26 bids have been awarded so far. 21 remain and 10 of those will be awarded today. So, let's review the upcoming matchups today!
(my internet connection died where I was at yesterday, so I was unable to update after reporting that Seibou had succeeded in securing Saitama's bid. I will update the rest of the games later today).
Tsuchiura Nichidai could only manage 3 hits against Jyousou Gakuin's Ogumo. And thanks to errors by Jyousou's defense and the strength of their own staff, they were only down 2-1... until the 8th. Jyousou scored 3 runs and pulled away 5-2.
In the other semi, Mito Sakuranomaki's staff also threw a 3-hitter against Mito Kiryou as they cruised 6-1. They'll look to get their first championship against the defending champions.
Both teams have used a fair number of different pitchers to get here, although Jyousou has relied more heavily on their ace Ogumo. Both teams have done a good job in limiting their opposition's runs. Both teams have been able to score runs regardless of opponents. In that sense, it could be a good game. But looking at the history, it automatically favors Jyousou Gakuin.
Neither offense could really put their offense together in the Seibou Gakuen-Kasukabe Higashi game. But Kasukabe's defense behind Igarashi failed him, committing 4 errors. Seeing that statistic reminded me of the errors committed by Urawa Gakuin in their game against Seibou. So under ace Satou, they reach the finals with a 3-1 win.
As for Kawaguchi Seiryou, they tried to continue their magical run against Saitama Sakae. But sadly, like most cinderella teams, they were rudely awakened. Shimano and Serizawa yield only 3 hits and 2 walks en route to a 2-0 win.
So Seibou will look for their 3rd summer appearance while Saitama Sakae will look for their 2nd.
On the surface, looking at the box scores (and Deanna's accounts), Seibou has been the benefactor of some poor plays by the defense (Holy Hopes indeed!). Saitama Sakae has had strong pitching by their tandem of pitchers, which has kept them in games - especially early on where they had close games. Given that Deanna wasn't overly impressed by Seibou (although she was rooting for Urawa ;p), I imagaine this being a pitching matchup and a low scoring affair.
That is of course, unless the (baseball) gods shine upon Seibou and Saitama Sakae starts throwing errors left and right.
Meiji Jingu will be home to an interesting matchup. Teikyou, whom I will remember for the absolutely crazy and unbelievable 9th inning in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Koshien against Chiben Wakayama, will look for their 4th bid this decade. Their opponent will be Yukigaya, who made their only appearance ever back in 2003.
If there's one thing I noticed, and perhaps its just because of their compeition, it's that Teikyou has thrown out on the mound a lot of different pitchers. Is it a by-product of 2006? You've got me. In fact, of the 5 runs given up by the pitching staff, 4 was given up by Takeuchi in the last inning of their opening game. He hasn't been seen since.
Yukigaya on the other hand has depended on ace Sakamoto for the entire tournament. He's managed to throw the team past Kokushikan, but is there one more game left in him?
Do you believe in Yohohama Hayato? Because I do!
After Imaoka gives up a run in the top of the 1st to top seed Toukou Gakuen, he shuts the door on their offense. Meanwhile, Hayato's offense scored 3 in the bottom of the 2nd to take the lead and added 2 more in the 8th for a 5-1 win and a spot in the finals!
They'll look for their first apperance against Touin Gakuen, who was involved in a slugfest against top seed Yokohama Sougakukan. After trading a pair of runs in the first inning, Sougakukan scores 4 unanswered to take a 6-2 lead. Touin pulls within 2 in the 5th, and then down 3 in the 6th they score 4 against ace Nakajima! An insurance run in the 8th gives them a 9-7 win. The teams combined for 22 hits and 5 homeruns, 2 by leadoff batter 2B Tabata!!
Hayato will look for their 1st ever apperance, while Sougakukan will looking for their 7th summer appearance.
Championship was rained out yesterday.
Oumi easily clears Hieizan 7-0 in the semifinals and is poised to become a 3-time defending champion.
In the 2nd game, Shiga Gakuen got the jump on Kita Ootsu scoring 2 in the top of the 1st. But Kita Ootsu climbed back and by the 7th, they had a 3-2 lead. They looked poised to reach the finals, that is until the 9th. Shiga bookends the game with 2 runs in the 9th, and relief pitcher Miyagi closes out the the 4-3 win!
So Shiga Gakuen will join the list of schools looking for thei 1st ever prefectural championship, but like all the others will have one heck of a test ahead of them in the finals...
Championship was rained out yesterday.
Chiben Wakayama had one of those weird games against Kihoku Kougyou. They moved on to the finals 4-0, but their ace Okada gave up more hits than Kihoku's ace Tsujimoto (4 to 3)! The difference? Okada gave up no walks. Tsujimoto? 10.
Minabe, in the 2nd semifinal against Wakayama Shougyou score 2 in the 3rd and after Uemura gives way to Iguchi after Wakayama scores a run, they make the lead stick, winning 2-1.
So Chiben Wakayama will look for the 8th title this decade against Minabe looking for their 1st title since 1982.
It's no wonder the makers of Kokoyakyu wanted to film Chiben. Since their 1st title in 1987, they have won 16 more since then. That 16 out of a possible 23!
Kurashiki Shougyou will have the chance to defend their title after beating Sakuyou 5-1 thanks to a 4-run 1st inning.
It looked early on that it might be an all-Kurashiki final as Kurashiki Kougyou led Tamashima Shougyou 2-0. but Tamashou scored 1 in the 3rd and 1 in the 7th to tie it up. But in the 8th, Tamashou blows Kurashiki out of the water with 6 runs and that was that.
Tamashima hopes to use the dual arms of Sasaki and Tsuda to get their first bid since 1974. Kurashiki will look to their ace Oka to push them to victory.
Sadly for Ube and Houfu Shougyou, their runs ended in the semifinals with a thud. Karyou shutout Ube 6-0, while Iwakuni Shougyou beats Houfu Shougyou 5-1.
Karyou looks for their 1st summer appearnce (they do have one spring appearance last year), while Iwakuni Shougyou hasn't been there since 1986.
Can't tell if it's the competition, but Karyou has yet to yield a run so far this tournament. Both teams have shown a good amount of offense, so it may come down to which pitcher can shut the opposition down.
Samukawa delivers on their top seed, scoring 3 in the 1st inning against Jinsei Gakuin en route to a 5-3 semifinal win.
Takamatsu Kougei had held a fragile 1-0 lead, but Takamatsu Shougyou tied it in the 8th. 3 innings later, they'd push through the winning run a a spot in the finals.
Interestingly enough Samukawa, with their top seed, is playing for their 1st trip to Koshien. Takamatsu Shougyou was a dominating force until the early 1980's. But they haven't been to Koshien since 1996. Samukawa has trailed for all of 2 innings in this tournament, while Takashou has had to rally from behind on multiple occasions.
1:25 PM - In Ibaraki, Mito Sakuranomaki and Jyousou Gakuin remain scoreless after 2 innings. It's Yoshikubo vs Oguma on the mound.
Seibou Gakuin scores 3 in the 2nd inning versus Saitama Sakae. Shimano has left and Serizawa has taken the mound. The game is in the bottom of the 6th with Seibou at bat.
Teikyou has dominated the game over Yukigaya. 6 runs in the first equals no chance. Even the ace Hirahara has hit a homerun. The game is in the top of the 6th with Teikyou looking for blood.
At Baystars Stadium, teams are scoring left and right. Touin Gakuen and Yokohama Hayato traded a run in the first and Touin has scored 3 in the top of the 2nd. It's 4-1 Touin for Hayato at the bottom of the 2nd. Are they out of gas?
Yamada homers for Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou in the bottom of the 3rd and they have the 1-0 lead over Kakamigahara in the bottom of the 5th.
Shiga Gakuen jumped early on Oumi with a run in the bottom of the 1st and 3rd, and then exploded for 5 in the 4th. It's 7-0 in the top of the 5th.
In Mie, Mie has scored a run in the 1st and 2nd and they're holding the 2-0 lead as Kaisei bats in the top of the 6th.
Wakayama is already in the 9th inning. Minabe trails 3-0 to Chiben Wakayama with 3 outs to go.
Kurashiki Shougyou just scored 5 in the top of the 3rd and they lead by that score with Tamashima Shougyou batting in the bottom of the 3rd.
And in Kagawa, Samukawa scored 5 in the bottom of the 1st, but Takamatsu Shougyou has scored 3 in the 3rd to pull within 2.
2:04 PM - Mito Sakuranomaki and Jyousou Gakuin remain tied in the middle of the 5th.
Saitama Sakae has scored a run in the 7th and 8th to make it 3-2, but they're now at their final 3 outs.
Have mercy on Yukigaya... It's the top of the 8th and it's 20-0 Teikyou...
Yokohama Hayato scores 3 in the bottom of the 3rd and ties it up against Touin Gakuen! They're up at bat in the bottom of the 4th now.
Gifu Shougyou extends the lead to 2 with a run the bottom of the 5th. They're at bat in the 6th.
The score remains 7-0 Shiga Gakuen over Oumi in the bottom of the 6th.
Kaisei has clawed back a run in the top of the 6th. Mie clings to the one-run lead in the bottom half of the inning.
It's over in Wakayama! Chiben Wakayama has indeed received their 8th bid this decade! Minabe falls 3-0!
2:19 PM - Seibou Gakuen holds up again! Saitama Sakae's run falls short as Seibou wins 3-2!!
So with the internet connection down, I'll just run through the remaining prefectures.
The post I would have done right after had Jyousou Gakuin scoring 2 in the bottom of the 6th to break the stalemate with Mito Sakuranomaki. They added an insurance run in the 8th, and boy did they need it! Sakuranomaki finally gets to Oguma and they draw within one! But the rally would end there and Jyousou earns their 4th consecutive title and 7th this decade!
都立雪谷かわいそうな... (Poor Toritsu Yukigaya). It must have been great to get to get to the finals, but to lose 24-1 isn't fun no matter how you look at it. Teikyou scored in every inning except the 3rd.
My post that I wasn't able to post b/c of the internet issue had Touin Gakuin pulling ahead with a run in the 5th. Things looked bleak for my Yokohama Hayato squad...
But then in the bottom of the 8th, Hayato ties the game! Neither team could score in the 9th and the game went into extras! And in the 11th, Yokohama Hayato is able to score the winning run and they indeed earn their 1st ever bid! おめでとう!!!!!
(And in looking at the pictures, I find it interesting that Touin's uniforms matched Osaka Touin, while Yokohama Hayato's uniforms and hats basically mirror the Hanshin Tigers!)
It was the all-Yamada show in the Gifu final. He opens the scoring in the 3rd with a homerun, and throws a 5-hit shutout for Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou! They'll once again represent Gifu in less than 2 weeks!
Oumi scores a meaningless run in the 9th as Shiga Gakuen in a dominating performance wins 7-1 for their 1st ever apperance!
Kaisei drew within 1 in the 6th inning right after I had made my last post and I thought they were going to make a game of it! Mie tried to shut the door with 2 of their own in the 6th, but once again Kaisei pulls within 1 yet again in the top of the 7th!
Mie finally pulls away thanks to a 5-run 8th inning and they get their 1st appeance since I saw them live in 2006!
Tamashima Shougyou was just no match for Kurashiki Shougyou. Kurashiki cruises to a 10-1 win to successfully defend their title!
Karyou and Iwakuni Shougyou were washed out. No, not literally (although the weather there has been god awful).
Samukawa finally delivers! They pull away from Takamatsu Shougyou for an 8-4 win and they earn their 1st Koshien appearance!!