Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #2 - Minoshima (Wakayama) vs. Seihō (Nagasaki)

The 2nd quarterfinal pits one of my favorite teams, Seihou versus a Minoshima squad looking to relive it's days at Koushien during the 70's. However, Minoshima has their work cut out for them. After an easy win against Oita Uenogaoka, they needed 11 to beat upset-minded Kaisei. Now they face a Seihou squad that finally has a true ace pitcher in Imamura. Tournament-to-date he has yet to give up a run. This is on top of a well-regarded offense that can pick apart average pitching.

So, can Minoshima continue its run, or will Seihou mark yet another casualty on their way to the Best 4?

1:50 PM - First Pitch

Top 1st
Imamura starts off striking off Miyamoto. But he walks Shintarou on 4 straight - a bit strange for Imamura. But the defense bails him out as Mantani grounds into the 3-6-3 double play.

Bottom 1st
Yahisa stars Seihou off with a grounder to left! He's bunted along to 2nd. Then Morimoto walks Kawamoto on 4 straight! Runners at 1st and 2nd with one down for Yamazaki! He makes contact, but it's a grounder to short. Nishihata starts the 6-4-3- double play and it's scoreless after 1.

Top 2nd
Nishihata with a liner to center, but Tominaga makes the shoestring catch for the out!

Imamura next strikes out Keisuke, but the ball gets away from Kawamoto! Keisuke breaks for 1st, and Kawamoto's throw is high! Keisuke reaches base!

But then he tries to take 2nd on the first pitch! Kawamoto makes a great throw and Keisuke is out by a mile.

Imamura finishes the inning by striking out Oota.

Bottom 2nd
Tsuji gets the offense started with a grounder past a diving Numa into right. But he too tries to steal 2nd, only to have the catcher Yamamoto throw him out.

Nakayama gives the ball a good ride, but Mantani backs up and reaches out for the catch.

Top 3rd
Minoshima gets its 3rd one-out runner as Yamamoto lines one back up the middle for a base hit. He's moved to second, but is stranded as Miyamoto pops up to 2nd.

Bottom 3rd
Shimazaki starts it off with a single to left. Hashimoto bunts him over for the top of the order.

Yahisa drives a slow curve to left! Oota chases it, but it one bounces the wall! Shimazaki easily scores on the double by Yahisa! 1-0 Seihou!!

Top 4th
Shintarou starts the 4th with a single past a diving Shimazaki! Mantani moves him to 2nd and Minoshima has the tying run in scoring position!

And Imamura walks Nishihata! Runners on 1st and 2nd now for Keisuke! But he flies the first pitch to left and quickly 2 down!

Sanshin!! Imamura strikes out Oota to retire the side! Minoshima threatening here in the 4th, but Imamura shuts the door!

Bottom 4th
Yamazaki with a fly to right! That falls in front of Miyamoto for a base hit!

Imamura is swinging away and battles with Morimoto! And it pays off! He lines one into right for a base hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Seihou with no out!

Yoshida-kantoku has Tsuji bunt the runners along. Now a base hit can score 2!

But Nakayama chops one back to Morimoto! He looks back Yamazaki at 3rd and makes the play at 1st!! 2 down!

Shimazaki with a grounder to short. But it goes through Nishihata's legs and into left!! Yamazaki scores! Imamura rounding 3rd, he's heading home!! The throw from Oota is in line and Yamamoto makes the tag!! Imamura is out at the plate, but Seihou plates another run!! 2-0!!

Top 5th
Imamura oddly enough finally retires all three batters at the plate. He has had 1-2-3 innings, but it involved a runner getting on base and then being retired. But however you look at it, Imamura continues to pitch well.

Bottom 6th
Hashimoto with a fly to deep left! Oota running back, but it falls in front of the wall! Hashimoto reaches 2nd, goes for 3rd!! But the relay throw from Nishihata is in plenty of time to get him out!

But Yahisa takes the next pitch to deep center! Mantani back, and that falls in front of the wall! Yahisa in with a double, AH!!!!!

The throw in from Nishihata overshoots everyone and goes into the dugout!! Yahisa is awarded home, and Seihou takes the 3-0 lead on the error!

Tominaga continues the hit parade with a lazy grounder up the middle!

Morimoto though, gets Kawamoto to fly to left. 2 down.

And with Yamazaki up, he catches Kawamoto off base! They run him down for the 3rd out! Seihou however continues to extend its lead!

Top 5th
One down, Shintarou for the 3rd time reaches base with another walk.

Mantani reaches down and slices one into center! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Minoshima!

Matsushita-kantoku has Mantani swinging away! Sanshin! Imamura gets him looking on an outside fastball! And another scoring opportunity goes wanting!

Bottom 5th
Seihou continues to assault Morimoto and the Minoshima squad! Hashimoto drives one to left. Oota runs back, but the ball lands in front of the wall! Hashimoto reaches 2nd and pushes for 3rd!! The relay from Nishihata reaches Keisuke and he's out by a mile!

They're not deterred though! Yahisa with a drive to left center! Mantani runs back, and that's a one-hopper to the wall! Yahisa stops at 2nd, but AH!!!

This time Nishihata's relay to 3rd sails over everyone and goes into the dugout!! The umpires award Yahisa home and Seihou is up 3-0!!

Tominaga then shoots one through to center! Seihou seem to be having their way with Morimoto!

But with Kawamoto up, Morimoto catches Tominaga off the bag! They run him down for the 2nd out!

And with a fly to left by Kawamoto ends the inning. But the deficit continues to grow...

Top 6th
Minoshima mounts a rally in the 6th. Shintarou draws a one out walk. Mantani follows that up with a single to center and they have runners at 1st and 2nd!

Imamura though clamps down. He strikes out Nishihata and gets Keisuke to pop up to short!

Bottom 6th
For the first time today, Morimoto retires the side in quick order.

Top 7th
Oota leads off the inning battling against Imamura and drawing a 9 pitch walk. And then Imamura hits Numa! Just like that, runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!


After the first pitch to Yamamoto, Kawamoto fires the ball to 2nd! Oota is caught taking a big lead... and he's out! What was he thinking???!!!

Imamura then proceeds to strikeout Yamamoto and Morimoto to end the inning! A critical baserunning error kills Minoshima's momentum!

Bottom 7th
Yoshida-kantoku elects here to pinch hit for Nakayama to start the inning. #4 Sakamoto comes into the game to bat.

And on a full count, he singles back up the middle! Now #9 Yoshida comes in to pinch run for Sakamoto. On the frist pitch, he takes off for 2nd! Yamamoto double clutches the ball, and he's in there safely! Now Shimazaki's bunt moves him over to 3rd! Seihou is threatening once again!!

Matsushita-kantoku calls a conference on the mound, hoping that the defense can prevent another run.

AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Yamamoto lets a ball in the dirt go between his legs and to the backstop!! Yoshida comes in easily to score, and it's 4-0 Seihou!

Then with 2 down, Yahisa collects his 4th hit of the day, another grounder through to left!

Fortunately, Tominaga strikes out and the inning is over. But with yet another gaffe on the field, it's apparent that Minoshima is overmatched here against Seihou...

Top 8th
Imamura continues to go through Minoshima's lineup with relative ease. He gets 2 quick outs before yielding a single to left by Mantani.

Nishihata give a bit of a scare driving one deep down the left field line foul. But he ends up succumbing to Imamura's slider and the beat goes on...

Bottom 8th
Kawamoto continues Seihou's offense with a blooper to center. After a sac bunt, Matsushita-kantoku calls a conference.

In the meantime, the scoreboard indicates a balk. Apprarently, Morimoto was called for a balk before the sac bunt! So Yamazaki returns to the plate and Kawamoto moves to 2nd!

Once again Yamazaki lays the bunt down, but this time Kawamoto heads to 3rd!

AHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Another pitch in the dirt, and Yamamoto can't move over to field it! It bounces away and Kawamoto scores! 5-0!

And a pitch from Morimoto nails a leaping Imamura! He's down on his knees! But he gets up quickly and moves to 1st. They apply the spray as usual, and he's ready to go.

Tsuji drives the first pitch deep to right, but foul! That must've been a scare to Minoshima! But then he lines the next pitch to right for a base hit!

Now Yoshida is being pulled for a PH, this time #13 Miyahara steps in. He hits one to center, and that's in there for a base hit!! Imamura rounds 3rd, and he's heading home! Mantani up with a strike to home! Yamamoto with the ball, comes around to tag Imamura, but he's just ahead of it and slides home safe!!! 6-0!!

#18 Iwata comes in to pinch run for Miyahara.

And Shimazaki gets a hold of a slow curve! That's into the left center field gap and to the wall! Tsuji comes in to score, throw is cutoff by Nishihata and Iwata scores! Seihou has blown this wide open at 8-0!

Nishihata makes a good stop in the gap to get Hashimoto for the 2nd out.

Yahisa with a liner to center! That's falling in, but Mantani sprints to make the catch! But the game is all but over for Minoshima...

Top 9th
#10 Nakano replaces Iwata and takes the hill. Imamura moves to right. Any time you can give your ace rest is welcome, especially at this stage in the tournament.

Keisuke with a grounder to the right side! Hashimoto ranges over to make the stop, but he can't put enough on the throw to get him out! Base hit for Keisuke!

He's replaced at 1st by #13 Katada.

Oota though pops out on the first pitch to 1st. One down.

Numa with a grounder to short, but a bad hop eats up Hashimoto! The ball bounces away and he reaches safely! The scorer shows E6, but I don't know about that...

#10 Ishii comes in to pinch hit for Yamamoto.

While Nakano hasn't had as much help from his defense as he would have liked, his pitching is nothing like Imamura's (no offense).

Ishii walks on 4 straight and it's manrui for Morimoto! But Matsushita-kantoku pinch hits for him too and it's #15 Kakinoki.

AHHHH!!!! It's a wild pitch! That heads to the backstop and Katada comes in to score! Minoshima gets on the board here in the 9th! It's 8-1!

AHHHH!!!! Kakinoki strikes out, but Kawamoto doesn't catch the ball! It bounces over to the right side! Everyone starts running and it's all safe! Nakano records the K, but Kakinoki reaches 1st on the passed ball. Even more important, Numa comes in to score and it's 8-2!

Seihou showing errors we're not used to seeing here in the 9th!

Miyamoto though grounds to 3rd! Yahisa goes to 2nd for one, relay to 1st beats a diving Miyamoto and the game is over!

Apart from a small hiccup here in the 9th, Seihou easily cruises along to the Best 4 with an 8-2 victory over Minoshima! Minoshima though, made a good showing this tournament, giving their supporters several good game and a reminder of how things were back in their last appearances. Perhaps we may see them yet again... provided Chiben Wakayama doesn't stand in the way...

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