Saturday, July 25, 2009

7.24 Update! (Part 1)

As mentioned before, we're rapidy wrapping things up everywhere. So let's take a spin around the country shall we?

Aomori Yamada had no trouble against Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi. And their road got much easier as ⑧Kousei Gakuin Noheji Nishi upset ①Kousei Gakuin in 11 innings! Kousei seemed to have things wrapped up with a 2-run lead in the 9th, but Noheji roared back to tie the game!

Only Aomori Yamada's next opponent, Misawa, has been to Koshien before - and that was back in 1969! Oominato and the others will have to put a near perfect game together if they want to make it.

Inclimate weather at Natori Sports Park continues to push back proceedings here. Tohoku though continues to steamroll into the Best 8, while ②Sendai Ikuei had a bit of trouble against Ishimaki Kougyou.

Half of the Best 4 are set as weather again delays things yesterday. Jyutoku takes down another seeded team sending Takasaki Kenkoufukushi with their tails between their legs 10-3.

That leaves Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni as the last seeded team left, and they hope to play their Best 8 game today against Kiryuu.

Joining Jyutoku was Kiryuu Minami, who tied the game 4-4 with 2 runs in the 8th before plating the sayonara run in the 10th.

The semifinalists here all have had some experience, although Seiran Taito has only been there once in 1990. Sakushin Gakuin, Sano Nihon and Utsunomiya Kougyou all have been at Koshien at some point this decade.

Seiran Taito and Sano Nihon have played mostly low scoring affairs while their semi opponents, Sakushin Gakuin and Utsunomiya Kougyou have offensively dominated. It looks to be an interesting set of semifinals.

Sweet 16 play gets underway today. Top seeds Jyousou Gakuin and Shimotsuma Dai-ni have cruised through their first 2 games. Mito Sakuranomaki also has done well as a 3-4 seed.

Other teams that have had strong showings include Mito Tankidai Fuzoku, Tsuchiura Kohoku, Tsuchiura Nihon and Ushiku (who upset Fujishiro).

Nishi Tokyo
By a stroke of bad luck, one of the well-known teams falls in the round of 16.

On the 23rd, Waseda Jitsugyou faced off against Toua Gakuen. Waseda and their P Suzuki dominated the Toua batters while the offense put crooked numbers up in the first 4 innings. Commanding an 8-3 lead in the middle of the 5th, the game was called due to rain. The teams would have to play again the next day.

The game was scoreless until the 5th inning when the Toua offense got to ace Onoda putting 3 on the board. And in the 6th, the wheels just fell off. Toua Gakuen scores 7 runs and ends the game right then and there.

So Sojitsu is gone, and I'm sure no one left in the field is shedding a tear - especially top-seeded Nihon Dai-san who gets to face Toua Gakuen next.

In other games, Hachiouji survived a late scoring battle against Nihon Tsurugaoka to win 8-7. And with the exception of Toritsu Komae who defeated Torisu Higashi-Yamato 3-0, all the other games were blowouts.

Higashi Tokyo
The Best 8 is set with games to start today.

Nishogakushadai Fuzoku continues to punish their opponents and looks to do the same against Toritsu Sougou Kouka. Toritsu Yukigaya needed 11 to beat Toritsu Adachi Shinden 3-2.

So our matchups are as follows:
  • Teikyou vs. Komaba Gakuen
  • Toritsu Koyamadai vs. Seiritsu Gakuen
  • Nishogakushadai Fuzoku vs. Toritsu Sougou Kouka
  • Toritsu Yukigaya vs. Kokushikan
It may very well be a Teikyou - Kokushikan final, but I'm sure the other schools will try to have a say in things.

Chiba have reached their semifinals. Narashino advances with a 4-1 win over Chiba Reimei, and will meet Takushokudai Kouryou, who last appeared in the spring Koshien in 2004, and defeated Kisaradzu Sougou 8-3 with 6 runs late in the game.

The other semi guarantees a team looking for their first bid. Ryuukeidai Kashiwa has had to play from the furthest depths of the brackets, and played 41 straight innings before giving up a run in the 3rd inning to Seibudai Chiba, but advances 6-2.

Yachiyo Higashi, like Ryuukeidai has had to battle from the ends of the bracket, but has had many close games throughout:
  • 1st Round - vs. Shiritsu Inage - 2x-1 in 14 innings.
  • 2nd Round - vs. Noda Chuo - 5-0
  • 3rd Round - va. Awa - 3-2 (Up 3-0, Awa scores one in the 8th and another in the 9th, but according to the Asahi website, weather stopped the potential rally.)
  • 4th Round - vs. Toukaidai Bouyou - 3-2 in 12 innings. (Down 2-0 in the 9th, Yachiyo scores 2 to tie the game)
  • Round of 16 - vs. Tateyama Sougou - 4-2 (Breaks a scoreless draw with 3 in the 8th, and holds off a late rally after Tateyama scores 2 in the 9th.)
  • Quarterfinals - vs. Keiai Gakuen - 3-2 (A 3-run 6th is enough to beat the seeded Keiai).
Will the experience in close games help? Or will all the work they've had to do up until now have taken a toll?

Rain cancels half of the games yesterday.

For those games that did get played, Yokohama takes a 12-0 lead over Toukaidai Sagami after 4½ innings, only to see Sagami come back with 9 runs of their own over the next 3 innings. Luckily for Yokohama, that's all they were able to muster. Their next opponent will be Yokohama Hayato who took care of Totsuka 13-6 in 8.

Toukou Gakuen and Tourei Fujisawa will make up the other quarterfinal as both breezed through their games.

Nihon Bunri has had to trouble with the opposition so far, as they have practically strolled into the Best 4. However, their semifinal will be against the defending champion, Niigata Kenou Kougyou, who needed 13 innings to defeat seeded Niigata Shougyou 7-4. Kenou will be looking for their 2nd ever appearance.

The 2nd semifinal will be between newcomer Gosen and 7-time particiapnt Chuuetsu.

The semifinals are set here, and boy were they doozies. Maruko Shuugakukan and Chikyuu Kankyou traded runs early with Maruko taking a slim 4-3 lead. That is until the 7th when Chikyuu scored 3 to take the lead for good.

But the game of the day was the 2nd quarterfinal between Matsumoto Dai-ichi and Matsushou Gakuen. Matsushou takes an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st only to see Dai-ichi tie it right back up. Then in the 5th and 6th innings, Dai-ichi goes on a 7-1 run to take a 11-5 lead! After Matsushou gets one back in the 7th, Dai-ichi extends that lead to 13-6 with 2 in the 8th.

So down 7 and facing the mercy rule, Matsushou does the only thing it could do - score 7 runs in the 8th and tie the game!!!!! It's 13-13!

The game goes into extras, and Dai-ichi looks to put the game away again with a run in the 10th. Undeterred, Matsushou scores one right back to continue the game. And it does, with both teams scoreless for the longest period - 3 innings. Then in the 14th, Dai-ichi breaks through against Itou (who was in his 9th inning of work), for 2 runs. And Yamada shuts the door on Matsushou once and for all, sending Dai-ichi into the semifinals, 16-14!

And with that game, we have 4 participants who have one Koshien appearance between them. That would be Nagano Nichidai... who is the defending champion (and made the quarterfinals!).

So we have:
  • Iiyama vs. Matsumoto Dai-ichi
  • Chikyuu Kankyou vs. Nagano Nichidai

Sweet 16 play has started... and it wasn't good for Toyama Shougyou. Fujikoshi Kougyou ties a 4-3 game in the 8th, scores 3 in the 9th, and holds off a Toyama Shougyou rally in the 9th to win 7-6!

Namerikawa also was upset by Tonami Kougyou 4-3, meaning that the left side of the brackets open up for Takaoka Shougyou. Also, for teams like Sakurai and Himi on the right side, it takes out a potential finals opponent.

I'll continue with updates later on today.

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