Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 14 - Best 8 - Game 1 - Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo) vs. Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)

We're now in the home stretch here at Koshien. The tournament from here on out will accelerate towards the dramatic conclusion on Monday.

The first game is an all Kinki affair with Hotoku Gakuen and Osaka Toin facing off.

This game will be a tale of two games. The first half will be dependent on Chikada's pitching. If he can't locate his pitches, it could be lights out for Hotoku.

The second game will come in the late innings. It's common knowledge now that Yuuto fades in the late innings, and Okumura may not be a servicable reliever. If Hotoku can rack up the pitch count, it's possible that they can score runs, and even rally from a deficit.

Ah yes. There is one more additional factor. Hotoku played 2 days ago, Osaka Toin played yesterday. And Osaka's game yesterday probably took a bit more out of ace Yuuto.

I think the slight advantage goes to. While Hotoku Gakuen certainly has rally potential which could be sooner in the game than what we've seen in the past, I wonder about the innings Chikada has to survive until then.

Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)
2B Imura (4) - 1-14, 3B, R, 2K
3B Saigou (5) - 2-11 , 3R, K, 4 BB
C Itoi (2) - 3-11, 2B, 2 3B, 3 R, 2 K, BB
CF Inoue (8) - 6-12, 2B, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 K, BB
P Chikada (1) - 4-9, 2 R, K, 4 BB
1B Ujiie (3) - 7-15 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2K
LF Nakamura (7) - 3-11 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
RF Nakagawa (13) - 1-7, RBI, 2 K, 2 BB
SS Momiyama (15) - 2-7, 2B, RBI, K, BB

P Chikada - 27 IP, 10 R, 10 ER, 24 H, 25 K, 11 BB

Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)
SS Asamura (6)
3B Sano (5)
2B Morikawa (4)
1B Hagihara (3)
RF Okumura (9)
LF Nakatani (12)
CF Fukushima Kouhei (7)
C Ariyama (2)
P Fukushima Yuuto (1)
11:00 AM
First pitch! The wind is blowing, but not as strongly as is usually is.

Top 1st
Yuuto with his good form early as always, retires the side in order.

Bottom 1st
Chikada with the 2 out walk to Morikawa, but Hagihara hits a towering fly ball to right to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Inoue leads off the inning with a liner to center! Chikada swings away, but he does just as good as a bunt grounding out to 2nd.

Yuuto looking to shut Hotoku's opportunity, strikes our Ujiie.

But on the first pitch, Nakamura takes the ball to deep right! Okumura goes to the wall, but has to play the carem! Inoue comes in to score! Hotoku takes the first shot leading 1-0!

Bottom 2nd
Okumra with a drive to left! Nakamura running back to the wall! まさか!


Okumura with one swing of the bat ties the game up with a leadoff homerun to left! 1-1!!!

Then with 2 down, Chikada walks Kouhei on 4 straight! But his defense bails him out with a nicely executed 6-4-3 DP.

Chikada's control is still shaky here in the opening frames. He has to minimize it if he wants to keep Hotoku in the game.

Top 3rd
Imura with the one-out single. But that is wiped out as Saigou immediately grounds into the 6-4-3 DP.

Bottom 3rd
Yuuto proves to be a pain against Chikada battling deep into the count and fouling off pitches, but on the 11th pitch Chikada wins getting Yuuto to fly out to 3rd. After that, it's a breeze to a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th
Itoi leads off the inning with a walk, and is bunted over.

And Chikada crushes a ball to center! Kouhei runs back to the wall! That's off the wall! Itoi comes around to score! Chikada running to 3rd, throw comes in. SAFE! Hotoku Gakuen takes the lead on Chikada's timely triple! 2-1!

Runner on 3rd, one down for Ujiie!

SQUEEZE! Ujiie tries to put down the squeeze, but the pitch is down and away and he can't get it! Chikada scurries back to the bag. It's 0-2 and now and he has to swing away. Sanshin! Yuuto with the strikeout!

2 down for Nakamura. Yuuto gets ahead 1-2 and strikes him out! He's out of the pinch, but Hotoku has the lead!

Bottom 4th
Hagihara with the one-out single to right to start it off.

Wild pitch to Okumura! Hagihara advances to 2nd! Then Okumura with the liner, but Imura secures it! 2 down!

Nakatani with the liner to left! Nakagawa coming in on the dying liner! Dives! Doesn't have it! Hagihara coming home! Nakagawa with the throw to Imura! Imura coming home! Itoi with the ball...

OUT! A great relay combined with a great block of home by Itoi guns Hagihara down!

Top 5th
Momiyama with the one-out single up the middle. Imura bunts him along for Saigou.

AH! Saigou with a blast to right! Okumura running back to wall, looks up.


Saigou with the 2 run homerun to right!! Amazing! Hotoku has now taken the 4-1 lead!!!!! Perhaps yesterday's game took a lot more out of Yuuto than I thought!

Bottom 5th
Kouhei opens the 5th with a single up the middle.

Then with the count 1-2 to Ariyama, the game takes a break at noon as the stadium observes the surrender of Japan to the allied forces.

Coming out of the observance, Ariyama puts down the sac bunt moving Kouhei to 2nd.

Yuuto then takes the next pitch and drives that into the gap in right center! That's a one-hopper off the wall! Kouhei scores as Yuuto comes through with the double!

Asamura falls behind 1-2, then hits a liner to center!! Runners at the corners for Sano!

Conference on the mound for Hotoku. They can't waste the lead they just obtained.

And Sano pops up on the first pitch! Imura camps under it in foul territory to make the catch!

Morikawa does the same! He flies out to left and the inning is over! Osaka Toin has gotten 1 run back, but wasted a great opportunity to really close the gap!

Top 6th
Okumura comes in to relieve Yuuto on the mound. This is really early, and could mean trouble for Osaka Toin.

And he leads it off by yielding a single to Inoue, who's then bunted over. Then he walks Ujiie! Okumura in a pinch!

Nakamura up. Okumura gets ahead 1-2. Nakamura with the liner! But it's right at Nakatani! 2 down!

And Nakagawa grounds to 2nd! End of inning!

Bottom 6th
Hagihara with his 2nd hit of the day leads off the 6th! Okumura looking to bunt.

He pulls it back! Liner! Saigou dives, but it's past him and into left! Okumura in with a double! Runners at 2nd and 3rd with no out!

AH!! Wild pitch! Itoi can't handle the inside pitch and Hagihara scores! They've narrowed the margin to 1, 4-3 Hotoku!

Nakatani with the sharp grounder to 3rd! Saigou with it! Okumura scrambles back to 3rd as Saigou makes the putout at 1st. One down.

But Chikada gives up a walk to Kouhei! Runners at the corners!

Ariyama delivers! He grounds one to left field and Okumura scores! Tie game! 4-4!!!

Another wild pitch! Ball in the dirt that Itoi has no chance of fielding it! Runners advance to scoring position!

Chikada comes back and strikes out Yuuto! Two down!

But then Chikada walks Asamura on 4 straight! Manrui!!

Sano with the high chopper! Imura charging, has to wait. Fields it! Throw to 1st! Sano dives!


Sano in safe at 1st! Kouhei scores! Osaka Toin has come back with 3 runs and leads 5-4!!!!! And still manrui for Morikawa!

He falls behind 0-2 and hits a grounder to short. But now what will Hotoku do?

Top 7th
Momiyama looks to strike right back as he hits a comebacker up the middle and into center!

Now one out and runner on 2nd for Saigou! And he walks him!

Conference on the mound. Okumura needs to hold onto this lead, but it's going to be tough.

Okumura gets ahead of Itoi 0-2, but Itoi evens the count. Pop up! Sano in foul territory with the catch! 2 down! But Inoue steps up, already 2-3 on the day...

And Okamura gets ahead of him 0-2! POP UP! Ariyama goes to the fence, and can't field the ball! 2nd chance for Itoi!!

SANSHIN!!!!!! Inoue whiffs at Okumura's outside fastball and Osaka Toin is out of the jam!

Bottom 7th
Hagihara with a blast to right! Nakagawa running back to the fence!


Cleanup batter Hagihara extends Osaka Toin's lead to 2 with a blast to right!!! 6-4!

One down now. Nakatani singles back up the middle! Kouhei follows that up with a bloop to left center! Runners at 1st and 2nd!

#8 Shimizu comes in to pinch run for Nakatani at 2nd.

Ariyama with a drive to right! Nakagawa backpedaling! Reaches up and makes the catch! That was close! Shimizu advances to 3rd! 2 down!

Yuuto grounds to 2nd and that's the inning. But Osaka's added another run!

Top 8th
Shimizu stays in to play center. Yuuto and Okuyama switch back to their beginning positions.

Two down for Hotoku, and Nakamura singles to right! #9 Nagahama comes in to pinch-hit hoping to spark something. But alas, he pops up to 1st.

Bottom 8th
Sano with his 2nd hit, as he hits one to the left field wall for a double.

Morikawa now with a grounder into left! Runners at the corners for Hagihara!

Pop up to left! Nakamura and Momiyama close in on it, but it drops in! Sano walks home and Osaka Toin leads 7-4!!

Tha'll be it for Chikada as #12 Onodera comes in to pitch. Chikada moves to 1st replacing Ujiie.

Onodera goes on to strike out Okumura, but Osaka Toin has added another insurance run.

Top 9th
Saigou tries to fight on with a 2 out double to left, but Itoi grounds to 2nd to end the game.

So! Osaka Toin advances one step further to the championship! For Hotoku Gakuen, they could not hold off the powerful Osaka offense who wore Chikada down until they were finally able to break through.

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