Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 15 - Best 8 - Game 1 - Cbiben Wakayama vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

We are certainly "blessed", if you want to look at it that way, to have a best 8 like this. Two great games yesterday, and two more to look forward to today.

Chiben has for the most part dominated their competition, thanks to their 2nd year ace, Okada to get them through the tournament. He wears #10, but probably as a result of being an underclassman (i.e. not a 3rd year).

Tokoha Kikugawa has had to rally back in both of its games to advance to the Best 8. Against Fukuchiyama Seibi, a communication problem on a pick off throw combined with a lack of attention allowed Tokoha Kikugawa to score its only 2 runs of the game to win 2-1.

Then against Kurashiki Shogyo, they fell behind 5-0 in the first inning. Then down 6-0, they scored 7 in the 5th and held on to win 11-9.

As much as Tokoha Kikugawa has been able to rally from behind, there's only so far that a team can go on that. Expect Chiben to win here and advance to the Best 4.

Chiben Wakayama
SS Urata (6)
P Shibata (1)
2B Katsuya (4)
1B Sakaguchi (3)
RF Morimoto (2)
LF Takahashi (7)
CF Tanbo (8)
C Okada (10)
3B Nishikawa (18)

Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
SS Sakai (6)
CF Itou (8)
2B Machida (4)
RF Nakagawa (9)
3B Maeda (5)
1B Uejima (3)
P Nojima (10)
C Tochigi (2)
LF Matsumoto (18)
11:00 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Nojima with a short inning, as he retires Chiben Wakayama in order to start the game.

Bottom 1st
Itou gets it started with a single to left. And then Machida drives one to deep right center!!

Tanbo gives chase, but it falls in in front of the wall! Itou running the bases! Tanbo up with it! Itou being waved home! Katsuya with the relay throw! Morimoto with it, collision!!!

Umpire looking for the ball... OUT! A perfect relay home guns down Itou! Katsuya advances to 3rd, so 2 down and runner on 3rd for Nakagawa.

But Nakagawa pops up to shallow right center and Tokoha loses their chance!

Top 2nd
Sakaguchi leads off the inning with a single to right. Runner on 2nd, one out for Takahashi.

Grounder through to left! Runners at the corners.... AH! The ball goes under Matsumoto's glove! Sakaguchi comes on in to score! 1-0!

Tanbo up with Takahashi at 2nd. He grounds to 1st, allowing Takahashi to advance to 3rd.

Uh oh... after Nojima got ahead of Okada 1-2, he loses him! Runners at the corners for last batter Nishikawa!

Drive to right! Going, going, foul! What a swing by 1st-year Nishikawa! Nojima comes back with the fastball on the outside corner! Sanshin!

But thanks to an error by the defense, Chiben Wakayama takes the early lead!

Bottom 2nd
Okada yield a leadoff single to Maeda, but Morimoto guns him down at 2nd when he tries to make the steal. After that, Maeda retires the next 2 batters in order. The relative day of rest he received when the team played Komadai Iwamizawa certainly helps.

Top 3rd
One down for Chiben when Shibata singles to center. Nojima is still struggling with his location, and he walks Katsuya! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Sakaguchi, a real cleanup hitter!

Nojima gets ahead 1-2, and doesn't get a call on the outside corner! Then the count runs full!

But Sakaguchi pops up! Nojima goes after him with an inside pitch! Machida secures the catch! 2 down! And Morimoto flies to center to end the inning! Another bullet missed!

Bottom 3rd
Okada has his first 1-2-3 inning. He continues to go after batters and his location looks real good.

Top 4th
Nojima walks his 3rd batter of the game, Tanbo, with one down. Okada grounds one up the middle. Machida goes to make a play, but Tanbo runs into him and is automatically called out.

Nishikawa with the safety bunt! Nojima up with it, but the throw isn't in time! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Urata. He hits a grounder to short. Sakai goes to 2nd, but Machida isn't on the bag! All safe! Manrui for Shibata!

He grounds to short! Sakai tries it again, and this time Machida is on the bag for the force.

Bottom 4th
Okada continues with his dominance of Tokoha Kikugawa once again retiring the side in order,

Top 5th
Katsuya leads off the inning and singles to right center. Then, he walks Sakaguchi! With runners on 1st and 2nd, Chiben elects to bunt the runners along. Big chance for Chiben!

But Takahashi swings on the first pitch and pops it up just behind 2nd base! 2 down!

Ah! Nojima walks Tanbo! Manrui! Tokoha's manager has seen enough and brings in his ace Togari to get Tokoha out of this situation.

But he falls behind Okada 3-0!! There's nowhere to put him!

Low! Ball 4! Katsuya scores and Chiben now leads 2-0!

Nishikawa grounds to short, but Tokoha is finding themselves behind yet again!

Bottom 5th
Maeda leads off the inning. OW! He's beaned right in his side! That's gotta hurt.

Uejima isn't bunting. He singles through to right! And Togari puts down the safety bunt! Nishikawa up with the ball, but he one hops the throw and Sakaguchi can't secure it! E5, and manrui for Tokoha Kikugawa! Big chance!

But Okada continues to be aggressive and he strikes out Togari! 1 down!

#16 Kitajima pinch-hits for Matsumoto.

AH!! Wild pitch! Ball in the dirt gets away from Morimoto and Maeda comes in to score! 2-1!

Okada is relentless! He strikes out Kitajima! 2 down! It's all up to Sakai to get the trying run home!

But Okada gets ahead of him 1-2! Sakai with the chopper. Urata slides over to make the play!

AH!!!!!!!!! The ball takes an irregular hop off the infield and moves away from Urata! He reaches out with his glove, but it's into center!!! Uejima scores! Togari rounds 3rd, he scores! Another favorable bounce for Tokoha Kikugawa and they take the lead 3-2!!!!!

Itou grounds out to 3rd, but once again, Tokoha has rallied from behind to take the lead!

Top 6th
#17 Tanji comes for #16 Kitajima to play left.

Togari leads off the 6th with a walk to Urata. But then he strikes out both Shibata and Katsuya looking! Quickly 2 down, but Sakaguchi steps up to the plate!

Sakaguchi goes ahead in the count 2-0, but then grounds to short to end the inning!

Bottom 6th
Maeda opens the inning with a walk as Okada doesn't get a call on the outside corner for strike 3.
Nakagawa with a blast to right! That's going deep enough, but it goes foul! No matter though! He takes the next pitch and drives it through the right side.

Maeda up. Okada struggling with his control this inning! He falls behind 3-1!

Maeda crushes it! He immediately raises his fist!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That ball is way gone!

It landed about 20 rows up the left field bleachers!!!! Maeda's 3-run homerun puts Tokoha Kikugawa up 6-2!!!!!

The homerun also means the end of Okada's day. Shibata comes in from right to take the mound while #17 Oohata goes to play right.

But Shibata starts by hitting Uejima!

And then Tokoha calls for the hit-and-run! Togari makes contact and singles to center! Runners at the corners for Tochigi!

But he hits a comebacker to Shibata! His only play is to 1st. But still, only 1 down!

Tanji with a blast to left! That's deep, that could go! Foul! Just foul! Wow! What a swing from a bench player!

The camera zooms in on Okada who uncharacteristically looks agitated and mad!

Tanji with a grounder to 3rd. Nishikawa comes in and AH!!!!!!

The ball bounces off Nishikawa and into foul territory! Uejima comes in to score! 7-2!!

Sakai now with a blast to left! Takahashi running back! That's off the padding! Togari comes in to score on Sakai's double! 8-2!!

Runners on 2nd and 3rd for Itou. He pops it up to left center! Takahasi and Tanbo converge, but neither makes a play for it! The ball drops in! Tanji scores! 9-2!!


That's it for Shibata. #9 Hayashi comes in to take the mound and Shibata returns to right.

Machida returns as the 10th batter to the plate this inning. And Shibata starst out by walking Machida! Manrui!

Nakagawa with the liner to left! Takahashi makes the catch. Tries to throw to 2nd for the DP, but that ball is wild! Sakai looks to go home, but scurries back as Sakaguchi makes the throw!

Maeda again up. Could we see a 2 HR inning like Sakaguchi did for Chiben Wakayama in its last game!

Hayashi tries hard to prevent that. But he winds up walking Maeda! Sakai comes in! 10-2!

Uejima with a base hit to left! Itou and Machida come in to score! 12-2! Togari comes up and immediately bloops one into left center! Maeda scores! It's 13-3!!!

Tochigi grounds out for the 2nd time this inning, and finally the side is retired....

But Tokoha Kikugawa sends 15 batters to the plate, get 7 hits and 4 walks, and score 10 runs!!

Top 7th
Togari gives up a leadoff single to Morimoto, but the Chiben batters continue to swing away early getting 3 quick outs to retire the side.

Bottom 7th
Hayashi is now relieved as #12 Monguchi comes in to pitch. Also #13 Hirano comes in for Morimoto at catcher.

#7 Higuchi pinch-hits for #17 Tanji and strikes out. Sakai though hits a grounder through to left. Itou follows that up with a single to left. Could Chiben be in trouble again!

Machida with a grounder to 2nd! Katsuya starts the 4-6-3 DP to end the inning!

Top 8th
With an 10 run lead, #11 Hagiwara comes in to relieve Togari who moves to left.

Nishikawa rudely welcomes him with a drive to center! Itou running back, leaping up, but it's over his head! Nishikawa is in with a leadoff triple!

Urata behind 1-2, but his a blooper to center! Itou comes in, but decides to play the hop! Nishikawa scores and its 13-3.

Shibata with a short chopper! Uejima comes in to field it, but he can't! Runners at 1st and 2nd!

Katsuya hits a pop up on the first pitch! Maeda with it. 1 down.

Sakaguchi comes up. He hits a drive to deep right! That's past the outfielders! Urata scores! Shibata comes around, he scores! Sakaguchi with the triple and it's 13-5.

New C Hirano up. Grounder to short. That's off Sakai and into the outfield! Sakaguchi scores! 13-6! And still one down!

But Takahashi grounds to 2nd and Machida starts the 4-6-3 DP!

Bottom 8th
Monguchi with some nice pitching! He gives up a one out single to Maeda, but comes back to strike out the next 2 batters!

Top 9th
Tokoha's manager now relieves Hagiwara with #12 Asakawa.

Tanbo singles to right. And then Asakawa walks pinch-hitter #16 Miyake!

And the manager has seen enough. Togari returns to the mound to stop the bleeding.

#11 Hazama comes in to pinch-run for Miyake.

Nishikawa with a drive to left center! THAT'S PAST THE DRAWN IN INFIELD AGAIN!! Tanbo scores! Hazama scores! Nishikawa with another triple!!! 13-8!

Togari falls behind 3-1....

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

Urata with a blast to right, he's raising his arm! You're kidding me right???!!!!


Urata hit a homerun deep into the left field bleachers! It's now 13-10!!!


And just as I think it, the announcers talk about 2 years ago when Chiben came back in the 9th to defeat Teikyo when they literally ran out of pitchers! But in this case, Tokoha still has Togari.

Shibata with a grounder back up the middle! Sakai dives but he can't get it!

Katsuya steps up. Grounder to the right side! Machida with the diving stop! Toss to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... double play!

Machida coming up with the fine play to bring Chiben Wakayama down to their final out! It's up to Sakaguchi now to keep the team alive.

He swings on the first pitch! It's a grounder to 3rd! Maeda up with it, throw to 1st....


Chiben Wakayama mounts a valiant rally against a backup pitching staff late, but the 11 run deficit was just too much to make up! So Tokoha Kikugawa, on the back of a bakuhatsu inning, defeat Chiben Wakayama and move on to face Urasoe Shogyo in the Best 4 showdown!


Dave said...

is it possible to get tickets to the sunday games? i'm from okinawa but happen to be in osaka now. i'd love to attend, but judging by how packed the stadium appeared yesterday i assume those games sell out?

Goro Shigeno said...

Absolutely you can attend! Get there early. They sell tickets for the day's games on that day only. So lines form pretty early as the tournament progresses. The ticket boxes sell tickets for different areas of the stadium. If you want to be with the cheering section, I think that's 500 yen. If you want shade, the green seats behind home plate are 1500 yen. At least that's what they were 2 years ago.

But at this point, get there early. I think the gates open 2 hours prior, but don't quote me on that.

Also, take the Hanshin train out of Umeda Station. There is a local express that goes to Koshien, as well as ticket booths that explicitly sell round trip tickets to Koshien. Expect that to be packed with people going to game too.

Dave said...

excellent, thanks for all the advice! i think i'm going to try to attend with my friends.