Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 12 - Game 2 - Kurashiki Shogyo (Okayama) vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

Game 2 has a team in Kurashiki Shogyo who would love to make the trip to the Best 8. But standing in their way is up and coming powerhouse Tokoha Kikugawa.

In their first games, Kurashiki scrapped together two runs to defeat Saga Shogyo 2-0. Tokoha Kikugawa needed a mental lapse in the 8th inning to score the go-ahead run against a strong Fukuchiyama Seibi team. This was in spite of Tokoha Kikugawa having only 3 hits the entire game.

Tokoha Kikugawa has made radical changes to the order of it's lineup. More importantly, it isn't ace Togari that's starting. Instead it's #11 Hagiwara that will make taking the mound. Hagiwara, interestingly enough did not pitch in the prefectural qualifiers.

Unlike last game, I do have an opinion here. I'd like to see Tokoha Kikugawa do well. I was impressed when they won the Spring Koshien last year and rooted for them every time they come here.

But the game against Fukuchiyama Seibi made me a bit concerned. The fact that they could only put together 3 hits the entire game, plus needing 2 errors on one play to get the tying and winning run across is disconcerting - even though Fukuchiyama Seibi is a very good team.

In addition, I'm not sure I like sending out Hagiwara. Any team that has tried using a pitcher that hasn't been used before has been met with not very good results. Also, Tokoha's pitching has suffered since last year's ace Tanaka graduated.

I hate having to do this, but I'm going to choose Kurashiki Shogyo to advance to the Best 8. At least it's a team from Okayama.

Kurashiki Shogyo (Okayama)
CF Yuasa (8)
3B Kondou (5)
SS Kanetani (6)
LF Oka (10)
1B Uemori (3)
2B Shintani (4)
RF Itano (9)
C Makihara (2)
P Kimoto (1)

Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
SS Sakai (6)
LF Matsumoto (18)
3B Maeda (5)
RF Nakagawa (9)
CF Itou (8)
1B Ueshiima (3)
P Hagiwara (11)
C Tochigi (2)
2B Machida (4)
11:35 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Yuasa starts the game with a liner past a diving Maeda and up the left field line for a double! Kondou then puts down the safety bunt! Maeda gets to it, but the throw to 1st isn't in time!

Early trouble for Tokoha as runners at the corners for Kanetani!

And he shoots a grounder through to left! Yuasa scores! Just like that it's 1-0 Kurashiki!

Ah! Oka walks! Manrui now for Uemori!

AH! Uemori takes the first pitch to center! Itou runs back! But the ball is over his head and to the wall! Kondou scores! Kanetani comes around to score! It's 3-0 Kurashiki!!

Runners at 2nd and 3rd for Shintani.... and still no down!


Shintani puts down the squeeze! Maeda up with it, but his only play is to first! Oka scores! 4-0!!

Runner at 3rd for Itano.


Itano puts down another squeeze! And again, Hagiwara gets it, but his only play is to first! Uemori scores!


Hagiwara finally gets the 3rd out as Makihara grounds to short, but the damage is severe. Kurashiki has crippled Tokoha Kikugawa early putting them down 5-0 before they even step to the plate!

Bottom 1st
Two down, Maeda gets a single through to left. But that's all they can respond with this inning.

Top 2nd
Hagiwara looks better this inning, getting a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 2nd
Ueshiima gets a one-out single to start the inning. But then he gets picked off 1st! You certainly can't do that down 5! And Kimoto strikes out Hagiwara to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Hagiwara retires the first 2 batters, and is about to retire the 3rd when Uemori's grounder to 3rd is rushed big time by Maeda and several-hops Ueshima and goes by him! Uemori ends up at 2nd! Then he gives up a 4-pitch walk to Shintani. Runners at 1st and 2nd for Itano.

And he singles to center! Uemori rounds 3rd and heads home! The throw by Itou isn't high, but somehow it goes by everyone! Runners now at 2nd and 3rd and now Kurashiki leads 6-0!!

Bottom 3rd
Kimoto continues to look good on the mound. He retires Tokoha in order.

Top 4th
Yay! "Zankoku na tenshi no tese" is playing for Kimoto. And just like last game, he strikes out.

One down for Yuasa, and he grounds one to short. Sakai with the throw, but it's high and pulls Ueshima off the bag! Luckily for Togari, they throw out Yuasa trying to steal 2nd.

Bottom 4th
Maeda gets a one-out liner to center. Then he steals 2nd during Nakagawa's AB. Tokoha continues to be aggressive as they then put on the hit-and run! Nakagawa grounds to 2nd, but Maeda advances to 3rd.

2 down for Itou. Tokoha would really like to get one back here.

But Kimoto slams the door with a high fastball that Itou chases after!

Top 5th
Nojima is doing well in relief. He retires Kurashiki in order. But Tokoha needs it's offense to get started.

Bottom 5th
Ueshima starts the 5th with a single to center. Oddly enough, only two people account for all 4 of Tokoha's hits - Maeda and Uejima.

And maybe even odder is that Tokoha elects to bunt Ueshima along. Perhaps they're looking to just chip away at the lead.

Tochigi grounds to short. But Kanetani's throw to first is short and gets by Uemori! Ueshima walks in! 6-1!

And the weirdest fact of all is that they've scored all their runs via the error!

Runners on 1st and 2nd for Sakai. He grounds to 1st and the runners advance 90 feet.

2 down for 1st-year player Matsumoto.

First pitch lined to left! Tochigi scores! Machida rounds 3rd, he scores!! Matsumoto with the first 2 RBI's for Tokoha Kikugawa! 6-3!!

Hit-and-run!! Maeda makes contact and singles through the left side! Runners at the corners!

Nakagawa up now. Drive to right! Itano running to the wall! It's off the wall! Matsumoto scores! Maeda at 3rd! And Matsumoto is at 1st?! Oh, he rounded 1st awkwardly. But another run scores and it's 6-4!!

Itou up now. He gets a hold of one! Driven to left! Oka running to the wall! He collides with the wall!


OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Itou has hit a 3-run homerun and Tokoha Kikugawa has scored 7 runs to erase the deficit and take the lead!!!!!!! 7-6!!!!! Shinjirarenai!!!!

Right now, I feel relieved that Tokoha has taken the lead, even though I picked against them earlier. I want them to win, but the figures seemed to point to something different. Thank God they're proving my prediction wrong.

Uemoto comes up again as the 10th batter to the plate. And he singles to right! How long can Tokoha keep this up?

Nojima strikes out to end the inning, but it's a new ballgame now as we head to the break! Tokoha came in with the 6-run deficit, but have come back to take the 7-6 lead!

Top 6th
Kurashiki seems undeterred by the turn of events. Shintani leads off the first by hitting a single to left. He's bunted over by Itano. One down for Makihara.

And Makihara with a chopper up the middle! That's through to center! Shintani rounds 3rd, and he scores! Kurashiki comes right back and ties it up! 7-7!!!!

Yuasa now with the short chopper! Sakai fields it, but cant make the throw in time! Runners at the corners!

AH! Wild pitch! Tochigi keeps it in front, but Yuasa advances to 2nd!

Fortunately, Nojima gets Kondou to groud to 2nd, and the game remains tied.

Bottom 6th
Kimoto settles back down and retires Tokoha in order. Probably a relief to get that done.

Top 7th
Kanetani hits a grounder to 3rd. Maeda up with it but his throw isn't good again! Kanetani is on with another error by Maeda!

But Kurashiki elects not to bunt! Oka swings away and pops out to 2nd! And the batters keep on swinging away. Uemori grounds to 3rd and Shintani flies to left.

Bottom 7th
All of Tokoha's batters hit towering popups in the infield. I think they have to remember that the game is still tied.

Top 8th
Nojima is doing a great job in relief! After getting Itano to ground to short, he strikes out the next 2 batters to retire the side!

Bottom 8th
Itou starts the inning. He hits a grounder to Kondou, but his throw is wide and into foul territory! And Itou is in at 2nd with the go-ahead run!

AH! Ueshima hits the first pitch! It's traveling back! Oka running back! That's off the wall! Itou comes around. Tokoha Kikugawa has the lead again! 8-7!!

Now Tokoha decides to bunt. Nojima moves Ueshima to 3rd. Tochigi up now.

SQUEEZE!!!! Foul!!!!!!

Kitano does a pitchout, but Tochigi gets a hold of it and bunts it foul!

But the next pitch he drives down the right field line!!! Ueshima comes in to score! 9-7!!

Machida steps up. He swings hard! That's a drive to center! Yuasa running back to the wall!


The number 9 batter, Yuasa, hits a 2-run homerun to dead center field! That ball was crushed by Machida! And now Tokoha Kikugawa leads 11-7!!!!

Top 9th
Yuasa grounds one to 1st. Ueshima with it, toss to Nojima, loses it! Yuasa advances to 2nd!

#7 Miyake pinch-hits for Kondou. Grounder to 2nd! Machida up with it, and Yuasa is caught between 2nd and 3rd! They have him in a rundown, they apply the tag, but the umpire calls no tag! Yuasa scrambles back to 2nd!

Runners at 1st and 2nd for Kanetani. But he pops it up to 2nd! That's one down.

Oka up. He hits a drive to deep left center! That's all the way to the wall! Yuasa scores! Miyake comes around to score! 2-run double by Oka and it's now 11-9!!!!!

#16 Kanada comes in to pinch hit for Uemori. He hits a grounder to short. But Sakai's throw is in the dirt! Ueshima with the pick and... he's out! 2 down for Kurashiki!

Shintani, the last chance right now. Chopper! High bounce! Sakai leaps up! He has it! Comes down, makes the throw! Shintani dives!


Shintani's thrown out at first and Tokoha Kikugawa has come back from a 6 run deficit to defeat Kurashiki Shogyo 11-9! What a roller-coaster game this was between the two teams! Kurashiki bolting out to the early lead. Tokoha rallying in the 5th to erase the deficit and take the lead themselves! Kurashiki coming back to tie the game again. And finally Tokoha putting it away in the 8th, capped off by a home run by their #9 batter!

I'm out of breath...

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