Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 2 - Game 4 - Niigata Kenou Kougyou vs. Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)

The final game has our first of 5 debut teams in Niigata Kenou Kougyou facing Houtoku Gakuen, making its 13th appearance, and 2nd consecutive. However, they lost to Aomori Yamada in the opening round.

How will the newcomer fare? Can Houtoku get more than just their cup of tea this time around?

Niigata Kenou Kogyo
LF Kasahara (7)
CF Kuwabara (8)
2B Baba (4)
RF Makita (9)
1B Ikeda (3)
C Nakano (2)
P Ishida (1)
3B Koyanagi (5)
SS Suzuki (16)

Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)
2B Imura (4)
3B Saigou (5)
C Itoi (2)
CF Inoue (8)
P Chikada (1)
1B Ujiie (3)
LF Nakamura (7)
RF Nakahama (9)
SS Momiyama (15)

4:37 PM
First Pitch!

Top 1st
My connection is on the fritz again. But Kasahara starts the game off with a single through the left side. He then steals 2nd and advances to 3rd on the grounder to 1st by Kuwabara. And then Baba puts on the squeeze to perfection! Kasahara scores and Niigata Kenou is up 1-0!

Kuwabara strikes out, but Niigata gets out to the early lead!

Bottom 1st
Hotoku goes quitely in the first with some nice pitching by Ishida.

Top 2nd
With one down, Takano hits one to left center past a diving Nakano! Then Ishida lines one to left. Runners at the corners!

And Koyanagi tries the squeeze again?! This time, Chikada is ready! He glove tosses the ball to Itoi and makes the tag at home! How does that saying go... "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?"

Suzuki then strikes out to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Ishida continues with his great pitching. He notches another 3 K's with a walk to Chikada in between.

Top 3rd
Chikada's tempo has me catching for breath. As soon as he gets the ball back, he delivers the next pitch.

And the batters are having a hard time of it. Kasahara strikes out. So does Kuwabara. And Momiyama makes a great stop at 3rd on Baba's sharp hit.

Bottom 3rd
Ishida's tempo is fast too, but definitely not as fast as Chikada's.

He strikes out Nakahama for his 4th K, but then hits Momiyama. They try to put the hit-and-run on with Imura, but he misses and Momiyama is thrown out at 2nd. Imura then grounds out to first to end the inning.

Top 4th
I'm barely able to keep score and type while keeping up with Chikada's pitching. He quickly gets Makita to ground to 2nd, then gets Ikeda to strike out looking. He quickly falls behind Nakano 2-0, and he hits one to the left side. Momiyama makes the great stop, a good throw and a better reach by Ujiie to get the out.


Bottom 4th
Saigou starts it off with a walk. He's moved over by Itoi. Inoue works the count full, and draws the walk. Oddly enough, Hotoku has no hits, but have had 4 baserunners thanks to the walk/hit-by-pitch.

And now, Chikada is ahead 3-0! He hits a grounder to Koyanagi and it bounces away from him! All safe! And guess what... and error. Bases loaded and still no hits!

Ujiie steps up and hits one to Ikeda! He throws home and gets the lead runner. Nakano throws back to 1st, but it's offline! Ikeda makes the stop, and Inoue is heading home! Ikeda throws back, Inoue heads back, Nakano throws to 3rd, safe!

But still bases loaded for Nakamura! Ishida gets him to ground to 1st and the inning is over! Ishida gets out of the bases loaded jam!

Top 5th
My internet connection is shaky again. $#&*@@%*

Ishida grounds quickly to 2nd. But then, Koyanagi hits a grounder up the middle! He's moved over for the top of the lineup and Kasahara.

And Kasahara delivers with a single to the right side! Koyanagi rounds 3rd and heads home! He scores! Niigata Kenou goes up 2-0!! And while Kuwahara lines to short, Niigata extends their lead!

Bottom 5th
With one down, last batter Momiyama doubles down the third base line! Finally, a base hit for Hotoku! Now they have another chance to get on the board!

Ishida though clamps down, gets ahead of both Imura and Saigou and retires them to end the inning.

Niigata is certainly not looking like a newcomer here!

Top 6th
First pitch from the break and Baba is hit. Makita looks to put down the bunt, but Itoi elects to go for the lead runner and barely gets him out!

With Ikeda up, Makita tries for 2nd, but he's thrown out by Itoi. It's too bad as Ikeda doubles to right. Nagahama lets the ball get behind him, but Ikeda doesn't advance.

But Hotoku's manager notices and removes Nagahama in favor of #13 Nakagawa. Nakano tries to hit one through the left side, but Momiyama makes another great stop and throw for the final out.

Bottom 6th
Ishida issues another walk to Itoi and after he's bunted along by Inoue, Niigata's manager lifts him for #10 Furumura.

And he starts off by getting Chikada to ground to 1st, allowing Itoi to advance to 3rd. Then up comes Ujiiie and he gets a hold of one! Kasahara runs back, looks up, and IT'S GONE! Haita!!!! Just like that Ujiie has tied the game up with another homerun down the left field line! 2-2

Nakamura continues the momentum with a bloop single down the left field line!

But new RF Nakagawa grounds to 2nd. Still, Hotoku has tied the game!

Top 7th
Chikada's continued quick pitching has the batters flustered. Furumura and Koyanagi strike out, and Suzuki grounds to 2nd.

Bottom 7th
Furumura seems to have settled down after giving up the tying runs. He quickly gets Momiyama to strike out and Imura to ground to 2nd.

But he struggles with Saigou. The count goes full and he loses him. He goes to 3-1 to Itoi before getting him to line out to Koyanagi.

Top 8th
Chikada's tempo is slowing a bit, but not by much.

Kasahara strikes out. Kuwahara gives Chikada some trouble, fouling off a couple of pitches, and then drives one to deep left! Nakamura goes back, goes back, and it's off the wall! Kuwahara eases in with a one-out double! Now can Baba drive him home?

Baba works the count full but reaches out for a low pitch! He pops out to 2nd!

It's up to cleanup batter Makita now. He falls behind 0-2. Gets a ball, but then strikes out! Chikada is up in the air! The tie is preserved as we go to the bottom of the 8th!

Bottom 8th
Inoue to lead it off. He works the count full before grounding to 1st.

Chikada up to try and help his own cause. He goes ahead 3-1, and draws the walk just ahead of Ujiie!

First pitch single to center by Ujiie! Runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out!

Nakamura up to bat. 1-3 with that bloop single in the 6th. He grounds out to 1st, but does advance the runners. Now the go-ahead run is 90 feet away for Nakagawa.

Furumura falls behind 2-0, gets the favorable call, but then goes 3-1 and loses him. Manrui for

It's not Momiyama though. #14 Nitta comes in to pinch hit. The count goes to 2-1. Nitta swings at an inside curve, 2-2. 2-2 pitch, in the dirt, but Nitta swings! Nakano picks it up, tags home for the out and Niigata is out of the jam!

The lights turn on at Koshien as we head to the 9th tied 2-2!!

Top 9th
Kotani replaces Nitta and takes over at 2nd.

Ikeda can't hold his swing on an 0-2 count and strikes out. Nakano grounds to short, and Furumura strikes out. That's 11 now for Chikada, and we move to the bottom of the 9th.

Bottom 9th
You know, when I've actually had time to think about the game, it really seems like this particular home plate umpire has a very strange strike zone. But I digress...

Imura quickly grounds out to 2nd. Saigou goes ahead 3-0, but Furumura fights back with 2 inside pitches. Full count now and Saigou grounds to short.

Are we heading to extras?

Not if Itoi has anything to say about it! He takes the 2-1 pitch to deep right center for a triple! Inoue has a chance to end it here with any base hit!

But Furumura and Nakano are pitching him inside and outside. Nothing over the plate. 2-1 now to Inoue. They setup inside, but he leaves it up and over! Inoue drives it to right center! Going, going, GONE!!! Sayonara 2-run homerun by Inoue ends the game in dramatic fashion!! Furumura is in disbelief! Hotoku is going crazy as they mob Inoue at home!! What a comeback by Houtoku!! Niigata looked to be in control of this game through the first half, but this time the dual pitching model goes awry as Furumura gives up 4 runs in the final 4 innings to give Hotoku Gakuen the victory!

Niigata Kenou Kogyo
LF Kasahara (7) - 2-4, R, 2K
CF Kuwabara (8) - 1-4, 2B, K
2B Baba (4) - 0-2, RBI, BB
RF Makita (9) - 0-4, 2 K
1B Ikeda (3) - 1-4, 2B, 2 K
C Nakano (2) - 1-4, 2B
P Ishida (1) - 1-2, 1-2
P Furumura (10) - 0-2, 2K
3B Koyanagi (5) - 1-3, R, K
SS Suzuki (16) - 0-2, K

Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)
2B Imura (4) - 0-5
3B Saigou (5) - 0-3, 2 BB
C Itoi (2) - 1-3, 3B, R, BB
CF Inoue (8) - 1-3, GW HR, R, 2 RBI, K, BB
P Chikada (1) - 0-2, 2 BB
1B Ujiie (3) - 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, K
LF Nakamura (7) - 1-4, K
RF Nakahama (9) - 0-2, K
RF Nakagawa (13) - 0-1, BB
SS Momiyama (15) - 1-2, 2B, K
PH Niita (14) - 0-1, K
SS Kotani (6) - No PA

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