Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #1 - Hōtoku Gakuen (Hyogo) vs. Chūkyōdai Chūkyō (Aichi)

We are now at the point of the tournament where things really accelerate. Teams will start playing almost everyday from here on out. It becomes more a battle of attrition as well as skill that will determine the champion.

If you're read my post of the Best 8 matchups, you know my take on these upcoming games.

That being said, I bring you Quarterfinal #1...

1:31 PM - First Pitch

Top 1st
Doubayashi takes care of business here in the first, retiring the side in quick order.

Bottom 1st
Miyatani gives up a leadoff walk to start the game. Kunitomo immediately bunts him to 2nd. Early chance here for Chuukyou!

Kawai though grounds out to short. 2 down. And Doubayashi is caught looking! Miyatani snuffs out the threat! However, his control doesn't seem to be there today. He's throwing strikes, but he's not hitting the target. This could be an issue for Houtoku.

Top 2nd
Houtoku gets their first baserunner as Miyamoto singles through to left. Hiramoto doesn't look to be bunting.

Doesn't need to! A wild pitch by Doubayashi advances Miyamoto to 2nd!

And Hiramoto hits a comebacker! That's through to center! Miyamoto comes around and Houtoku grabs the 1-0 lead!

And another pitch in the dirt! Hiramoto advances to 2nd!

Fujikura though flies out to left, 2 down. Oofuji-kantoku calls for a conference. Settle Doubayashi down and get out of the inning.

Nara with a grounder to short, but Yamanaka can't corral it! It runs up his glove! He tries to snag it, but bobbles it! All safe! E6 and the inning continues!!

But Doubayashi gets Miyatani to strike out. Houtoku though takes the early 1-0 lead! And Doubayashi seems to be having the same control issues as Miyatani. This could get interesting/nasty later.

Bottom 2nd
One down, Shibata hits a grounder to 3rd, but Saigou can't field that cleanly! His throw airmails 1st!

And Morimoto lines one over Miyamoto's head! That goes down the right field line all the way to the wall! Shibata is flying around the bases! He's headed home! The relay is not in time! Shibata scores all the way from 1st to tie the game! 動転!! 1-1!!

That ball was left over the plate by Miyatani... It appeared the catcher was looking for an outside pitch.

Kaneyama advances Morimoto with a grounder to 2nd, but is stranded as Iwatsuki flies to right. But Chuukyou has equalized!

Top 3rd
Tsuji with a bid for a base hit, but Yamanaka makes a great stop in the gap and makes a strong throw to 1st for the out!

Doubayashi retires the next two batters to end the inning. He looked a little better there, especially to Momiyama.

Bottom 3rd
Chuukyou gets a baserunner in the 3rd as Kunotimi is hit on the elbow by Miyatani. To add some insult to injury, the ball bounces on the ground straight up and hits his helmet.

No bunting here with one down. Kawai is swinging away. Count runs full and a ball low means runners at 1st and 2nd and a good opportunity for Chuukyou.

Nagata-kantoku calls for a conference on the mound...

But Miyatani falls behind 2-0. AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doubayashi drive a ball deep to right!! Nara runs back to the wall, leaps, but it's over his head! The runners take off! Kunitomo scores on Doubayashi's double and Chuukyou takes the 2-1 lead!

Control issue continue to plague Miyatani. Hiramoto asked for the ball inside, he left it over the plate.

He gets help though from Isomura who starts waving at anything and strikes out. And while he again misses his target, Shibata flies out to right to end the inning. But Chuukyoudai Chuukyou pulls ahead!

Top 4th
Doubayashi just clips Saigou on the foot as he was leaping away and is awarded 1st. Miyamoto looks to bunt, but gets 2 called strikes! He swings away, but grounds to short! Yamanaka tosses it to Kunitomo for 1, but he can't complete the double play.

AH!!!!!! Doubayashi hangs a pitch!! Hiramoto sends it to deep to dead center!! Iwatsuki runs back to the wall! That falls in front of the wall!! Miyamoto sprints around and heads home! He scores easily! What a blast by Hiramoto!! 動転!! 2-2!!

Fujikura grounds one through to left! Runners at the corners for Houtoku! Oofuji-kantoku calls a conference as Houtoku threatens to take the lead once again!

Nara works Doubayashi and the count runs full! Another offspeed pitch in the dirt and it's manrui for Miyatani!! And it's a slow chopper to short! Yamanaka charges, but his only play is at 1st! Hiramoto scores, and Houtoku does indeed take the lead! 逆転!! 3-2!!

Tsuji hits a comebacker, and Doubayashi retires him. But some timely hitting and a little help from Doubayashi and Houtoku retakes the lead! This is some heck of a see-saw battle!

Bottom 4th
Miyatani finally has his first hassle-free inning, retiring the side in order. He's still not controlling his offspeed stuff well yet, but at least for now he's managing to get through.

Top 5th
Nojima starts off the 5th with a base hit to right, and is moved to 2nd. And then Saigou hits a base hit to right! Nojima rounds 3rd and scores! 4-2!! That was almost the quickest run I've seen scored NOT via the homerun!!

Miyamoto grounds to 2nd, and Hiramoto strikes out. But Houtoku extends their lead to 2!

Bottom 5th
2 down and Kawai smashes a pitch left in the zone! Tsuji runs back and has to play it off the padding! But he fumbles trying to get it! Kawai is in with a triple!


Doubayashi takes another hanging pitch to center too!! Tsuji once again runs back and it's off the top of the padding! Kawai scores on Doubayashi's double!!! Just like that it's 4-3!!!

Nagata-kantoku calls a conference to slow the pace (and Miyatani) down.

But Isomura lines a high pitch to left! That's down for a base hit!! Doubayashi rounds 3rd, he scores!! 3 consecutive hits have tied this ballgame up! 動転!!! 4-4!!!!!

Shibata flies out to right, but once again the see-saw starts swinging the other way!!

Top 6th
Doubayashi and Chuukyou get a breather as Houtoku goes down in order.

Bottom 6th
Morimoto with hit in the left center field gap! That bounces all the way to the wall! He's in with a stand up double and Chuukyou is in business!

Kaneyama though can't put the bunt down! Has to swing away!

AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And does he ever!!!! He htis a hanging breaking ball down the right field line! Nara chases it into the right field corner as it runs along the wall! Morimoto scores! Kaneyama heading for 3rd! But Nojima makes a strong relay throw to Saigou, and they gun him down!! But the advantage once again swings to Chuukyou!! 逆転!! 5-4!!

Miyatani continues to struggle with his control. He works the count full before striking out Iwatsuki, and then walks Yamanaka on 5 pitches. But he's bailed out by Kunitomo who grounds to 2nd.

That see-saw continues to move back and forth. With the back-to-back doubles, it swings now for Chuukyou!!

(Newton's Cradle could work here too, right?)

Top 7th
Doubayashi now is sitting down the Houtoku batters. Now that time is running out the teams, mainly Houtoku, is pressing. The top of the order is quickly retired.

Bottom 7th
Doubayashi continues to help his own cause. He gets his 3rd hit of the day, a single the opposite way in right.

Isomura again follows that up with a base hit of his own! Runners at 1st and 2nd with one out!

Nagata-kantoku has seen enough. Unable to afford giving up another run, he pulls Miyatani. 1B Miyamoto comes in relief, while #11 Wada enters in Miyatani's spot in the lineup and plays 1B.

He strikes out Shibata for 2 outs, but then walks Morimoto. Manrui for Chuukyou!

Nagata-kantoku calls one more conference. Just get him relaxed, hopefully.

And it works! Kanemura take the first pitch and flies out to center! Miyamoto comes in and get out of the pinch!! Houtoku stays in the game!

Top 8th
Miyamoto keeps them in the game, now it's the offense's turn to try and deliver.

Doubayashi retires the first two batters before yielding a single to Hiramoto. It's a baserunner, but with 2 down, it's a very slim opportunity. And indeed it is as Fujikura strikes out swinging.

Time is running out, and their offense has all but stalled.

Bottom 8th
Miyamoto looks to hold Chuukyou down and give his team a chance. But he falls behind Iwatsuki 3-0. He manages to work the count full, but loses him.

Yamanaka bunts him along, hoping to push in an insurance run. Kunitomo chops one to 2nd, advancing Iwatsuki another 90 feet.

Kawai must get a hit here to plate Iwatsuki. But instead he skies the first pitch to 2nd, and the side is retired! Miyamoto's done his job.

Top 9th
Final ups for Houtoku. There's nothing left now.

#13 Sakamoto comes in to PH for Nara. First pitch single to right!!

Now #11 Wada (son of Hanshin Tigers coach Wada Yutaka - who is in the crowd) now steps to the plate. But he pops up his bunt! Shibata gets under it and makes the catch! One down!

Back to the top of the order for Tsuji. The infield has a conference on the mound.

Doubayashi can't throw a strike! The count runs to 3-0! And it's ball 4!! The tying run is in scoring position, and the go-ahead run is on base!!

#10 Yamada warms up in the bullpen...

And Nagata-kantoku has #12 Nakajima PH for Nojima. Ball 1! Doubayashi has only thrown one strike and that was Sakamoto's base hit!

Nakajima fouls one off... then it's a short chopper down the 1st base side! Doubayashi fields it and makes the play at 1st! The runners advance, but they're down to their final out!

Momiyama steps to the plate, hitless on the day.

Inside, ball 1... Inside and it hits him! But he doesn't get out of the way, and it's called a ball. Offspeed pitch comes over for a strike. 2-1. Slider fouled off!! 2-2! Down to their last strike! He hits him again! This time, he's awarded 1st!! Momiyama didn't get out of the way of that ball either, but perhaps after being hit twice the umpire thought he had to give it to him. It did seem like though he bended his knee a little towards the pitch!

Nonetheless, it's manrui now for Houtoku! Cleanup batter Saigou steps in. He's only 1-3 on the day. There's nowhere to put Saigou now.

Shibata motions the outfield to come in. Outside, ball 1. Next pitch, Saigou hits it! It's a liner to left! Isomura comes in, but it falls in!!! Sakamoto scores, Tsuji rounds third!! The throw home is cut off by Doubayashi and Tsuji scores!!! 逆転!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Saigou delivers with a base hit and they have taken the lead!!! IT'S 6-4 HOUTOKU GAKUEN!!!!!

Miyamoto steps up, he hits a chopper to 2nd. Kunitomo fields it, but no one's covering 1st! Doubayashi scurries over, Kunitomo tosses it to him, and they get the out!! But a bases loased single by Saigou with 2 outs has brought Houtoku back!!

Bottom 9th
Now it is Chuukyoudai Chuukyou who must get themselves together. They suddenly find themselves 3 outs from being eliminated after being one strike from advancing!

For Houtoku, Nakajima stays in and plays 3rd. #17 Kinoshita replaces Sakamoto and plays RF. And Wada moves from 1B to 2B.

And it's Doubayashi who must really compose himself as he steps to the plate...

Miyamoto can't throw a strike. But then he throws one over and Doubayashi hits a screamer to left! But Fujikura is playing back and makes the catch! One down!

Isomura now at the plate. He hits a shot to 3rd, it's off Saigou!! It's right to Momiyama, but there's no play! Chuukyou has the tying run on base!

Shibata with a liner to left, but again, Fujikura is playing back and makes the catch! Their no-doubles defense is holding!

2 down and Morimoto represents their last chance...

Fouled off, 0-1. Next pitch, it's a slow grounder to 2nd! Wada runs in, makes the throw... and they get a sliding Morimoto!! Game set!!! Houtoku Gakuen has come back to defeat Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, 6-5!!!

And as happy as the Houtoku players are, the Chuukyou players are equally as devastated... Both teams went through the whole gamet of emotions, and no one feels as crushed as Doubayashi. Having held off the Houtoku offense, it all came apart for him in the 9th. Whether it be Nomura of Kouryou in 2007 or Dass Romash of Kanzei in 2006, in all games like these there is someone who bears the brunt of disappointment or anguish. Hopefully, he'll be able to get over this loss and lead his team to the Summer Koushien.

No comments: