Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 4 - Game 1 - Nanyō Kōgyō (Yamaguchi) vs. Maebashi Shōgyō (Gunma)

Well, Day 4 begins under cloudy, but not rainy, skies.

Our morning game is between 2 teams familiar with Koushien - Nanyou Kougyou out of Yamaguchi, and Maebashi Shougyou from Gunma. So without further ado, the sirens blare and we get underway.

9:01 AM - First Pitch

Top 1st
Takeshige starts it off for Nanyou with a one-out walk. Nakagawa follows that up with an "excuse me" hit that bloops into center. Great scoring opportunity right out of the gate! But Kunihiro freezes on a 2-2 inside pitch for the 2nd out.

But then Noguchi walks Mizui and now it's manrui for Takagi! He's in a big pinch early!

And then is just as quickly out of it! Takagi flies to center and Nanyou leaves the bases loaded!

Bottom 1st
Iwamoto doesn't seem to be afraid of pitching inside, but then he hits leadoff batter Gotou. Err... or rather his jersey. That's silly. But anyways, he's on first and then second as Saitou moves him over.

And I swear Maebashi's band has a xylophone or something like that...

Anyways back to the game, and Hakoda hits a grounder through the left side, but Gotou holds up at 3rd. Iwamoto in an early pinch with runners at the corners and one down.

And Takano reaches down and hits a high fly to right! That's more than enough to get Gotou in and it's Maebashi Shougyou who's up quickly 1-0!

Sawaura hits a weak ball to 3rd and is thrown out to end the inning. But the leadoff "hit batter" (as I'll call it) comes around to score.

Top 2nd
Nanyou is retired in order by Noguchi albeit with a bit of effort.

Bottom 2nd
Ichimura gets a one out single back up the middle. He's bunted over for last batter Noguchi.

And he drives a ball deep into the left center field gap!! Noguchi flies around the bases for a triple! It's an RBI triple for Noguchi and Maebashi takes a 2-0 lead!

Gotou flies out to right to end the inning, but Nanyou tacks on another run!

Top 3rd
Takeshige gets on base again with one down, this time after getting hit by Noguchi.

And then Nakagawa drives one to deep right! Saitou runs to the wall, leaps and it's off his glove! Takeshige races to 3rd as Nakagawa hits a double!

Kunihiro with a blast to left! Suda back the the wall, he leaps, he can't get it! He looks around for the ball! Takeshige and Nakagawa come in to score and Kunihiro has a stand-up triple! Just like that Nanyou Kougyou has tied the game at 2-2!!!

Noguchi strikes out the next 2 batters, but Kunihiro with one swing has brought Nanyou back in the game!

Bottom 3rd
Hakoda with a hard hit ball at Takagi, he blocks it but can't make a play at first. Takano follows that up with a shot through the right side! Maebashi is threatening to retake the lead! And Iwamoto walks Sawaura on 4 straight! Manrui for Maebashi Shougyou!!

And Suda quickly lifts a fly to left, easily scoring Hakoda and Maebashi goes back ahead 3-2!!

Top 4th
Like the 2nd inning , the bottom third of Nanyou's order go down in order. Maebashi holds its slim lead.

Bottom 4th
Iwamoto finally gets a break in the 4th as he quickly sets down the 8-9-1 batters for Maebashi.

Top 5th
Takeshige after a long AB, lift a ball to center. Gotou camps under it, catches it - but loses it bringing his glove down! The ball is called fair and Takeshige reaches 2nd on the error by Gotou!

Nakagawa grounds to 2nd allowing Takeshige to advance to 3rd. Kunihiro steps up to the plate once again looking to tie the game.

And Kunihiro delivers once again! He takes a ball to left easily scoring Takeshige and it's 3-3!!

Bottom 5th
Iwamoto with newfound confidence retires the side in order yet again. A guts pose after striking out Takano to retire the side shows that perhaps Nanyou has the momentum.

Top 6th
And Mizui starts the inning with a single to left-center! Yamazaki-kantoku has him bunted over to 2nd as Yamazaki steps up to the plate.

A short chopper by Yamazaki is charged hard by Ichimura and he makes the play at 1st! 2 down. Iwamoto also grounds to Ichimura and the challenge by Nanyou goes away as quickly as it appeared.

Bottom 6th
Two down, Ichimura gets a fortunate irregular bounce as the grounder to Yamazaki takes a low bounce and under his glove! But he's stranded as Kaneshima pops it up to 1st.

Top 7th
Hakoda makes a fine play in foul territory for the 2nd out, catching a foul ball just as he stumbles over the bullpen mound!

And Takeshige gets on base for the 4th time with a single through the left side! Oddly enough, this is the first time he's reached on a base hit!

And Nakagawa works a walk! Runners on 1st and 2nd... for Kunihiro!

Immediately, Tomioka-kantoku gets a conference on the mound to deal with Kunihiro who so far has driven in all 3 of Nanyou's runs.

And Noguchi gets him to ground out to 3rd! He has turned away Nanyou's most dangerous hitter!

Bottom 7th
Noguchi line down to dead center! Takeshige stands there, then leaps! He makes the catch! That was very close to going over his head and to the wall. He was definitely fooled there, but no damage done.

But Gotou drives one where no one can leap and catch it! It's a drive to deep left-center and lands in front of the wall! That's in for a triple!

Saitou not electing to go for the squeeze! Saitou with a sharp grounder to the left side! That's snagged bt Kawamura who looks the runner at 3rd and makes the play at 1st! 2 down!

And a comebacker by Hakoda is easily taken by Iwamoto and the side is retired!

Top 8th
Mizui with a ground to short, Takano with the throw but it pulls Sawaura off the bag! E6! He's bunted over by Takagi.

And Yamazaki with a base hit to left! Mizui has to hold at 3rd! Runners at the corners for Nanyou! Iwamoto steps up and is not putting on the squeeze! He falls behind 0-2 and now has to swing away!

And a pitchout! But Mizui is going home??! He's obviously left out to dry and is eventually tagged out! How could Mizui figure the squeeze was on??!

And with Iwamoto's K, a great opportunity by Nanyou goes by the wayside on simple baserunning errors.

Bottom 8th
Sawaura with a high chopper up the middle gives Maebashi Shougyou a one-out runner. Tomioka-kantoku is electing to bunt the runner over. But Suda bunts it back right at Iwamoto who goes to 2nd for the force! 2 down, runner on 1st now for Ichimura.

And he flies out to right. So we head to the last inning of regulation possibly looking at yet another enchousen.

Top 9th
Kawamura looks to get on with the safety bunt, but misses. But he lines one down the left field line... and past Suda! He chases it back as Kawamura gets a leadoff double!

Yamazaki-kantoku looks for the bunt. But he can't and it's 0-2! Will he ask to do it again? Yes! And he successfully puts it down!! Now a sac fly can give Nanyou the lead!

And Takeshige takes the first pitch to center! Gotou with the catch and throw! Kawamura comes home easily! Nanyou takes its first lead of the game here in the 9th, 4-3!!

Nagakawa pops up to 3rd, but the damage has been done. Maebashi Shougyou now finds themselves down with only 3 outs to go!

Bottom 9th
#7 Tashiro come in to PH for Kaneshima. Iwamoto gets ahead of him and strikes him out! One down!

Ace Noguchi steps up now, trying to help his team. And he singles back up the middle!!

And now Gotou who made the error earlier which led to Nanyou's 3rd run enters the box. He falls behind 1-2. Grounder to the left side! Yamazaki runs it down, but can't get a hold of it! All safe!! Runners on 1st and 2nd with only 1 down!

Saitou comes up, he's swinging away. Iwamoto gets ahead again 1-2. Slow chopper down the 3rd base line! Mokudai with the ball, throw to 1st... just beats out a diving Saitou!! 2 down!!!

(You know if he had ran it out he might have been safe... I'm not saying, I'm just saying...)

So Hakoda steps up 2-4 on the day as Maebashi's last chance. Iwamoto gets ahead 0-2. Grounder to 1st! Takagi with the diving stop!! Iwamoto running to cover!!! The toss...

IN TIME!!! Nanyou Kougyou pulls it out in the top of the 9th inning and holds on to defeat Maebashi Shougyou, 4-3!!

Maebashi gave a great effort, and you have to feel for Gotou, whose error cost his team a run. But it is Nanyou who advances to the next round on the backs of Iwamoto and Kunihiro.

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