Day 6 will see the stands pack with people for the 8:30 game. Why? Because PL Gakuen is playing.
But because of injury issues, ace Nakano is not on the roster. Instead Inoue Daiki has taken the ace number and has led the team to Koshien. It doesn't hurt that they have great batters behind him to make his efforts on the mound a little easier.
As for Seikou Gakuin, they're a bit like the teams we saw yesterday. Nothing exceptionally standing out, just a team that battles through their games.
I predicted PL Gakuen to win this braket with ease, and I just can't see Seikou stopping them.
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)
2B Saitou Kouhei
LF Saitou Hiroki
PL Gakuen (Osaka)
8:32 AM - First pitch!
Ryouhei leads off a game with a liner down the right field line! He dashes for 2nd as Ootsuki throws the to 2nd. And he slides in just ahead of the tag!
Takezawa moves him to 3rd for Tamura. Chance for Seikou to jump on PL early!
Tamura with a hard liner, but right at Nakai! 2 down!
Cleanup batter Aso up, and lines the first pitch through the right side! Ryouhei rounds 3rd and scores! 1-0 Seikou!!
But Aso gets caught off 1st and Inoue runs him down! 3 out, but Seikou grabs the early lead!
Yokoyama retires the 1st two batters before Fujimoto singles to right.
I'm a bit concerned because Yokoyama doesn't throw that hard and PL could have a field day.
Then Murata also singles to right! Fujimoto advances to 3rd! Runners at the corners for Ootsuki.
And he blasts one to deep right! Shike to the wall, and it's off the padding! Fujimoto scores! Murata comes around, and he scores! PL quickly recovers and takes the lean on Ootsuki's triple! 2-1!!
Nakai strikes out, but my initial thoughts were spot on.
Yokoyama draws a leadoff walk to start the inning. After a sac bunt, Yamaguchi grounds out to 1st advancing Yokoyama to 3rd, but there's 2 down. But Aso grounds out to short to end the inning.
Yokoyama seems to have settled down a bit facing the bottom of PL's order, registering 2 K's to a 1-2-3 inning.
Ishikawa takes the first pitch and lines it to center giving Seikou their 3rd leadoff runner on base.
Ryouhei looks to bunt, but instead pulls back and hits a weak grounder! That's just as good as a bunt, advancing Ishikawa to 2nd.
Takezawa softly lines one to left, but what is Ishikawa thinking? He's way too far out and he's going to be doubled off! But the throw by Ukegawa is high and Takezawa is fortunate to get back!
It doesn't matter though as Tamura grounds out up the middle to end the inning.
Yoshikawa leads off the inning with a single up the middle. He's bunted to 2nd, and Fujimto quickly follows that up with a soft single to left! Yoshikawa rounds 3rd and he scores! 3-1 PL!
Murata the grounds into an easy 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. It's a quick inningfor Yokoyama but in the meantime PL scores yet another run.
Seikou's offense is stalling now. Inoue gets 3 grounders to retire the 4-5-6 batters in order.
Yokoyama again with another solid inning, inducing 2 flyouts to left, but it won't be enough. The offense needs to get started if they have any chance.
Seikou gets another leadoff runner on base as Inoue hits Yamaguchi. Saitou-kantoku immediately calls for the bunt. Inoue starts throwing a lot to first.
And he takes strike 2! Now what will he do? He's still trying to bunt, ball 2!
Then they try the hit-and-run! Aso swings and misses! Throw to 2nd by Fujimoto is on the mark and they get the strike 'em out throw 'em out double play!
Ishikawa grounds out up the middle and Kouhei retires him for out number 3.
Inoue falls behind 1-2, but continues to hit foul balls and works the count full! 11th pitch goes foul! And finally he pops out to short on the 12th pitch.
Ishizaki finally gives PL a runner as he singles to center.
And he tries to steal 2nd! Takezawa's throw is high, but Tamura reigns it in and makes the tag! 2 out!
Yokoyama puts a runner right back on base though as Yoshizaki works a walk.
But then he's picked off 1st by Yokoyama to end the inning! He keeps the deficit at 2, but continues to get no support heading into the break.
Another leadoff runner for Seikou as Kouhei singles to right.
And then on a slow curve, Kouhei steals 2nd with no throw from Fujimoto! Runner in scoring position!
Takezawa draws a walk! Runners on 1st and 2nd with no down!
Tamura with the bunt! But Inoue and Murata think that the other will get the bunt! Murata scrambles to field the ball, but by then it's too late! Manrui for Seikou!
But Shike grounds to 2nd! Yasuda to Ishizaki to Nakai completes the double play! Kouhei scores, but PL gladly takes the 2 outs for the run. 3-2!
Now Yokoyama needs to get a base hit. Inoue's starting to leave his pitches high.
And Yokoyama hits a slow chopper up the 3rd base line! Murata charges again, but once again he's late! Yokoyama is safe and Takezawa scores! Douten!! Seikou manages to get that 2nd runner across and they've tied the game! 3-3!!
Hiroki pops out to end the inning, but Seikou ties the game!
Yasuda with a grounder to 3rd. Yamaguchi charges throws and it's high! Ishikawa jumps and then tries to make the tag, but can't! Leadoff runner on for PL!
Fujimoto with the bunt, but Yokoyama fields it and throws to 2nd! He gets the lead runner! One down!
Murata with a single to center! Fujimoto advances to 3rd! Runners at the corners with 1 down!
But Yokoyama gets Ootsuki to pop up! Yamaguchi catches it and there's 2 down!
AH! Nakai with a drive to deep left center! That falls in! Fujimoto scores, Matsuda rounds 3rd and the throw is cut off! PL quicky responds and retakes the lead 5-3!!
AHHHH!!!! Ukegawa on the next pitch with a drive to deep right! That falls in just in front of the wall! Ukegawa with the RBI triple! 6-3!
#13 Hiu comes in to pinch hit for Inoue signaling the end of his day. He strikes out to end the inning, but PL reasserts its lead!
#10 Nanba comes in to relieve Inoue. It looks like Kouno-kantoku went to a tandem system when Nakano went down.
And it seems to be working. He retires the bottom of the order and Seikou's time at Koshien seems to be drawing to an end.
One of the guys commented in the chatroom that Yokoyama is effective when there's no baserunners. Seems that way as he rings up 2 batters on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.
Just when perhaps Seikou was making adjustments to Inoue, PL changed pitchers. And now they're scuffling again... Nanba retires the top of order and they're left with the 9th inning to make a charge.
Where was this pitching the entire game??!!
#3 batter Fujimoto strikes out swinging!
#4 batter Murata strikes out looking!
#5 batter Ootsuki strikes out looking!
Amazingly he has 11 K's this game! But 2 critical innings by PL could cost them the game!
Cleanup batter Shike works the count full, but swings at a pitch high for out number 1!
Yokoyama grounds out to short for the 2nd out.
Hiroki falls behind 0-2... 1-2 on a pitch high... Low pitch fouled off. Just inside, 2-2. Chopper up the middle, Yasuda up with the ball and beats a diving Hiroki.
Yokoyama gives a great effort for Seikou Gakuin, but PL manages to line up several hits together for 6 runs and win 6-3! In fact, Yokoyama registered 8 K's during his 1-2-3 innings, while PL was 6-10 with a runner on base.
But there's no shame for the guys from Fukushima. Ther certainly showed they could compete against one of the well established teams in the nation.
Saitou Kouhei (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-4, 2B, 2 R
Yokoyama (Seikou Gakuin) - L, CG, 6 R, 3 ER, 9 H, 11 K, 0 BB
Murata (PL Gakuen) - 2-4, 2 R
Nakai (PL Gakuen) - 1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Nanba (PL Gaken) - SV, 3 IP, 0 H, 2K