So the final game of the day features a newcomer to Koshien in Yachiyo Higashi versus Saijyou and ace Akiyama. It's not an impossible task, but it's certainly difficult.
Yachiyo Higashi (Chiba)
3:30 PM - First pitch!
Akiyama with a 1-2-3 inning. He's flying a bit open with his delivery and has a count go full.
Inoshita walks on 4 straight to lead off. Ochi moves him to 2nd for Mori. Then with 2 down, Akiyama walks of 4 striaght! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Shiba!
But he grouds to short and Murakami staves off the threat!
Akiyama has a quick inning as the Yachiyo batters are swinging away.
Murakami starts the inning by walking the leadoff batter Tokunaga. He's once again bunted to 2nd. After a sac bunt, Murakami walks another batter in Hino. A chopper to 3rd advances the runners for the top of the order and Inoshita!
He hits a shot to 3rd! Iida gets it and makes the throw to 1st! Saijyou has yet to get a hit, but has had scoring opportunities. This is a dangererous situation for him to continue to be in.
And Iida gets the first hit of the ballgame for either team as he shoots a grounder back up the middle! And he steals 2nd with Mori's throw going high! Now it's Yachiyo threatening!
Yamaoka bunts it, but it's to Akiyama! He looks to 3rd, but doesn't think he can make the play and goes back to 1st! Runner on 3rd with one down!
A pitchout as Tsuchida squares for a squeeeze! And as the AB continues it's a chess match between Tsuchida and Akiyama as to if the bunt can be put down. And with the count full, he puts it down! The only play for Shiba is to 1st and Iida scores! 1-0!
And after an error by Ochi puts Hirose on base, he steals 2nd! But Aoishi K's to end the inning. But it's newcomer Yachiyo Higashi that's on the board first!
There's a small delay as Aoishi works out his foot after fouling a pitch off it.
Sure enough, Ochi grounds one up the middle past Aoishi for Saijyou's first hit. After being bunted over, Akiyama immediately grounds back to Murakami for the 2nd out.
But they finally break through! Shiba lines one down the left field line past a running Takahashi! Ochi scores and we're tied!! 1-1!!
And Tokunaka drives one to the base of the wall in left! That's a double as Shiba scores to give Saijyou the lead!! 2-1!!
A grounder to 2nd ends the inning, but Murakami's lack of control finally costs him, although not via the walk.
A quick inning for Akiyama puts Saijyou back on the bats once again.
Another delay as Aoishi still deals with that ball off his foot.
But Murakami K's 2 with his sweeping curve and it's his 1st 1-2-3 inning.
Akiyama has a little trouble with the first batter, but does get another 1-2-3 inning. It's far from cruising per se, but Yachiyo can't get their offense started.
One down, Mori pops one to right. Kamijyou comes in, and completely muffs the catch!!! Mori ends up at 2nd! He's advanced to 3rd via a grounder by Akiyama.
And Shiba hits a hot shot to right! Tsuchida leaps and makes yet another snag! The error doesn't cost Yachiyou a run!
Chopper past a reaching Akiyama! Saiki gets the ball, but makes a bad throw! Tsuchida reaches 2nd on the error! After a bunt, the game is delayed once again for Aoishi. Will the injury finally knock him out of the game?
After a couple of minutes, Aoishi is out once again for his AB.
And the squeeze is on! But Tsuchida is too far off the bag! Mori makes a snap throw and this time is on the money! He's out, Aoishi K's, the threat is over and Yachiyo misses out on a great opportunity!
Murakami has to defend himself as Tokunaga lines one right at him. He makes the catch. The next 2 batters are retired without trouble, but Yachiyo needs baserunners soon.
Takahashi with a drive to the right center gap! Inoshita runs over, dives, but isn't even close! It's all the way to the wall! Takahashi is in with a triple! It's a bad defensive decision by Takahashi as Kamijyou lifts one to deep right, easily scoring Takahashi. 同点!! 2-2!!
After that, Akiyama shuts Yachiyo down, thanks in part to a great stop by Saiki in the gap and a great throw to 1st. But we've got a new ballgame once again!
Grounder to Aoishi by Daitou and he mishandles it! The throw is offline, but it doesn't advance the runner. Inoshita does that though with a bunt.
Ochi with a chance to drive in the go-ahead run, but Daitou is caught off 2nd! Murakami picks him off!!
And then Iida makes a snag on a laser by Mori!! The game remains tied!
Yachiyo's batters swing early at Akiyama's offerings and quickly go down in order. Could we be heading for extras?
Murakami cruises along, but then with 2 down walks his first batter since the 2nd. Saiki then lines one through the left side! Saijyou is threatening here in the 8th!
Hino with a hit to left! It falls in, and gets by LF Takahashi!!! Tokunaga rounds 3rd and comes home on the costly error! 3-2 Saijyou!!
Daitou grounds to 1st, but the damage is done. Yachiyo is now down to their last 3 outs!
Top of the order for Yachiyo... But Hirose grounds to short...
Aoishi hits a high chopper, but can't beat out the throw... 2 down.
It's down to Takahashi, who made the costly error. Can he redeem himself?
Count goes to 1-1, swings and misses for strike 2...
And it's a grounder to Akiyama who takes it to the bag himself, and it's game set.
Yachiyo Higashi played a great game, splendid defense, Murakami fought against the early struggles, and it's one miscue that costs them the game.
Hopefuly Takahashi won't take it too hard. They played a good game and have nothing to hang their head over. As for Saijyou, they advance to the next round and a matchup with Meihou.