Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 11 - Game 1 - Kanazawa (Ishikawa) vs. Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)

The scheduling gods have smiled down upon us today as we wrap up the 2nd round of Koshien today with 3 must-see games! Well, at least on paper.

The morning game today features 2 teams looking to do better than 2 years ago when they were both eliminated in the 2nd round.

...of course, Kanazawa lost to Kumamoto Kogyo while Osaka Toin lost to eventual champions Waseda Jitsugyo in the "Bracket of Death".

In their opening matches, Kanazawa wore down Kiryu Daiichi's pitching and advanced with a 6-1 victory.

Osaka Toin's game was originally postponed due to rain after they had gone out to a 4-0 lead against Hita-rin Kogyo. Didn't matter, because in the 2nd game they pretty much did the same thing en route to a 16-1, well... annihilation.

So who's going to move onto the round of 16?

Interestingly enough, Kanazawa has changed their lineup for this matchup. First of all they move switch-hitting Yamamoto from 5th to 7th in the lineup. In addition, they send out their submariner, #18 Kawahara to pitch against the Osaka Toin lineup. Perhaps the manager thinks that sending a submariner to the mound will give them a little advantage.

But realistically speaking, it borders on a David vs. Goliath matchup. Expect Osaka Toin to win going away.

Kanazawa (Ishikawa)
LF Sasaki (7)
RF Ishino (17)
C Kawamoto (2)
1B Hayashi (3)
2B Kokon (4)
3B Nozaki (5)
SS Yamamoto (6)
CF Motoi (8)
P Kawahara (18)

Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)
SS Asamura (6)
CF Shimizu (8)
2B Morikawa (4)
1B Hagihara (3)
RF Okumura (9)
LF Fukushima Kouhei (7)
3B Sano (5)
C Ariyama (2)
P Fukushima Yuuto (1)
9:30 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Kawamoto gets a 2-out walk against Yuuto to start, but it's otherwise a quiet inning.

Bottom 1st
Asamura starts off the game with a liner to left on a hanging pitch.

Osaka Toin with the hit-and run! Ball hit to Nozaki! Goes to 2nd?! Safe! What was Nozaki thinking on the hit-and-run?!

Runners on 1st and 2nd with no out! Ah, runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Cleanup batter Hagihara steps up to the plate.

Count goes to 1-1, then Hagihara tries to go upstairs! But instead the ball hangs in the zone and Hagihara drives it into the left center field gap! That's down and past Sasaki all the way to the wall! Asamura and Shimuzu easily score on Hagihara's double! 2-0 Osaka Toin!

Kawahara gets Okumura to fly to center. And after hitting Kouhei, he gets Sano to fly to left. But early on, the strategy of using the submariner has backfired on Kanazawa!

Top 2nd
Kokon starts the 2nd with a scorcher just under the diving Sano and into left for a single. Nozaki tries to bunt him along, but he can't and is forced to swing away... and strikes out.

Yamamoto tries to as well, and can't do it the first time. Then they put on the hit-and-run!! Yamamoto makes contact and shoots one into right! But what's this? Kokon has to hold up at 2nd?! What happened there?

So runners at 1st and 2nd for Motoi. But he too strikes out. That leaves it up to ace Kawahara.

Ah! He's hit on his back leg! Manrui for Sakaki! And he singles through to right field! Runners advance 90 feet, and Kokon scores! 2-1!

Ara? Kanazawa's already using a pinch hitter?! #9 Yamada is coming in to pinch-hit for Ishino! So manrui for Yamada!

He falls behind 1-2, and swings at a low pitch! Morikawa secures it and makes the play at 1st for the 3rd out! Big chance lost for Kanazawa! But they do get one run back.

Bottom 2nd
Kawahara looks to have settled down. He gets Arihara to strike out and Fukushima to pop to 2nd.

Arimura steps up and drives an inside pitch to left! Sasaki goes back to the wall, looks up! Haita!! Arimura gets his body around on an inside pitch and crushes that ball about 15 rows back in left! 3-1!!

Kawahara gives up a bloop single to Shimizu before getting Morikawa to strike out.

Top 3rd
Yuuto plunks the first batter Kawamoto, but can't do anything after that.

Bottom 3rd
Kawahara is relieved from the game and #1 Sugimoto heads to the mound.

And Sugimoto retires the side in order!

Top 4th
Yamamoto leads off the 4th with his 2nd base hit! He drives one to left past a running Kouhei for a double!

And there's a runner on 3rd with one out! (You can figure out what happened, can't you?)

Ace Sugimoto comes out to bat for the first time this tournament. He gets ahead 3-0 as Osaka Toin is worried about the squeeze. Goes 3-1 now. And he has the green light! He swings and lines one to center! Yamamoto scores! They've cut the deficit down to 1! 3-2!!

The lineup turns over to Sasaki. And Sugimoto goes for 2nd! Throw by Ariyama is there, but both players are playing backup! He in safe! Then Sasaki walks! Runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 down!

Yamada up in another timely situation. But he falls behind 1-2. Misses outside, 2-2. Just fouls one off! Ball outside! Full count!

AH!!!!! Yamada drives one to center! That's going deep! That's over everyone's head!!!! Sugimoto scores! Sasaki all the way from 1st scores on Yamada timely triple!!!

Kanazawa's taken the lead 4-3!!!

And there's still only one down as Kawamoto steps up! But Yuuto gets him to strike out.

2 down for Hayashi. But he swings on the first pitch and pops it to left! Asamura and Kouhei converge on it and get under it. AND NEITHER OF THEM GET IT??????!

Asamura had to lean back at the last minute and he missed the ball!! Yamada comes in to score!! Kanazawa now leads by 2, 5-3!!

Now Kokon takes a drive to deep center! But Shimizu is playing back and makes the easy catch. Kanazawa with a 4 in the 4th and they're shocking everyone! (Except for perhaps the Kanazawa oen-dan).

Bottom 4th
One down Ariyama pops one to shallow left. Yamamoto camps under it... and makes the same mistake as Asamura!! Ariyama in with a single!

Sugimoto gets the next 2 batters out, but both hit drives to deep left and center field. Perhaps a little concerning if you're Kanazawa.

Top 5th
Osaka Toin's manager has decided that for now, a change is in order. Okumura relieves Yuuto on the mound while Yuuto heads over to right.

After Okumura retires the first two quickly, 8th batter Motoi proves to be more stubborn. He works the count full and continues to foul pitches away. On the 9th pitch, he holds up on an outside letter high pitch and gets a hard-earned walk.

So, what can Sugimoto do? He's 1-1 this tournament with a timely hit.

Well, he puts up a small fight, but eventually goes down swinging.

Bottom 5th
Shimizu starts the inning with a liner up the middle.

One out, Shimizu at 2nd for Hagihara.

With the count 2-1, Sugimoto hangs a pitch, but Hagihara puts it just foul! His next pitch looks just like the last one??!

And just as I think that, Hagihara lines it to right. Why in bloody heck would you pitch to the same place after the batter just missed on his timing? Shimizu comes in to score, and Osaka Toin has cut the deficit to 5-4.

Sugimura gets ahead of the next batter Okumura 1-2, and on a low away pitch, he just gets a piece of it! And it gets past a diving Hayashi into right! Runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out!

Kouhei steps up, and he hits a fly to left. Sano up to try and get the timely hit, but he flies to deep center. Still Kanazawa's lead is now a tenuous 1 run.

Top 6th
Yamada leads off the inning with a walk. Kawamoto steps up next and hits a chopper to 1st. Hagihara leaps, but it's over his head! Runners at 1st and 2nd!

Hayashi up now. And a wild pitch!! Runners advance to scoring position!

But Okumura gets Hayashi to strike out.

2 down for Nozaki. No, wait. #14 Tatami is coming to pinch-hit for Nozaki. Kanazawa's manager is once again going to his bench!

And he may not have to lift a bat! Okumura falls behind 3-1!

Bottom 6th
Ariyama takes the first pitch and lines it to left! Sasaki runs back, but it flies over his head! He's in with a double!

Yuuto puts down the bunt. Sugimoto up with it and throws to first, but it's not in time! Yuuto beats it out! Runners at the corners for the dangerous Asamura!

But Sugimoto goes up on him 1-2! Then he tries to nibble, but Asamura doesn't bite! Count goes full! Just reaches out and fouls the next pitch! And he drops one on Asamura away and he bites! Sanshin!!! 1 out!

Shimizu though steps to the dish. 2-3 today with 2 singles. Sugimoto looking for the steal, does a pitchout and falls behind 2-1. Next pitch is another pitchout!! And Yuuto takes off for 2nd! Kawamoto throws to 2nd, and they nail him! Risky call there pays off!

Now 2 down, runner at 3rd for Shimizu! And he swings on the next pitch and grounds to 2nd! Inning over! Kanazawa gets away from a no out, runners on 1st and 3rd situation!

Top 7th
You know, now that I think about it, there's no music from the Kanazawa oen-dan. Just singing to mimic a band. Do they not have one or something? And come to think of it, I was in Kanazawa's oen-dan 2 years ago, and I had the exact same thought.

Back to the 7th, Sugimoto gets a 2-out single to left, but is left stranded.

Bottom 7th
Sugimoto retires the first 2 batters with relative ease. But then Okumura hits one to deep right center! That' s to the wall! Motoi has a hard time getting the ball, and Okumura heads all the way to 3rd! The tying run is 90 feet away for Kouhei!

And he gets plunked. But he really shouldn't have been awarded 1st. I mean, he didn't even move at all! Didn't even flinch!

Sano up. Drives the first pitch to deep center! Motoi running back, running back, and makes the catch in front of the wall!! Kanazawa is just barely holding onto it's lead!

Top 8th
Okumura and Yuuto switch places. And Yuuto retires the side in order.

Bottom 8th
Sugimoto retires the first 2 batters again easily. But that brings up Asamura.

??! He hits a drive deep to left! Sasaki running back to the wall. He's looking up! Masaka!!


Asamura has hit his 2nd homerun of the day! Another blast to left! More importantly, he's tied the game 5-5!!!!!

Shimizu then hits a grounder down the 1st base line! Hayashi puts his glove out and he can't get it! It goes into right and Shimizu is up with a double! Go-ahead run is in scoring position!

And Kanazawa's manager has seen enough. He calls in #11 Sakurai to relieve Sugimoto.

Morikawa steps up to the plate. Wild pitch!! Shimizu advances to 3rd! Now the go-ahead run is just 90 feet away!

Sakurai gets Morikawa to ground to 2nd! Tatami double clutches, but makes the putout at 1st!

But Osaka Toin has tied the game!!

Top 9th
One down, Tatami singles through to left! Playing for the run, they bunt him over to 2nd. 2 down for Motoi.

Ah! He grounds one to the left side!
Asamura runs over, makes the stop! The throw is in time to get a diving Motoi (running through wouldn't have mattered).

Now Osaka Toin has a chance to end it here in the bottom of the 9th!!

Bottom 9th
Hagihara starts the inning with a drive to left! Sasaki in front of the foul pole makes the catch! That was close!

Okumura swings away and grounds to short... 2 down.

Kouhei hits one to center, and it drops in! Sayonara runner on base!

Sano's been hitting the ball to the outfield all day. What will he do here?

It's another fly! This time to right center! Yamada runs over and makes the catch! Enchousen!

Top 10th
WOW! With one down, Sasaki grounds one up the middle! Asamura runs it down, twirls and makes the throw to 1st!! This guy is doing it all both with the bat and the glove!!

The Kanazawa batters have been awfully patient at the plate. But unfortunately, they're retired in order. But this might help them if the game continues deep into extras.

Bottom 10th
Due up for Osaka Toin - Ariyama, Fukushima Yuuto, and Asamura

Ariyama starts the offense early though with a shot through the left side. Yuuto now looking to bunt... His first attempts goes foul. 1-1... now it's 2-1... 3-1!! You can't walk him now!

But Yuuto puts down the bunt! Runner at 2nd for Asamura!

And Kanazawa elects to intentionally walk him! Good choice since his run doesn't matter!

But Shimizu is up now. He's 3-5 today and as big of a threat as Asamura!

Fouled off! 0-1. Ball outside, 1-1. Just outside again... 2-1. High! 3-1!! This is bad! High and outside! Manrui!

Conference at the mound now. Manrui for Morikawa! He's 0-3, but has 2 sac bunts on the day! Will we see a squeeze?

No! Morikawa makes contact on the first pitch! It's through the infield! Sayonara!!! Morikawa makes his first hit count as he delivers the sayonara hit to end the game!

An amazing game turned in by both teams! Kanazawa, who after falling behind early, jumped ahead of powerhouse Osaka Toin and feverishly tried to fend off rallies. And Osaka Toin, for continuing to pick away at Kanazawa inning after inning, eventually tying and winning the game!

And what a performance by SS Asamura! He had great plays on the field, but more importantly he displayed his power at the plate, going 3-5 with 2 solo home runs!

Kanazawa gave everything they had against Osaka Toin, and was 4 outs away from defeating the giant. But instead, Osaka Toin thanks its lucky stars as they advance to round of 16. They won't have much time though, as they face Toho for the chance to advance to the Best 8 in just 2 days.

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