Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 16 - Best 4 - Game 2 - Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka) vs. Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa)

The 2nd game feels like it should be a rivalry. Yokohama - a strong team out of the Kanto area, versus Osaka Toin - one from the Kansai area.

In fact, these teams have played in recent history. They were involved in the "Bracket of Death" 2 years ago, where Osaka Toin behind their star Nakata Sho defeated Yokohama in the 1st (!) round 11-6.

So you could say that Yokohama is out for revenge...

Looking at the stats for each team, it's clear that both teams can hit. Asamura and Okumura have 2 HR's each for Osaka Toin, while Tsutsugo has 3. Osaka Toin has scored an average of 9 runs/game, Yokohama, just a little under 8.

To boot, neither team's pitching is that strong either. Both aces are prone to control issues.

So powerful batting + so-so pitching = high scoring game. Or so I think...

I really don't have a favorite to win. Tsuchiya's strong performance against Seiko Gakuin to me is a mirage because I think they were the weakest team in the Best 8.

To me, it's comes down to whose ace pitches less badly. And I really don't know.

How about since it's the 10th year since Yokohama won with Matsuzaka Daisuke, Yokohama wins?

Make me bet the farm though, and I guess I'd have to say Osaka Toin. Yuuto's stats appear that he has pitched slightly better than Tsuchiya.

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)

Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa)
3B Kuramoto (5)
SS Ooishi (6)
2B Matsumoto (4)
1B Tsutsugo (3)
LF Iwama (7)
RF Ogawa Kenta (9)
C Oda (2)
CF Nakahara (8)
1:36 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Tsuchiya gives up a 1-out single to Sano, but he's going after the batters getting the 1st pitch strike. Sano is left standing at 1st.

Bottom 1st
Yuuto returns the favor, retiring Yokohama in order.

Top 2nd
Tsuchiya retires Osaka Toin in order with relative ease!

Bottom 2nd
Yuuto starts the inning by walking Tsutsugo! Maybe a safe bet considering who we're talking about. He's bunted to 2nd.

Pitch in the dirt! Ariyama moves out to find it, but it's at home! Tsutsugo goes for 3rd! Ariyama finds it, makes the throw! But it off line and Sano can't get it because Tsutsugo slides into 3rd! The ball trickles out towards center and Tsutsugo breaks for home! He's in! An error leads to the first run and Yokohama leads 1-0!

Kenta quickly lines to center and there's 2 down.

But then Yuuto walks Oda! Could it be that Yuuto's fatigued after 4 games? Tsuchiya singles to right! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Nakahara!

Yuuto buckles down though and strikes him out! But Yokohama strikes first!

Top 3rd
One down for Osaka Toin, Yuuto gets patient at the plate and draws a walk.

Then Asamura singles to left! ...and Sano after that with a soft liner to center! Manrui for Morikawa!

Single through to right! Yuuto scores! Osaka Toin ties it right back up! 1-1!

Hagihara with the drive to deep left! Iwama running back, but it's over his head! Asamura scores! Sano right behind him! Hagihara with the timely 2-run double! 3-1 Osaka!

Okumura pops to Oda. 2 down.

Ah!! Okumura with the single to right center! Morikawa scores! Hagihara scores! Osaka Toin has responded with 5 runs to take the lead 5-1!

Bottom 3rd
Kuramoto sets Yokohama's offense in motion. He hits a comebacker right between Yuuto's legs into center. He's bunted to 2nd.

Mastumoto delivers! He hits a short liner to left! Kuramoto heads to 3rd. He's going home! Nakatani with the throw... it's up the 1st base line! Kuramoto scores! 5-2!!

And Tsutsgo walks again! Runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 down!

Yuuto comes back and strikes out Iwama! 2 down!

But Kenta with the grounder into right! Matsumot comes home! Okumura up and throws a strike to home! Ariyama with the catch and tag for the out! Nice play!

Top 4th
Tsuchiya only gives up a 1-out single to Yuuto, but his control is still a bit off.

Bottom 4th
Yuuto composes himself and retires the side in order.

Top 5th
One down, Hagihara hits a fly to left center. Iwama and Nakahara converge, but the ball falls in between them!

Okumura up, hard hit to the right side! Matsumoto with the grab! Toss to 2nd for 1, relay to 1st, 2! Nice double play by Yokohama!!

Bottom 5th
Kuramoto with a slow chopper to 2nd. Morikawa charges, but can't pick it off the ground! Infield single for Kuramoto! Ooishi bunting him along.

Matsumoto looking for the timely hit. EH?! Kuramoto takes off for 3rd!!! Throw by Ariyama not in time! Now a sac fly can get him in! But he lines out to center instead! 2 down.

AH! Tsutsugo with another slow chopper to 2nd. AHHHH!!!! Kuramoto can't pick it up again!!!! This time he's charged with the error and Kuramoto scores! Yokohama closes the narrows the deficit to 2, 5-3!

Top 6th
Nakatani with a grounder to 2nd to start. Matsumoto with the stop, but Tsutsugo isn't covering 1st! Tsuchiya covers at the last minute for the out!

Kouhei follows that with a chopper up the middle. Matsumoto with the back-handed catch. He tosses it with his glove to Ooishi! Ooishi gets it, it's too late to throw to 1st. But another nice play turned in by Matsumoto!

Kouhei is advanced on a grounder to 1st, but he's left stranded as Yuuto flies out to center.

Bottom 6th
Yokohama continues to chip away at the lead of Osaka Toin. Can they cut into the deficit yet again?

The cameras point to the outfield, and the stadium as expected is filled to capacity.

And Yuuto from the break sits down Yokohama in order for the 3rd time this game.

Top 7th
The game is moving along at a rather quick pace.

Asamura starts the inning with a liner over Kuramoto's head into left for a leadoff double! He quickly moved to 3rd.

Morikawa up, and the the count goes to 2-2.


Out of nowhere Osaka Toin calls for the squeeze! Tsuchiya charges! Glove toss home! SAFE!!

Morikawa with 2 strikes puts down the squeeze bunt and scores Asamura!!! 6-3 Osaka Toin!!

Hagihara grounds into the 6U-3 double play, but Osaka Toin has put another run on the board!

Bottom 7th
#17 Ogawa Ryouma comes in to pinch-hit for Nakahara, probably as a response to the need for runs, and his 2 strikeout day so far. And while Ryouma makes contact, he flies to right...

And once again Yokohama goes down in order. Time is quickly running short for them here in the semifinals.

Top 8th
Ryouma stays in to play left, while Iwama moves to center.

One down for Nakatani. He drives one to the right center field gap! That's bounces all the way to the wall! Nakatani heads for 2nd, goes to 3rd! He's in with a triple!

Now Yokohama is wary of the squeeze. Tsuchiya continues to toss to 3rd. Osaka Toin's manager calls time. #8 Shimizu comes in to pinch run as Kouhei is given directions.

Tsuchiya is still wary of the squeeze, so he continues to pitch way outside.

But when he pitches in, Kouhei goes for the swinging bunt! Shimizu charges home, but Ooishi makes a great throw and they get him out! 2 down!

Ariyama up. AH! Drive to left! That going deep down the line! Ryouma gives chase. He goes into the slide and collides into the wall hard! But the ball follows the fence into left! Ryouma just missed it before he had to slide! Kouhei flies around the bases! He rounds 3rd and scores. Ariyama picks up an RBI with a triple! 7-3!!

Bottom 8th
Yokohama is in serious trouble. They need at least a couple of runs this inning.

Matsumoto gets it started! He singles to right. Tsutsugo follows that up with a single to center! No down, runners at 1st and 2nd!

But Iwama grounds to 1st! Hagihara goes to 2nd for one, but they can't complete the double play.

Kenta breaks through! He grounds one past a diving Asamura into left! Matsumoto scores, and it's 7-4!

Oda up to try and plate another. But it's a grounder to 2nd! Morikawa up with it, looks to 2nd for a while, then goes to 1st! So runners at 2nd and 3rd for Tsuchiya!

But he pops it up! Asamura camps under it, and 3 outs! Yokohama got 1 run back, but they'll need a lot more than that now!

Top 9th
Asamura bloops one to right to start the inning! Osaka Toin, looking for another insurance run, bunt him along.

Morikawa with a bid with a low liner to left! Ryuoma charges and makes the catch! 2 down for Hagihara!

Tsuchiya falls behind 2-0! And Hagihara blasts one to right! Kenta running back, looks up!!


Hagihara delivers the final blow with a 2-run homerun in the top of the 9th inning. It's now 9-4 and any hope for Yokohama may have just disappeared!!

Bottom 9th
Yokohama goes down in order. And we have our final 2 teams!!!!!

Tomorrow, Tokoha Kikugawa from Shizuoka-ken will face off against Osaka Toin of Kita Osaka for the 90th Summer Koshien Title!

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