Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 8 - Game 2 - Saga Shogyo vs. Kurashiki Shogyo (Okayama)

Game 2 brings us two teams from the western half of Japan.

Saga Shogyo makes it's 15 appearance at the summer Koshien. But their last appearance was short lived as they lost in the first match to Kiryu Daiichi.

Their strength this year is their pitching. Their staff ace, Koga Akihiro, gave up only 8 runs in 41 innings. He does however show some signs of of walking batters (16), perhaps a side-effect of being a side thrower. They'll have to depend on him if they want to advance.

On the other side is Kurashiki Shogyo. It's been 11 years since they've been here. They experienced little difficulty in getting here, winning by no less than 4 runs in any game. Their strength is their patience. In their 5 games, they drew 32 walks. Their patience perhaps forced the opponents to either switch pitchers, or wear them down.

Slight edge in this game goes to Kurashiki Shogyo. If they can continue to exercise patience, they may be able to break through against Koga Akihiro.

Saga Shogyo
3B Kabajima (5)
CF Ishibashi (8)
C Tsuda (2)
SS Koga Shouya (6)
RF Souda (9)
1B Kataoka (3)
LF Yanagou (7)
2B Nonaka (4)
P Koga Akihiro (1)

Kurashiki Shogyo (Okayama)
CF Yuasa (8)
3B Kondou (5)
RF Uemori (3)
LF Oka (10)
SS Kanetani (6)
2B Shintani (4)
1B Yagami (13)
C Makihara (2)
P Kimoto (1)
11:06 AM
First pitch!

1st Inning
Both aces, Akihiro and Kimoto start off the 1st by retiring the side.

Top 2nd
Souda opens the hitting with a gapper to left center! He's in with a one-out double!

But Kimoto gets the next two batters to fly out, so no damage done.

Bottom 2nd
Kurashiki gets their own runner on base, but I think Oka would have wanted a hit instead of being hit.

While Kaneya looks to bunt, Oka takes off! He's safe!

But wait. Oka is recalled back to first. Kaneya is called for batter's interference on the throw.

So one down now. Shintani up to bat. He bunts Oka to 2nd, now hoping that Yagami can get the timely hit.

And he hits a scorcher right at Akihiro! But he responds quickly enough and makes the reflex catch.

Top 3rd
Akihiro starts the offense going in the 3rd with a one out blooper to shallow right center. Aftter a failed bunt attempt getting Akihiro thrown out at 2nd, Ishibashi sends a grounder to left.

The small opportunity is closed when Kimoto gets Tsuda to hit a sky-high popup to right.

Bottom 3rd
With two down, Yuasa gets hit. 2nd hit batter for Akihiro today.

Then with Kondou up, Yuasa goes for 2nd, and is in easily!

Kondou falls behind, but fights at the plate fouling off anything close. He works the count full, and continues to foul off pitches. He's at the 10th pitch of the AB, and his stubbornness is rewarded! He hits a grounder through the left side and Yuasa scores from 2nd! 1-0!

And Kondou goes for 2nd and too gets in there, this time just barely! But Uemori strikes out looking to end the inning. However, Kurashiki gets themselves on the board first!

Top 4th
Shouya leads off the first with a liner to left! Oka runs back, extends the glove, but it's over him! Shouya in with a double!

Souda bunts him along to 3rd, so a simple sac fly should do it.

Kataoka hits it to left, but it's too short! Oka secures it and Shouya can't tag up! It's too bad, as Yanagou pops out to 2nd, leaving him stranded!

Bottom 4th
Oka leads off the 4th with a bloop single just out of the reach of Nonaka After a sac bunt, Akihiro hits his 3rd batter of the game in Shintani. Runners on 1st and 3rd, one down!

Yagami with the grounder to 1st! Kataoka with it, and he has Oka caught up between 3rd and home. He runs him back to 3rd where Shintani is standing. The tag is made and Shintani is called out.

2 down, runners on 2nd and 3rd. And it's a 4-pitch walk to Makihara! Manrui for Kimoto!

He hits a liner to left! But Shouya leaps up and makes the pick! Nice play! Saga keeps the deficit at 1!

Top 5th
Akihiro gets his second hit of the day as he hits a single to left. But that is wiped away with a nice 6-3 double play.

Bottom 5th
Yuasa starts the inning with grounder through to left. And like in the 3rd, he takes off for 2! The throw from Tsuda is good, but just late!

And now Kondou bunts him to 3rd! One down for Uemori!

SQUEEZE! But the pitch is way outside and he can't get the bat on it! Yuasa is hung out to dry! Ah! Too bad...

This game is humming along at a quick pace. As we hit the break, the advantage has to go to Kurashiki. They've had greater share of opportunities. But with the score 1-0, it's still anyone's game.

Top 6th
Ishibashi leads off the inning and gets hit by Kimoto. He advances to 2nd on a sac bunt. Chance for Saga!

And Ishibashi goes for 3rd! No throw! Tying run 90 feet away!

Shouya grounds to 1st! Ishibashi going for home! Yagami with the throw and Ishibashi is out! Oppotunity lost for Saga!

Bottom 6th
Kurashiki is retired in order. Can one run hold up?

Top 7th
2 down, Nonaka up to bat. Falls behind 1-2, then starts fouling pitches left and right. Manages to work the count full, and on the 11th pitch draws a walk.

Akihiro though can't reward Nonaka for his efforts as he grounds to short to end the inning.

Bottom 7th
#15 Kubo comes in to play LF after Yanagou was PH for by #13 Tominaga in the top of the frame.

Yagami starts the inning with a single up the middle. After #17 Shiragami is called in to pinch run, Makihara bunts him along. Runner on 2nd, one down for Kimoto.

Kimoto with the grounder up the first base line! FAIR! It's a fair ball! Shiragami rounds third, comes home to score! Kimoto with the timely double to increase their lead! 2-0!

Akihiro then walks Yuasa on 4 straight. Runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 down!

They're bunted into scoring position by Kondou. And while Uemori gets good bat on the ball, it winds up being a flyout to center. But! Kurashiki has extended their lead with time winding down!

Top 8th
#7 Itano comes in to play RF as Uemori moves to 1st.

There's two down for Saga when Tsuda manages a single to center. Then Shouya hits a gapper to right center! While the fielders are playing back, Shouya doesn't stop running and stretches it out to a double! Runners on 2nd and 3rd! A base hit could tie the game!

But no... Souda hits a fly to right and the chance is lost.

Bottom 8th
Oka with the single to left to start the inning. And while he's slowly moved station-to-station to 3rd base he's left stranded there.

Top 9th
Saga Shogyo's down to their final 3 outs. Can they get something started?

#12 Mukai to pinch-hit for Kataoka. But he strikes out...
#10 Kitamura to pinch-hit for Kubo... he grounds to 2nd.
Nonaka the last chance... and he strikes out. Game set.

A great performance put on by Kimoto and Kurashiki Shogyo, as they advance with the 2-0 shutout over Saga Shogyo. Saga simply could not get the timely hitting when it needed it, and as a result their summer comes to an end.

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