We've had quite the games so far this tournament! Wonder if today will provide more excitement!
Today will feature the final teams who have yet to take the field at Koshien. Later on we'll see some of the Day 1 winners back for their 2nd go-around.
But we've still got games in Bracket G and H to take care of first!
The last game of Bracket G features Aomori Yamada, probably more dominant within their own prefecture than even vaunted Chiben Wakayama! This is their 6th consecutive and 7th of their last 8! But they haven't broken into the Best 8 since 1999.
Trying to take up the challenge will be Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni, who hasn't seen Koshien since 1994. Their furthest venture in the Natsu Koshien was back in 1985 where they reached the Round of 16. They're offense-starved, so their pitching and defense will have to carry the day.
Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni (Gunma)
LF Akeda (#17)
Aomori Yamada (Aomori)
2B Abe Kenta
8:30 AM - First pitch!
Aoki with a grounder to short, Miyamori up with the throw, but Aoki's slide beats the tag! Leadoff runner on for Noudai!
Looking for the quick strike, Nakmizo bunts him into scoring position.
But #3 batter Akeda can't deliver the hit, hitting a weak grounder back to Inoue.
Machida up, but Inoue plunks him! And then Numazawa singles through to right! They hold up Aoki at 3rd (wisely) and it's manrui for Uehara!
Inoue definitely not looking all that sharp to start. But he gets ahead of Uehara 1-2.
And he gets him to swing at a pitch high! It's lifted to right and Magario is there for the catch! Inoue out of the pinch!
Katou definitely not a hard thrower, instead using his 3/4 delivery and offspeed pitches to stifle batters.
He looks good early as he strikes out lead batter Nakamura, gets Kenta to get ahead of a pitch. And while he yielda a single to Miyamori, Go grounds out to 2nd.
Noudai continues to get base hits! Tsuruta witha grounder up the middle! Miyamori with the diving grab, tries to feed to Abe for the relay, but it's wild! It wouldn't have been in time anyways, and it's an infield hit!
Ace Katou moves the runner along for Tatsuoka.
And he singles past a diving Go! Tsuruta rounds 3rd and he scores! Noudai Dai-ni up 1-0!!
Aoki grounds into the 6-4-3 double play and that ends the inning! But Nodai Dai-ni gets the lead early!
Katou's delivery continues to give Aomori's players fits. He racks up 2 more K's and a liner to short.
Looks like Inoue-Ujiie have made an adjustment. More breaking balls. Noudai's hitters seem to have problems with the off-speed and flail away. 2 K's for Inoue in a 1-2-3 inning. Ujiie gives Aomori a leadoff runner with a sharp single through the left side!
Inoue lays down the bunt, and while everyone charges in, it's Machida that makes the throw to 1st.
Nakmura with a hard hit to 1st. Nakamio leaps to block it, gathers it in and feeds it to Katou for the 2nd out! Ujiie advances to 3rd! 2 down for Kenta!
Katou falls behind 3-0, and walks him on 3 straight! Katou-kantoku calls a conference to try and settle Katou down.
But Miyamori takes the first pitch down the right field line! Ujiie comes in to score! Kenta holds up at 3rd, but Miyamori ties the game!! 1-1!
Go golfs one into the sky and Tsuruta gets it. But Aomori Yamada strikes back!
Inoue looks a little better out there, but Noudai is still making good contact. While he only gives up a two-out single to Tsuruta, Katou give a ball a ride to deep center to end the inning.
Idogawa with a liner past Tatsuoka into right for a leadoff single! Magario bunts him over for Saji.
Just like the 3rd, the batter right after the bunt (Saji this time) grounds to 1st giving Aomori a runner on 3rd with 2 down.
But unlike last time, Ujiie flies out to center to end the inning.
Inoue really working the batters now. Offspeed in, what seems like two-seamers riding inside of the right-handers. All in all it's a 1-2-3 inning.
Aomori's batters are still struggling to make good contact with the ball. Inoue pops up to center, Nakamura flies out to deep right, and Kenta softly lines to left.
We head to the break in about 55 minutes and in quick pace.
Inoue continues to dominate. He gets Akeda to ground out to 2nd, and Machida to swing at a pitch in the dirt.
But Numazawa singles to right to give Noudai a base runner. Then Uehara lines one over Inoue and into center! Could this be a developing opportunity?
But Tsuruta bails on a swing and weakly grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Katou shuts down the heart of the Aomori lineup. Go does hit a drive to deep center, but more often than not they're not getting great contact.
Katou with a comebacker. Inoue gets a glove on it, but deflect it to the left side! Miyamori was going behind Katou, and has to change direction! But it's too late! Base hit for Katou!
Tatsuoka with a bunt to move him along.
Aoki with a hard liner to center! Nakamura races in and makes the running catch! 2 down!
Shibuya-kantoku calls time as Nakamizo steps to the plate.
He tries to flick a pitch away to right, but it's goes foul!
Shuuto inside and Nakamizo gets handcuffed! 3 outs!
Aomori's batters continue to get under the ball and hit fly balls. But they're easily fielded by the Noudai outfield.
Katou does hit Ujiie with 2 down, but that's of little consequence given the hitting.
One down and Inoue hangs a shuuto over the plate! Machida drives it to deep left center! Nakamura to the wall and it falls just in front? He's in with a one-out double! Chance for Noudai!
Inoue changes it up on Numazawa blowing a fastball by him on the outside corner! 2 down!
Uehara up and Inoue-Ujiie continue to change things up! Uehara stays alive on a 0-2 pitch outside by barely fouling it off! But he bails on another pitch outside and flies out to center! Chance lost for Noudai!
That uppercut swing of Aomori's isn't doing them any favors. 2 more weak grounders and another lazy fly waste another inning.
Wow, hope you didn't blink. The bottom of the Noudai order goes down in all of 7 pitches - although Katou hit one to deep right, and we're to the bottom of the 9th
Aomori's batters still don't look good. Go strikes out to start the inning. Katou leaves one up a little for Idogawa, but he can only hit in front of the warning track in center!
2 down for Magario. He hits one to the right side. Tsuruta cuts it off, but his throw to 1st can't beat out Magario!
Katou-kantoku calls a conference to get the team settled.
But Katou doesn't seem to be. He falls behind 2-1 on Saji when Magario takes off for 2nd! It's a great jump and he takes it!
Then Saji shoots one through the left side! Magario has to hold up at 3rd! But the sayonara run is 90 feet away!
Hard liner by Ujiie! But Numazawa is there to snag it!
Top of the order for Noudai.
Aoki takes the first pitch and pulls it through the left side for a leadoff single! Katou-kantoku calls for the bunt and Nakamizo sends Aoki to 2nd.
Now it's 2nd-year Akeda to try and bring him home. 0-4 so far, all groundouts.
Liner to left center!! Aoki rounding 3rd! He scores!! The 2nd year comes through with his first hit here in the 10th and he gives Noudai the lead!! 2-1!!!!!
Shibuya-kantoku pulls Inoue for #10 Saitou. But is it too late?
Machida up, he shoots one through the right side for another single! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Noudai!
Conference on the mound for Aomori. Can they limit the damage?
Numazawa gets handcuffed and hits a soft ball to the left side. Saji's only play is at first. 2 down runners on 2nd and 3rd for Uehara.
Abunai! First pitch is away and snagged by Ujiie! But Uehara hits a chopper to 1st and Go takes it to the bag.
3 down, but! The 2nd year starter comes through! Noudai takes the lead! Can Aomori rally?
9-1-2 batters up for Aomori.
Saitou with a grounder to 2nd, but Tatsuoka gets it easily. One down.
Katou hangs one, but Nakamura lifts that one up too! Aoki parks under that one, and it's 2 down!
Last chance for Aomori Yamada and #17, 2nd year Terada comes to bat. Count goes to 2-2, fouls one off... Ball low for 3-2!
And he gets a hold of it! But again, he's under it and Harada gets under it for the final out!
Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni comes through here in the 10th to defeat Aomori Yamada! Their return after 15 years end in success! Meanwhile, Aomori Yamada continues to struggle getting out of the opening rounds here at Koshien.
Akeda (Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni) - 1-5, go ahead RBI
Aoki (Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni) - 2-5, R
Katou (Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni) - W, 10 IP, ER, 6 H, 4 K, BB
Miyamori (Aomori Yamada) - 2-4, 2B, RBI
Inoue (Aomori Yamada) - L, 9.1 IP, 2 ER, 10 H, 5 K, 0 BB, HBP