So we hit the 2nd game of the day which includes yet another newcomer to come here to Koshien. While the main Nihon Koukuu school couldn't come out of Shizuoka, their sister school in Ishikawa fought from behind time and time again to win the championship.
Their opponent today will be Meiou, a school who hasn't been to Koshien in 13 years, but put together a great run, defeating defending champion Honjyou in the finals.
This will be a matchup that will be similar to Tottori Jyouhoku and Sapporo Dai-ichi. Should be a good match. (Although I'd like to see the aviation academy win.)
Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa (Ishikawa)
11:05 PM - First pitch!
Kurimoto strikes out Honma to start the game, but then Fukui makes a wide throw on a grounder by Kaga. That's compounded when Ootsuka hits one to right center for a double! Runners on 2nd and 3rd for Meiou!
And then Kotsugai lines one past the infield! The outfielders can't run it down it goes to the wall! Both runnes score on Kotsugai's triple! 2-0 Meiou!
Futaki with a grouner to 1st. Arakawa fires home and they get Kotsugai at home! Nice play!
But then Kurimoto hits Arakawa! Another problem for him!
He buckles down and strikes out Takahashi to end the inning. But Meiou gets the early lead!
Futagi looks good to start, striking out 2 batters in a 1-2-3 inning.
Kurimoto settles down, retiring the Meiou batters. Definitely looks better than the 1st inning.
Nihon Koukuu gets their first hit as Kitadera hits a slow grounder up the middle that gets by a diving Akimoto.
Fukui then strikes out, giving Futagi his 4th already so far. Imakurusu-kantoku tries to put the hit-and-run on byt Arakawa fouls it off.
And he swings at a pitch down and away. Okamoto throws to 1st and Futagi has 5 K's after 2 innings!!
After a K to Kaga, Ootsuka lines one to left center, and Kitadera, playing closer to the lines, runs over to make the catch.
But then Kotsugai drives one to deep left! Kitadera runs over and it's off the fence! But Kitadera plays the bounce poorly and it gets away from him! Kotsugai rounding 2nd and he's in with another triple!
Luckily for Nihon Koukuu, Futagi grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.
Futagi continues to cruise along, inducing 3 grounders and facing only one more than the minimum so far.
Kurimoto gives up another 2 out hit, this time to Hasegawa, but otherwise has no trouble with Meiou.
One down for JAA, and Ikeda singles through the left side! That's only their 2nd hit today!
After Tanaka hits a foul pop, Kitadera steps up and singles past a drawn in Kotsugai! And Honma bobbles the ball allowing Ikeda to advance to 3rd! Runners at the corners for Fukui!
AH! It's a wild pitch by Futagi! Ikeda comes in to score! It's 2-1 now! Fukui now with a chance to tie the game!
But he strikes out! However, JAA pulls within 1!
Honma leads off the 5th with a single to left! But Kitadera playing close to the line secures the ball quickly and limits it to a single.
Then Kaga looks to bunt, but he deadens the ball too much! Okamoto quickly fires to 2nd and Fukui relay to 1st completes the double play!
Ootsuka with a sky high fly to right ends the inning and Kurimoto has settled down nicely after the 1st.
Arakawa leads off the 5th with a single through the right side! Okamoto bunts him along, and now Kurimoto can help his own cause here with a base hit!
With the count 1-2, the field takes a moment of silence as the siren blares to commemorate Japan's surrender in WWII.
Back to the game, Kurimoto strikes out, but the pitch gets away from Kaga! Arakawa advances to 3rd! Can JAA get lucky again?
No luck needed here! Izumi drives one to deep left center! That one hops the wall! Arakawa scores as Izumi sprints in with a triple! Douten! 2-2!!
And then Imakurusu-kantoku has Oonishi put down a bunt down the 3B line! Daimon charges in, but his throw is late! Oonishi slides in safely! An interesting call by the manager!
Ikeda up to try and give JAA the lead. But Oonishi goes for 2nd The throw is not in time!
But Ikeda is called out! He's called for catcher's interference and called out!
JAA has tied the game, but could have just as easily used the momentum to take the lead!
The stall in momentum doesn't phase Kurimoto though, he sits down Meiou's batters after the break. Now can Nihon Koukuu take the lead?
Quick inning for Futagi as he retires the side in just 8 pitches. JAA tries for the fences, but falls short of the warning track.
Kurimoto records the first 2 outs, but when last batter Daimon pops one up to shallow center, SS Fukui elects to slide and catch it, but it goes out of his glove! Daimon goes into 2nd with a double!
But Kurimoto gets Honma to swing at a ball in the dirt and he gets out of the inning!
One down for JAA and Okamoto lines one off the mound and into center!
#12 Ebisu comes in to hit for Kurimoto signaling the end of his day. But Ebisu can't do anything at the plate as he strikes out.
Izume does the same and we head to the 8th deadlocked at 2.
#18 Hamada in for Kurimoto.
Kaga with a drive to left center! That's to the wall for a leadoff double!
Then Ootsuka with a comebacker! It's off Hamada! Fukui charges in but his throw to 1st is late! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Meiou!
But Kotsugai pops out to 2nd! Futagi gets under one and Kitadera gets it for the 2nd out!
And Akimoto with a comebacker to the Hamada who throws to 1st and gets out of the inning!! Hamada gets out of the pinch!
Futagi strikes out 2 more as he retires JAA's batters in order. We head to the 9th still tied at 2-2. Will we see our 2nd enchousen game?
Takahashi with a grounder down the 3B line. Ikeda with the stop, throw across to 1st, in time! One down!
Hasegawa flies out to left for out number 2!
But Daimon with a chopper up the middle! Fukui running over the but the ball bounces under the glove! Runner on for Meiou!
And Imakurusu pulls Hamada for #10 Nakata. He throws a little faster and as a lefty can keep the runner on 1st in check.
And he does the job! Honma strikes out on 3 straight pitches and we head to the bottom of the 9th!
Kitadera with a grounder to 3rd. Daimon up with the throw, but it's wide and into the camera well! Kitadera to 2nd on the error! Sayonara run in scoring position!
Tanaka-kantoku calls a conference as Imakurusu-kantoku certainly will call for the bunt here.
But Futagi falls behind 3-0! Now what! But he puts 2 in the zone! Full count! Now what!
Fukui puts down the bunt! Futagi goes to 1st and the winning run is 90 feet away!
Arakawa with a sharp to to 1st! Kotsugai with the snag and goes to 1st! Kitadera can't advance!
2 down for Okamoto! Can Futagi get out of this jam?
Falls behind 2-1. He swing at a pitch down and away! 2-2!
Grounder to 1st! Kotsugai snags it! He goes to 1st and we are headed to enchousen!
Chopper to 1st by Kaga, but Arakawa doesn't field it properly and it eats him up! The ball goes into right on the error!
Ootsuka immediately bunts him to 2nd.
Kotsugai hits a fly to shallow right and Ootsuka can't advance... 2 down.
And Futagi strikes out looking to end the inning!
One down for JAA, Futagi gives up his first walk to Izumi. Oonishi moves him along in the hopes that Ikeda can drive in the sayonara run...
But he falls behind 0-2 and has to play defensive. Fouls one off, then one up and away.
He makes contact, but lines out to 2nd! We're headed to the 11th!
Akimoto works a walk to start the inning.
#14 Sugawara comes into PH for Takahashi, and bunts Akimoto along.
#15 Suda (A first-year!) comes in for Hasegawa.
It's a grounder back up the middle! Izumi with the ball and Akimoto holds at 3rd! Runners at the corners with one down!
Daimon with a liner to left! Tanaka up with it and he throws home! Akimoto holds! Suda goes for 2nd! Okamoto fires to 2nd, and it's high as Fukui has to leap to get it! That throw had trouble written all over it. But 2 down!
Honma with a scorcher to 1st! Arakawa's up with it and goes to 1st! Inning over!
Futagi approching 150 pitches still looks good. JAA swings away and is retired in order. To the 12th!
Nakata gets a reprieve this inning as Meiou's batters can only manager fly balls and weak grounders.
Arakawa gets handcuffed, but manages to fist one into left! Leadoff singe for JAA!
#16 Shimizu comes in to pinch run for him.
Okamoto looking to bunt, but gets ahead 3-0! But Futagi puts the ball in there for strike 1.
Next pitch is bunted down... Kaga with the throw to 1st, and Takahashi muffs the throw! Shimizu advances to 3rd on the error! Runners on the corners for JAA with no down!
Conference on the mound as #15 Ishii comes in to pinch hit for Nakata.
First pitch down for ball 1. Second pitch high, Kaga with a snap throw to 3rd, and AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
He throws it away! The ball goes to left field as Shimizu slides head first into home!!
The pressure gets to Meiou as 2 errors in the 12th inning cost them the game! Up until then both teams had played a great game. It's too bad that it had to end this way for the team from Akita, and while they have to go home the should not be disappointed in their efforts.