Sunday, August 24, 2008

Future Projects

Although the Koshien tournament is over, that doesn't mean that this blog will take a break until the spring. I have 2 projects in mind in the meantime, both having to do with the just finished 90th Summer Koshien Tournament.

Project #1 - Stat compilation for the tournament (Kinda goes without explanation)
Project #2 - Prefectural qualifying brackets incl. school translation and website links

I only have project 2 because of my own experience watching Koshien qualifying. In 2006, I found myself in Ise, Mie-ken partially to visit the Ise Grand Shrine, but to also try and find reference points used in Hanbun no tsuki ga noboru sora, but I digress...

I found out that during my time in Ise, there would be some qualifying games at the local ballpark. I went there for every day I could, renting the local bike and pedaling to the park. I can remember the first time I went there. The park was off a main road, and up a hill. As I was approaching the hill the first day, a neighbor called me and asked if I was going to the game. I said yes, and then he asked what country I was from. Stunned, I realized that since I was riding the bright yellow bike meant for travelers, it was natural for him to ask that.

Purchasing my ticket, and running up the small flight of stairs, I emerged in the middle of a game. The game was well in hand, and the stands behind the plate weren't that full, but there was more. Seeing Koshien games is great, don't get me wrong, but the teams there represent about only 1% of the schools in the nation. In addition, from the list I provided there are a lot of schools that repeatedly come back to Koshien.

You see, these teams probably had little chance of making it. But as many of you know, these schools, these players play the game for that slim chance they win and reach the hallowed grounds of Koshien. And yet people watch, bands play, banners are unfurled with the rally cry of the school, oen-dan's cheer on the grassy bank.

And that's why I want to somehow reflect that. Sure, many of them will never make it, and many are blown out. But for teams like Akebono Gakuen, whose team was only 11 members back in 2006, even their dream should be represented.

Let me know with your comments.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 17 - Championship - Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka) vs. Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)

Oh? You wanted my answer?

Hm... stats say Osaka Toin. Heart wants Tokoha Kikugawa. There... :P

No change in the lineups. Everything's on the line, so the aces will go.
Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)
SS Asamura (6)
3B Sano (5)
2B Morikawa (4)
1B Hagihara (3)
RF Okumura (9)
LF Nakatani (12)
CF Fukushima Kouhei (7)
C Ariyama (2)
P Fukushima Yuuto (1)

Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
SS Sakai (6)
CF Itou (8)
2B Machida (4)
RF Nakagawa (9)
3B Maeda (5)
1B Uejima (3)
P Togari (1)
C Tochigi (2)
LF Matsumoto (18)
1:01 PM
First pitch

Top 1st
Asamura flies lazily to center. Sano hits a grounder past the diving Sakai and into center.

Togari falls behind Morikawa 3-1, and he hits a falling liner to left! Matsumoto dives and looks to have it, but it pops out! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Hagihara!

He blasts one to center! Itou runs back, but it's over his head!!! Itou throws home!

Sano rounds 3rd! He stops! Morikawa has to scramble back to 2nd, and Hagihara scurries back to 1st!





Dear God, what has just happened!

Nakatani walks! Kouhei with the single to center! Runners at 1st and 2nd, and this could be ugly very quick!!!

Ariyama with a bunt. But everyone thinks it's foul! Tochigi picks it up! It's fair! They go to 3rd for 1, then see that Ariyama isn't running to 1st and throw to 1st for the inning ending DP!

But Osaka Toin has shown that their offense in a BIG way!

Bottom 1st
Tokoha can't get the ball out of the infield... Sakai sharp grounder to 1st. Itou and Machida with slow comebackers to Yuuto.

Top 2nd
Yuuto works the count 3-1, but eventually flies out to left.

Asamura shoots one past a diving Machida to center. Sano with a grounder through to left! Runners at 1st and 2nd! This was to be expected!

Morikawa with a bid with a grounder to the right side! Machida with the stop! Makes the throw to 2nd falling away from 1st, that's 1, throw to 1st, not in time! Nice play by Machida!

Hagihara next with a groundball back up the middle! Togari slows it down and Machida makes the sliding grab at 2nd while touching the bag! Another nice play by Machida!

Bottom 2nd
Nakagawa with the comebacker! It's off Yuuto's glove! It's deflected to 2nd! Morikawa comes up with it and makes the play at 1st!

Maeda manages a walk. 1st base runner for Tokoha.

Uejima with a sharp shot to the right side! Morikawa dives and has it! He goes to 1st for the out!

Yuuto strikes out Togari on 3 straight to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Okumura stars the inning with a hard hit liner down the right field line! That's to the wall for a leadoff double!

Osaka Toin is looking to bunt! Nakatani puts it down at 2-0, but it goes foul. He attempts it again and successfully puts it down. Togari throws to Machida covering 1st for the out.

Kouhei with a hard hit grounder to short! Sakai up with and makes the play at 1st. 2 down for Ariyama.

He makes up for his gaffe in the first with a liner to right that scores Okumura! 5-0!

Togari gets Yuuto to strike out, but as expected, Osaka Toin is out to the lead which is now 5 runs.

Bottom 3rd
Tochigi quickly grounds out to 2nd.

Matsumoto gets frozen on a 1-2 pitch and has to sit down.

Sakai fouls a ball off his foot... Ow. He has the spray applied to his foot and after a little, he's ready to go. And after falling behind 0-2, he draws a walk!

Camera points to the flags in center. Wind is back blowing from right to left.

And it pans back to Itou who flies out to center.

Top 4th
Togari is removed from the mound! He goes to left and #10 Nojima comes into the game.

Oh dear....

Asamura takes the first pitch from Nojima and lines it to left.

Sano though, is bunting. First attempts, foul. Second attempt... he pulls it back! High chopper off the mound! Sakai charges, waits, gets it and fires to 1st for the out!

Morikawa comes in and he grounds to 1st. Asamura advances to 3rd.

Nojima would love to get Hagihara out before he has to face Okumura.... The count goes to 2-2, and Hagihara fouls off one. And another. 8th pitch of the AB here... Inside fastball! Swing and a miss! 3 out!

Nojima with the almost perfect inning! I must admit that I'm a bit impressed at least for now.

Bottom 4th
Machida behind 0-2, drives a liner to deep left! Nakatani runs over to his right, dives, but can't get it! He's in with a double and Tokoha's first hit!

Nakagawa also falls behind 0-2... gets it to 2-2, but gets frozen on a pitch inside!

Maeda gets ahead in the count, but grounds to 3rd. 2 down.

Yuuto gets Uejima to strike out to end the inning, leadoff double can't be brought home!

Top 5th
Okumura having a day! He takes the first pitch to left for a leadoff single! Nakatani bunts him along.

Kouhei drives one to deep left center! It's over Togari's head! That bounces to the wall! Okumura scores on Kouhei's double! 6-0!

Nojima comes back and strikes out Ariyama, then fields a safety bunt by Yuuto for the 3rd out.

The lead continues to grow.

Bottom 5th
Yuuto continues his dominant pitching... he strikes out Togari looking. He gets Tochigi to hit a chopper to short. And freezes Nojima for his 6th K of the day!

As we head to the break, the game could be going as expected. Osaka Toin with a big lead, and Tokoha Kikugawa struggling to get its offense going...

And what the heck is that pose the Tokoha oen-dan is doing???

Top 6th
Asamura continues his hot hitting with a single to left. Sano puts the bunt down.

Morikawa with the comebacker! It's off Nojima's glove! Machida charges in, gets it. Throw to 1st, pulls Uejima off the bag! All safe! Runners at the corners!

Hagihara lines one to right center! Asamura scores! 7-0 now in favor of Osaka Toin!

Okumura steps up a triple away from the cycle! Nojima gets ahead early, but eventually works the count full! And a pitch low means yet another manrui situation!

But Nakatani pops it up! Tochigi is under it and makes the catch! 2 down.

Kouhei with a grounder to short! Sakai charges, gets it, makes the throw! It's low! Bounces away from Uejima! That's off his glove and into foul territory!! Morikawa scores! Hagihara scores! 9-0!

And Nojima hits Ariyama! Manrui again for last batter Yuuto.

Yuuto drives one to deep left center! Togari and Itou go back! They're at the wall!

It's off the wall! The bases clear as Yuuto comes in with a double! 12-0!

At this point even a Tokoha big inning won't be enough...

#11 Hagiwara comes in to relieve Nojima... and mercifully gets Asamura to pop to Machida in shallow center.

Bottom 6th
Sakai sharply grounds to 1st... Itou after working the count full hits a comebacker to Yuuto...

... and Machida grounds to short.

Top 7th
Sano hits a grounder past a diving Sakai into center to start the inning for Osaka.

Morikawa flies out to center.

Hagihara up. AHHHHHH!!! He hits a drive to right! Nakagawa to the wall!


Hagihara with the homerun to right! That's against the wind! It's now 14-0!

Okumura and Nakatani ground out to end the inning. But this is a full blown massacre...

Bottom 7th
Nakagawa opens the inning with a liner down the right field line. That's to the wall for a leadoff double! Can they at least get on the board?

Maeda fights at the plate, fouling off pitch after pitch. Then on the 10th pitch he hits a chopper over Yuuto's head! But Asamura's there to field it, and he throws to 3rd to easily get a running Nakagawa.

Uejima up. Grounder to 1st. Hagihara charges, but can't get it! It trickles into right and we have runners at the corners!

Yuuto refuses to give up a run without a fight... He strikes out Togari on 3 straight... and does the same with Tochigi! Fukushima Yuuto denies Tokoha Kikugawa a run here!

Top 8th
Kouhei gives Osaka Toin another leadoff runner as he singles to right.

Ariyama pops to shallow center. Itou charges in, makes the catch! And for some inexplicable reason, Kouhei was running! He's easily doubled off at 1st.

Yuuto comes back though! He hits a drive to right! Nakagawa to the wall! That's off the base of the wall! Yuuto in with a triple!

Hagiwara then walks Asamura. 2 down runners at the corners.

But Sano flies out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
#14 Takase comes in to pinch-hit for his first AB at Koshien. Yuuto welcomes him with a strikeout... Sakai grounds to 2nd...

Itou gets his first hit of the game as he singles to left. That's only the 4th hit given up by Yuuto.

Machida bits one deep to right, but Okumura gets under it and makes the easy catch.

Top 9th
#12 Asakawa comes in to pitch now. Perhaps they're getting their underclassmen practice for next time...

Asakawa hits Morikawa to start...

After pushing the count full, Hagihara grounds to 2nd. Machida charges, makes the throw to 2nd for the force.

With the count 0-1, Asamura throws a wild pitch and Hagihara advances to 2nd.

Asakawa then walks Okumura... then walks Nakatani on 4 straight. Manrui for Kouhei.

Grounder to 2nd! Machida up with it! Goes to 2nd for 1, Sakai to 1st... offline!!! That's to the fence! Hagiwara and Okumura score. 16-0.

And after Asakawa falls behind 3-1, Ariyama scorches a grounder down the 3rd base line into left! Ariyama scores. 17-0.

I guess that's enough practice for Asakawa. Togari retakes the mound. #7 Higuchi goes to left.

And Togari gets the final out as Yuuto flies out to left.

Bottom 9th
Nakagawa pops up to Ariyama behind the plate.

Maeda refuses to give in just yet and gets his 1st hit lining to left.

But Uejima flies to right... 2 down.

Togari gets a round of applause from the crowd as he takes the plate...

And he's first pitch swinging with a chopper. Yuuto fields it and throws to 1st.


Your 90th Koshien National Tournament Champions --- OSAKA TOIN!

Osaka Toin did not give Tokoha Kikugawa a chance to make their big inning, and continued to apply pressure each and every inning to simply overwhelm them. A well deserved championship!

90th Summer Koshien Championship Game Review

First of all, the Best 4 stats post has been updated with the Best 4 games for Tokoha Kikugawa and Osaka Toin.

Now onto the analysis... It really boils down to this:

Osaka Toin's Offense vs. Tokoha Kikugawa's Big Inning

Osaka Toin's Offense
It's no secret Osaka Toin can hit. It's just amazing the clip in which they do.
  • The team as a whole is hitting 0.406 and has averaged 9 runs per game
  • 2 players are slugging over 0.900 (Hagihara - 0.952 and Asamura - 0.917)
  • Over 1/3 of Osaka Toin's hits are for extra bases.
  • There are 3 players now with 2 HR's each (1B Hagihara, SS Asamura, RF Okumura)
It's partially stunning since Asamura has been their leadoff hitter. Hagihara and Okumura meanwhile are cemented in the middle of the lineup.

This team is for the most part a free swinging team. If they find a pitch they like, they won't hesitate to swing.

Tokoha Kikugawa's Big Inning
In each of Tokoha Kikugawa's 4 games, they have had a big inning that has delivered the team to victory.

vs. Fukuchiyama Seibi (8th inning, down 1-0)
  • The game, similar to Saga Kita last year, was the one that they struggled the most in.
  • Runners on 1st & 3rd, Matsumoto goes for 2nd. C Fukumoto throws to 2nd, but neither the SS or 2B makes a play for the ball. Togari scores. Matsumoto heads for 3rd. The throw comes in to Nakatani at short, but he's paying no attention to Matsumoto. He breaks home and gives Tokoha the lead 2-1.
vs. Kurashiki Shogyo (5th inning, down 6-0)
  • Key play in this inning came early on. One down, runner on 2nd, Tochigi grounds to short. SS Kanetani makes the throw to 1st, but it's low and gets past Uemori. This keeps the inning going after Sakai's grounder to 1st 2 batters later. After what would have been the 3rd out, Tokoha Kikugawa delivers 5 straight hits, with Itou delivering the go-ahead 3-run homerun to make it 7-6.
  • 11 batters - 7 runs on 6 singles, 1 homerun
vs. Chiben Wakayama (6th inning, up 3-2)
  • This inning came about when Tokoha had just taken the lead the previous inning thanks to defensive miscues by Chiben Wakayama.
  • Tokoha jumps quickly. After a walk and single by the first 2 batters and then Maeda with a 3-run homerun to left sets the tone of the inning and knockout their ace Okada.
  • Later on in the inning, another defensive gaffe by 3B Nishikawa with 1 down gives Tokoha an extra out. After what would have been the last out, the next 3 batters reached safely, driving 4 runs en route to a 10-run inning, giving them a commanding 13-3 lead.
  • 15 batters - 10 runs on 4 singles, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 3 walks, 1 hit-by-pitch
vs. Urasoe Shogyo (2nd inning, down 1-0)
  • Urasoe gambled by starting #15 Shimane. He had done exceptionally in the last game, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings of 3-hit ball.
  • Tokoha exploded out of nowhere. The first 5 batters reach safely with 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit-by-pitch, and 2 runs scored. Shimane is then replaced by #1 Iha who by far has been the best pitcher this tournament.
  • He retires the first two batters and is about to get out of the inning. But Itou again comes through with a timely shot to center that goes of Nakazato's head and clears the bases.
  • Iha is about to get out of the inning again when the next batter grounds to short. But SS Ueji Toshiki doesn't pick the ball off the ground, has to double back and his throw is late.
  • That error comes back to haunt Urasoe. After a walk to the next batter to load the bases, Maeda hits a 2-0 pitch to left for a manrui (grand slam) homerun to make it 9-1.
  • 12 batters - 9 runs on 3 singles, 1 double, 1 homerun, 2 walks, 1 hit-by-pitch
Total - 26 runs in the key innings for the last 3 games


So on the flipside, for Tokoha Kikugawa the question is whether its pitching can even contain Osaka Toin's offense. The tandem of Togari and Nojima has been shaky at best. They allow about 1.5 baserunners each inning. And while Togari (btw a small part of Tokoha's championship run as #10) has been effective (4 ER in 16.1 IP), Nojima has not (7 ER in 16 IP with 8 BB).

And for Osaka Toin, can they stop the big inning before it starts? In each of the 4 games, a defensive error has extended the inning for Tokoha Kikugawa. Osaka Toin has only committed 3 errors this tournament. However, 1 was in the Best 8 game, and the other 2 was in their semifinal game. It almost doesn't matter that ace Fukushima Yuuto has been for the most part effective (15 ER in 37 IP - 3.62 ERA with only 8 BB and 31 K).

So... who will win?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 16 - Best 4 - Game 2 - Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka) vs. Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa)

The 2nd game feels like it should be a rivalry. Yokohama - a strong team out of the Kanto area, versus Osaka Toin - one from the Kansai area.

In fact, these teams have played in recent history. They were involved in the "Bracket of Death" 2 years ago, where Osaka Toin behind their star Nakata Sho defeated Yokohama in the 1st (!) round 11-6.

So you could say that Yokohama is out for revenge...

Looking at the stats for each team, it's clear that both teams can hit. Asamura and Okumura have 2 HR's each for Osaka Toin, while Tsutsugo has 3. Osaka Toin has scored an average of 9 runs/game, Yokohama, just a little under 8.

To boot, neither team's pitching is that strong either. Both aces are prone to control issues.

So powerful batting + so-so pitching = high scoring game. Or so I think...

I really don't have a favorite to win. Tsuchiya's strong performance against Seiko Gakuin to me is a mirage because I think they were the weakest team in the Best 8.

To me, it's comes down to whose ace pitches less badly. And I really don't know.

How about since it's the 10th year since Yokohama won with Matsuzaka Daisuke, Yokohama wins?

Make me bet the farm though, and I guess I'd have to say Osaka Toin. Yuuto's stats appear that he has pitched slightly better than Tsuchiya.

Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)
SS Asamura (6)
3B Sano (5)
2B Morikawa (4)
1B Hagihara (3)
RF Okumura (9)
LF Nakatani (12)
CF Fukushima Kouhei (7)
C Ariyama (2)
P Fukushima Yuuto (1)

Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa)
3B Kuramoto (5)
SS Ooishi (6)
2B Matsumoto (4)
1B Tsutsugo (3)
LF Iwama (7)
RF Ogawa Kenta (9)
C Oda (2)
CF Nakahara (8)
1:36 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Tsuchiya gives up a 1-out single to Sano, but he's going after the batters getting the 1st pitch strike. Sano is left standing at 1st.

Bottom 1st
Yuuto returns the favor, retiring Yokohama in order.

Top 2nd
Tsuchiya retires Osaka Toin in order with relative ease!

Bottom 2nd
Yuuto starts the inning by walking Tsutsugo! Maybe a safe bet considering who we're talking about. He's bunted to 2nd.

Pitch in the dirt! Ariyama moves out to find it, but it's at home! Tsutsugo goes for 3rd! Ariyama finds it, makes the throw! But it off line and Sano can't get it because Tsutsugo slides into 3rd! The ball trickles out towards center and Tsutsugo breaks for home! He's in! An error leads to the first run and Yokohama leads 1-0!

Kenta quickly lines to center and there's 2 down.

But then Yuuto walks Oda! Could it be that Yuuto's fatigued after 4 games? Tsuchiya singles to right! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Nakahara!

Yuuto buckles down though and strikes him out! But Yokohama strikes first!

Top 3rd
One down for Osaka Toin, Yuuto gets patient at the plate and draws a walk.

Then Asamura singles to left! ...and Sano after that with a soft liner to center! Manrui for Morikawa!

Single through to right! Yuuto scores! Osaka Toin ties it right back up! 1-1!

Hagihara with the drive to deep left! Iwama running back, but it's over his head! Asamura scores! Sano right behind him! Hagihara with the timely 2-run double! 3-1 Osaka!

Okumura pops to Oda. 2 down.

Ah!! Okumura with the single to right center! Morikawa scores! Hagihara scores! Osaka Toin has responded with 5 runs to take the lead 5-1!

Bottom 3rd
Kuramoto sets Yokohama's offense in motion. He hits a comebacker right between Yuuto's legs into center. He's bunted to 2nd.

Mastumoto delivers! He hits a short liner to left! Kuramoto heads to 3rd. He's going home! Nakatani with the throw... it's up the 1st base line! Kuramoto scores! 5-2!!

And Tsutsgo walks again! Runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 down!

Yuuto comes back and strikes out Iwama! 2 down!

But Kenta with the grounder into right! Matsumot comes home! Okumura up and throws a strike to home! Ariyama with the catch and tag for the out! Nice play!

Top 4th
Tsuchiya only gives up a 1-out single to Yuuto, but his control is still a bit off.

Bottom 4th
Yuuto composes himself and retires the side in order.

Top 5th
One down, Hagihara hits a fly to left center. Iwama and Nakahara converge, but the ball falls in between them!

Okumura up, hard hit to the right side! Matsumoto with the grab! Toss to 2nd for 1, relay to 1st, 2! Nice double play by Yokohama!!

Bottom 5th
Kuramoto with a slow chopper to 2nd. Morikawa charges, but can't pick it off the ground! Infield single for Kuramoto! Ooishi bunting him along.

Matsumoto looking for the timely hit. EH?! Kuramoto takes off for 3rd!!! Throw by Ariyama not in time! Now a sac fly can get him in! But he lines out to center instead! 2 down.

AH! Tsutsugo with another slow chopper to 2nd. AHHHH!!!! Kuramoto can't pick it up again!!!! This time he's charged with the error and Kuramoto scores! Yokohama closes the narrows the deficit to 2, 5-3!

Top 6th
Nakatani with a grounder to 2nd to start. Matsumoto with the stop, but Tsutsugo isn't covering 1st! Tsuchiya covers at the last minute for the out!

Kouhei follows that with a chopper up the middle. Matsumoto with the back-handed catch. He tosses it with his glove to Ooishi! Ooishi gets it, it's too late to throw to 1st. But another nice play turned in by Matsumoto!

Kouhei is advanced on a grounder to 1st, but he's left stranded as Yuuto flies out to center.

Bottom 6th
Yokohama continues to chip away at the lead of Osaka Toin. Can they cut into the deficit yet again?

The cameras point to the outfield, and the stadium as expected is filled to capacity.

And Yuuto from the break sits down Yokohama in order for the 3rd time this game.

Top 7th
The game is moving along at a rather quick pace.

Asamura starts the inning with a liner over Kuramoto's head into left for a leadoff double! He quickly moved to 3rd.

Morikawa up, and the the count goes to 2-2.


Out of nowhere Osaka Toin calls for the squeeze! Tsuchiya charges! Glove toss home! SAFE!!

Morikawa with 2 strikes puts down the squeeze bunt and scores Asamura!!! 6-3 Osaka Toin!!

Hagihara grounds into the 6U-3 double play, but Osaka Toin has put another run on the board!

Bottom 7th
#17 Ogawa Ryouma comes in to pinch-hit for Nakahara, probably as a response to the need for runs, and his 2 strikeout day so far. And while Ryouma makes contact, he flies to right...

And once again Yokohama goes down in order. Time is quickly running short for them here in the semifinals.

Top 8th
Ryouma stays in to play left, while Iwama moves to center.

One down for Nakatani. He drives one to the right center field gap! That's bounces all the way to the wall! Nakatani heads for 2nd, goes to 3rd! He's in with a triple!

Now Yokohama is wary of the squeeze. Tsuchiya continues to toss to 3rd. Osaka Toin's manager calls time. #8 Shimizu comes in to pinch run as Kouhei is given directions.

Tsuchiya is still wary of the squeeze, so he continues to pitch way outside.

But when he pitches in, Kouhei goes for the swinging bunt! Shimizu charges home, but Ooishi makes a great throw and they get him out! 2 down!

Ariyama up. AH! Drive to left! That going deep down the line! Ryouma gives chase. He goes into the slide and collides into the wall hard! But the ball follows the fence into left! Ryouma just missed it before he had to slide! Kouhei flies around the bases! He rounds 3rd and scores. Ariyama picks up an RBI with a triple! 7-3!!

Bottom 8th
Yokohama is in serious trouble. They need at least a couple of runs this inning.

Matsumoto gets it started! He singles to right. Tsutsugo follows that up with a single to center! No down, runners at 1st and 2nd!

But Iwama grounds to 1st! Hagihara goes to 2nd for one, but they can't complete the double play.

Kenta breaks through! He grounds one past a diving Asamura into left! Matsumoto scores, and it's 7-4!

Oda up to try and plate another. But it's a grounder to 2nd! Morikawa up with it, looks to 2nd for a while, then goes to 1st! So runners at 2nd and 3rd for Tsuchiya!

But he pops it up! Asamura camps under it, and 3 outs! Yokohama got 1 run back, but they'll need a lot more than that now!

Top 9th
Asamura bloops one to right to start the inning! Osaka Toin, looking for another insurance run, bunt him along.

Morikawa with a bid with a low liner to left! Ryuoma charges and makes the catch! 2 down for Hagihara!

Tsuchiya falls behind 2-0! And Hagihara blasts one to right! Kenta running back, looks up!!


Hagihara delivers the final blow with a 2-run homerun in the top of the 9th inning. It's now 9-4 and any hope for Yokohama may have just disappeared!!

Bottom 9th
Yokohama goes down in order. And we have our final 2 teams!!!!!

Tomorrow, Tokoha Kikugawa from Shizuoka-ken will face off against Osaka Toin of Kita Osaka for the 90th Summer Koshien Title!

Best 4 Team Stats

I have compiled the Best 4 Team stats here for your perusal. Pretty interesting stuff there.

Day 16 - Best 4 - Game 1 - Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa) vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

Today is where the teams start to shine. These teams have risen to the top winning 3 or 4 straight games. In addition these teams pitching staffs will be severely tested.

These 4 teams are really some of the strongest teams and should provide some great entertainment for everyone.

The first game pits Urasoe Shogyo and its dominating pitching staff led by ace Iha, versus the comeback kids of Tokoha Kikugawa.

Iha has stifled his opponents so far, giving up only 30 hits in 31 innings while striking out 23 and walking 3. His bullpen of #11 Tokima and surprise #15 Shimane give Urasoe depth.

Tokoha Kikugawa has depended on the big inning. 2 runs due to an error on Fukuchiyama Seibi, a 7-run 5th inning against Kurashiki Shogyo, and a 10-run 6th against Chiben Wakayama. The pitching outside of Togari has been shaky at best. Furthermore he hasn't gone longer than 5 innings at one stint (he went the first 5 against Fukuchiyama, then finished the last 2).

Really the question is if Tokoha can really keep this going. How far can you have one big inning in each game? And against such a good pitching staff? But at this point, can you really bet against them?

I liked Tokoha Kikugawa when they won the Spring Koshien last year. I even have their logo on by tour bowling shirt with the #19. The statistics say Urasoe should win, I want Tokoha Kikugawa to win.

So please just let me leave it at that...

Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa)
RF Kanna (9)
SS Ueji Toshiki (6)
LF Miyahira (7)
C Yamashiro (2)
3B Nakama (5)
1B Touyama Kazuma (18)
CF Nakazato (14)
2B Niita (12)
P Shimane (15)

Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
SS Sakai (6)
CF Itou (8)
2B Machida (4)
RF Nakagawa (9)
3B Maeda (5)
1B Uejima (3)
P Togari (1)
C Tochigi (2)
LF Higuchi (7)
11:00 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Togari's control looks shaky to start. He retires the side, but throws 19 pitches. This doesn't look good early.

Bottom 1st
Shimane looks REAL good early. He retires the first 2 batters before hitting Machida on the helmet with an offspeed pitch. But Itou running for Machida is thrown out stealing 2nd!

Top 2nd
One down for Kazuma and he takes a drive to left! Higuchi running back, leaps up, but it's way over his head! Kazuma strolls in with a double!

No bunting from Urasoe. Nakazato swings away! But he flies out to right. 2 down.

Niita to try and get him in. Grounder to short. Sakai comes in to play it, and it's under his glove!!!

Kazuma rounds 3rd and he scores! Urasoe up 1-0!

AH! Niita is caught napping at first and Tochigi picks him off! But Urasoe as expected has taken the early lead!

Bottom 2nd
Nakagawa with a liner to short! Toshiki leaps, but it's too hard and comes out! Base hit for Nakagawa!

Then Shimane walks Maeda on 4 straight! Shimane's lost his control!

Uejima with a grounder to left! Manrui for Tokoha Kikugawa!

Shimane seems to have regained control. He gets the count 2-2 to Togari. But then he hits him! That forces home Nakagawa and it's 1-1!

Iha warms up in the bullpen...

Tochigi follows that up with a liner through the infield and into left! Maeda comes in to score! Tokoha is leading early 2-1! This is an unknown situation for them!

That's it for Shimane. Ace Iha comes in.

Higuchi with a grounder to 2nd! Niita comes home for the force! One down.

Sakai behind 1-2. Check swing, appeal to 1st! Called out! Boy, I don't know about that call. Two down.

Itou swinging on the first pitch. Driven to center. DEEP CENTER! Nakazato running back!!! He leaps! It's over him!!!! Togari scores... Tochigi scores... HIGUCHI SCORES!!! Itou with the bases clearing double!! It's 5-1 Tokoha!!!

Urasoe is in big trouble here...

Machida up to bat, the 9th batter to come up to the plate. Grounder to short! AH!!!!! Toshiki doesn't have the ball! All safe! Runners at the corners for Nagakawa!

Tokoha isn't letting up! Maeda takes off for 2nd and he's in safely! Urasoe decides to walk Nakagawa to get a force at all bases.

Up next is Maeda. Gets a hold of one! That's to left! Miyahira running back! He's looking up! まさか!!!


MANRUI HOMERUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maeda with the grand slam home run!!!!!!!! Tokoha Kikugawa has exploded for 9 runs! It's now 9-1!!!

Iha gets Uejima to strike out, but Urasoe is in a big spot now!

Top 3rd
2 down for Urasoe. Toshiki grounds to the left side. Sakai with the great stop! Throw to first is wide! Uejima goes to get it and collides with Toshiki! He scrambles to the bag, but can't get up! After some talk with the umpire, he's helped off the field unable to walk on his left leg!

#9 Kanna comes to replace him on the basepaths.

Miyahira comes up next and grounds one to right! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Yamashiro!

He takes the first pitch to left! Higuchi running back. He looks up! That's off the fence! Kanna comes in to score. Miyahira scores! Yamashiro with the 2-run double to make it 9-3!!

Bottom 3rd
There's a delay in the action as Toshiki is being tended to. After a while, he emerges and is actually running around!

Iha settles down after the big inning. He yields a one out single to Tochigi, but that's it.

Top 4th
Hm... The wind is actually blowing out to right field now. A sign perhaps?

Nakazato with the one out single to left! But later on during Iha's AB, he gunned down to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
Iha and Urasoe is back in rhythm. Kanna makes a fine running catch in right center to start the inning, and Iha gives up only a 2-out single to Nakagawa. But the fact still remains... they're down 6.

Top 5th
Urasoe is swinging away now. And while Toshiki gets a 2-out single, Urasoe can't get anything else...

Bottom 5th
Uejima leads off the 5th with a grounder up the middle! Toshiki dives, but it goes just under his glove!

Togari with the grounder to short. AH!!! Toshiki's throw is off line and into right! E6! Is that ankle still bothering him??

And Uejima is on the ground hurt! He's holding his head! What happened to him! Ah! As Niita goes to try and field it, he hits Uejima! He's helped off as Maeda takes his place.

Tochigi looks to bunt the runners along. But Iha gets to it quickly! Looks to 3rd, no play! Goes to 1st. Throw is high! All safe! Manrui for Higuchi!

Iha gets ahead of him 1-2. But then Higuchi with the liner! It's right to Kazuma at 1st! He races to first and doubles off Tochigi! Quickly 2 down!

Sakai hits back with the comebacker! Iha gets a piece of it, but it dribbles to the right side! Niita charges in, gets it and makes the throw to 1st! 3 out! Iha gets out of the manrui situation!

There's still a ways to go though, and Urasoe has time.

Top 6th
Tokoha Kikugawa now goes to its bullpen and #10 Nojima. Togari goes to left just in case...

Yamashiro with a blast to left! Itou races back, but it's over him! Yamashiro in with his 2nd double!

Nakama with a bloop to right center! That falls in! Yamashiro running home! Throw in, Tochigi with the tag... not in time! 9-4! And Nakama advance to 2nd!

Kazuma with a liner to right! Nakama stops at 3rd! Runners at the corners! AND THEN HE WALKS NAKAZATO!!!

Nojima hasn't retired a batter yet, and we have a manrui situations for Niita!!!!!

Nojima gets ahead of Niita 0-2, but he fights on....

But Nojima gets him to swing on an inside slider!! One down.

Iha up! He can hit the ball! First pitch, low liner back up the middle! It's past Nojima's glove!

Machida dives! HE HAS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND HE EMPHATICALLY POUNDS 2ND WITH THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!! DOUBLE PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW!!! What a play by Machida! Nojima gets out of the manrui jam and Tokoha Kikugawa gives up only 1 run!!

Bottom 6th
Iha is doing his best to keep Urasoe in it. He strikes out 2 towards a 1-2-3 inning...

Top 7th
Urasoe though can't seem to get its offense started. Then with 2 down, an irregular bounces gives Urasoe a runner as Miyahira's grounder takes a high hop on Uejima.

Yamashiro up... can he possibly deliver another hit?

Grounder to 3rd. Maeda with it, makes a low throw, but Uejima makes the pick and that ends the inning...

Bottom 7th
Maeda leads off the inning with a single up the middle. And he steals 2nd on Uejima strikeout!

And Iha makes a bad pickoff throw to 2nd! That trickles into center and Maeda advances to 3rd! And then Iha hits Togari! Runners at the corners!


Tochigi puts down the squeeze! But Iha gets to it once again, and passes it to Yamashiro and he makes the tag! OUT!

Maeda out at home! Now 2 down!

Nojima up now. But Togari breaks for 3rd! Yamashiro with the great throw and Togari is out by a mile!

Top 8th
Nakama leads it off with a single through to left to start the inning. Nojima fights back though and strikes out Kazuma.

Then Nakazato with the grounder to 2nd! Machida up with the ball, goes to 2nd for 1, throw by Sakai in plenty of time for the double play.

Bottom 8th
Tokoha Kikugawa is retired in order by Iha... but Urasoe is just about out of time.

Top 9th
Togari returns to the mound for the 9th. #17 Tanji goes to left.

#17 Kuniyoshi pinch-hits for Niita. But he hits a grounder to 1st and Uejima makes the play.

Iha up. This could be his last AB. He hits a liner just over Machida and into right center! The lineup turns over for Kanna.

But he grounds to 2nd! Machida to Sakai for 1! Throw to 1st, double play! Game set!

Tokoha Kikugawa with another offensive explosion, this time in the 2nd and only down 1-0. But they score 9 in the 2nd and go on to the 9-4 victory!!! Perhaps the gamble of using Shimane to start the game was ill-fated, as even Iha could not recover once he entered into the fray.

Tokoha Kikugawa has made it into the finals. Who will join them?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 15 - Best 8 - Game 2 - Seiko Gakuin (Fukushima) vs. Keio (Minami Kanagawa)

The last game of the Best 8 matchups pits the always strong Yokohama and Seiko Gakuin. It'll be a tough hill to climb for Seiko if they want to advance to the best 4.

Seiko Gakuin has had probably the easiest schedule out of the Best 8 participants facing Kakogawa Kita and Shiritsu Gifu Shogyo.

But this time their opponent is Yokohama, and their road has been anything BUT easy.
  • def. Urawa Gakuin 6-5
  • dek. Koryo 7-4
  • def. Sendai Ikuei 3-2
It's hard for me to handicap this game (although recently I've been wrong more than not). I just haven't seen Seiko really tested so far. On the other hand, Yokohama has been repeatedly tested.

So I'll go to what I know. Tsuchiya can be prone to control issues. The only way Seikou can really get to Tsuchiya will probably be to run the pitch count high and hope that they can wear him down.

Otherwise, it may be a long game.

Seiko Gakuin (Fukushima)
LF Kanno (8)
2B Satou Takuya (4)
1B Sekine (3)
RF Kuroba (9)
3B Yasuda (5)
CF Watanabe (16)
SS Tamura (6)
C Takezawa (2)
P Nakada (1)

Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa)
3B Kuramoto (5)
SS Ooishi (6)
2B Matsumoto (4)
1B Tsutsugo (3)
LF Iwama (7)
RF Ogawa Kenta (9)
C Oda (2)
P Tsuchiya (1)
CF Nakahara (8)
2:13 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
After Tsuchiya gets Kanno to strike out to start the game, Takuya laces one past the infield and into left for a double! But Tsuchiya goes on to strike out Sekine and Kuroba to line to short.

Bottom 1st
Nakada, for being his first appearance, looks good. He's going after batters, and getting ahead in the count. While he walks Matsumoto with 2 down, a flyout by Tsutsugo ends the inning.

Top 2nd
Not what you want to see from Seiko. Tsuchiya gets a break with an 8 pitch inning.

Bottom 2nd
Iwama starts the inning off with a single to the left center field gap for a double!

Looking for the quick score, Kenta bunts him along to 3rd.

AH!! Nakada hits Oda! Runners at the corners now for Tsuchiya! And he lines one into right! Iwama scores! Kuroba has trouble fielding the ball and Tsuchiya advances to 2nd! Yokohama does get on the board early! 1-0!

Nakahara next with a pop to shallow center! Watanabe comes in makes the catch.

And Oda's going home! Thrown in by Watanabe is not in time! How the heck was Oda able to tag up on that shallow fly! 2-0!!

#11 Satou Tatsuya begins to warm up in the bullpen...

Then Nakada walks Kuramoto! Definitely not looking good!

However, he does get Ooishi to ground to 2nd to end the inning. But Seiko Gakuin has staked Yokohama a 2 run lead!

Top 3rd
Seiko's taking more pitches, and Kanno did single to right with 2 down. But they still need to make good contact, and that's not happening yet.

Bottom 3rd

Matsumoto starts off the 3rd with a single to center. Tsutsugo swings while ahead in the count and pops it up to 3rd.

AH! Nakada has Matsumoto picked off 1st! They run him down for the 2nd out!

And Nakada with a great 3-2 pitch on the inside corner for the strikeout! That's a good inning for Seiko!

Top 4th
Sekine opens the frame with a single to center! Then Seiko puts on the hit-and-run! Kuroba grounds to 2nd and Sekine advance to 2nd.

Yasuda with a liner to center! Sekine has to hold up at 3rd! Runners at the corners for Watanabe!

Watanabe gets directions as Yokohama has a conference on the mound.


Looks like they were trying for the safety squeeze there.

Not bunting now! Watanabe with the sharp comebacker! It's off Tsuchiya and to Matsumoto! He goes for Yasuda, has the tag. Throw to 1st... not in time!! Sekine comes home to score on the play and Seiko has narrowed the deficit to 1! 2-1!

Tamura bidding for a hit as he hits a grounder to left. But Ooishi slides over, makes the sliding catch and pops up to get the out .

Bottom 4th
Kenta with a shot to the left center field gap! Kanno cuts it off, but not before Kenta goes to 2nd with a double! And he raises his arms in joy! Why? Because that was his first hit at Koshien!

Oda falls behind 1-2. Reaches out and dribbles the ball! But it's called foul! The ball bounced off off Takezawa before going into fair territory.

So Oda continues to battle at the plate. On the 8th pitch, they put on the hit-and run! Oda strikes out! Throw to 3rd is low and off line! Kenta in safely!

One down for Tsuchiya. But he pops it up! Nakada under it. 2 down!

One more bullet to dodge from Nakahara. Grounder to 3rd! Past a diving Yasuda! Kenta comes in to score and it's a 3-1 game now!

But another baserunning error by Yokohama! Nakahara takes off early and Nakada throws to 2nd for the out!

Top 5th
Takezawa draws the leadoff walk, and then bunted to 2nd.

Top of the order now for Seikou, but Kanna grounds to short. However, Ooishi bobbles the ball so while he gets Kanna out, Takezawa advances to 3rd. 2 out for Takuya.

But Tsuchiya buckles down and strikes him out! Takezawa is left stranded at 3rd!

Bottom 5th
Kuramoto gets another leadoff runner as Kuramoto singles to center.

Now, runner on 2nd and 1 out for Matsumoto.

AH! Nakada has Kuramoto picked off between 2nd and 3rd! He's run down! That's the 3rd one this game! How is this possible!

Matsumoto flies to right center. Watanabe casually moves in on the ball. And it drops in! What the heck happened there? That should have been an easy pop fly, but instead Matsumoto is standing at 2nd! Still though, it's 2 out as Tsutsugo steps up.

UAAAA!!!! Tsutsugo drives one to right! Kanno runs towards the foul pole. He looks up!


Tsutsugo makes Seiko pay for the fielding mistake, blasting a hanging curve for a 2-run homerun! 5-1 Yokohama as we head to the break!

Top 6th
Tsuchiya with an easy 1-2-3 inning, and one has to wonder about Seiko's chances at this point...

Bottom 6th
#11 Satou Tatsuya comes in to relieve Nakada.

Kenta again gives Yokohama a leadoff batter with a grounder to center.

Oda with a blast to dead center! Watanabe running back to the wall, looks up!

That's off the top of the fence and bounces back into play! Kenta scores on Oda's double! That was centimeters away from a home run! 6-1!

Tsuchiya follows that up with a single to left! Oda rounding 3rd, he's coming home! Throw from Kanno not in time! 7-1.

After a flyout to right by Nakahara, Kuramoto elects to bunt Tsuchiya to 2nd.

So 2 down for Ooishi. But Tatsuya throws a wild pitch! Tsuchiya advances to 3rd!

Tatsuya can't find the zone and walks Ooishi on 4 straight! Then he falls behind Matsumoto 3-1 and loses him too!

Manrui for Tsutsugo! Uh oh... This can't be good.

And the clouds starts to drizzle upon the field.

Oh dear.... That's well hit. Tsutsugo's raising his arm already... Kuroba stopping and looking up....

MANRUI HOMERUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was a no doubt about it home run. And Yokohama has blown it wide open! 11-1!

That's it for Tatsuya. #13 Yokoyama relieves him on the mound.

Iwama up as the 9th batter to the plate. Hits a chopper up the middle! Takuya with the stop, but can't get the throw to 1st in time!

But Yokoyama gets Kenta to pop up to Takezawa to end the enning.

Top 7th
During the break, the clouds open up on the grounds. Everyone runs for cover or puts on a raincoat as the rain comes down. The fields crew put the small tarps on the mound and at home and in a rain delay.

It is important to the note the following:

Called games due to rain are different for high school baseball. The game will only count IF they've played more than 7 full innings.

We've only played 6.

The implications are staggering... Seiko could get a 1-day reprieve...

-----------------------------------4:00 PM RAIN DELAY-----------------------------------

UPDATE - 4:26 PM -
The grounds crew are out putting the quick dry powder on the field. It looks like the rain has stopped, perhaps unluckily for Seiko.

But there's still quite of work to be done as there are water puddles all over the field.

4:38 PM - Yokohama starts playing catch ball. We are probably close to resuming the game now.

The grounds crew is spreading the quick dry behind the plate. Seiko too is stretching and warming up.

The umpires come back onto the field and Yokohama takes the field to begin the top of the 7th.

-------------------------------4:42 PM GAME RESUMPTION-------------------------------

Top 7th
The lights also are being turned on as we reach 5 PM.

And unfortunately the offensive woes for Seiko continue as they can only manage a one-out single from Tamura.

Bottom 7th
It also appears that the offensive outburst from Yokohama hasn't stopped either.

Oda and Tsuchiya open the inning with grounders to left and right. Both are moved over on Nakahara's bunt, bringing us back to the top of the order.

Yokoyama strikes out Kuramoto, but then hits Ooishi.

Manrui for Matsumoto... and Tsutsugo is on deck.


Yokoyama gets ahead of Matsumoto 1-2, but he fouls off pitch after pitch. Then Yokoyama misses on 2 straight. Full count!

And Yokohama lines to center! Oda and Tsuchiya score. 13-1 now and runners at the corners for Tsutsugo... Hoo boy...

This time he takes a ball away to left! Kanno running back, leaps up and it's off his glove! Ooishi and Matsumoto score, and Tsttsugo now has 8 RBI's on the day! 15-1.

And #16 Ariizumi comes in to pinch-run for Tsutsugo. Guess they figure he's done enough damage on the day.

#17 Ogawa Ryouma comes in to pinch hit for Iwama and flies to right.

Top 8th
#13 Kudou replaces Tsutsugo at 1st, while Ryouma stays in to play left.

One down, Takuya hits a liner down the right field line for a double.

Sekine up now. He hits a pop up to shallow left center! Ryouma and Ooishi converge, but neither of them get it! Takuya heads to 3rd - he's heading home?! Iwama with the throw home, and Oda applies the tag for the out! And Seiko is denied yet again at the plate.

Bottom 8th
Yokoyama gives up a single to Oda, but thankfully for Seiko, Yokoyama retires the next two batters.

Top 9th
#12 Suzuki comes in to replace Oda at C, #10 Tayama replaces Tsuchiya on the mound, and Tsuchiya moves to center.

With one down, #12 Ogata pinch-hits for Watanabe. And he pokes one down the right field line for a single. He's then replaced by #7 Fukaya.

Tamura follows that up with a single to left! Perhaps they can get another run or two...

#14 Saitou comes in to PH for Takezawa. He grounds to short, and just beats being doubled up at first.

Last chance for Seiko is with Yokoyama, and he strikes out to end the game.

Seiko Gakuin was unfortunately overmatched by Yokohama today, but can go home knowing they made it into the Best 8.

Day 15 - Best 8 - Game 1 - Cbiben Wakayama vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

We are certainly "blessed", if you want to look at it that way, to have a best 8 like this. Two great games yesterday, and two more to look forward to today.

Chiben has for the most part dominated their competition, thanks to their 2nd year ace, Okada to get them through the tournament. He wears #10, but probably as a result of being an underclassman (i.e. not a 3rd year).

Tokoha Kikugawa has had to rally back in both of its games to advance to the Best 8. Against Fukuchiyama Seibi, a communication problem on a pick off throw combined with a lack of attention allowed Tokoha Kikugawa to score its only 2 runs of the game to win 2-1.

Then against Kurashiki Shogyo, they fell behind 5-0 in the first inning. Then down 6-0, they scored 7 in the 5th and held on to win 11-9.

As much as Tokoha Kikugawa has been able to rally from behind, there's only so far that a team can go on that. Expect Chiben to win here and advance to the Best 4.

Chiben Wakayama
SS Urata (6)
P Shibata (1)
2B Katsuya (4)
1B Sakaguchi (3)
RF Morimoto (2)
LF Takahashi (7)
CF Tanbo (8)
C Okada (10)
3B Nishikawa (18)

Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
SS Sakai (6)
CF Itou (8)
2B Machida (4)
RF Nakagawa (9)
3B Maeda (5)
1B Uejima (3)
P Nojima (10)
C Tochigi (2)
LF Matsumoto (18)
11:00 AM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Nojima with a short inning, as he retires Chiben Wakayama in order to start the game.

Bottom 1st
Itou gets it started with a single to left. And then Machida drives one to deep right center!!

Tanbo gives chase, but it falls in in front of the wall! Itou running the bases! Tanbo up with it! Itou being waved home! Katsuya with the relay throw! Morimoto with it, collision!!!

Umpire looking for the ball... OUT! A perfect relay home guns down Itou! Katsuya advances to 3rd, so 2 down and runner on 3rd for Nakagawa.

But Nakagawa pops up to shallow right center and Tokoha loses their chance!

Top 2nd
Sakaguchi leads off the inning with a single to right. Runner on 2nd, one out for Takahashi.

Grounder through to left! Runners at the corners.... AH! The ball goes under Matsumoto's glove! Sakaguchi comes on in to score! 1-0!

Tanbo up with Takahashi at 2nd. He grounds to 1st, allowing Takahashi to advance to 3rd.

Uh oh... after Nojima got ahead of Okada 1-2, he loses him! Runners at the corners for last batter Nishikawa!

Drive to right! Going, going, foul! What a swing by 1st-year Nishikawa! Nojima comes back with the fastball on the outside corner! Sanshin!

But thanks to an error by the defense, Chiben Wakayama takes the early lead!

Bottom 2nd
Okada yield a leadoff single to Maeda, but Morimoto guns him down at 2nd when he tries to make the steal. After that, Maeda retires the next 2 batters in order. The relative day of rest he received when the team played Komadai Iwamizawa certainly helps.

Top 3rd
One down for Chiben when Shibata singles to center. Nojima is still struggling with his location, and he walks Katsuya! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Sakaguchi, a real cleanup hitter!

Nojima gets ahead 1-2, and doesn't get a call on the outside corner! Then the count runs full!

But Sakaguchi pops up! Nojima goes after him with an inside pitch! Machida secures the catch! 2 down! And Morimoto flies to center to end the inning! Another bullet missed!

Bottom 3rd
Okada has his first 1-2-3 inning. He continues to go after batters and his location looks real good.

Top 4th
Nojima walks his 3rd batter of the game, Tanbo, with one down. Okada grounds one up the middle. Machida goes to make a play, but Tanbo runs into him and is automatically called out.

Nishikawa with the safety bunt! Nojima up with it, but the throw isn't in time! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Urata. He hits a grounder to short. Sakai goes to 2nd, but Machida isn't on the bag! All safe! Manrui for Shibata!

He grounds to short! Sakai tries it again, and this time Machida is on the bag for the force.

Bottom 4th
Okada continues with his dominance of Tokoha Kikugawa once again retiring the side in order,

Top 5th
Katsuya leads off the inning and singles to right center. Then, he walks Sakaguchi! With runners on 1st and 2nd, Chiben elects to bunt the runners along. Big chance for Chiben!

But Takahashi swings on the first pitch and pops it up just behind 2nd base! 2 down!

Ah! Nojima walks Tanbo! Manrui! Tokoha's manager has seen enough and brings in his ace Togari to get Tokoha out of this situation.

But he falls behind Okada 3-0!! There's nowhere to put him!

Low! Ball 4! Katsuya scores and Chiben now leads 2-0!

Nishikawa grounds to short, but Tokoha is finding themselves behind yet again!

Bottom 5th
Maeda leads off the inning. OW! He's beaned right in his side! That's gotta hurt.

Uejima isn't bunting. He singles through to right! And Togari puts down the safety bunt! Nishikawa up with the ball, but he one hops the throw and Sakaguchi can't secure it! E5, and manrui for Tokoha Kikugawa! Big chance!

But Okada continues to be aggressive and he strikes out Togari! 1 down!

#16 Kitajima pinch-hits for Matsumoto.

AH!! Wild pitch! Ball in the dirt gets away from Morimoto and Maeda comes in to score! 2-1!

Okada is relentless! He strikes out Kitajima! 2 down! It's all up to Sakai to get the trying run home!

But Okada gets ahead of him 1-2! Sakai with the chopper. Urata slides over to make the play!

AH!!!!!!!!! The ball takes an irregular hop off the infield and moves away from Urata! He reaches out with his glove, but it's into center!!! Uejima scores! Togari rounds 3rd, he scores! Another favorable bounce for Tokoha Kikugawa and they take the lead 3-2!!!!!

Itou grounds out to 3rd, but once again, Tokoha has rallied from behind to take the lead!

Top 6th
#17 Tanji comes for #16 Kitajima to play left.

Togari leads off the 6th with a walk to Urata. But then he strikes out both Shibata and Katsuya looking! Quickly 2 down, but Sakaguchi steps up to the plate!

Sakaguchi goes ahead in the count 2-0, but then grounds to short to end the inning!

Bottom 6th
Maeda opens the inning with a walk as Okada doesn't get a call on the outside corner for strike 3.
Nakagawa with a blast to right! That's going deep enough, but it goes foul! No matter though! He takes the next pitch and drives it through the right side.

Maeda up. Okada struggling with his control this inning! He falls behind 3-1!

Maeda crushes it! He immediately raises his fist!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That ball is way gone!

It landed about 20 rows up the left field bleachers!!!! Maeda's 3-run homerun puts Tokoha Kikugawa up 6-2!!!!!

The homerun also means the end of Okada's day. Shibata comes in from right to take the mound while #17 Oohata goes to play right.

But Shibata starts by hitting Uejima!

And then Tokoha calls for the hit-and-run! Togari makes contact and singles to center! Runners at the corners for Tochigi!

But he hits a comebacker to Shibata! His only play is to 1st. But still, only 1 down!

Tanji with a blast to left! That's deep, that could go! Foul! Just foul! Wow! What a swing from a bench player!

The camera zooms in on Okada who uncharacteristically looks agitated and mad!

Tanji with a grounder to 3rd. Nishikawa comes in and AH!!!!!!

The ball bounces off Nishikawa and into foul territory! Uejima comes in to score! 7-2!!

Sakai now with a blast to left! Takahashi running back! That's off the padding! Togari comes in to score on Sakai's double! 8-2!!

Runners on 2nd and 3rd for Itou. He pops it up to left center! Takahasi and Tanbo converge, but neither makes a play for it! The ball drops in! Tanji scores! 9-2!!


That's it for Shibata. #9 Hayashi comes in to take the mound and Shibata returns to right.

Machida returns as the 10th batter to the plate this inning. And Shibata starst out by walking Machida! Manrui!

Nakagawa with the liner to left! Takahashi makes the catch. Tries to throw to 2nd for the DP, but that ball is wild! Sakai looks to go home, but scurries back as Sakaguchi makes the throw!

Maeda again up. Could we see a 2 HR inning like Sakaguchi did for Chiben Wakayama in its last game!

Hayashi tries hard to prevent that. But he winds up walking Maeda! Sakai comes in! 10-2!

Uejima with a base hit to left! Itou and Machida come in to score! 12-2! Togari comes up and immediately bloops one into left center! Maeda scores! It's 13-3!!!

Tochigi grounds out for the 2nd time this inning, and finally the side is retired....

But Tokoha Kikugawa sends 15 batters to the plate, get 7 hits and 4 walks, and score 10 runs!!

Top 7th
Togari gives up a leadoff single to Morimoto, but the Chiben batters continue to swing away early getting 3 quick outs to retire the side.

Bottom 7th
Hayashi is now relieved as #12 Monguchi comes in to pitch. Also #13 Hirano comes in for Morimoto at catcher.

#7 Higuchi pinch-hits for #17 Tanji and strikes out. Sakai though hits a grounder through to left. Itou follows that up with a single to left. Could Chiben be in trouble again!

Machida with a grounder to 2nd! Katsuya starts the 4-6-3 DP to end the inning!

Top 8th
With an 10 run lead, #11 Hagiwara comes in to relieve Togari who moves to left.

Nishikawa rudely welcomes him with a drive to center! Itou running back, leaping up, but it's over his head! Nishikawa is in with a leadoff triple!

Urata behind 1-2, but his a blooper to center! Itou comes in, but decides to play the hop! Nishikawa scores and its 13-3.

Shibata with a short chopper! Uejima comes in to field it, but he can't! Runners at 1st and 2nd!

Katsuya hits a pop up on the first pitch! Maeda with it. 1 down.

Sakaguchi comes up. He hits a drive to deep right! That's past the outfielders! Urata scores! Shibata comes around, he scores! Sakaguchi with the triple and it's 13-5.

New C Hirano up. Grounder to short. That's off Sakai and into the outfield! Sakaguchi scores! 13-6! And still one down!

But Takahashi grounds to 2nd and Machida starts the 4-6-3 DP!

Bottom 8th
Monguchi with some nice pitching! He gives up a one out single to Maeda, but comes back to strike out the next 2 batters!

Top 9th
Tokoha's manager now relieves Hagiwara with #12 Asakawa.

Tanbo singles to right. And then Asakawa walks pinch-hitter #16 Miyake!

And the manager has seen enough. Togari returns to the mound to stop the bleeding.

#11 Hazama comes in to pinch-run for Miyake.

Nishikawa with a drive to left center! THAT'S PAST THE DRAWN IN INFIELD AGAIN!! Tanbo scores! Hazama scores! Nishikawa with another triple!!! 13-8!

Togari falls behind 3-1....

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Urata with a blast to right, he's raising his arm! You're kidding me right???!!!!


Urata hit a homerun deep into the left field bleachers! It's now 13-10!!!


And just as I think it, the announcers talk about 2 years ago when Chiben came back in the 9th to defeat Teikyo when they literally ran out of pitchers! But in this case, Tokoha still has Togari.

Shibata with a grounder back up the middle! Sakai dives but he can't get it!

Katsuya steps up. Grounder to the right side! Machida with the diving stop! Toss to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... double play!

Machida coming up with the fine play to bring Chiben Wakayama down to their final out! It's up to Sakaguchi now to keep the team alive.

He swings on the first pitch! It's a grounder to 3rd! Maeda up with it, throw to 1st....


Chiben Wakayama mounts a valiant rally against a backup pitching staff late, but the 11 run deficit was just too much to make up! So Tokoha Kikugawa, on the back of a bakuhatsu inning, defeat Chiben Wakayama and move on to face Urasoe Shogyo in the Best 4 showdown!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Best 4 Matchups

The draws for the Best 4 matchups have been determined. They are as of the end of today's matches:

Day 16 - Best 4 - Semifinals
  • Game 1 - Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa) vs. Winner of Chiben Wakayama vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
  • Game 2 - Winner of Seiko Gakuin (Fukushima) vs. Yokohama (Minami Kanagawa) vs. Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)

Day 14 - Best 8 - Game 2 - Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa) vs. Keio (Kita Kanagawa)

This game should be if nothing else, LOUD. Okinawa with it's hollering and whistling, and Keio with it's band and rally songs.

Seriously though, this game should be interesting. Urasoe has shown that it can play all types of games. They had a scorefest against Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku completely battering ace Saitou. They also played a defensive game against Kanto Daiichi winning 3-1.

Keio has depended on its pitching tandem of Tamura and Tadano, yielding only 4 runs in the 3 games they've played so far.

This has the looks of a low-scoring game. But both teams are sending their secondary pitchers to the hill! Probably as a response for them starting in their games yesterday.

So, the real key may be who can get to the secondary pitchers first before the aces come into the game!

This one is a tossup I think. It's especially hard to tell given the pitching situation.

Urasoe Shogyo (Okinawa)
CF Kanna (9)
SS Ueji Toshiki (6)
RF Iha (1)
C Yamashiro (2)
LF Miyahira (7)
1B Touyama Kazuma (18)
3B Nakama (5)
2B Niita (12)
P Ueji Tokima (11)

Keio (Kita Kanagawa)
RF Naitou (9)
3B Fukutomi (5)
2B Yamazaki (4)
1B Suzuki Yuuji (7)
LF Akada (17)
P Tadano (3)
C Suzuki Yousuke (2)
SS Saitou (6)
CF Mizoguchi (8)
1:52 PM
First pitch!

Top 1st
Kanna leads off the game with a single to right, moved over to 2nd. And then moved over to
3rd when Iha grounds to 1st.

Cleanup batter Yamashiro up. He hits a pop up to center! Mizoguchi and Yamazaki converge, Mizoguchi reaches out his glove to his left at the last minute, and the ball drops! Mizoguchi misplays the ball and Kanna comes in to score! 1-0 Urasoe!

Bottom 1st
Ueji Tokima looks shaky to start. He walks Naitou on 4 straight to start. After a sac bunt by Fukutomi, Tokima strikes out Yamazaki after he works the count full.

But then Tokima walks Yuuji on 4 straight and now there's runners at 1st and 2nd!

Akada though cannot get the timely hit and hits a soft liner to 2nd.

Top 2nd
Tadano labors somewhat, but he manages a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 2nd
Um... Tokima trying out an eephus pitch?! Then plunking Saitou...

But he retires the side otherwise. He's ok for a relief pitcher.

Top 3rd
Tokima singles back up the middle to start the 3rd. Kanna tries to bunt him along, but instead pops it straight up to Yousuke who then throws to 1st to double off Tokima.

And Tadano strikes out Toshiki on 3 straight to retire the side!

Bottom 3rd
Yamazaki gets the first base hit for Keio with a single between Kazuma and Niita!

Then Yuuji drives a ball away to right center! That's in the gap and to the wall! Yamazaki heads for 3rd, and heads home! Throw in not in time and Keio has tied the game up 1-1!!

Top 4th
With one down, Tadano walks Yamashiro. Then Miyahira singles up the middle! Runners at the corners for Kazuma!

Chopper up the middle! Saitou dashes to field it. Touches 2nd for one, throw to 1st... safe! Yuuji was scrambling back to the bag, he wasn't in contact with it when he caught the ball! Yamashiro scores! 2-1 Urasoe!!

Nakama with a liner back up the middle! It looks like Tadano's starting to break down!

Nitta then grounds to 2nd. But Urasoe has retaken the lead!

Bottom 4th
With one down, Yousuke singles through to left. And after he gets ahead of Saitou, he plunks him!

And the manager goes to change pitchers. But he doesn't call for ace Iha! Instead he calls upon righty #15 Shimane to come in!

And he strikes out Mizoguchi on 3 straight!

And then after a prolonged at bat against Naitou, he strikes him out as well! Where did this guy come from?!!!

Top 5th
Ace Tamura now takes the mound. Tadano moves to 1st, and Yuuji moves to left.

He retires the Urasoe batters in order. A nice way to start for Tamura.

Bottom 5th
One down, Yamazaki and Yuuji with back to back grounders to left! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Tamura!

Ah! He hits a weak grounder to 3rd! Nakama up with it! Tags 3rd for one, throw to 1st in plenty of time to get Tamura! What a waste!

As we head to the break, Urasoe has the 2-1 lead, and they haven't even used their ace yet!

Top 6th
Iha begins the inning with a grounder to short, Saitou though can't pick up the ball and Iha's safe at 1st!

But Tamura doesn't let it bother him. After a sac bunt, he goes after Miyahira striking him out, and getting Kazuma to ground to short.

Bottom 6th
Shimane yields only a 2-out single to Saitou. That's 2.2 innings of 3-hit ball this unknown pitcher has thrown! And he didn't even pitch in the prefectural qualifiers!

Top 7th
Tamura retires the side in order. But important to note that #14 Nakazato pinch-hit for Shimane. That probably means one thing... that Iha will be taking the mound in the bottom half of the frame.

Bottom 7th
And he does. Iha takes over on the mound, presumably to get the 9 out save! Nakazato takes over in center, and Kanna moves to right.

Naitou starts the inning, and Iha strikes him out! But it's a wild pitch! It drops right under Yamashiro, but he doesn't notice it! Naitou dashes for 1st! Yamashiro sees it, scrambles to pick it up! Throw to 1st, he airmailed it! Naitou safe at first on Yamashiro's error!

Keio's playing for the tie. They bunt Naitou over to 2nd.

Yamazaki with the liner down the line! Kazuma dives, but he's too late!!! That's down to the wall! Naitou rounds 3rd, he scores! Yamazaki with the game-tying double!!! 2-2!!!!

Yuuji with the hard grounder to 3rd! Nakama comes up with it, looks Yamazaki back to 2nd and throws Yuuji out at 1st! 2 down. Can Tamura help his own cause?

He jumps ahead 3-1 as the oen-dan plays Dash Keio...

Grounder to the right side! Ball takes a slightly higher hop and gets by Niita!!! Yamazaki rounding 3rd, he's going home! Kanna up with the throw. Yamashiro with it, but Yamazaki is already home! Keio leads 3-2!!

Tadano looking to extend the lead. Iha comes back and strikes him out! But Keio with some timely hitting in the 7th and they now lead 3-2!!

Top 8th
There's a delay going into the 8th. Apparently, Tamura is having his leg or foot looked at. The umpire seems to be on the phone, but what's happened to Tamura?

And now the medical staff has come to the dugout. And there's something mentioned about taping. Possibly taping/bandaging his leg?

Now Tadano starts warming up? Is it that serious that Tamura has to exit the game?!

Meanwhile, Urasoe's players huddle around their manager.

And after an extended delay, Tamura emerges from the dugout. The question now is, if it's a problem with his foot/leg, how will it affect his pitching??

He'll be tested here as the top of the order is up for Urasoe...

The report come down of a taping of one of his left toes....

And he walks Kanna. Toshiki moves him over to 2nd. Urasoe playing for the tie.

Iha with the bloop hit to left! Kanna has to stop at 3rd! Runners at the corners with 1 down for Yamashiro!

And he hits a fly to center! Mizoguchi with the catch, but Kanna comes in to tie the game! 3-3!!

Tamura defends his life as he catches a sharp comebacker by Miyahira at head level!

Bottom 8th
Now, what can Keio do now?

With 2 down, Mizoguchi gets his first hit to right. Then Iha falls behind Naitou 3-1 and walks him! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Fukutomi!

He swings on the first pitch! It's a grounder to 3rd that Nakama easily fields and throws to 1st to end the inning.

Top 9th
So now it's Urasoe's turn to see if they can break the tie...

But Tamura quickly retires them in order. The ball goes back into Keio's court. Can they put it away in regulation?

Bottom 9th
Keio has the heart of their lineup due in the 9th.

With one out, Yuuji hits a liner to center. What will Tamura do?

He's swinging away! Ball down the left field line! Miyahira running into foul territory, dives! Foul! And he collides with the wall! He's a bit stunned, but he returns to left.

He reaches out and pokes one to center! That's in for a base hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd with one down for Tadano! But Tadano today is 0-4 with 2 K's. Can he get his first hit when it really counts????

Tadano gets ahead 2-0! High chopper! Niita fields it! Iha scrambles to 1st! Throw and tag in time! 2 down!

Down to Suzuki Yousuke. Grounder to short! Toshiki with it, throw to first. Side retired!
Enhchousen! Iha gets out of another jam and we're headed to extras! Keio unable to bring the winning run home with the runner on 2nd and 1 down!

Top 10th
Nakazato takes a ball away to the right center field gap! It's past the drawn in outfield and all the way to the wall! Naitou furiously runs back as Nakazato runs the bases!

And he's in with a triple!

No squeeze from Kanna! Comebacker! Tamura sticks out his glove! It's off his glove! Yamazaki backing up gets the ball, fires to first.. in time!

And Nakazato didn't come home! He was frozen on the liner as Tamura almost caught it!

One bullet dodged. But Toshiki is up and now they're looking for the squeeze!

He puts it down! Fukutomi charges in, but has no play at home! Throw to first, low! Toshiki is safe at first and Nakazato scores to put Urasoe ahead 4-3!!

Iha bunts Toshiki over, and the battery decides to intentionally walk cleanup batter Yamashiro to get to Miyahira.

And the gamble pays off as Miyahira grounds back to Tamura. But now Keio is down to their final 3 outs.

Bottom 10th
#15 Fukuhara comes in to pinch-hit. And I think he's got to be the biggest player I've seen.

But he hits a grounder to the right side and past a diving Niita for a single!

#16 Arakawa pinch-runs for Fukuhara. Mizoguchi bunts him along.

Naitou with the first chance to drive him in. But it's a grounder to 3rd! Arakawa can't advance as Nakama throws Naitou out!

Up to Fukutomi. He's 0-3 today. Can he get his first hit? Falls behind 0-2. Hold off on an outside pitch. 1-2.

AH! He pops it up at home! Yamashiro under it, waiting, waiting...

And he has it! Urasoe Shogyo holds on to advance, defeating a tough Keio squad, 4-3 in 10 innings!

Day 14 - Best 8 - Game 1 - Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo) vs. Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)

We're now in the home stretch here at Koshien. The tournament from here on out will accelerate towards the dramatic conclusion on Monday.

The first game is an all Kinki affair with Hotoku Gakuen and Osaka Toin facing off.

This game will be a tale of two games. The first half will be dependent on Chikada's pitching. If he can't locate his pitches, it could be lights out for Hotoku.

The second game will come in the late innings. It's common knowledge now that Yuuto fades in the late innings, and Okumura may not be a servicable reliever. If Hotoku can rack up the pitch count, it's possible that they can score runs, and even rally from a deficit.

Ah yes. There is one more additional factor. Hotoku played 2 days ago, Osaka Toin played yesterday. And Osaka's game yesterday probably took a bit more out of ace Yuuto.

I think the slight advantage goes to. While Hotoku Gakuen certainly has rally potential which could be sooner in the game than what we've seen in the past, I wonder about the innings Chikada has to survive until then.

Hotoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)
2B Imura (4) - 1-14, 3B, R, 2K
3B Saigou (5) - 2-11 , 3R, K, 4 BB
C Itoi (2) - 3-11, 2B, 2 3B, 3 R, 2 K, BB
CF Inoue (8) - 6-12, 2B, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 K, BB
P Chikada (1) - 4-9, 2 R, K, 4 BB
1B Ujiie (3) - 7-15 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2K
LF Nakamura (7) - 3-11 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
RF Nakagawa (13) - 1-7, RBI, 2 K, 2 BB
SS Momiyama (15) - 2-7, 2B, RBI, K, BB

P Chikada - 27 IP, 10 R, 10 ER, 24 H, 25 K, 11 BB

Osaka Toin (Kita Osaka)
SS Asamura (6)
3B Sano (5)
2B Morikawa (4)
1B Hagihara (3)
RF Okumura (9)
LF Nakatani (12)
CF Fukushima Kouhei (7)
C Ariyama (2)
P Fukushima Yuuto (1)
11:00 AM
First pitch! The wind is blowing, but not as strongly as is usually is.

Top 1st
Yuuto with his good form early as always, retires the side in order.

Bottom 1st
Chikada with the 2 out walk to Morikawa, but Hagihara hits a towering fly ball to right to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Inoue leads off the inning with a liner to center! Chikada swings away, but he does just as good as a bunt grounding out to 2nd.

Yuuto looking to shut Hotoku's opportunity, strikes our Ujiie.

But on the first pitch, Nakamura takes the ball to deep right! Okumura goes to the wall, but has to play the carem! Inoue comes in to score! Hotoku takes the first shot leading 1-0!

Bottom 2nd
Okumra with a drive to left! Nakamura running back to the wall! まさか!


Okumura with one swing of the bat ties the game up with a leadoff homerun to left! 1-1!!!

Then with 2 down, Chikada walks Kouhei on 4 straight! But his defense bails him out with a nicely executed 6-4-3 DP.

Chikada's control is still shaky here in the opening frames. He has to minimize it if he wants to keep Hotoku in the game.

Top 3rd
Imura with the one-out single. But that is wiped out as Saigou immediately grounds into the 6-4-3 DP.

Bottom 3rd
Yuuto proves to be a pain against Chikada battling deep into the count and fouling off pitches, but on the 11th pitch Chikada wins getting Yuuto to fly out to 3rd. After that, it's a breeze to a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th
Itoi leads off the inning with a walk, and is bunted over.

And Chikada crushes a ball to center! Kouhei runs back to the wall! That's off the wall! Itoi comes around to score! Chikada running to 3rd, throw comes in. SAFE! Hotoku Gakuen takes the lead on Chikada's timely triple! 2-1!

Runner on 3rd, one down for Ujiie!

SQUEEZE! Ujiie tries to put down the squeeze, but the pitch is down and away and he can't get it! Chikada scurries back to the bag. It's 0-2 and now and he has to swing away. Sanshin! Yuuto with the strikeout!

2 down for Nakamura. Yuuto gets ahead 1-2 and strikes him out! He's out of the pinch, but Hotoku has the lead!

Bottom 4th
Hagihara with the one-out single to right to start it off.

Wild pitch to Okumura! Hagihara advances to 2nd! Then Okumura with the liner, but Imura secures it! 2 down!

Nakatani with the liner to left! Nakagawa coming in on the dying liner! Dives! Doesn't have it! Hagihara coming home! Nakagawa with the throw to Imura! Imura coming home! Itoi with the ball...

OUT! A great relay combined with a great block of home by Itoi guns Hagihara down!

Top 5th
Momiyama with the one-out single up the middle. Imura bunts him along for Saigou.

AH! Saigou with a blast to right! Okumura running back to wall, looks up.


Saigou with the 2 run homerun to right!! Amazing! Hotoku has now taken the 4-1 lead!!!!! Perhaps yesterday's game took a lot more out of Yuuto than I thought!

Bottom 5th
Kouhei opens the 5th with a single up the middle.

Then with the count 1-2 to Ariyama, the game takes a break at noon as the stadium observes the surrender of Japan to the allied forces.

Coming out of the observance, Ariyama puts down the sac bunt moving Kouhei to 2nd.

Yuuto then takes the next pitch and drives that into the gap in right center! That's a one-hopper off the wall! Kouhei scores as Yuuto comes through with the double!

Asamura falls behind 1-2, then hits a liner to center!! Runners at the corners for Sano!

Conference on the mound for Hotoku. They can't waste the lead they just obtained.

And Sano pops up on the first pitch! Imura camps under it in foul territory to make the catch!

Morikawa does the same! He flies out to left and the inning is over! Osaka Toin has gotten 1 run back, but wasted a great opportunity to really close the gap!

Top 6th
Okumura comes in to relieve Yuuto on the mound. This is really early, and could mean trouble for Osaka Toin.

And he leads it off by yielding a single to Inoue, who's then bunted over. Then he walks Ujiie! Okumura in a pinch!

Nakamura up. Okumura gets ahead 1-2. Nakamura with the liner! But it's right at Nakatani! 2 down!

And Nakagawa grounds to 2nd! End of inning!

Bottom 6th
Hagihara with his 2nd hit of the day leads off the 6th! Okumura looking to bunt.

He pulls it back! Liner! Saigou dives, but it's past him and into left! Okumura in with a double! Runners at 2nd and 3rd with no out!

AH!! Wild pitch! Itoi can't handle the inside pitch and Hagihara scores! They've narrowed the margin to 1, 4-3 Hotoku!

Nakatani with the sharp grounder to 3rd! Saigou with it! Okumura scrambles back to 3rd as Saigou makes the putout at 1st. One down.

But Chikada gives up a walk to Kouhei! Runners at the corners!

Ariyama delivers! He grounds one to left field and Okumura scores! Tie game! 4-4!!!

Another wild pitch! Ball in the dirt that Itoi has no chance of fielding it! Runners advance to scoring position!

Chikada comes back and strikes out Yuuto! Two down!

But then Chikada walks Asamura on 4 straight! Manrui!!

Sano with the high chopper! Imura charging, has to wait. Fields it! Throw to 1st! Sano dives!


Sano in safe at 1st! Kouhei scores! Osaka Toin has come back with 3 runs and leads 5-4!!!!! And still manrui for Morikawa!

He falls behind 0-2 and hits a grounder to short. But now what will Hotoku do?

Top 7th
Momiyama looks to strike right back as he hits a comebacker up the middle and into center!

Now one out and runner on 2nd for Saigou! And he walks him!

Conference on the mound. Okumura needs to hold onto this lead, but it's going to be tough.

Okumura gets ahead of Itoi 0-2, but Itoi evens the count. Pop up! Sano in foul territory with the catch! 2 down! But Inoue steps up, already 2-3 on the day...

And Okamura gets ahead of him 0-2! POP UP! Ariyama goes to the fence, and can't field the ball! 2nd chance for Itoi!!

SANSHIN!!!!!! Inoue whiffs at Okumura's outside fastball and Osaka Toin is out of the jam!

Bottom 7th
Hagihara with a blast to right! Nakagawa running back to the fence!


Cleanup batter Hagihara extends Osaka Toin's lead to 2 with a blast to right!!! 6-4!

One down now. Nakatani singles back up the middle! Kouhei follows that up with a bloop to left center! Runners at 1st and 2nd!

#8 Shimizu comes in to pinch run for Nakatani at 2nd.

Ariyama with a drive to right! Nakagawa backpedaling! Reaches up and makes the catch! That was close! Shimizu advances to 3rd! 2 down!

Yuuto grounds to 2nd and that's the inning. But Osaka's added another run!

Top 8th
Shimizu stays in to play center. Yuuto and Okuyama switch back to their beginning positions.

Two down for Hotoku, and Nakamura singles to right! #9 Nagahama comes in to pinch-hit hoping to spark something. But alas, he pops up to 1st.

Bottom 8th
Sano with his 2nd hit, as he hits one to the left field wall for a double.

Morikawa now with a grounder into left! Runners at the corners for Hagihara!

Pop up to left! Nakamura and Momiyama close in on it, but it drops in! Sano walks home and Osaka Toin leads 7-4!!

Tha'll be it for Chikada as #12 Onodera comes in to pitch. Chikada moves to 1st replacing Ujiie.

Onodera goes on to strike out Okumura, but Osaka Toin has added another insurance run.

Top 9th
Saigou tries to fight on with a 2 out double to left, but Itoi grounds to 2nd to end the game.

So! Osaka Toin advances one step further to the championship! For Hotoku Gakuen, they could not hold off the powerful Osaka offense who wore Chikada down until they were finally able to break through.