Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 7 - Game 2 - Fukui Shogyo vs. Sakata Minami (Yamagata)

Game 2 features two teams a bit out of the way on the map. One I've been to, one I wanted to go to, but the summer rains said otherwise.

Fukui Shogyo, is making its 4th straight appearance - second longest with Chiben Wakayama and 2nd only to Aomori Yamada. They've had the unfortunate draw the last two years, being losing to Waseda Jitsugyo 2 years ago, and in the first round to Saga Kita last year. And as you can already tell, they lost to the eventual champions both times. Fukui Shogyo is more than just a team that repeatedly makes it to Koshien though. They have a solid team each and every time out, and won't beat themselves like other schools.

Sakata Minami would like to believe that the trend continues onto this year. They're making their 8th apperance. 3 years ago, they won their first 2 games before losing to Ube Shogyo (Yamaguchi). They look to make another similar (but longer) run.

In the prefectural qualifiers, Fukui Shogyo used the power of its offense (.389 BA, .581 SLG) with along with its patience at the plate (30 BB in 5 games) to cruise to victory.

Sakata Minami depended upon its twin aces (Yasui - 21 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 34 K & Koyama - 20 IP, 18 H, 3 ER, 17 K) to deliver them to Koshien.

Fukui's offense vs. Sakata's pitching. Here, I think experience and the batting methodology of Fukui Shogyo will take them to victory.

Fukui Shogyo
LF Kawai (7)
2B Matsuda (4)
RF Matsunaga (9)
C Nakamura (2)
1B Uhara (3)
CF Arakawa (8)
3B Noji (5)
SS Shimano (6)
P Takezawa Keita (1)

Sakata Minami (Yamagata)
1B Hiragawa (3)
RF Tanaka Yousuke (9)
SS Yamamoto (6)
C Nishi (2)
LF Yamaguchi (7)
CF Hayashi (8)
P Yasui (10)
3B Furuhashi (6)
2B Satou (4)
11:36 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Yasui looks strong on the mound! He strikes out Kawai and Matsuda to start the game!

But Matsunaga is a bit more stubborn. The count goes full on him, and he fouls off pitch after pitch. Then on the 10th pitch of the AB, he draws the walk.

Cleanup batter Nakumura is equally patient. His count goes full. Then on the 8th pitch of the AB, he hits a blooper to right center! But the outfielders are playing way back and they can't make it there in time! Double for Nakamura!

Uhara on the other hand isn't patient... well at least not this time. He takes the 0-1 pitch to center! Matsunaga scores! The throw from Hayashi, not in time! Fukusho is up 2-0!!

Arakawa flies out to left, but Fukusho uses its patience to take the early lead! Meanwhile, Yasui has already thrown 36 pitches.

Bottom 1st
Takezawa retires the side in order. A nice start for Fukui.

Top 2nd
Yasui's settles down, going after hitters now and retiring the side in order.

Bottom 2nd
I guess Fukui's pitchers took exception to me talking only about their offense! Keita retires the side with 2 K's along the way!

Top 3rd
Yasui continues his dominance as he duplicated Keita's performance in the 2nd!

Bottom 3rd
Sakata Minami gets its first baserunner as Furuhashi walks with one out. While he gets moved to scoring position, Hirakawa can't deliver the timely hit.

Top 4th
Fukui's getting the bat on the ball, but right at the defenders... down in order again.

Bottom 4th
Sakata Minami gets their 2nd baserunner! Another walk to Yamamoto. But still no hits as Keita retires the next 2 batters.

Top 5th
I'd say we have ourselves a pitcher's duel! Of course, a couple of timely hits in the top of the 1st is the difference in the ball game.

And as soon as I write that, Noji for Fukui drives a ball to left center and it one-hops the wall for a double. Perhaps the batters are seeing the ball better the 2nd time through the lineup.

Shimano grounds to 2nd, advancing the runner for P Keita to help his own cause.

But he swings away on the first pitch and pops it up to 2nd. Up to Kawai now.

But he hits and outside pitch to 3rd, and Furuhashi makes the strong throw to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Wow. Three pitches, three flyouts. Seriously.

Top 6th
Another base hit for Nakamura in the 6th, but nothing else, as Yasui continues to hum along.

Bottom 6th
Sakata Minami is going to have to start stringing hits together soon. They seem to thrive on timely hitting. They're going to need it soon or else their run ends here.

With one down, Hirakawa takes a ball to deep center! Arakawa seems to weave a bit back and forth, and as a result it lands behind him! Hirakawa is in with Sakata Minami's first hit - a double to center!

And a passed ball by Nakamura allows him to advance to 3rd! Nakamura brings him home by grounding to 2nd. It's not a hit per se, but it is timely nonetheless!! 2-1!

With 2 down, Yamamoto grounds to short. But Shimano can't field it! E6, and Sakata has the tying runner on base!

But Nishi softly lines to 3rd to end the inning. Still, they've narrowed the lead down to 1!

Top 7th
Yasui continues to keep Sakata Minami in the game, retiring the side in order and getting his 7th K of the game.

Bottom 7th
Plenty of time for Sakata Minami. Just need that timely hitting again.

Yamaguchi with the sharp shot to 3rd! Noji with the stop, but his throw is up the 1st base line! Pulls Uhara off the bag! Tying run on base!

After #8 Okuno comes in to pinch run, Hayashi moves him along to 2nd.

Then Yasui on the first pitch shoots one up the middle! Base hit! They're waving Okuno home! Arakawa with the throw! Noji with the relay! And Okuno's out! Fukui's defense throws Okuno out at home! You have to wonder if that ball was too shallow, and the 3rd base coach was too eager.

Furuhashi lines to 2nd, and a great opportunity by Sakata Minami falls by the wayside.

Top 8th
Takezawa singles to right to start the inning off. Then Kawai singles through the right side, Yousuke with the ball and ah! He didn't get it! The runners advance to 2nd and 3rd. Big trouble here for Sakata Minami! Could the failed inning in the 7th mean the end for them?

The count goes to 3-1. Perhaps he's going to load the bases for a force.

SQUEEZE! Fukusho elects to go for the squeeze and Matsuda puts it down! Takezawa scores! 3-1 Fukui!

SQUEEZE AGAIN!! Matsunaga puts down the squeeze again! Yasui runs in, uses the glove to toss it to Nishi, and... he gets Kawai for the out!

And while Nakamura grounds to 2nd, Fukui has extended that lead just a little further out of Sakata Minami's reach.

Bottom 8th
1 run in 2 innings is manageable for this team. 2 in 2 innings - might prove to be a little difficult.

And now it's down to 2 runs in 1 inning as Sakata Minami is retired in order.

Top 9th
Uhara starts the 9th off with a double to the left field wall! Then Arakawa goes for the safety bunt, and reaches 1st safely! Another big pinch for Sakata Minami!

And that signals the end of Yasui's day on the mound. Ace Koyama enters the game, while Yasui moves to right.

SQUEEZE! Koyama gets to it and gets it home! Uhara is caught up, but stays in the rundown long enough to advance all the runners along.

Shimano with the chopper in front of home! Koyama tries to make the glove toss again, but this time it's high and Arakawa slides under to score!! 4-1!

Koyama gets Takezawa strikes out, and now there's 2 down.

With Kawai up, Shimano steals 2nd! And with both runners in scoring position, Kawai singles to left! Noji and Shimano score, and Fukui has opened the game up 6-1.

Bottom 9th
Nishi gets a 1-out double, and a 2-out single by Hayashi gives a little hope to Sakata Minami, but in the end it's just too much for their offense to bear as they fall to Fukui 6-1.

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