Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 7 - Game 4 - Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo vs. Kagawa Nishi

(I apologize again to all those reading the blog. I am not feeling that well today, and need to rest. This game, like the Yokohama vs. Urawa Gakuin game, will be viewed in its entirety over the weekend and the game review will be posted here. I'm hoping that I'll be well enough tomorrow to watch all Day 8 games in their entirety.)

The last game of day 4 features 2 teams that are probably happy to be here, but more likely would want to do more than just play at Koshien.

Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo for the most part blew through the prefectural qualifying outscoring their opponents by a combined 48-8. They show strength on both sides of the ball.

On the mound, they depend on their ace Hara, who pitched the majority of the innings, giving up only 8 runs in 40 innings of work. Looking to their offense, they are mainly a singles hitting team, but very good at it (.354 team BA and only one regular batting under .300).

Kagawa Nishi had a similar run. They defeated their opponents 37-6 in the 5 games they played. Their pitching depends mostly on their ace Takahashi Naoya who gave up 1 run in 20 innings of work (that's a 0.45 ERA). However, other players on the team have had some pitching work done, so they do have a decent amount of depth. On the offensive side, the team hit for a combined .410 BA which inlcluded 16 extra base hits out of the 55 they had. However, the offense is a bit lopsided with half of the regulars hitting under .300.

So who I think will win this match? While Kagawa has a deeper staff, I think Shiritsu Gifu with the more balanced lineup from top to bottom will keep the Kagawa's defense busy and advance. But if Kagawa can somehow either get Hara's pitch count high, or run him from the game, then Kagawa should gain the advantage.

Advantage: Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo

Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo
SS Takai (6)
1B Usui (3)
RF Mori (9)
LF Sugishima (7)
C Katou (2)
CF Yoshimura (8)
3B Nishida (5)
2B Nishigawa Takuya (4)
P Hara (1)

Kagawa Nishi
2B Yokoyama (4)
SS Yano (6)
CF Saitou (8)
RF Matsumoto (9)
3B Nakano (5)
1B Tani (3)
LF Goya (16)
C Takahashi Shinpei (2)
P Takahashi Naoya (1)
5:07 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Takai opens the game with a single to left. He looks to steal 2nd, but takes off too early and is picked off 1-6.

Usui then is plunked by Naoya. And that's followed up with a single to right by Mori to put runners at the the corners!

Sugushima up next. But he waffles at the plate making half swings twice before striking out. However, on the strike out Mori takes off for 2nd and gets there easily!

2 down and runners in scoring position for Katou. The count goes even and he too gives half swing and dribbles one in front of home plate. Shinpei picks up the ball and makes the play at first to get them out of the pinch!

Bottom 1st
Hara starts off a little shaky, walking leadoff batter Yokoyama. But while Yokoyama's bunted to 2nd, Hara settles in and retires Saitou and Matsumoto to end the inning

Top 2nd
Naoya looks a lot better on the mound, and it shows in the 2nd retiring the side in order.

Bottom 2nd
Hara one again gives up the leadoff walk, this time to Nakano. But Tani and Goya fly out.

EH?????! While Shinpei is up to bat, I'm hearing the rally song I associate with Komadai Tomakoai!!!! While I'm glad to hear it, I should be hearing it only from Komadai Tomakomai! It's kinda like hearing Jock Rock for the Chiben schools! You just don't hear it anywhere else!

Oh yeah, Shinpei grounds to short. Inning over.

But hearing that song from the Kagawa Nishi oen-dan seems a little wrong to me...

Top 3rd
Well, that was quick. I didn't have time to write anything and the inning is already over. Hmm.. 6 pitches? Sounds about right.

Bottom 3rd
Hey! Kagawa Nishi gets their 3rd leadoff runner! And this time Naoya actually gets a base hit! He hits a grounder to right.

Yokoyama with the bunt! Hara watches the ball as it slows down, waits, waits, picks it up. Foul! Just foul!

He tries it again, but this time it's back to Hara! He throws to 2nd, and they get the force!

So runner at first with one down, and Yano tries it again. This time, he puts it down successfully and Yokoyama advances to 2nd.

Saitou now up looking for the timely hit. Hits one! Liner to right! That's down! Yokoyama scores and Kagawa takes the lead! 1-0!

Matsumoto up, and now I'm hearing Jock Rock! NO! This is sacrilegious! They shouldn't be playing that song!

And Matsumoto pops to 3rd.

Top 4th
Mori gets the Shiritsu offense started with a leadoff single to left. After an obligatory sac bunt by Sugishima, Katou walks up to bat.

Naoya though can't find the strike zone and walks him on 4 pitches! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Yoshimura!

He falls behind 0-2, but then lines one up the middle! Yano dives, but it's under him! Mori rounds 3rd and he ties the game! 1-1! And on the play Katou advances to 3rd!

And Nishida with a fly ball to deep center! Saitou up with it, but it's plenty deep to get Katou in from 3rd. 2-1 Shiritsu Gifu!

Bottom 4th
Three groundball outs by Hara and we move on to the top of the 5th.

Top 5th
Takai starts the inning with a drive down the left field line! That falls in and off the wall for a leadoff double!

Shiritsu Gifu isn't looking to bunt though. Usui is swinging away! And strikes out... Mori is looking for the time hit as well. But he grounds to 3rd.

Then with Sugishima up, Takai takes matters into his own hands and steals 3rd! Now a base hit definitely scores him! But Sugishima strikes out.

Bottom 5th
Hara wasn't really trying to throw an eephus pitch there to Naoya, was he?

With 2 down, Yokoyama hits a gapper to left center for a double.

And then Yano shoots one up back the middle! Yokoyama heading home!! Yoshimura misplays the ball and Yokoyama scores easily to tie the game!! 2-2!

Saitou with the liner down the right field line. FAIR! That runs all the way to the wall!

Mori up with the ball, hits his cutoff man, Yano rounding 3rd! Throw home! Yano stops! Katou loses the ball! Yano dashes for home! But the ball is high in the air and Katou has it again! AH! Yano's only halfway down to home! He's stuck! Run down and out!! What a sequence of events!

But Kagawa Nishi has managed to enter the break with a tie ball game!

Top 6th
#7 Kawabata enters in the game for Goya in left.

Katou starts off getting hit by Naoya. He bunted over for Nishida. He takes the first pitch to deep left! Kawabata running back, all the way to the wall, looks up and it's gone! HAITA!!!!! Nishida with the 2-run homerun to left and Shiritsu Gifu retakes the 2-run lead! 4-2!!

Bottom 6th
Matsumoto starts off the inning with a liner to shallow left. Takano bunts him over.

Tani then hits a fly ball down the left line! Sugishima runs, dives, but doesn't get it! That's to the wall! Matsumoto rounds 3rd, he scores! Tani with the timely double!

New LF Kawabata up, and he hits a grounder to center! Tani rounding 3rd, he has to hold up! Runners at the corners 1 down!

#18 Ishikawa pinch hits for Shinpei, possibly tyring to get that sac fly.

He hits hit out there but is it deep enough? No! Mori with the catch.

It's down to Naoya now. Kawabata goes for 2nd! He's in safely! Now a base can can take the lead!

But Naoya strikes out to end the rally. However, they've cut the Shiritsu Gifu lead down to 1!

Top 7th
Now this is strange. #10 Yoshiyama comes in to pitch, and Naoya moves to... catcher?!

With one down Usui hits a drive to left! That one hops the wall for a 2-out double!

But he's eventually stranded at 3rd. Kagawa Nishi still close!

Bottom 7th
Yokoyama to lead off the inning again. Chopper to short, Takai up with it. Throw to first is off line! Gets past Usui and Yokoyama advances to 2nd! Yano bunts him along and now the tying run is 90 feet away!

SQUEEZE!! Saitou puts down the squeeze, but it's toward Hara! He charges, makes the glove toss and Katou has it in plenty of time to block the plate and tag Yokoyama! Nice play on both sides to preserve the lead!

But Hara walks Matsumoto and now the tying run is in scoring position for Nakano. But he grounds to 3rd and that ends their great opportunity to tie the game!

Top 8th
We're truly into a night game as the lights illuminate the stadium.

Yoshiyama begins the inning having to defend his life as Katou hits a sharp comebacker. He gets the glove in the way, almost makes the catch, but knocks it down close to him so he can still pick it up and make the out.

After that, he gives up a single to Yoshimura, but that's all.

Bottom 8th
Shiritsu Gifu makes a pitching change. Yoshimura comes in from center to pitch. #18 Inui enters to play center.

Yoshimura's control seems to be, well... nonexistant?

He somehow manages to get the count to 3-2 and induces Tani to ground out. But against Kawabata, his pitches aren't close and he walks him on 4 straight.

#10 Onodera and #11 Okumura start warming up on the bullpen.

He manages to get his pitches under control and strikes out pinch hitter #15 Nishizawa.

Naoya up to bat now. With the count 2-2 Kawabata takes off for 2nd! Katou's throw is low! But Takai makes the sliding catch and tag, and they get Kawabata! What a nice play by Takai!

Top 9th
#11 Kobayashi, a first-year player comes in to pitch. And what does he do but retire the side in order! Nicely done!

Bottom 9th
But there's still the matter of needing a run to tie the game.

#12 Nagata comes in to pinch hit for Naoya. He gets jammed, but it's a very short popup! Takuya charges the ball and makes the shoestring catch!

Yokoyama makes a bid for a single with a grounder to the left side, but Takai makes the great stop and strong throw to just beat him out!

And Yano pops out to 2nd to end the game! Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo holds on for the 4-3 victory!

No comments: