Thursday, July 30, 2009

7.30 Prefectural Finals

Okay, semifinal games have started and we're going to run through the previews as much as possible to cover them all. After today, the only prefectures left to give their bids are Shizuoka, Osaka and Hiroshima.

The internet at my house has gone awry, prolly thanks to the stupid heatwave. I hate my ISP.

This on paper looks like one of the blockbuster games you'd want to see. Tohoku ace Satou hits a homerun and 4-hits the Rifu squad for a 3-1 victory.

Kesennuma Kougyou's hitters struck out 17 times against Sendai Ikuei as hey were shutout 3-0.

So it's Tohoku and Sendai Ikuei. That's one heck of a matchup to have. These two teams have represented Miyagi 8 of 9 times this decade. You want a good matchup? Head to Kleenex Stadium Miyagi and watch these teams play.

Nishi Tokyo
Hopefully the game here today won't be as cruel as Teikyou's 24-1 win over Toritsu Yukigaya...

But here is an all-Nihon affair. In this matchup though, it's the "younger" brother that has ruled the day. Nihon Dai-san has gone to Koshien 28 times (12 summer, 16 spring), while Nihon Dai-ni has been only 6 (4 summer, 2 spring).

Dai-san has just crushed the opposition... until last game when Hino gave them the biggest scare. Dai-ni has also had the same success, but the margin of victory has narrowed in recent games.

They're all part of the same family, but in this case there's a case of bragging rights to be had. More importantly perhaps, Dai-ni would like to get back some of that honor of being a school of Nihon University from their younger school.

Toyama Dai-ichi looking for their 1st ever title couldn't hold up against the defending champions Takaoka Shougyou. A 2-run 3rd inning is all they needed to advance to the finals.

On the other side, Nanto Sougou Fukuno kept their dream alive. Tied 2-2 after 7, the Himi pitching staff crumbled. Fukuno scores 5 late for a 7-2 win running away.

So now, Nanto Sougyou Fukuno is at the door of Koshien, but to open it they must get past last year's champion. Can they do it?

Like all the others who have faced Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, Aichi Keisei was thrown aside. The 10-2 win continued Chuukyou's run of double digit runs this tournament.

You could almost write in pen their 25th summer (and 54th overall) invitation to Koshien...

Their final opponent will be Kariya. They had a 3-run 6th, and Hayakawa held down the Toyota Nishi squad for a 4-2 upset. They've only been to Koshien once - back in 1978 for the spring tournament.

It's a long-shot, and the odds are stacked against Kariya. How will they face this challenge now?

Yashiro opened the scoring against Ikuei with a run in the 2nd. But Ikuei came back with 4 in the 3rd and went on to a 7-1 win. In the 2nd semifinal Kansai Gakuin's tandem of Arakawa and Yamasaki shut out Takigawa Dai-ni 2-0 for a spot in the finals.

Kansai Gakuin will depend on that tandem to win the title, their 1st since 1939! (They did attend the 1998 spring tournament.). Ikuei will look to it's defense to shut down Kansai for their first title since 2000.

Rained out yesterday...

Where is all this offense coming from??! Imabari Kougyou keeps up with Saijyou in the first inning at 2-2, but then sees Saijyou score every inning thereafter for a 13-2 loss...

In the 2nd semifinal, higher seeded Imabari Nishi build a 4-0 lead early. But Saibi would not go easily. A run in the 5th and 6th against Ooto narrows the margin to 2. They would overtake them the very next inning with 3 runs in the 7th! Finally realizing the gravity of the situation, Imabari Nishi equalizes in the top of the 8th.

It comes too late... Saibi score 5 in the bottom of the 8th for a 10-5 win.

So the spring participant this year gets to face the defending champion. Not a bad matchup I'd say.

Some of you know my stance here, but for those that don't - I like Saijyou's ace Akiyama Takumi. To my untrained eye, he's a solid consistent pitcher. Not a stud per se, but definitely a horse. I'd love to see Saijyou go to Koshien to see him on the mound again.

The semifinals were almost as expected. The top seeds Meitoku Gijyuku and Kochi advanced with ease. Meitoku beat Kochi Nishi 13-0 in 5 innings, while Kochi needed 7 to get past Kochi Ootemae.

The finals have already happened and Kochi's 2 runs in the 5th, which broke a 1-1 tie was enough to hold off Meitoku Gijyuku. They would draw within 1 with a run in the 8th, but that's all they could muster.

The final Kyushu prefecture to give their bid has a good game in store. Kumamoto Kougyou has given up only 1 run the entire tournament behind the pitching of Tsukida and Ikeda. They look for their 19th summer appearance and the 5th this decade.

Their opponent is Kyushu Gakuin. While they were involved in pitching duels the first couple of rounds, the offense has carried the day late. That's not to say that they rely heavily on their ace Tsuda. Kyushu comes in for their 7th summer appearance and first since 2002.


2:28 PM - Thanks to my ISP, all games are more than underway before I can post.

The first thing to note is that Nihon Dai-san is as in as Teikyou was yesterday... They lead Nihon Dai-ni 19-0.... Kawaiso.... It's the bottom of the 8th and Dai-san is up at bat again.

Back up to Miyagi, Tohoku scores 1 in the bottom of the 1st. Sendai Ikuei fires right back with 1 of their own in the 2nd. The score remains that way until the 5th where Tohoku regains the lead plating 2 in the 5th. 3-1 is where we stand heading into the bottom of the 6th

West to Toyama, Takaoka Shougyou scored a run in the first 2 innings to take the early lead. Nanto Sougou Fukuno halves the deficit in the top of the 5th. It's the bottom of the 6th now, and Fukuno has time, but not a whole lot.

Kariya is making a fight of things with Chuukyoudai Chuukyou. Hayakawa has given up only 3 runs so far, including a homerun to 3B Kawai. However, it's the bottom of the 7th, they only have 6 outs left, and they're facing ace Doubayashi.

We have a game in Hyogo! Arakawa has given way to partner Yamasaki, so it's Kansai Gakuin's Yamasaki vs. Ikuei's Horita. The game was scoreless until the 7th when Ikuei breaks through with a run! But Kansai Gakuin also scores a run in the 7th, leaving the score level as we head to Kansai's half of the 8th. Another extra inning game perhaps?

In Yamaguchi, it seemed over before it began, Iwakuni Shougyou's Yanagihara gives up 6 runs to Karyou in the top of the 1st. It's now 11-1 heading to the bottom of the 6th...

Yatta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Saijyou opens the scoring in the 1st with one run off Saibi's ace Suzuki. Then in the 4th, they begin a 8-run blitz, interrupted by Saibi's 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th. Top 9, and Saijyou leads 9-2!!!!! I get to see Akiyama at Koshien!! *hopes he just didn't jinx them*

And back in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Kougyou takes the early lead with 2 in the 1st. Kyushu Gakuin reponds in the bottom of the 2nd with 3 to take the lead. But in the last couple of innings Kumakou has scored 5 unanswered. It's 7-3 in the top of the 6th.


3:03 PM - This may be my final post of the night depending on my ISP...

Tohoku extends their lead to 4 now with a run in the 8th. Sendai Ikuei can't get anything going against Tohoku ace Satou and Darvish Yu's school goes to Koshien yet again.

Out of mercy perhaps, Dai-ni scores 2 runs in the top of the 9th, but it was all Dai-san 19-2.

Takaoka Shougyou has pulled away from Fukuno scoring a run in the 6th and 7th innings. Nanto Sougou Fukuno also trails by 3 going with 3 outs to go...

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou proves to be too much for Kariya. They shutout the hopefuls 5-0 and punch their ticket.

Hyogo has also gone final! Kansai Gakuin busts open with 3 in the bottom of the 8th! Ikuei can't mount a quick rally and Kansai is Koshien bound!

It's almost a formality in Yamaguchi. Karyou leads 12-1 as Iwakuni bats in the bottom of the 9th.

Saijyou puts the exclamation point on the finals with a 4-run 9th inning. Akiyama and his men are Koshien bound with a 13-2 win!

Finally, Kyushu Gakuin scores a run in the 7th, but still trail 7-4 as they bat in the bottom of the 8th. Time is running short on their dreams...


3:24 PM - I had to stick around outside to post this...

In Toyama, Nanto Sougou Fukuno scores 4 in the top of the 9th against ace Nabeta and now leads Takaoka Shougyou 5-4!!!!! Now it's Takaoka with 3 outs to rally!!

Iwakuni scores 3 in the 9th, but it's far from enough as Karyou wins running away 12-4...

And Kyushu Gakuin will be down to their final 3 outs facing a 3-run deficit. That is assuming they can hold Kumamoto Kougyou scoreless.


3:30 PM - It's final! Nantou Sougou Fukuno down 4-1 against the defending champions, rallies and pulls off the upset!! Fukuno will make their 1st ever trip to Koshien!!!

And they move to the bottom of the 9th in Kumamoto now...


4:57 PM - It was about 3:47 when my laptop died where I was at. At least the internet at home works again...

Kumamoto had just gone final back then. Kyushu Gakuin did indeed mount a rally in the bottom of the 9th. They scored a run, and then another... suddenly it was a one-run game!! But Ikeda was able to record the final out and Kumamoto Kougyou hangs on for the 7-6 win!

44 down, 3 more to go...

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