiyomiya! He goes to 2nd for 1, but no throw back for the double play.

Which ends up not mattering because Yatsu grounds into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Sena doing well to keep the ball down. Gets 2 groundballs before hitting Tomita - undoubtedly trying to pitch him in, before getting a can of corn to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Sena of all people contacts a hanging slider down the left field line for a double.

Shouta with a drive to left! Miyazaki going back, going back... Off the padding! Sena held up in case it was caught, so he only makes it to 3rd.

Aoki hits the high fastball the other way! That's fair and will score both runs! 2-0 Sendai Ikuei!

Now Aoki takes off for 2nd! Throw from Katou, not in time! That allows him to get to 3rd when Hirasawa grounds out to the right side.

Gunji chopper to the left side! Yamada charging gets to it, but goes to 1st! Kiyomiya is spun around as his arm runs into a sprinting Gunji. Looks ok though.

Bottom 3rd
Matsumoto grounder to short, but Hirasawa loses the ball before the transfer, and it's an E6. He's bunted over.

Yamada now draws a walk at least creating a force, but if there's no double play Kiyomiya would be up.

And Tamagawa hits a liner, but right to center for the 2nd out.

So Kiyomiya does step in. He htis a chopper back up the middle! Yatsu gets to it, but no one's covering 2nd! Tries to get Matsumoto overrunning 3rd, but no deal! Manrui for Soujitsu!

AH! Sena spins around and he picks off Yamada at 2nd! Inning over!

Top 4th
After a one-out infield hit to Yatsu and a sac bunt, Izumi-kantoku switches out Matsumoto for #10 Kamijyou!

Grounder to 3rd! But the ball bounces off of Yamada!  Kaneko not in position anymore and Yatsu can score! 4-0 Sendai Ikuei!

And now a single by Aoki!

おおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおお!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hirasawa with a drive to right center!!! Watanabe and Tamagawa going to the fence! But Tamagawa breaks away!!!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3-run HR from Hirasawa opens the floodgates!! It's 7-0 Sendai Ikuei!

Bottom 4th
Does the Waseda offense have an answer?

Not so far. Katou quickly flies to left, and Kaneko can only hit one back to Sena.

Tomita does get an infield single, but Miyazaki strikes out on a change inside to retire the side.

Top 5th
A HBP doesn't hurt Kamijyou as he gets a DP, but he still gives up a double to Tooya, showing the offense isn't going to let up.

Bottom 5th
Sena still giving up the occasional walk, this time to Kamijyou. But he's wiped out with a 6-4-3 double play of their own.

Yamada with a grounder up the middle, but Yatsu makes a great stop and throw for the 3rd out! We're already at the break and Sendai Ikuei is in full control!

Top 6th
#17 Yoshino in the game now for Waseda.

Gives up a walk to Shouta, but he's caught stealing to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Up by so much, there's no need to attack Kiyomiya so he's given the unintentional intentional walk.

Kaneko makes things interesting with 2 outs as he singles to left, but Tomita swings on the first pitch and flies out to center. Inning over.

Rest of game
The game devolves wherein Waseda is getting it's bench players in and in a little way so is Sendai Ikuei. Even the commentators cut down on the Kiyomiya talk and accidentally refers to Waseda Jitsugyou as Waseda Daigaku.

Satou Sena does finish the game with a shutout as Sendai Ikuei advances to the finals 7-0.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 12, Quarterfinal 4 - Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo) v Kounan (Okinawa)

The tarp is on the field right now, under what I think is a lightning delay.

But I'll be writing this up assuming that the game is on.

Now again, I don't have anything against Kounan. In fact it was great to see Kounan go Haru-Natsu. But as I've said before, they've had their title, give someone else one.

Kounan has been challenged in both of their games. As mentioned in the marathon vs Iwamichisuikan, then chipping away against Toba, tying and then winning the game 4-3 late. These close games can either mean they're good at fighting close battles, or they're on the cusp of finally being broken. Which one though I don't know.

As for Kanto Dai-ichi, they got their test in Chuukyoudai Chuukyou where it was a pitching duel all the way through before Igarashi ended the game with one swing.

Ace Tanabe gets the start today after getting the Chuukyoudai Chuukyou game off. Yes. Off. Could this be a case like Nobeoka Gakuen where they have an embarrassment of riches at the position?

Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
CF Okoye Rui
LF Ihashi Toshiki (#5)
SS Itou Masato
1B Igarashi Yuuki
RF Nagashima Ryouma
3B Maruyama Shunya (#13)
C Suzuki Daichi
2B Kuroda Shunta
P Tanabe Ren

Kounan (Okinawa)
SS Higa Tatsutoshi
2B Naka Hibiki
LF Gushiken Taiki
1B Kina Chouki
RF Shiroma Gakuto (#18)
C Sakumoto Kazuki
CF Sunagawa Kento
3B Takara Shoubu (#13)
P Hiyane Masaya

____________________________________________________________

15:55 - The tarp is finally coming off, but estimated start time has not been mention yet.

The game is set to start at 16:20 though the rain is still falling.

Top 1st
Okoye goes down swinging after Hiyane pounds him inside.

Ihashi also can't figure out the delivery of Hiyane and is late to a ball inside.

And Itou goes down swinging as well! Hiyane strikes out the side!

Bottom 1st
One down for Kounan and Naka hits a chopper up the middle. Kuroda runs it down, but has no throw to 1st.

Gushiken walks on 4 straight and Kounan perhaps with something brewing. But Kina goes down swinging on a changeup for the 2nd out.

Shiroma liner to right.. but Nagashima is there for the catch! Side retired!

Top 2nd
Igarashi with not a strikeout, but does groundout to short.

Oh?

Nagashima with a drive to left! Gushiken sprinting to the wall! Looking up!!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, Nagashima homers to end the game against Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, then homers here to start against Kounan. 1-0.

Bottom 2nd
Sakumoto scorcher up 3rd base line past Maruyama! He'll be in with a leadoff double!

Sunagawa grounder to left side, goes under Maruyama's glove! Itou backs up but there's no play!

Takara grounder to short, OFF ITOU!!! Everyone is safe again and Kounan has manrui, no out!! Kanto Dai-ichi calls time.

There's no place to put Hiyane, and Tanabe goes 3-1 on him! Does run the count full, but this is dangerous!

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!

Tanabe with a sense of relief as Suzuki wanted that ball inside, and he went outside corner.

But Higa gets the run in! Deep fly to right, Okoye makes the catch and the tag up makes it 1-1!

Naka liner to center! Okoye charging in! Slides!

Just misses it! He slides another 20 feet as Ihashi gets to the ball! Sunagawa scores and it's 2-1! The weather may have had something to do with it as if it were dry he may have gotten to that ball.

Top 3rd
It seems like a while ago, but Hiyane now gets his 5th K as Tanabe chases the high heat.

Ihashi lays down the bunt, but Takara picks it up despite it looking like it was going to run foul. His throw to 1st is late and the inning continues! This does bring up Itou with 2 outs and perhaps an imperfect AB.

But Itou singles to center! Sunagawa up with the AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunagawa misses the ball! Ihashi heading home! The throw is much too late and we're tied at 2-2!

Igarashi grounds to 1st, but we're back level through 3.5!

Bottom 3rd
Tanabe still struggling a bit. He walks Kina to start the frame and is subsequently bunted to 2nd.

But Sakumoto flies out to left, and Sunagawa chases the changeup for the 3rd out.

Top 4th
Nagashima continues his hot hitting! Hits a ball just fair down the right field line for a double. Maruyama bunts him over.

Suzuki grounder to 3rd, off Takara! It's right to Higa, but he has to go to 1st! Nagashima scores and it's 3-2 Kanto Dai-ichi!

Another error! Grounder to 2nd and it's off Naka's glove and into the air! Kuroda is safe and Kounan has to call time.

Tanabe strikes out for the 2nd time, but Kanto Dai-ichi retakes the lead.

Bottom 4th
Higa with a grounder to 3rd, and that's off of Maruyama and into foul territory! Higa going for 2nd! Maruyama throws and it's wide!!! Higa going for 3rd! Nagashima charging, throws to 3rd...

AND THEY GET HIM!!! Despite all the errors Maruyama made, Nagashima of all people bails him out with a strong throw to get a greedy Higa!

Top 5th
Ihashi with a one-out walk. And with 2 down Igarashi singles past a diving Higa.

And that brings up of all people, Nagashima.

Do you even pitch to this guy right now?

They do and he goes down swinging on a changeup! 3 out!

Bottom 5th
The bottom of the 5th goes very quickly and we hit the break with Kanto Dai-ichi holds a slim 3-2 lead! There's been mistakes on both sides as well as timely hitting. It'll be the team who can execute in the rain that will win this game.

Top 6th
Hiyane with his 8th K, tying up Maruyama in the process. Gets Suzuki too on a ball in the dirt.

Doesn't quite get the 3 Ks he did in the 1st inning, but Kuroda's groundout to 2nd will easily suffice.

Bottom 6th
Shiroma base hit to center puts the douten runner on. Sakumoto moves him to scoring position.

And now #16 Ninomiya hits for Sunagawa. But Tanabe sits him down on a fastball down and in!

With Takara's walk though it puts two runners on for Hiyane.

Grounder to 2nd... off Kuroda! He can't find it! Shiroma coming home!

No wait! He stops! But now he's caught in no-man's land! Kuroda fires to 3rd and they get him! Oh, man, that's 2 3rd outs at 3rd base...

Top 7th
This is interesting. #12 Katou is hitting for Tanabe! His day is done!

Okoye becomes Hiyane's 10th K en route to a clean frame.

Bottom 7th
It is #16 Kaneko who takes the hill.

One down and Naka continues to rake! Hits it by Kuroda for a single!

Hit-and-run!! Gushiken with a single through the right side and it's runners at the corners now! Kanto Dai-ichi calls time.

SQUEEZE!!!! The squeeze is on, but Kina fouls it back!

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They go with the forkball and Suzuki somehow is able to catch the foul tip! 2 out!

Shiroma scorcher up 3rd base line.... FOUL!!! JUST FOUL!!!

But he won't be denied!! Shiroma liner... just out of the reach of a diving Itou!! Naka will score and we're all tied at 3-3! Sakumoto pops out thereafter, but we have a new ballgame!

Top 8th
Igarashi with a gapper to right center gets on with a 1-out double.

Nagashima with one right at Kina, but he blocks it and takes it himself for the second out.

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maruyama goes down swinging and Kounan will look to take the lead in the 8th!

Bottom 8th
But the bottom third of the order goes down with not so much as a whimper. Two flyouts to left and a K on Hiyane and just like that we're off to the 9th!

Top 9th
Problem is, we're in the next inning and Kanto Dai-ichi is only now sending up their 7-8-9 hitters!

One down, Kuroda singles to left. He's not stopping!!!  Going for 2... and he somehow slides underneath the tag!!

Kaneko is all tied up and now there's 2 outs!

It's all up to Okoye now, but he's hitless on the day.

おおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおおお!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

OKOYE ANNIHILATES THE BALL! HE LETS OUT A SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!! ISHIKAWA CAN ONLY RUN HELPLESSLY TO THE WALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He finally gets his first hit of the game, and boy is ever a big one!!!! He gives his team the 5-3 lead with just 3 outs to go!!

Bottom 9th
Kounan not done yet!!

Higa ball to deep left!! Ihashi to the foul pole, but it stays in the yard! Higa gets a leadoff double!

Naka reaches down and pops it up! Kaneko and Igarashi almost mess it up but Kaneko makes the catch!!

Gushiken fighting tooth and nail fouls of a couple of pitches.

Liner to left! THAT'S A BASE HIT!!!  HIGA WILL SCORE AND IT'S 5-4!!!

Kanto Dai-ichi calls time!

Now Kina steps in, he's hitless on the day!

Grounder to short! Itou doesn't have Kuroda there! Has to take it himself! Gets the out at 2nd! Throw to 1st... HIGH!!!!

NOW IT'S SHIROMA UP FOR KOUNAN!!!

.Count goes to 1-2 after he swings over a slider!

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE BALL GETS AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SASAKI THROWS TO 1ST!!!!!!!

OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kanto Dai-ichi holds on to defeat Kounan 5-4 behind the as clutch as you can get 2-run HR by Okoye!

Whoo.... I don't know what to say.

Day 12, Quarterfinal 3 - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) v Akita Shougyou (Akita)

My loyalties in this game are odd too. Sendai Ikuei hasn't won a title. The last time they got this far in the summer was 19 years ago.

And yet I plan on rooting for Akita Shougyou.

Why?

Akita Shougyou is the final public school remaining. If you follow this scene long enough, you find that a lot of the schools who make it are private. So for them to be here is a great accomplishment.

Also they are from Akita, which is not a very strong prefecture. The last time a school got here was back in 1995, and a school from here has never a title.


The win against Ryuukoku despite the 16 Ks from Narita Takeru wasn't all that much to write home about. Now, the win against Kendai Takasaki where he struck out 7 can make you take notice. It does mean that they could at least compete.

Sendai Ikuei put away a very disorganized Hanamaki Higashi last time out, but it is still a quality win. They still managed to put out 11 hits, so the offense is still there, but facing ace Narita for Akita Shougyou may be something entirely different.

Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
3B Satou Shouta
CF Aoki Reima
SS Hirasawa Taiga
C Gunji Yuuya
1B Sasaki Ryousuke
LF Kii Kaishuu
RF Doumeki Yuuki(#10)
2B Yatsu Koudai
P Satou Sena

Akita Shougyou (Akita)
CF Aida Kaito
SS Kusanagi Teruya
1B Takeda Yoshiki
3B Kominami Tenyou
P Narita Takeru
2B Furuya Ryouhei
LF Narita Kazu
RF Konno Toui
C Kudou Kei

____________________________________________________________

13:10 - First pitch!

1st Inning
Good start as Takeru strikes Satou out on a fastball away.

And the gets the outside corner on Aoki for the 2nd out!

Kudou gets a chance to catch a foul ball for the 3rd out, but misses. It winds up not hurting them as Hirasawa softly lines out to Furuya.

It's not as much of a statement as Narita's was, but Sena gets 2 routine grounders and a pop fly to start his campaign.

2nd Inning
This is probably what we're going to see for most of this game - a lot of outs. Only 1 K this inning for Takeru, but with the groundouts come quicker innings.

Sena does the exact same thing. 2 routine grounders and a K to end the inning. Sit back and watch these 2 aces deal.

3rd Inning
5 pitches. Just 5. That's all that Takeru needed to get a 1-2-3 inning.

Kazu breaks through for Akitashou! Well, for a base hit at least. Leads off with a single past a diving Yatsu into center. He's bunted over for #9 batter Kudou.

Kudou with a ball back up the middle. Yatsu with the stop and throw... gets him but the runner moves to 3rd.

Aida grounds to 3rd though and the inning is over. But Akita Shougyou is the first to make progress.

4th Inning
Shouta perhaps the biggest challenge so far, goes 10 pitches before flying out to right on a letter high fastball.

Aoki takes a ball deep to center, but well in play for the 2nd out.

Hirasawa with a ball deep now, this time to right! Konno going back to the foul pole!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hirasawa does one better and with one swing gives Sendai Ikuei the 1-0 lead!

Another flyball out retires the side, but you have to be concerned he's leaving the pitches up for Ikuei to mash.

The problem now is that Akitashou is on the back foot now that they're behind. Takeda gets on due to a hit batter, but while he advances to 2nd via passed ball, he can go no further.

Top 5th
Another pitch up and Ryousuke scorches it to right for a base hit.

And now the pressure is getting to them, bunt to the right side, Takeda and Takeru can't decide who's taking it and in the end no one does. Everyone's safe.

Doumeki walks, and it's manrui... Akita Shougyou calls time.

And of all things, it's a blooper by Yatsu that perhaps will break Akita Shougyou. 2 runs score on the ball to center and it's 3-0 Ikuei.

Make that 4-0 as Sena singles to right.

Bottom 5th
One down and Kazu gets his 2nd hit of the game, another single back up the middle. Konno not bunting, but grounds into a fielder's choice.

Kudou singles to right and that puts runners on 1st and 2nd.

Oh?

Aida grounder past Shouta and down the line! One run scores as Kudou is held at 3rd. It's 1 run, though and there'll be more work to be done as Kusunagi gets frustrated as having a pitch to hit, then grounds to short to end the inning. Its 4-1 though and only 4 innings left to go.

Top 6th
Akita Shougyou waving the white flag it seems.

After giving up another run, Narita moves to RF as #10 Saitou takes the hill.

Rest of game
Well, Takeru makes a great throw from RF to nail a runner tagging up for home. He actually pitches the last 3 innings.

Akita Shougyou actually makes some noise in the 9th.

After two strikcouts, Kazu draws a respect walk. Then Shibata gets a talking to and then a base hit. Then Kudou gets double to left scoring 1, and then another when Shouta throws the ball away trying to get Kudou out at 2nd.

Aida rips a ball back to Sena, who makes the catch to end the game at 6-3.

I would have rather had the game end at 6-1 than make a small comeback and fall short like they did. It's like giving a team hope and then crushing it. You saw it in Aida collapsing after Sena catches the liner.

*sighs*


Day 12, Quarterfinal 2 - Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama) v Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)

Of all the teams I dislike in these matchups, Toukaidai Sagami probably is the one that I hate the least. They never really eliminated any of my favorite teams, and heck, they're not Yokohama.

And I didn't have anything against Hifumi Shinta. There were reports that he changes his delivery because he had hit someone in the head and didn't want that to happen again. Of course it meant he hit more people, but it worked.

I guess at this point they've had their title. Give Hanasaki Tokuharu and a oddly beleaguered Saitama prefecture a title.

The problem is that after annihilating Misawa Shougyou, they survived a 1-0 game over Tsuruoka Higashi managing just 6 hits. If that's is what they do against that team, then they'll have a tough time playing Toukaidai Sagami.

Toukaidai Sagami has not been challenged at all so far. Not that they've faced a team that could have presented a challenge (Sorry Seikou Gakuin and Yuugakukan, it's kind of the truth). But because of the competition there is little to gauge on other than the game on the jersey. Yet that might be anough for a school who can garner some of the best talent.

Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama)
LF Kuguu Ryuuya
2B Oota Kousei
SS Okazaki Daisuke
CF Ootaki Aito
RF Satomi Haruki
3B Kusumoto Kouki (#15)
C Sasaya Takumi
P Kamakura Tomoya
1B Kamimura Kouta

Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
2B Chino Keijirou
CF Miyaji Kyouhei
SS Sugisaki Shigeki
RF Toyoda Hiroshi
1B Isoami Eito
C Nagakura Ren
LF Takeuchi Daiki
3B Kawaji Seitarou
P Yoshida Ryou (#11)

____________________________________________________________

10:23 - First pitch!

1st Inning
Yoshida on fire to start, striking out both Kuguu and Oota to start. Gives up a soft single to left, but gets out of the inning thereafter.

Kamakura about the same, gets a K and two weak groundouts to 2nd.

Top 2nd
Satomi reaches down and golfs a ball to left for a leadoff single. Kusumoto tries to lay down the butn, but Nagakura is quickly on the ball and fires to 2nd, just getting Satomi.

So Satomi makes up for it by stealing 2nd on the very next pitch!

Sasaya can't do much more than to move him to 3rd, but Yoshida strikes out Kamakura as he lunges for a ball on the outer half.

Bottom 2nd
Toyoda with a blast to right! Satomi headed towards the foul pole, leaps... and makes the catch right before the wall!

Isoami with a ball to right center, gets down for a single. He then tries to steal 2nd, but is thrown out by a strong throw from Sasaya.

Which is a shame because on the next pitch Nagakura goes down the right field line for a double.

And now Takeuchi singles to left! Nagakura scores as Takeuchi takes 2nd on the throw! 1-0 Toukaidai Sagami!

Top 3rd
Yoshida about to cruise through a 1-2-3 inning, but then with two down Oota bloops one in front of Toyoda, which would have still gone for a single had not Miyaji flubbed in his backup. Toyoda as a result of that goes all the way to 3rd.

And Okazaki gets his bat down, on a 3-2 pitch no less, and lines it to center! Toyoda scores and we're all tied at 1-1!

Now they're pressing the action! Okazaki goes for 2nd and he steals the bag!

And now Ootaki with a ball down the right field line.. fair!! Okazaki comes around and he scores!! Hanasaki Tokuharu answers big and takes the 2-1 lead!'

Top 4th
Kameya with a ball past Kawaji and into left! And Kameya books ito to 2nd! Kamkura moves him to 3rd.

AH!!  A wild pitch from Yoshida! Kameya can come home and it's 3-1!

Hanasaki Tokuharu on the attach! Kamimura singles to left!

And now it's the hit-and-run! Kuguu hits it through the open left side and it's runners at 1st and 2nd!

That'll be it for Yoshida, Ace Ogasawara comes in to relieve him.

And first pitch he gets Oota to ground right to the bag at 3rd.

Bottom 4th
Sugisaki starts with a single back up the middle and is moved to 2nd.

Isoami gets a hold of one and drives it to deep center! It goes over Ootaki and that will score Sugisaki to make it a 1-run ballgame! 3-2!

Break for Hanasaki Tokuharu! Kamakura is able to field Nagakura's comebacker and he has Isoami in a pickle! He's run down and there's 2 outs! Takeuchi is retired thereafter and the side is retired!

Bottom 5th
Momentum seems to be shifting to Toukaidai Sagami now. Kawaji walks, but while Ogasawara can't bunt the runner over, Chino singles to left! Now the gyakuten runner is on base, and now #18 Takahashi enters the game for Kamakura!

Contact play! Kawaji comes home, but Miyaji hits it right to Kusumoto! He goes home and Kawaji is out! 2 down!

Sugisaki with a slow bounder back up the middle! Okazaki gets to it, but the throw to 1st isn't in time! Manrui for Sagami!

Did I forget that Takahashi can hit 145? He's pulling it out in trying to get Toyoda out.

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow!! Takahashi blows a fastball by him for strike 3!! He comes in relief and holds the lead for Hanasaki Tokuharu!

6th Inning
Despite the break Hanasaki Tokuharu is unable to get any momentum.

So Toukaidai Sagami continues to ratchet up the pressure.

Isoami a drive to center! Ootaki running back... leaps... AND MAKES THE CATCH!

Ootaki selling out on that play and gets rewarded!

Now Nagakura with a ball down the right field line... Oota dives this time... but he can't get to it! Nagakura at 2nd with a double and Toukaidai is in business!

Takeuchi singles to left! Nagakura has to hold at 3rd, but the offense is starting to roll now!

Kawaji without a hit, but behind 0-2 he continues to spoil pitches.

He puts it in play, but it's right to Kusumoto again! They throw home once more and Nagakura is out!! 2 down!

SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Takahashi gets Ogasawara swinging and Hansaki Tokuharu escapes again!!

Bottom 7th
Toukaidai Sagami is running out of time, and they may be running out of momentum.

Chino with a groundball up the 1st base line that stays fair.

Miyaji swings and misses on a slider...

And Sugisaki pops out! Clean inning from Takahashi and they're that much closer to a win!

Top 8th
Okazaki with a grounder to the right side. Chino runs it down, but the throw to 1st... not in time!

Ootaki another grounder to the right side! Isoami dives, but can't get to it! And with a bunt from Satomi, Kusumoto can possibly put this game away!

But Kusumoto's ball to left is too shallow! Takeuchi makes the catch and the runners have to hold!

Toukaidai Sagami calls time and they're going to take the bat away from Sasaya and pitch to Takahashi.

And it works! He hits a chopper which Ogasawara fields and goes to 1st for the 3rd out!

Bottom 8th
And with that half inning there's life again! Toyoda leads off with a clean single to right!

Despite the 2 doubles earlier, Isoami bunts the runner along!

BALK! Takahashi is called for a balk!

And that comes back to haunt him! Nagakura hits a fly to left, and that will get the run in! We're all tied at 3-3!

And now the gyakuten runner reaches after Takahashi walks Takeuchi! Hanasaki Tokuharu calls time.

Grounder to 2nd! Oota fumbles it, throws to 1st.... and just gets the 3rd out!

The score lines stand identical at 3-10-1 as we head to the 9th! Who will get that key run across?

Top 9th
Kamimura chopper up middle, Chino charging in! Throw across his body to 1st... beats a diving Kamimura!

But now Kuguu gets hit!

They go for the bunt, but Oota pops it up! Kawaji, crashing in catches it in foul ground for the 2nd out! And with Okazaki grounding to short, Toukaidai Sagami has a chance to walk off!

Bottom 9th
Ogaswara grounder up 1st base line, and Kamimura misses it? E3 and Toukaidai Sagami is in business!

But Chino bunt is right to a charging Kusumoto ! They go to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... AHHHHHHHH!!!

Throw to first is high and wide, and in the camera well!!  So now it's like a bunt, but instead of Ogasawara, it leadoff hitter Chino!!

But Miyaji grounds to 3rd! Chino has to hold as Hanasaki Tokuharu gets the 2nd out!

GAME OVER!!!

Sugisaki lines the first pitch to deep left, and Kuguu won't get there! Toukaidai Sagami bids Hanasaki Tokuharu 4-3!

Day 12, Quarterfinal 1 - Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo) v Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)

All right no more mister nice guy for me. As I mentioned on my twitter I am sick and tired of the old establishment so my commentary is a bit different.

Waseda Jitsugyou I dislike and thank at the same time. I dislike them because they defeated Tanaka Masahiro back in 2006. I thank them because I think it motivated him to do better and he wouldn't have become the ace he is without it. And much to my amusement Saitou Yuuki became the pitcher he was, so that is a bonus.

Grudge? Yup. Do I care? Hell no.

If the media didn't already make big news of it, Kiyomiya had his breakout game versus Toukaidai Koufu, pretty much accounting for the final margin. The pitching is still shaky though, so the offense will need to continue producing, Kiyomiya or otherwise.

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku has had games that title runs are made of. After an easy 1st round win, they survived Osaka Kaisei and then put away Sakushin Gakuin behind a good pitching and defensive effort. Ace Tomiyama was not overly dominating, but still got the job done. The question will be what he has left with just 1 day's rest.

Selfishly, I want Kyukoku to win even though they defeated Osaka Kaisei. Might as well say you lost to the champs, right?

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
SS Yoshii Kouhei
CF Yamaguchi Youhei
C Iwasaki Kaito
3B Yamamoto Musashi
LF Wakisaka Ryuuji
1B Uto Sou
2B Kameya Shouhei
RF Nakayama Tatasuhide
P Nogi Kaito (#11)

Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo)
3B Yamada Jyunpei
RF Tamagawa Ryou
1B Kiyomiya Koutarou
C Katou Masaki
SS Kaneko Kinsuke
2B Tomita Naoki
LF Miyazaki Renta (#11)
P Matsumoto Kou
CF Watanabe Daichi

____________________________________________________________

08:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Yoshii foul tips an outside fastball into Katou's glove for the 1st out. Yamguchi goes down the same way.

Iwasaki grounds to short and it's a good start for ace Matsumoto.

Bottom 1st
Nogi needs some extra work, getting the count full, to retire leadoff batter Yamada.

Tamagawa strikes out swinging, and the announcers continue their talk of Kiyomiya as he steps in.

Kiyomiya tries to check his swing, but instead hits the ball back to Nogi who goes to 1st for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
Yamamoto with a liner into center for a base hit to leadoff the frame. Wakisaka not bunting, but chases another high fastball for Matsumoto's 3rd K.

Unfortunately afterwards Uto grounds into the 1-6-3 double play with added announcer emphasis on Kiyomiya.

Bottom 2nd
It would appear that the outside strike is there for both sides if they want it. Katou has to defend it and grounds to short.

Kanko swings at a ball in the dirt, but it gets away from Iwasaki so he's able to reach base.

あ。

Tomita takes the first pitch and hits it to left. Wakisaka runs to the pole, looks up!

HAITAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, that was unexpected. First pitch to Tomita just goes around the foul pole for a HR and gives Waseda the 2-0 lead.

Top 3rd
This looks really bad for Kyukoku. Kaneya goes down swinging and about half the lineup has succumbed to the K already.

Yoshii goes down looking, but the C bought that pitch. That was definitely outside.

Yamaguchi does not strike out, but he grounds to 2nd and Matsumoto is dealing so far.

Bottom 3rd
Nogi has settled back down it seems as he gets a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 4th
Kiyomiya adds more fuel to the Kiyomiya firestorm, hitting a HR to right making it 3-0.

After a walk and a bunt, Nogi is replaced by #10 Nakamura.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand..... this game is over.

Tomita hits his 2nd 2-run HR of game making it 5-0 and almost a 100% certainty that Waseda Jitsugyou moving onto the Best 4.

And after a triple, Nakamura is replaced by ace Tomiyama. Might as well have him finish the game. He's earned that much.

Final damage 6-0. And coverage of this game will probably be condensed now that this game has gotten out of hand.

5th Inning
Kyukoku continues to do zip on offense, and Waseda continues to pressure on their end. 6-0 at break.

6th Inning
Kyukoku had a chance with runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, but walked away with a donut instead.

7th Inning
Kyukoku prevents the shutout with a run thanks to a timely hit by Uto. Waseda punished that by having Kiyomiya go off the top of the padded fence as well as scoring 2 runs to put them back in the hole with interest.

Rest of game
The rest of the game goes without much fanfare. Waseda Jitsugyou advances with 8-1 win.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 11, Game 4 - Toba (Kyoto) v Kounan (Okinawa)

Apologies, I didn't have enough time to get the pregame writeup done here. But Kounan is off a very mentally draining game against Iwamichisuikan to start the tournament. They won't see many nearly as many pitching changes in this game, but they will face an offense in Toba that like to get singles, and a lot of them.

Toba (Kyoto)
LF Tabuchi Kouichirou
3B Iwakiri Kaito
CF Ina Kasumi
1B Kozono Shinnosuke
C Umetani Seigo
SS Minami Musashi
2B Nakajima Kouhei
RF Miyanishi Jyunya
P Matsuo Daiki

Kounan (Okinawa)
SS Higa Tatsutoshi
2B Naka Hibiki
LF Gushiken Taiki
1B Kina Chouki
RF Ishikawa Ryou
C Sakumoto Kazuki
CF Sunagawa Kento
3B Ganaha Makoto
P Hiyane Masaya

____________________________________________________________

15:40 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Good start for Hiyane as he gets 2 quick groundouts before Ina flies out to right for a clean inning.

Bottom 1st
It's just as quick for Matsuo. He needs just 8 pitches to get 3 groundouts.

2nd Inning
More of the same for Kounan in the 2nd. Hiyane just needs 9 pitches to get another clean frame.

Same cannot be said for Toba as Nakajima airmails a throw on Kina's ground ball. Ishikawa singles to left and there's runners at the corners!

Ishikawa takes off for 2nd, but no throw! Toba looking for double steal perhaps?

And Sakumoto singles to center Kina comes home! Ishikawa waved around! Throw from Ina... On a line! Umetani with the tag... OUT!

Kounan tries for 2 runs, but a great throw from Ina gives them just 1!

Matsuo escapes the inning without any further damage, but Kounan is on the board.

Top 3rd
Hiyane's perfect game is gone, he hits Miyanishi with one down.

Now that they have a baserunner, they send him to 2nd! Miyanishi takes and steals the bag!

But Matsuo flies out to right.

Huh, and it's raining now. with 2 down.

Tabuchi with the safety bunt! Ganaha throw to 1st... not in time!

Tabuchi takes off for 2nd! With the bunt play no one was covering 2nd and Tabuchi takes it without a challenge!  That's heads up by Tabuchi!

Iwakiri works the count full, and just does get the walk. It's manrui, but with 2 outs.

Hiyane trying to pound Ina inside, but he's missing and now behind 2-0.

Tries again, but Ina whips it back over Ganaha and down the left field line!! 2 runs will score and Toba has the 2-1 lead!

Kosono walks on 4 straight, and it's manrui again. This time though Umetani flies out to right and the side is retired.

Bottom 3rd
One down and Higa doubles to right center! Douten runner on for Naka, but he flies out to shallow left.

Matsuo leaves one over for Gushiken and he singles to left! But Higa has to hold at 3rd!

And that proves costly! Kina grounds to 3rd! Iwakiri with a strong throw to 1st gets the out! Side retired!

4th Inning
It was almost 3 up, 3 down for both sides but strangely with 2 outs and a Sunagawa grounder to 2nd, no one was at 1st to receive the throw.

Yet Kounan gives it right back to Toba as Sunagawa is caught stealing 2nd.

Top 5th
Matsuo a leadoff single for Toba. Tabuchi lays down the bunt, Kina crashes, throws to 2nd, but it's high and wide! Everyone's safe!!

Another bunt! Kina crashing again! But he can't field it cleanly! Has to go to 1st and the bunt succeeds!

And Ina gets his job done! He hits a fly to center that easily gets Matsuo home and it's 3-1 Toba!

Kozono strikes out, but the lead is extended!

Bottom 5th 
#16 Ninomiya comes in to hit for Ganaha.

And Matsuo issues his first walk of the game to Ninomiya. Hiyane tries to lay down the bunt, but he three bunts his way to a K.

Higa shot to short, but Minami makes the leaping catch! Tries to double off Ninomiya, but the throw is short and gets by Kozono! Ninomiya takes 2nd!

Naka can't capitalize! He grounds to short and the side is retired! We head to the break with Toba having the lead over the Okinawan champs!

Top 6th
Umetani with a ball to the right side, Nakajima runs it down, but has no play at 1st. Minami bunts him over.

Nakajima working the count, takes a couple close pitches inside to run the count full, but can't hold off the last one for the K.

Miyanishi grounds to 1st, and strands Umetani at 2B.

Bottom 6th
I don't really understand. It seems like Kounan is averse to taking a walk. Up 3-1 on the count, Gushiken swings away and grounds out.

Ishikawa lines a ball to right center! That''ll go for extra bases! Kina holds at 3rd, but now a base hit can tie this game right up! Toba calls for time.

Sakumoto grounder to short! He looks at home and 3rd, but rifles to 1st and just gets Sakumoto out. One run scores though and its 3-2.

But Sunagawa can't drive in the douten run! He grounds to 2nd and the side is retired!

Top 7th
2 down and Iwakiri almost makes it a 4-2 ball game just pushing a ball foul down the left field line.

He then is patient enough to draw the walk. Though he later tries to steal 2nd and is thrown out.

Bottom 7th
Ninomiya with a drive to deep center! That's over Ina's head and to the wall!  Douten runner on in scoring position!

Hiyane tries to bunt the runners over, but he bunts through the ball for the K.

Higa comes through with a single to center! The throw goes home and allows Higa to go to 2nd!

SQUEEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They put on the squeeze but Naka bunts right through it! Ninomiya is run down and there 2 outs! Is Matsuo going to get out of this jam?

NO!

Naka drives the very next pitch to left and it'll go over the drawn in outfield! Naka makes it all the way to 3rd and we're tied at 3-3!!

Now Matsuo hits Gushiken! Now the question is, is Matsuo breaking down late?

Not yet! He gets Kina to chase the slider in the dirt and gets the 3rd out! But Matsuo needs to survive 2 more innings yet he's given up a run in each of the last 2!

Top 8th
Toba if nothing else likes to grind out ABs. Ina does so and draws a leadoff walk.

Kozono not bunting, but in a long AB with Hiyane.

Liner! Right to Ishikawa! Throws to 1st... they tag Ina for the double play!!

And with Umetani flying out to right  Kounan gets the chance to take the lead!

Bottom 8th
Full count to Ishikawa and Matsuo leaves one up! Ishikawa singles past a diving Iwakiri for a base hit!

Sakumoto lays down the bunt, it stays fair! They make the tag but the ball comes out! However, it was after the tag, so the out stands. However, Ishikawa advances to 3rd on the play!

Sunagawa slices a ball to left! That falls in and Ishikawa scores! 4-3 Kounan!

Matsuo gets his final 2 outs, but the damage is done. Now they have just 3 outs to score a run of their own.

Top 9th
#14 Kawai to hit for Minami to start the 9th. But he flies out to right, 1 down.

Nakajima flies out to left, and there's 2 down.

Miyanishi flies out to center, and that's the ballgame! Kounan advanves with the 4-3 win at the end!

Day 11, Game 3 - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) v Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)

Our matinee game is a headliner for sure, and a regional affair to boot.

Sendai Ikuei has certainly put the offense on full as usual, racking up 19 runs in their first 2 games most recently defeating Takigawa Dai-ni. However, the team is susceptible to long stretches without scoring opportunities, and ace Satou Sena is not a power pitcher - though I'm not sure if any of the aces here are.

Hanamaki Higashi may have finally gotten the formula right. At first they were a plucky squad that grinded out games, putting pressure with running bases and the like. They're still doing it here, but it's more planned than just turning the dial to 11.

This should be a great way to start the afternoon session.

Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
3B Satou Shouta
CF Aoki Reima
SS Hirasawa Taiga
C Gunji Yuuya
1B Sasaki Ryousuke
LF Kii Kaishuu
RF Sasaki Tooya
2B Yatsu Koudai
P Doumeki Yuuki (#10)

Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)
SS Tarou Akira
C Fukushima Keito
LF Chida Kyouhei
2B Kumagai Sena
CF Sasaki Yuuya
1B Satou Yuito
RF Chiba Kouta (#11)
3B Kikuchi Shinya
P Katou Mitsunori (#17)

____________________________________________________________

13:15 - First pitch!

1st Inning
The siren isn't even done blaring and Shouta is at first with a single. Aoki quickly bunts him over.

Hirasawa draws a 4-pitch walk, and are they already in trouble?

Gunji base hit the other way! Shouta coming home and it's already 1-0 Sendai Ikuei!

Ryousuke with another single the other way! Hirasawa comes home and it's 2-0!

Kii hot shot to 3rd! Kikuchi has it! Goes to the bag for 1, throw to first gets the double play! But before that though Sendai Ikuei strikes first in the opening frame for a pair of runs!

Hanamaki Higashi, looking to immediately cut into that deficit gets a walk from Tarou, who is bunted over.

Chida gets under a pitch and hits a blooper to left. Kii and Hirasawa converge, but it falls in! Tarou gambles and goes for it and thus is able to score! 2-1!

Yuuya singles through the right side and it's runners at the corners with 2 outs for Yuito!

But they try the double steal! Hirasawa fires back home and they get Chida for the 3rd out! That's a a really questionable call there, especially with 2 down.

Top 2nd
And now Hanamaki Higashi is sending in ace Takahashi!

Tooya grounder to short! Tarou is able to run it down, but the throw is late and wide!

And now Takahashi hits Yatsu! Hanamaki Higashi back in hot water again!

Doumeki helping his own cause slicing ball down the left field line and all the way to the wall for a double! Tooya scores and it's 3-1.

Shouta walks on 4 straight and it's manrui for Sendai Ikuei!

Aoki liner up the middle, Tarou with the diving catch! Can't quite double off Doumeki, but that's a key out.

Takahashi then strikes out Hirasawa and Hanamaki Higashi is a pitch away from getting out of it,

Grounder to short and Tarou can flip to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Yuito lines a ball right at Shouta's head! He ducks, but can't get the glove quite on the ball as it goes to left for a base hit.

Chiba tries to bunt, but it's too short and Gunji fires to 2nd to cut down the lead runner.

Unfortunately, Kikuchi does ground into the 5-4-3 double play and the side is retired.

Top 3rd
After the first 2 innings, Takahashi is glad to get a clean, short inning to get some rest.

Bottom 3rd
One down and Tarou gets plunked.. Sasaki-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, but Chida grounds to short. Tarou beats Hirasawa to 2nd, but Hirasawa is still able to go to 1st for the out.

Grounder to short, and it's still a relatively quiet inning.

Top 4th
One down and Doumeki showing at least he is the better batter as he singles back up the middle. But two grounders to short later and the side is retired.

Bottom 4th
あら?

Kumagai hits a ball to left. Kii back to the wall. He looks up!

HAITAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kumagai hits a HR to left and brings Hanamaki Higashi within 1!

And after Yuito gets a base hit off of Doumeki, that'll be it for Doumeki.. for now anyways.

Satou Sena comes in for Sasaki Tooya and takes the hill. Doumeki goes to RF.

Pulls the string on Chiba with the forkball for the 2nd out, and then on the next pitch gets Kikuchi to ground to 3rd. Still Hanamaki Higashi is hanging in there!

Top 5th
2 down for Sendai Ikuei and Ryousuke singles to left, then Kii singles to right and there's runners at the corners.

Sena liner, but right to Tarou for the 3rd out!

Bottom 5th
There literally wasn't a bottom of the 5th. Sena needed just 4 pitches and we're at the break.

After a shaky start by both relief starters on the mound, the aces have taken over. But unfortinately for Hanamaki Higashi they find themselves down a run at the break.

Top 6th
One out and there's a reason Doumeki was left in. He gets his 3rd single of the game. And Sendai Ikuei will play for a run? Shouta bunts the runner over.

Takahashi leaves a ball up! Aoki drives it to left... and over Chida's head!! That's to the wall!

Doumeki scores from 1st, Aoki going for 3rd! Relay throw in.... OUT!!!

Aoki tries to take one base too many and the side is retired, but he does reestablish the 2-run lead at 4-2!

Bottom 6th
Chida with a ball to the left side. It's past a diving Shouta, but not Hirasawa! Fires to first and they nail him!

After that, it's 1-2-3 and perhaps Hanamaki Higashi is in trouble!

Bottom 7th
Yuito grounder to 3rd, throw from Shouta, short hops 1st and it's into foul territory! Yuito takes 2nd (just) on the error!

And they'll play for the run as Chiba bunts him over.

Kikuchi gets the run in as he flies out to right. 4-3.

That winds up being all they get, but they're within a run.

Top 8th
Two down and Yatsu gets hit preventing the clean inning.

Doumeki ball up the middle, Kumagai sliders over... but it's off him and into center! It's runners at the corners!

But Shouta grounds to short and the inning is over!

Bottom 8th
Hanamaki Higashi though goes down quickly in order. They still need 1 run, and now they have just 3 outs to go.

Top 9th
Hanamaki Higashi in trouble again! With 1 out, after Hirasawa walks, Gunji's bunt gets fielded by Fukushima, but the ball slips out of the glove! All safe!

Ryouta with a liner to left! Chida coming in, dives.. makes the catch!

And Kii strikes out to retire the side! They're able to hold serve, but...

Bottom 9th
It's the zero hour.

Kumagai grounds to 2nd and there's already 1 down.

But Yuuya lines a ball just over third for a base hit!

But then they try to steal 2nd??? Gunji fires... and they get him! 2 out!!!

Yuito with a ball to right, and Doumeki plays it safe and lets it drop in front of him. They're still alive as #9 Fukuchi runs for Yuito.

And after a strike, #14 Komatsu comes in for Chiba?

Grounder to 2nd, throw to 1st, and that's the ball game! Sendai Ikuei advances to the Best 8!

Day 11, Game 2 - Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) v Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)

The lunchtime game features 2 well-known schools who both have flaws of their own.

Kanto Dai-ichi's only game slightly reminded me of that non-sensical game between Sendai Ikuei and Urawa Gakuin. Only here it was a bit more ordered.

Kanto Dai-ichi had broken open the game against Takaoka Shougyou turning a 1-0 lead into 8-0. But the very next half inning, they gave all 7 runs back. They then lost the lead, regained it back, lost it again before reclaiming it for the final time at 12-10. The teams combined for 28 hits, 8 of which were extra bases and 3 of those were of the HR variety.

So needless to say there are concerns about the pitching staff, and if you have problems there I wish you godspeed sir.

As for Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, their last game against Kagoshima Jitsugyou was not decided until the late stages when they scored 6 runs after the break to pull away for a 7-4 win. Ueno is doing just enough to keep his team ahead, and if he can continue doing that they could be a contender after all. That's a big if though, and the question is if Kanto Dai-ichi is good enough to mitigate that.

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi)
LF Kawada Kouhei
2B Katou Daiki
CF Nakamura Kento
C Itou Hiroshi
1B Yatazaki Akedo
SS Satou Yuuki
3B Sugimoto Isamu
RF Naitou Ryousuke
P Ueno Shoutarou

Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
CF Okoye Rui
3B Ihashi Toshiki
SS Itou Masato
1B Igarashi Yuuki
RF Nagashima Ryouma
LF Moriyama Shou
C Suzuki Daichi
2B Kuroda Shunta
P Abe Takeshi (#10)

____________________________________________________________

10:45 - First pitch!

Top 1st
One down and Katou singles though the right side. 2 down, and a ptich that was supposed to be outside Itou makes contact with and sends it the other way for a base hit! Runners at the corners!

Kanto Dai-ichi in a lot of trouble now! Yatazaki draws a walk and it's manrui!

Bottom 1st
Kanto Dai-ichi's half is unfortunately not as exciting. Itou draws a 2-out walk, and then is caught badly when trying to steal 2nd.

Top 2nd
One out single for Naitou as Ueno moves him to 2nd with a slow chopper to short. Abe puts himself into another pinch walking Kawada, as the lineup moves closer to the heart.

He falls behind Katou 3-1 too, but gets him to pop up to Ihashi for the 3rd out.

Bottom 2nd
Igarashi draws a leadoff walk, but when Nagashima tries to lay down the bunt Yatazaki spin throws to 2nd and cuts the lead runner down.

Moriyama and Suzuki both hit good fly balls, but they're easy plays to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Yatazaki gets a 2-out single, but otherwise the batters for Chuukyoudai Chuukyou not really squaring up Abe right now.

Bottom 3rd
Looks like we might be settling in for the long haul now. Ueno retires the 8-9-1 batters in order, and while he's not getting as much attention Okoye is getting quite a bit.

Top 4th
Abe leaves one over the plate when it was wanted inside and Naitou gets his 2nd hit in as many ABs.

Ueno with a single of his own to center and they look to threaten again.

Kawada flies out to right, but that does allow Naitou to reach 3rd.

Abe gets Katou swinging to end the inning and we remain scoreless.

Bottom 4th
Unfortunately Kanto Dai-ichi is unable to make such headway. First pitch out for Ihashi and Itou, and Igarashi can only watch strike 3 on the outside corner.

Top 5th
Pitching change for Kanto Dai-ichi as #16 Kaneko enters the game.

Good start as he gets Nakamura on a slider.

2 down and Yatazaki with a slow grounder to short, but Itou misses the ball for some reason.

The error doesn't hurt as Itou tries to steal 2nd, but is out by a country mile.

Bottom 5th
Ueno holds serve as he gets his 3rd consecutive 1-2-3 inning. We head to the break scoreless with opportunities at a premium.

Top 6th
One down and Sugimoto makes a bid for a base hit to right center, but Okoye runs it down en route to another clean inning.

Bottom 6th
Kuroda gets Kanto Dai-ichi's first hit, a single to center. Kaneko moves him along.

Okoye goes down swinging on a changeup so it'll be up to Ihashi.

Ihashi with a foul fly. Sugimoto stops next to the camera well, reaches over... falls in...

Has the catch!!

Top 7th
Ueno with his 2nd hit of the game, a single to right. Kawano tries to bunt him along, but Kaneko crashes on the ball and spin fire to 3rd, and they get Ueno!

Katou and Nakamura are retired thereafter and the game remains scoreless.

Bottom 7th
Now Kanto Dai-ichi gets a leadoff runner of their own! Itou singles through the left side! He's bunted over and Chuuukyoudai Chuukyou calls for time.

Nagashima with a check swing chopper up the middle. Satou waits for it, fires to 1st, but it's not in time! Nagashima dives in safely and it's a big chance for Kanto Dai-ichi!

Moriyama with a fly to center! Nakamura charging, makes the catch! Itou going home, no! He goes back and now there are 2 outs!

Suzuki in a prolonged AB, fouling off pitches hoping to find one to get the timely hit. Eventually he works the count full after falling behind 1-2.

SANSHIN!!!!!

Ueno lets out a scream after he gets Suzuki on a high fastball and the side is retired!!

Top 8th
Kaneko hits Itou in the back to start the inning. Chuukyoudai Chuukyou has a chance here to get a ru in.

Yatazaki with the bunt, but it's too short again! Suzuki up and fires to 2nd and they get the runner!

They lay down the bunt again, and while it works, they are playing for the one-timer. Though one tim may be all they need.

Sugimoto clean single through the left side! Moriyama with it and makes the throw in. Yatazaki holds up at 3rd. Kanto Dai-ichi calls for time.

UH OH! Kaneko hits Naitou and it's manrui for Ueno!

Ueno grounder to 3rd! Igarashi with it! He picks it up and races Sugimoto to the bag! He gets there! 3 out!!!

Oh man, that race to 3rd...

Bottom 8th
2 down for Okoye and he grounds to short. Itou with the throw, but it's not in time to defeat a diving Okoye! (He could easily run through the bag...). Chuukyoudai Chuukyou calls time.

Ihashi draws a 4-pitch walk! That moves Okoye to 2nd as Itou steps in!

But he flies out to right and we're onto the 9th!

Top 9th
Nakamura gets on with 2 outs as Ihashi's throw is just off line.

Itou takes a close 3-2 pitch and walks! Now the go ahead run is at 2nd as Kanto Dai-ichi calls for time.

Grounder to 1st! Off Igarashi! He runs it to the bag... 3 out!

Bottom 9th
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NAGASHIMA DRIVES THE FIRST PITCH TO LEFT! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KANTO DAI-ICHI WINS IT WITH A SAYONARA HR 1-0!!!!

Where did that come from??? How did that happen after how this game played out?? I'm speechless, but not as much as Ueno is standing there on the mound.

I mean literally, that sucks. Fighting tooth and nail every inning, just hoping to get a runner in scoring position, and yet the game ends on a HR. Ueno is inconsolable. And rightly so. It feels unfair. It probably is unfair. Give him somewhere where he gives up a couple of hits and walked off, that's fine. But a HR? You're asking if it is a joke of some sort.

*whoo*.. I need some air.