Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 6 - Game 1 - Rifu (Miyagi) vs. Kakegawa Nishi (Shizuoka)

Day 6 begins with the last game of round 1. Rifu, the final 21st century team, faces off against Kakegawa Nishi. For Kakegawa Nishi, they finished runner-up to Chuukyoudai Chuukyou in the Tokai tournament, and this is their 1st appearance in 15 years. This is Rifu's 1st ever Koushien appearance, Spring or Summer, and they had an extra inning loss against Ichinoseki Gakuin in the semifinals of the Tohoku tournament.

9:02 AM - First Pitch

Top 1st
Endou starts the game off with a comebacker through the middle.

Horino is certainly not a fireballer, with a fastball sitting in the 120 kph range and offspeed pitches in the 100 kph range.

Fujiwara bunts Endou over and quickly Rifu has a scoring chance here in the 1st.

Baba with a grounder that looks to go through the gap in right, but Oosumi covers the ground and makes the play to a covering Horino for the 2nd out.

Horino though falls behind Yunomura, and on a 3-1 pitch he drives it to the left center field gap! Agata quickly gets the ball in, but a timely 2-out double scores the first run! 1-0!

A popup by Sakurada ends the inning, but Rifu strikes first in the last game of this opening round!

Bottom 1st
Tsukamoto appears to have the same pitch speed range as Horino.

Matsushita strikes back for Kakegawa Nishi with a double to the left center field gap! Oosumi puts down a great bunt and would have probable reached base had he not slid. But one down, runner at 3rd for Miura. But he hits a short pop-up that cannot score Matsushita.

And Tsukamoto strikes out Edzuka to end the inning. A leadoff double goes for naught here in the 1st!

Top 2nd
With one down, ace Tsukamoto gets the Rifu offense going with a single to right. Satou Yuuji bunts him over to 2nd. With 2 down, they have a runner in scoring position for last batter Fuse.

As the AB develops, I notice that in the first row behind home plate a person wearing a Waseda hat. Wonder if they're scouting these teams...

And Fuse takes the ball the other way into the right-center field gap for another timely double! Rifu now up 2-0!!

Endou pops up to 3rd to end the inning, but they tack on another run.

Bottom 2nd
And as Kakegawa Nishi comes to bat, I hear familar music from the Tokyo Big 6 league. And after some searching, it turns out to be Knock Out March from Meiji Daigaku's medley.

With one down Katsumata hits a hard drive to left center! Fujiwara runs, leaps and makes the diving catch! What a play by Fujiwara!!

Horino next draws a two-out walk. And Furuta with a grounder under the diving Sakurada gives Kakegawa Nishi runners at 1st and 2nd for Agata. But he takes the first pitch to 1st, ending the inning.

Top 3rd
Fujiwara with a shot back up the middle, but SS Furuta makes the play at 1st.

Baba though hits his own liner up the middle for a base hit. And Horino is called for a balk! Baba advances to 2nd and is in business again!

Yunomura lines out to right though and there's 2 down.

And he hits Sakurada! Horino tries to appeal saying he dipped into it, but to no avail. He's surprised, and to some extent so is Uehara-kantoku.

Inoue with a flare to left! Baba comes in to score and Rifu has it's 3rd run in as many innings! 3-0!

And before you can blink an eye, Horino is running to the dugout. Uehara-kantoku has pulled him from the mound for #10 Inagaki. A sidethrower, he throws about the same speed as Horino with a lot of balls tailing away from a left-hander.

Inagaki gets Tsukamoto to end the inning, but Rifu continues to slowly add on to its lead.

Bottom 3rd
Matsushita, leading off the inning yet again shoots a grounder through the right side for another hit!

Oosumi tries to play games with the Rifu battery, switching between bunting and pulling it back to hit, but he eventually lays the bunt down. Once again, runner in scoring position for Miura.

And once again he pops it up to 2nd. 2 down... again... for Edzuka.

But unlike the 1st inning, Tsukamoto hits him! Obara-kantoku calls for a quick conference as Kakegawa Nishi has a yet another scoring chance with Ozaki stepping up. He falls behind 0-2, but slowly works the could back, and eventually runs it full! Ozaki continues to foul off pitches. But on the 9th pitch, he grounds out to 3rd and the inning is over.

Top 4th
Satou Yuuji begins the 4th with a single to right. And more Ruroni Kenshin music plays as Fuse looks to bunt. He fails twice though, but is still squaring. He puts it down. Inagaki comes in makes the grab, but his foot gives from under him and he falls. He gets up and makes the throw, but it's too late! E1 and Rifu has yet another good scoring chance!

Endou with a liner over a leaping Ozaki and down the left field line! Yuuji scores and it's 4-0!

Fujiwara follows that up with a bunt. But he's flying down the line! Ingaki gets the ball, but Fujiwara beats the throw! Manrui chance for Baba!

Grounder to 2nd! Oosumi decides to goes home, and gets the force - but they cannot complete the double play at 1st. Still manrui chance for Rifu. They could've given up the run for the 4-6-3 double play, but decide not to. One wonders if they should have as the next batter is clean-up hitter Yunomura. I have a bad feeling about this.

Oh dear...

Yunomura drives a hanging pitch to the opposite field! The outfield is drawn in and the ball one bounds the wall! Agata and Matsushita hurry back to field it! Meanwhile the runners are flying around the bases with Baba catching up to Fujiwara rounding 3rd! It's a bases clearing triple and Rifu has blown it wide open now leading by a margin of 7-0!


Obara-kantoku continues to push! Sakurada dives at a pitch low and outside and puts the bunt down! Inagaki has no play but to 1st and it's now 8-0!

That ends Inagaki's day. Uehara's laughing attitude earlier in the game has become more grim as his team finds itself down 8 runs. He sends #15 Okajima to stem the tide. An overthrow pitcher, his mold is similar to the others.

Inoue welcomes him with a liner to right.

Tsukamoto is next, representing the 9th batter to come to the plate this inning. Thankfully, Okajima gets him to fly out to center and the inning is over. But Rifu continues to pour it on the Kakegawa Nishi squad.

Bottom 4th
Rifu finds no answers as Tsukamoto retires them in order. Only the 4th inning, one has to wonder the state of the Kakegawa Nishi players.

Top 5th
Fuse gets his 2nd hit of the day with a shot through the left side. Runner on 1st, one down for top batter Endou. And he lines one over Ozaki's head into left! Rifu has had scoring chances in each inning so far!

And Okajima falls behind Fujiwara 3-1! And the next pitch Fujiwara lines to center! Manrui for Baba!

He pops one to the left side just out of the infield. Furuta runs back, has a play, but he can't field it! Everyone starts running! LF Miura is up with the ball, but can't find a base to throw to! He looks to 3rd, but Ozaki is looking for the cutoff throw, and by the time he looks to 2nd, Fujiwara has reached! All safe and it's 9-0. What an unlucky break by Kakegawa Nishi!

Uemura-kantoku has seen enough once again. 3B Ozaki is called in to pitch. Miura moves from LF to 3B, and #16 Uchiyama comes in Okajima's spot to play LF.

Ozaki is a side thrower with about the same velocity than the others, but all he's asked to do now is hold Rifu off. And he does so, getting the next 2 batters to pop out in foul territory.

At this point it's a matter of pride for Kakegawa Nishi who finds themselves down 10-0.

Bottom 5th
Tsukamoto retires the side in order yet again. Can Kakegawa Nishi avoid the shutout?

Top 6th
Tsukamoto with a grounder to short, but Furuta can't pick up the ball and Tsukamoto reaches on the error. He's bunted to 2nd and one more scoring chance for Rifu. But this time Ozaki retires the next 2 batters and finally Rifu is held scoreless in the 6th!

Bottom 6th
Kakegawa Nishi's batters are getting some good contact of the ball here in the 6th. The timng is off as they are pulling the ball foul. That is, until Edzuka hits a ball deep to left-center for a one-out double!

However, Ozaki is caught looking and Katsumata grounds out to short. But at least there is some sign of life in their bats,

Top 7th
For the first time in the game, Ozaki retires the Rifu batters in order!

Bottom 7th
Uchiyama with a blast to left center!!! Fujiwara to the wall!!


New LF Uchiyama hits a solo homerun to left center and with one swing puts Kakegawa Nishi on the board and prevents the shutout! 10-1!

The next 2 batters are retired, but finally something to cheer about for Kakegawa Nishi!

Top 8th
Another pitching change for Kakegawa Nishi.
  • 1B Edzuka relieves Ozaki on the mound
  • Ozaki returns to 3B
  • Miura moves over to 1B
Eduzka had a little more pop to his fastball, hitting the low 130 kph range.

Inoue again welcomes the new pitcher with a single to center. Tsukamoto follows that up with a single through the right side. Edzuka walks Yuuji for yet another manrui situation for Rifu here in the 8th.

A fly to right is caught by Matsushita, but Inoue doesn't tag up from 3rd. Can't tell whether that is because of the throw or Obara-kantoku's order to call off the dogs so to speak.

And a grounder by Endou to 3rd ends the inning.

Bottom 8th
Oosumi with a grounder to short, but a high hop eats up Sakurada and it bounces off him into center!

#17 Yoshida come in to PH for Miura, but strikes out.


That ball is definitely out of here! In fact it almost hits the グリコ sign in center! Edzuka with Kakegawa Nishi's 2nd HR of the day and it's 10-3!

Ozaki with a hard hit grounder to short! Sakurada can't field this one cleanly either and the error allows Ozaki to reach 1st!

And Katsumata lines one to right! Runners at 1st and 2nd with only one down here in the 8th! And Uchiyama is up again!

Ah, but he hits a fly ball to center! 2 down for Kakegawa Nishi.

And Obara-kantoku figures he'd better give his ace a rest after the 2 HR's. #10 Takahashi comes to relieve him on the mound. Takahashi is a lefty, and the announcer said he has a 2-seam fastball, slider and screwball.

But right now he can't find the plate, falling behind Yoshida before running the count full. The payoff pitch is fisted into the infield. Baba charges, but Takahashi runs back, call him off, and makes the catch. And while it is probably too late, Kakegawa Nishi is putting up a good show later with 2 HR's!

Top 9th
#13 Ohama comes in for PH Yoshida and plays 1B.

One down, Baba hits a ball into the right center field gap. Agata comes in and makes the running catch just before the ball falls in! A great play as Edzuka retires the side in order yet again!

Bottom 9th
These will probably be the last ups for Kakegawa Nishi, but you have to applaud them for their effors here late - even if they were in a losing cause.

#14 Atsumi comes in to PH for Agata as the Kakeagawa oen-dan cheers on the team.

The count runs full on Atsumi, but he hits a grounder to short. Sakurada with the ball, but the throw to 1st is high! Atsuki slides in on the error!

However, Matsushita pops up to 2nd and Oosumi lines out to 2nd. Ohama represents their last chance. The count goes full.

And he hits a liner to left! That's in there for a base hit! AHHH!!!!!

The ball gets by Fuse and it has a one way ticket to the wall! Atsumi come in to score, Ohama is rounding the bases!! Fujiwara comes over from center to field it and they get the throw in, but not before Ohama reaches 3rd! 10-4 Kakegawa Nishi!

But that's as far as they'll get. Edzuka grounds out to short to end the game. Rifu advances with the 10-4 victory, but Kakegawa Nishi fought hard at the end.

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