We have our first two participants in the Best 8 determined, one has never made it this far, the other hasn't been there in 31 years.
By the time the afternoon session ends, we'll have half the draw determined.
Our third game features Risshoudai Shounan, who defeated neighboring Karyou in dramatic fashion. With the game still scoreless in the 9th, Karyou had a runner on 2nd with one out. Their number 3 batter Suetomi, hit a liner deep down the left field line. LF Gotou sprinted towards the foul line, dove, and made a spectacular catch that saved a run from scoring. Then in he bottom of the 9th with one down, he stepped up to the plate and delivered the sayonara homerun to bring them to the round of 16.
Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni was also locked in a low scoring affair against Aomori Yamada. The game was tied 1-1 headed into extras when the top of the Noudai order put 3 hits together to push through the evenual winning run and eliminate the 6-time Aomori champion.
Given those games, you have to expect a low scoring affair here.
Risshoudai Shounan (Shimane)
1B Oogura (#13)
3B Inomata (#14)
Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni (Gunma)
LF Akeda (#17)
1:40 PM - First pitch!
First pitch from Katou hits Hayashida! Not exactly the way he wanted to start.
Ono looking to bunt, but it goes right to Katou! He throws to 2nd to get the lead runner!
He then strikes out Gotou and gets Sakida to pop out to 1st to end the inning.
When introducing the Risshoudai defense, they mention they have a 5-man bench. It's not because players were reprimanded or anything. Turns out that the players have the influenza and can't play!
After Aoki strikes out, Nakamizo hits a grounder to short, but Hayashida can't field the ball! E6! Akeda bunts him over into scoring position.
Machida up now and he grounds one to 3rd! But Inomata's throw to 1st is short and Oogura can't field it! E5!
Numazawa next lines one to right! Nakamizo comes home! 1-0 Noudai!
Uehara grouds out back to Sakida, but Nodai takes the early lead.
Katou isn't looking all that sharp to start. He goes full on Narita before getting him to fly out to center. Then with two down, he hits Doumoto on a 2-1 count.
But Risshoudai runs themselves out of the inning when Doumoto tries to steal 2nd.
Tsuruta starts the inning with a dribbler up the 3rd base side. Inomata and Sakida charge at the ball, and it's Sakida that takes it! But he has to turn around and throw, and the throw isn't in time! Runner on for Noudai!
Katou bunts him along for Tatsuoka, but he goes down swinging.
2 down for top batter Aoki.
But he flies out to right to end the inning.
One down for Risshoudai, and Inomata delivers their first hit as he singles through the left side. But that is quickly erased when Hayashida grounds into the 4-6-3 double play.
With 2 down for Noudai, they start putting something together.
Cleanu batter Machida singles to right. Then Numazawa hits a comebacker that's off Sakida and defected to the left side. Hayashida has to back track to get the ball, and Numazawa's safe! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Noudai.
Uehara though pops up to shallow right to end the inning.
Gotou gets the offense started for Risshoudai with a hit down the right field line! He delivers a one-out double and they have a chance here in the 4th!
It'll be left to Sakida now to deliver the run.
But Katou runs the count full on Sakida. He makes contact, but it a liner to right. 2 down for Risshoudai.
And Narita flies out to right to end the inning.
Tsuruta singles to center to start the inning. Katou looking to bunt but Katou-kantoku sends Tsuruta! Throw by Narita is good and Hayashida makes a great tag! One out!
And it's too bad because Katou hits a drive to deep left! Gotou runs back, has to reach back over his body and he can't catch it! Katou in with a double and Noudai with another chance!
But Sakida strikes out Tatsuoka for the 2nd time today! 2 down!
Now he just has to get by Aoki.
But he reaches down and grounds one past a diving Takagi! Katou rounds 3rd and is beind sent home! Doumoto up with the throw and it's a strike to home, but Narita can't bring the glove down in time! 2-0 Noudai!
And up 0-2 on Nakamizo, Sakita hits Nakamizo! Runners on 1st and 2nd!
Oota-kantoku calls a conference on the mound to try and calm the team down.
Sakida does end with the inning as he gets Akeda to fly out to center. But Risshoudai finds themselves down 2 now.
Katou almost cruises through the 5th inning, but with 2 down he walks Takagi. But he comes right back to strike out Inomata to end the inning.
Cleanup batter Machida singles to center to lead off the inning. Numazawa immediately bunts him over.
Machida one again gets bumped over when Uehara grounds out to 2nd. So quickly there's a runner on 3rd with 2 down for Tsuruta.
And Sakita strikes out Tsuruta looking on an inside pitch to end the inning! We've reached the break with the team from Gunma leading by 2.
One down for Risshoudai, and Katou hits another batter in Ono. That brings up Gotou to the plate.
Oota-kantoku is electing to have him hit. And he hits a slow grounder to the left side. Tsuruta charges and has only the play at 1st. Runner at 2nd for Sakida.
He hits a grounder up the middle. That sneaks through! Ono rounding 3rd, and he scores! Risshoudai gets on the board here in the 6th! 2-1!!!!
Now Narita steps up as the go-ahead run!
But he sofly lines to 2nd to end the inning, but Risshoudai is within 1!
Sakida with some new hope after scoring the run turns it up a notch. He gets Katou to foul out on the 3rd base side, Tatsuoka to ground out to 2nd, and Aoki to strike out looking!
And Risshoudai gets the douten runner aboard when Katou hits Ooogura. Doumoto bunts him into scoring position for 1st year player Takagi.
Liner! But right at Tsuruta! 2 out!
It's up to Inomata, who's filling in for the players sick.
But Katou strikes him out to end the inning! Opportunity lost!
Nakamizo gathers his first hit of Koshien with a base hit through to left.
Katou-kantoku calling for the bunt from Akeda, who lays it down nicely.
Machida now looking to add a precious insurance run here in the 7th.
Hard hit to Inomata, but it eats him up! The ball takes a high bounce off of him and into left! Nakamizo advances to 3rd! Runners at the corners wth 1 down for Numazawa!
Comebacker to Sakida! Goes to 2nd for 1! Hayashida double clutches, goes to 1st...
Double play! Sakida turns the 1-6-3 double play and turn Noudai away!
Top of the order for Risshoudai. And Katou hits him on the first pitch! How long can he keep on doing that and not get burned?!
Ono looking to bunt the douten run to 2nd... But Katou instead falls behind 3-1! And then he walks him! Runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!
Katou-kantoku calls a conference on the mound. This is a dangerous situation for Noudai late in the game!
And Katou falls behind Gotou 2-0! 3-0!!!!! Finally throws a strike... but then walks him! Manrui for Sakida!!
High! Ball 1! Fouled off... Driven to right! Uehara catches it, but Hayashida tags up and scores! Douten!! They've tied the game without the benefit of a hit!!!!! 2-2!!!
Ono advances to 3rd on the catch and now the gyakuten runner is 90 feet away!
But Katou is all over it! Looks to 3rd, and Ono scurries back! Katou still has time to go to 1st! 2 down! Gotou advances to 2nd.
Oogura steps in. Katou falls behind 3-0! Manages to work it full! Oogura fouling pitches off!
And Katou walks him! Manrui again!
Doumoto now with a chance to give Risshoudai the lead!
But he flies out to left! But Risshoudai has tied it up!
Sakita strikes out Uehara! One down.
Tsuruta with a liner to right center! Doumoto charging in and makes the catch! 2 down!
And Katou pops out to Inomata! Sakida has held the Noudai offense scoreless since the 6th and has alowed his team to catch up.
So can his offense deliver for him?
WHOA! Takagi with a liner right at Katou's head! He puts up the glove and makes the life-saving catch! One down!
Inomata grounds out to 2nd, and there's quickly 2 down!
But he falls behind Hayashida 3-1! He manages to get it full, but then Hayashida goes down and drives one to deep right center! That's all the way to the wall! He breaks for 3rd and reaches!!
Go ahead run 90 feet away!
And Ono takes the first pitch to deep center! Aoki desparately running back! Reaches out... over his head! Hayashida scores and Risshoudai has taken the lead!! 3-2!!
Gotou with a grounder up the 1st base line past a diving Nakamizo! Ono comes around 3rd, he scores! 3 consecutive extra base hits for Risshoudai has given them a 4-2 lead!
Sakida flies out to left to end the inning, but it's now Noudai that finds themselves behind!!
9-1-2 batters up for Noudai. Is ther a rally in them?
First pitch Tatsuoka grounds out to 2nd! One down!
Aoku up. And he's hit! Now the douten runner comes up in Nakamizo!
Change for strike one... Fouled off... 0-2. High and outside... 1-2. Inside pitch fouled off... Slider outside, just foulded off! Fly to center, Ono with it! 2 down!
Down to Akeda now.. Inside for strike 1... Down and away, 1-1. Slider inside, swung and missed! 1-2! Up high! 2-2. Fouled off! Down and in... full count! Inside pitch fouled off! Outside, called strike 3!! Akeda kneels down and can't believe it!
Risshoudai Shounan overcomes a 2 run deficit to win 4-2!!
With a 14 man team, and in their 1st ever Koshien, Risshoudai Shounan advances to the best 8!
And while Katou had kept himself composed, even trying to cheer up his teammates, he breaks down himself after thanking the oen-dan... For he thinks of what could have been. Hopefully they'll remember what was and what they did as they head back home to Gunma...
Gotou (Risshoudai Shounan) - 2-4, 2 2B, RBI
Hayashida (Risshoudai Shounan) - 1-3, 3B, 2 R, Gyakuten RBI, 2 HBP
Sakida (Risshoudai Shounan) - W, CG, 1 ER, 10 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 2 HBP
Machida (Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni) - 3-4
Numazawa (Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni) - 2-3, RBI
Katou (Toyou Noudai Dai-ni) - L, CG, 4 ER, 5 K, 4 BB, 5 HBP