Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 12 - Game 1 - Seiko Gakuin (Fukushima) vs. Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo

We start the round of 16 today with 2 schools looking to make the Best 8 for the first time in their school's history. Seiko Gakuin reached this point last year, only to lose to Koryo. Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo has already gone the furthest it's ever gone, and hopes to go further.

In their first games, Seiko Gakuin jumped ahead of Kakogawa Kita from the very beginning and won handily 9-2. Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo on the other hand, had to hold on to a 4-3 lead in the late innings to defeat Kagawa Nishi.

Seiko Gakuin makes some lineup changes for today's game. Tamura due to his performance has moved up in the lineup to the top of the order. Simarly, Yasuda has been moved down to 7th from the leadoff spot.

There's nothing that indicates to me a clear favorite in this game. Expect it to be an average scoring game with a small margin of victory. Don't know who I want personally to win though...

Seiko Gakuin (Fukushima)
SS Tamura (6)
2B Satou Takuya (4)
1B Sekine (3)
CF Kuroba (9)
LF Kanno (8)
RF Shike (17)
3B Yasuda (5)
P Satou Tatsuya (11)
C Takezawa (2)

Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo
SS Takai (6)
1B Usui (3)
RF Mori (9)
C Katou (2)
LF Sugishima (7)
CF Yoshimura (8)
3B Nishida (5)
2B Nishigawa Takuya (4)
P Hara (1)
8:31 AM
First pitch! The wind has picked up early today, with a slight breeze from right to left.

Top 1st
With 2 down, Hara gives up a single to Sekine. And even though he's able to steal 2nd, that's as far as he goes as Hara gets Kuroba to ground to 1st

Bottom 1st
Takuya has no problems in the early going, retiring the side in order.

Top 2nd
Two down for Seiko when Yasuda drives one to deep right! That's off the wall and Yasuda is in with a stand-up triple!

Chance to strike first for Seiko! But Tatsuya can't help his own cause as he grounds to short to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Katou leads off and takes a pitch inside to deep left! Kanno runs back, runs back. HAITA!!! Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo takes the early 1-0 lead off the bat of cleanup batter Katou!

Sugishima follows that up with a liner to left! Will Shiritsu Gifu begin a hit parade?

Yoshimura tries to bunt instead, but he pops it up to Hara! 1 down.

Then with Nishida up, Hara picks off Sugishima! With no runners on now, Nishida gets a comebacker to Hara and he easily makes the play at 1st. But Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo has taken the early lead against probable favorite Seiko Gakuin!

Top 3rd
Hara retires the side in order. He's not overpowering, but his location is good and he's throwing his offspeed pitches for strikes.

Bottom 3rd
Nishikawa Takuya starts the inning off with a single to center. Hara performs the obligatory bunt to move him over.

Tatsuya strikes out Takai for the 2nd out. That leaves it up to Usui. He hits a ball to center. Kuroba runs over, dives, but can't make the play! Takuya rounds the bases and scores! 2-0 Gifu Shiritsu!

Top 4th
One down, Hara's control has a lapse as he hits Kuroba. Seiko elects to bunt him over. Runner at 2nd, 2 down for Shike.

No, wait. Shike's being pinch-hit for early! #14 Saitou comes in.

And he drives the first pitch to right! AH! It's off Mori and behind him! Kuroba scores! Saitou advances all the way to 3rd! Tying run 90 feet away! 2-1!

Yasuda though, flies to deep center to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
It's a relatively easy inning for Tatsuya as he only gives up a 2-out hit batter.

Top 5th
Tatsuya starts the inning and he singles to left. On the very next pitch though, Katou catches him off the base and picks him off! It's too bad as Takezawa ends up walking.

But new leadoff batter Tamura has been struggling this game, and here too, he grounds to short. They get Takezawa for one, but Nishikawa Takuya drops the ball on the transfer and can't make the play at first.

2 down for Satou Takuya. Tamura breaks for 2nd and gets in there safely! And then Hara walks Satou Takuya! Small pinch here for Shiritsu Gifu!

He gets out of it though as Sekine flies out to center.

Bottom 5th
Takuya is called out on a check swing by the 3rd base umpire when from the replay, he obviously did not.

It's a quick 1-2-3 inning as we head into the break. Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo still holds on the 2-1 lead.

Top 6th
Defensive change in the outfield. Mori moves from right to left, and #18 Inui enters in right.

With one down, Hara issues a walk to Kanno. Again Seiko elects to bunt the runner over looking for the timely hit. And it will have to come from Yasuda who is 1-2 with the triple in the 2nd.

And he does it! He takes a ball high and away down the left field line over Mori's head! Kanno scores from 2nd on Yasuda's double and we're tied 2-2!!

Satou Tatsuya up now looking to give himself the lead.

Hard hit single to left! Yasuda rounding 3rd heading home! Mori up with the throw, but Katou can't secure the ball! Seiko takes the lead 3-2!!!

AH!! Takezawa follow that up with a drive to left! That's over Mori's head and to the wall! Satou Tatsuya comes in to score! 3 consecutive hits have given Seiko the 4-2 lead!!

And that's going to be it for Hara. Yoshimura comes in from center to take the mound. Inui moves from right to center, Mori moves from left to right, and #17 Yamagata comes in to play left.

And there seems to be a problem with Katou in the dugout. The medical staff come to the dugout. But after a couple of minutes, he emerges and returns behind the plate.

Yoshimura gets ahead of Tamura 1-2, but later in the AB Tamura ground one through to left! Takezawa scores! 5-2!

Seiko continues with the pressure as Tamura breaks for 3rd! Ball is in the dirt and there's no throw! Takuya lines to right, but Seiko has come out of the break scoring 4 runs and taking the 5-2 lead!

Bottom 6th
Katou gets a two-out single off Tamura's glove, but is forced out on a questionable call at 2nd (I think he beat out the toss).

Top 7th
One down, Kuroba draws a walk after falling behind 0-2.

Kanno puts down the bunt. Yoshimura and Katou quickly converge on it but then both give way to each other and the ball sits there! All safe!

Then with 2 down, the runners do a double steal! But while they move themselves into scoring position, Yasuda cannot bring them home.

Bottom 7th
Yoshimura starts off with a slow roller to 3rd. Yasuda up with the throw, but it's not in time and it's over Sekine! Yoshimura advances to 2nd on the error!

Nishida hits a short grounder to short, but Yoshimura doesn't advance!

Nishikawa Takuya hits another grounder to short, and this time Yoshimura advances.

But alas, he's left stranded there as Yamagata strikes out.

Top 8th
2 down, Tamura gets a single to right. Then Satou Takuya does the same putting runners at the corners! And while Takuya steals 2nd, Sekine grounds to 2nd. That play was close as Nishigawa Takuya was going to toss it to Usui, but he was going away from 1st! Yoshimura covered at the last minute to get the out.

Bottom 8th
Tatsuya continues his good pitching, retiring Shiritsu Gifu in order.

Top 9th
Yoshikawa gets his own 1-2-3 inning, but now they're down to their final 3 outs.

Bottom 9th
Captain Yoshimura refuses to give up, getting a 2-out double to left center. But that would be the last gasp for Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo as Seiko Gakuin becomes the first team to advance to the Best 8 winning 5-2.

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