Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 9 - Game 4 - Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa) vs. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Nishi Chiba)

Our last game of Day 9 puts together a recent player in the Koshien scene in Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku, and one looking to make waves (although their fans already do!) in Urasoe Shogyo.

Urasoe walked through their first round game by defeating Iidzuka 7-0. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku, on the back of ace Saitou Keisuke yielded only 4 hits on their way to a 3-1 win over Kinkidai Fuzoku.

These teams for the most part appear to be on equal footing. So I'll pick based upon preference. It's always a party when Okinawa is playing. And I like Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku from when I saw them 2 years ago.

Well, darn. I guess I'm not going to choose one.

Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa)
RF Kanna (9)
SS Ueji Toshiki (6)
P Iha (1)
C Yamashiro (2)
LF Miyahira (7)
3B Nakama (5)
CF Touyama Kazuma (18)
C Niita (12)
2B Nakasato (14)

Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Nishi Chiba)
SS Shigetani (6)
3B Kawashima (5)
RF Naitou (9)
P Saitou (1)
CF Inaba (8)
C Tani (2)
LF Yasaka (7)
1B Tanaka (13)
2B Higuchi (4)
5:00 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Kanna swings on the opening pitch and chops one to short! Shigetani up with the ball, but the throw isn't in time! (Ueji) Toshiki bunts him along.

Urasoe ace Iha up. He hits a liner to left! Runners on 1st and 2nd!

Then Saitou walks Yamashiro. Manrui with one out! Big pinch for Saitou!

Miyahira liner at Kawashima! It ricochets off him and behind the mound! He chases it, but can't do anything! All safe! Kanna scores! 1-0 Urasoe!

Nakama up looking to play add on. Ah! Wild pitch! Iha comes in to score! Yamashiro running around 3rd, he's coming home! Throw by Tani in time, but Saitou can't turn to make the tag! 3-o Urasoe! Still 1 down!

Nakama with the drive to right! Naitou running to the foul pole! Going, going, off the fence! Miyahira running around, he comes in to score! Nakama in with a triple! 4-0!

What in the world has happened to Saitou and Chiba Keizaidai?!

(Touyama) Kazuma up now. He draws a walk. Runners at the corners for Niita.

SQUEEZE! Niita puts on the squeeze! Saitou's play is only to first! Nakama scores! 5-0!!!

Nakazato walks up the plate as the 9th batter this inning! And while he grounds to short, Saitou and Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku have staked Urasoe a 5 run lead!

Bottom 1st
Iha retires the first 2 batters quickly. Then Naitou comes up and hits a blast to right center! It's over Kanna's head! Naitou slides in with a triple!

That brings up Saitou. I'm sure he wants to get at least a run back here.

OH!! Blasted to center! Kazuma runs back, to the wall, looks up!


Saitou has done more than just get one back, he got 2 back and did it with authority!! 5-2!

And while Inaba grounds out to 2nd, I'm already throwing up my hands! This has been one HECK of a 1st inning!!

Top 2nd
The 2nd inning for Urasoe starts out similar to the 1st...

Kanna leads off with a single to right. He's bunted along to 2nd. Iha up again...

...and he scorches the first pitch down right field, and all the way to the wall! Kanna comes around and scores on Iha's double!! 6-2!!

Yamashiro with the chopper to 3rd! Kawashima leaps up! Gets it! Has Iha in a rundown! He's out and Yamashiro advances to 2nd!

Miyahira up...

Ah! Wild pitch! Goes just behind Tani! Yamashiro breaks for 3rd! Tani gets it, throw to 3rd, no good! The ball goes into foul territory and Yamashiro scores!! 7-2!!

Bottom 2nd
Chiba certainly isn't going to give up!

Tani takes the first pitch and lines it down the left field line for a leadoff double!

Iha comes back though and strikes out Yasaka, gets Tanaka to ground to 2nd, and Higuchi to pop up to short in foul territory.

Top 3rd
Nakama starts by grounding to Shigetani, AH! It gets past Shigetani and into center! And he doesn't stop running! He's in with a double on Shigetani's error!

Kazuma up now. Hit-and-run! Drive to the left center field gap! Yasaka with the bad angle and it's past him and to the wall! Nakama scores! Kazuma with a double! 8-2!

Niita puts down the sacrifice again as Kazuma moves to 3rd.

Nakazato with the single up the middle! Kazuma scores! 9-2!

That run finally is the last straw. #10 Yoshino comes in to relieve Saitou as he moves to 1st base.

Kanna up again. Hit-and-run! Grounder through the left side! Nakazato goes for 3rd! Yasaka tries to cut him down but the throw is high! Runners at 2nd and 3rd!

Toshiki up. SQUEEZE! He puts down his third bunt of the game and this time it scores a run as Nakazato comes in from 3rd! 10-2!!

Iha flies out to left, but another crooked number on the board is posted for Urasoe and they lead by an unimaginable 8 runs!!

Bottom 3rd
Iha retires the side in order...

Top 4th
Although Yoshino yields a two out double to Nakama and a walk there after to Kazuma, he gets out of the inning with no runs scored. At least it's a start...

Bottom 4th
Iha once again retires the side in order. Can Chiba make the score respectable?

Top 5th
Yoshida's getting comfortable on the mound as he finally retires Urasoe in order.

Bottom 5th
Two down for Chiba. Higuchi blasts one to deep center. Kazuma runs back, leaps up, but it's over his head! Higuchi runs in with a triple. Shigetani up and he lines the first pitch to center! That scores Higuchi and it's now 10-3.

Top 6th
Iha leads off for Urasoe, and he repeats the exact same hit he did in the 2nd - a double off the right field wall. After Yamashiro flies out, Miyahira gets plunked by Yoshino.

Runners at 1st and 2nd now for Nakama. Yoshida gets him to strike out.

Hopefully one more batter to go, Kazuma. And he strikes him out looking.

Bottom 6th
An error by Nakazako blemishes an otherwise 1-2-3 inning.

Top 7th
Yoshino continues with his fine relief work having given up no runs. Of course, it could just be that Urasoe is winding things down so they don't over exert themselves for the next game.

Bottom 7th
Yasa starts the inning off with a grounder to short. Toshiki to field it, but it ricochets off him and into the outfield!

#3 Kubota then pinch-hits for Yoshino. So it looks like Saitou will return to the mound.

Kubota withe first pitch liner to right! He gets on with a double! Runners on 2nd and 3rd for Higuchi.

Liner to left! Miyahira running back, running back, RUNNING BACK! HAITA!!!!!!!

#9 batter Higuchi with a 3-run homerun to left! 10-6!

There's still a ways to go though....

Shigetani now lines one to the left center field gap! That's in for a double!!

Iha gets his first out of the inning as Kawashima grounds to 3rd.

Team captain Naitou comes back and rips one to right center! Shigetani comes around and scores! 10-7!!

Now Saitou is up again. But he just can't get himself to take the outside pitch the other way and strikes out. 2 down.

Inaba up to bat. Goes ahead 3-1, but takes the green light and swings away. Full count... fouled off! Can he keep this rally going in the Lucky 7th? Full count pitch again...

Ball 4! Inaba walks! Runners on 1st and 2nd for the 9th batter this inning - Tani. Can he keep it going for Chiba Keizaidai?

Fouls off two pitches back. Behind the 8-ball.

LINER TO LEFT CENTER!!! It gets past Miyahira!!! Naitou scores! Miyahira can't pick it up!!! Inaba rounds third, HE SCORES!! They relay the throw to third, and they tag Inaba out! 3 outs!

AH!! Too bad! The rally is over! BUT! Chiba Keizaidai has batted around for 6 runs!! They now only trail by 1! 10-9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Top 8th

How will Urasoe respond? And how will Saitou do on the mound?

#17 Kaerumae comes in to play left.

Toshiki starts the inning and pops one just over Kawashima for a single. Iha tries to bunt, but he pops it up to Saitou!

One down. Yamashiro then hits a grounder to Shigetani. His throw to first, and Kubota can't handle it! Error on Shigetani!

That can't be good! You've gone within one, you can't afford an error!

AH!! Sure enough, Miyahira redeems himself with a liner down the left field line! It takes a high bounces off the wall and follows the curvature! Toshiki scores, Yamashiro scores! The throw comes in to 3rd, and they tag out Miyahira!

BUT! They've added two runs! 12-9!!

Bottom 8th
#14 Miyagawa to pinch hit for Kaerumae. He flies to right...

Kubota then pops out in foul territory...

And Higuchi strikes out... Time now is running out

Top 9th
#18 Houme enters to play right. Naitou moves from right to left.

Saitou manages to retire the side. The first time he's done so this night.

And now, is there one more stanza for Chiba Keizai in this game?

Bottom 9th
The top of the order is up for Chiba - Shigetani, Kawashima, Naitou.

Shigetani quickly flies out to center.

#12 Kojima comes in to pinch-hit for Kawashima. He falls behind 0-2. Fouls one off! Ball in the dirt, 1-2... sanshin!! 2 out!

Down to Naitou. Perhaps it was just too much?

Falls behind 0-2! Saitou on deck, pleading to get one more shot! 1-2... 2-2... Check swing! Did he go? Appeal to 3rd! He went!! Sanshin!!

Urasoe holds on for the 12-9 win! A game that seemed to leave Chiba Keizaidai for dead was resurrected for a half inning, but the early deficit was just too much for them to recover.

I rooted for Chiba Keizai to win that game when they were rallying in the 7th. I wanted to see them make that comeback. I couldn't believe that a team as far behind as they were, with only 9 outs to play, could put together something that they did in the 7th.

And when I saw Tani get tagged out at 3rd for the final out of the inning, and the scoreboard read that they were still behind, I had the sinking feeling that that was going to be it for Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku.

For the final time today. Give Chiba Keizaidai a round of applause. For continuing to fight. For continuing to believe. For never giving up.

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