We're now in the home stretch for most if not all the prefectural qualifiers. 5 are in and 4 more will be determined today.
So let's go over the 4 prefectures:
Obihiro Ootani will be looking for their 1st ever Koshien bid as they face Asashigawadai in the finals. It should shape up for a good finals matchup.
Sakata Minami shuts down Nihon Yamagata 2-0 and is the favorite to take the bid. Shinjyou Higashi continues to take the momentum from defeating Haguro using a 4-run 4th to upset Yonezawa Chuo, and hopes to secure their 1st ever appearance.
Seikou Gakuin looks to secure its 5th bid in 6 years as they face Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei. They may have an added benefit as Higashi Nippon needed 12 innings to defeat Nihon Tohoku 6-5 yesterday. But like many finalists, Higashi Nippon is also looking for their 1st appearance ever.
Tenri held a slim 2-1 lead against Ichijyou when Numata gives up 3 runs in the 6th inning. Numata gives way to Nakayama who stops the bleeding. And in the 7th Tenri scores 2 to tie it up! Nakayama can't hold the lead though as Ichijyou retakes the lead 5-4.
Running out of time, Tenri breaks through against Kaminaka and scores 4 in the 8th! Katayama relieves Kaminaka, but the damage is done. Nakayama shuts down Ichijyou in the 9th and Tenri advances to the finals!
Their opponent is no pushover though. Kooriyama ranks 3rd in number of appearances (although interestingly enough there have been only 5 different schools from Nara to go). This will be an interesting matchup for sure.