Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 2 - Game 1 - Takasaki Shougyou (Gunma) vs. Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)

After a day off due to rain, the tournament continues in earnest. Perhaps a breather was needed after the games of opening day.

Day 2 begins with Takasaki Shougyou, who gave regional runner-up Narashino a good run in the quarterfinals, facing Houtoku Gakuen, the #1 team from Hyogo, but did not fare well against PL Gakuen.


9:01 AM - First Pitch

Top 1st
Matsushima starts off the game for Takasaki with a liner down the right field line! Nara quickly gets to it, but Matsushima has a lead-off double!

And he's promptly moved to 3rd by Kanou.

So now there's a great scoring chance for Takasaki early in the game with their power hitters coming to the plate.

Matsumoto steps up, but Miyatani can't find the plate and walks him on 4 straight! Runners on the corners now, but the double play is there.

It's Kimura's turn now, can he get the timely hit. Well even a sac fly would do. But he pops it up in the infield! Momiyama has a little bit of a hard time, but makes the play - 2 down!

And Sudou swings at a pitch outside and strikes out! Miyatani gets out of the opening jam!

Bottom 1st
Watanabe looks good early, striking out the first 2 batters before getting Momiyama to fly to right.

Top 2nd
Miyatani continues to get himself in trouble. With one down, Kawauchi blasts one to left! Fujikura runs to the LF foul pole, jumps and can't get it! Kawauchi gets in for a double. And he's bunted over to 3rd - an interesting, but not unusual play.

But like Sudou in the first, Watanabe waves at a pitch outside and Miyatani gets out of yet another jam.

Bottom 2nd
I like Watanabe's pitching. He's locating very well and is getting batters out.

But Wada gets a two-out single through the right side for their first runner! And then Hiramoto sends the slow curve through the left side for another hit!

And now Watanabe is throwing a lot of balls down in the zone, looking for the grounder. And he gets it! But Fujikura sends one past a diving Koyama and into right! Wada charges for home while Ise comes up throwing! But the throw isn't in time and Houtoku gets up 1-0 on three straight 2-out base hits!!

Runners at the corners for Miyatani, who can help his own cause. He grounds out to 1st to end the inning. BUT! It's Houtoku who gets on the board first on a lot of timely hitting!

Top 3rd
Miyatani retires the side in order. However, he's getting help from batters who are being affected by the way outside pitch followed by the inside pitch.

Bottom 3rd
Top batter Tsuji continues the hit parade with a single through the right side. He's moved over to 2nd. Houtoku possibly looking to add on here.

Meanwhile, Watanabe continues to just miss the corners falling behind Momiyama. And it's a chopper back to Watanabe. He's got Tsuji caught in between!! Tsuji is rundown!! What a bad break! 2 down with Momiyama at 1st.

AH!!! But Saigou hits a hanging offspeed pitch to right-center! Ise to the wall, but not in time! Momiyama rounds 3rd and scores! A 2 out triple extends the lead to 2-0!!

Nara quickly grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but another run is tacked on!

Top 4th
Takasaki seems to be showing lack of plate discipline as they continue to wave at the outside pitches. Kimura does so to lead off the inning.

... followed by Sudou...

And then Koyama grounds to 3rd to end the inning. The in-out pitching is working for Miyatani, and Takasaki Shougyou needs more plate discipline...

Bottom 4th
And Watanabe continues to pitch well despite those hiccups retiring the side in order including 2 strikeouts. He's keeping Takasaki Shougyou in the game, but they need base runners now.

Top 5th
And Kawauchi starts off the 5th with a single past a reaching Nojima and into center! Ise with a scary bunt as it pops in the air, but it does the job.

Now, Watanabe steps up to the plate once again with the chance to get a run back.

But he strikes out swinging on a ball in the dirt! 2 down, and it's up to Matsushima. He quickly flies out to right and Takasaki is once again turned back.

Bottom 5th
Watanabe continues to mow down the batters - retiring them in order for the 2nd straight inning.

Top 6th
Matsumoto gives Takasaki another baserunner with a one-out hit just over Momiyama's glove!

But Kimura grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning...

Bottom 6th
Momiyama leads off the inning with an opposite field single to right. And Saigou, who earlier had the triple, bunts him along.

But Watanabe sets down the next 2 batters, and his team still trails by 2.

Top 7th
Miyatani is really pitching well, depending less on the way outside pitch and more on his off-speed stuff. But with 2 down, Kawauchi bloops one into left and charges for 2! Fujikura gets the ball in quickly, but he's safe! Takasaki has a runner in scoring position!

Ise flies out to left though, and Takasaki has only 6 outs left.

Bottom 7th
Watanabe looks strong, lodging in another 2 K's and retiring the side in order.

Top 8th
With time running out, Watanabe comes to the plate, but hits a comebacker to Miyatani. Matsushima takes a grounder up the middle, but Nojima dives and has it! His throw to 1st, in time!! What a play by Nojima to rob Matsushima of a base hit!!!

Bottom 8th
Watanabe does some self-defense as Tsuji lines one right back at him for the out. He may be smiling, but that was head-high. Good thing that was glove-side.

And Watanabe retires the next 2 batters. He's retired the side 5 of 8 innings, but in the other 3, Houtoku has scored their 2 runs. Now with 3 outs left, Takasaki Shougyou needs 2 runs to prolong the game.

Top 9th
Luckily for them they have their 3-4-5 batters up. #17 Kinoshita comes in to play left.

Matsumoto with a scorcher down the 3rd base line, but Saigou makes the diving stop!!! Throw to 1st in plenty of time! What a big play by Saigou!!!

Kimura pops up to Saigou, two down... Now it's up to Sudou to continue the game...

But it's a grounder to Saigou, who makes the easy throw to 1st and it's game set for Takasaki Shougyou. A lot of great pitching by Watanabe, but it was not enough as the slight slip-ups in the 2nd and 3rd cost them the game.

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