Our matinee game features the last participant to take the field in Shounan. They're not an overpowering squad, and will have to depend on their ace and perhaps RF Sadaoka to carry them.
We've seen Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku. They can certainly hit the ball, but the pitching is a bit suspect. How will Darvish's former manager help this club get to the round of 16?
Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
LF Miyoshi (#17)
1B Shigeki (#16)
1:48 PM - First pitch
Kobayashi leads off the 1st with a single back up the middle past a diving Morifuji!
Wakou-kantoku puts on the hit-and-run! Wada grounds to 3rd. Yamamura charges, throws to 1st for the first out.
Sorachi then strikes out Kunieda for the 2nd out and gets Enomoto to ground to 1st to end the inning.
Yoshioka takes the hill for Kyukoku this time around. And he's does a solid job in the bottom of the 1st getting all 3 batters to ground to 2nd.
Sorachi is mixing things up at the plate throwing off the Kyukoku batters to start, getting Kawano to fly out to center, Makimoto to strike out looking and Amano to hit a weak grounder to 1st.
Yoshioka gets his 4th consecutive grounder to 2nd in Sadaoka before striking out Nakanishi looking.
Shigeki managers a 2 out single to right, but Uemura strikes out to end the inning.
Sorachi has proven to be good on the mound so far. He induces 3 groundouts to put his team back on offense.
Sorachi leads off the inning with Shounan's first base hit! He grounds one into the hole in left. Kobayashi cuts it off but can't make the throw! Haraguchi moves him to scoring position.
Ootani up and he hits a grounder to short! Haraguchi up with AH!
The ball bounces off him and he has no play! E6! Sorachi does a good job of shielding the ball though which may have led to the error.
Runners at the corners for Morifuji.
Morifuji lays down the squeeze bunt! Kawano comes out to field it, but there's no one covering home! He goes to 1st and Sorachi scores! 1-0 Shounan!
Yoshioka gets Yamamura to strike out looking, but it's Shounan that takes the lead!
Sorachi hits Wada to give Kyukoku a leadoff runner. Then, with the count 2-2 Wakou-kantoku puts on the hit and run again!
Kunieda lines one past a diving Morifuji into right! Wada heads to 3rd and AH!!!!!
The ball goes under Sadaoka's glove! Wada is sent home! Uemura backs up the play and throws home! But it's not in time! The error ties the game up 1-1 and Kunieda takes 2nd!
Chance to take the lead for Kyukoku now!
Enomoto weakly grounds to 1st, but does move the runner to 3rd. One down.
Kawano steps up, but he strikes out! 2 down!
Down to Makimoto now! Count goes to 2-2 and he holds up on a pitch inside!
Full count and he swings at a slider down and away! 3 outs!
The error costs Shounan the lead, but Sorachi makes sure that no further damage is done!
Yoshioka is relying heavily on his shuuto against the predominatly heavy left-handed lineup.
It's working for the most part outside of that run. Here in the 4th he induces to groundouts on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.
Sorachi continues to do well against the Kyukoku offense, this time getting the batters to hit pop flies with a K sandwiched in between for his 1-2-3 inning.
With one down for Shounan, Sorachi works a walk. Hazeyama-kantoku calls for Haraguchi to lay down the bunt and he obliges.
Ootani up once again with Sorachi on 2nd. This time though he grounds out to 2nd, and we head to the break tied at 1!
Shounan's oen-dan has PET bottles in the shape of players' uniforms? Anyway...
Kobayashi with a chopper to the left side. Ootani charges in, but the ball takes a bad hop, bounces off and goes behind him! He gets it back, but Kobayashi's safe at first! Infield hit!
Wada looking to bunt him along. But Sorachi and Haraguchi are being extra careful since Wakao's put on the hit and run several times. They're throwing to 1st and they've even done a pitchout.
But Wada takes a curve for strike 2! Now what will Wada do?
He goes for the bunt again, but it goes foul! 1 down!
Then with Kunieda up, Kobayashi breaks for 2nd! But it's another pitchout! Haraguchi guns it to 2nd and they get Kobayashi! 2 out, nobody on!
Kunieda grounds out to 2nd to end the inning and Kyukoku can't take advantage of the leadoff hit!
Wakao-kantoku makes a pitching change here bringing ace Noutomi into the game and taking Miyoshi's spot. Yoshioka takes his numbered spot in left.
Now it's a lefty against the predominant lefty-lineup.
Morifuji grounds out up the middle to Kobayashi.
Yamamura tests Noutomi with a bunt to the 3rd base side. But Noutomi fields it perfectly and there 2 down.
Sadaoka grounds out to 2nd, and it's a 1-2-3 inning for ace Noutomi.
Kyukoku's batters continue to swing away at Sorachi's offerings. But they're still not making good contact. Furthermore, they're getting fooled on his off-speed pitches. Sorachi racks up 2 more K's bringing his total to 8 so far.
Noutomi retires the first 2 batters on ground balls before hitting Uemura (although it certainly didn't look like he did.
But no matter, Noutomi gets Sorachi to fly out to right to end the inning.
So far the teams have combined for 5 hits and 2 runs.
Trying to shake things up, #14 Uematsu comes in for Amano to start the inning. He gets ahead in the count 3-1. And just when Sorachi gets the count full, he hits him! Leadoff runner on for Kyukoku!
Yoshioka up looking to bunt and lays it down! Sorachi fields it, throws to 2nd! But Uematsu slides in safely and everyone's safe!
Noutomi looking to bunt, but he hits it too hard! Shigeki up with it quickly, looks to 3rd but Uematsu is already sliding! He turns back to 1st and makes the out. But now Kyukoku has 2 runners in scoring position!
And now it's the top of the order and Kobayashi!
He hits a high chopper! But Sorachi leaps and snags it! He turns to 3rd and Uematsu is stuck! Sorachi runs him down and there's 2 outs! Yoshioka goes to 3rd on the play.
And Wada grounds out to Sorachi!!! The throw to 1st ends the inning and Sorachi gets out of the pinch!
Now it's Shounan's turn!
Haraguchi with a grounder past a reaching Noutomi! Kobayashi goes over next to 2nd to field it, but he can't field it cleanly! The throw to 1st is late and Haraguchi is on!
Ootani bunts him over and now Shounan has a scoring opportunity!
Wakao-kantoku calls a conference on the mound as Morifuji steps up.
Hazeyama-kantoku banks it all on Yamazaki as he has Morifuji bunt!
He hits a chopper down the 1st base line, foul!!! Then takes strike 2! Watches a pitch just outside for 1-2... Down and away for 2-2....
Comebacker! Off Noutomi's glove!! Deflected to the left of 2nd! Kobayashi up with the ball, throw to 1st ends the inning!
What luck for Noutomi! The deflection perhaps saves the run!
Last inning of regulation... can either team get it done here?
Kunieda can't check his swing on a pitch in the dirt! 9 K's for Sorachi! One down!
Enomoto with a drive to deep right!!! Sadaoka running to the pole! He looks up!!!
Enomoto delivers with a homerun just fair down the right field line!!!! Noutomi with the guts pose! Sorachi on the other hand knew it when he hit it and hangs his head... 2-1!!!!
Hazeyama-kantoku thinks Sorachi has had enough, and pulls him for #10 Hara.
Kawano works the count full and hits a dribbler up the third base line! Yamamura charges in, but his throw is late! Infield hit for Kawano!
And then Makimoto goes down and lines one sharply to left field! That's to the wall and he's in with a double! Runners on 2nd and 3rd!
Wakao-kantoku pinch hits #13 Matsuo for Fukushima.
Then with the count 2-1, Hazeyama-kantoku brings in #17 Miyaji to catch for Haraguchi.
Matsuo with a grounder to 2nd! Morifuji charging, looking to go home, but can't get the handle on the ball and goes in front of him! He gathers it in, but has to go to 1st! Kawano scores and it's 3-1!!!
Yoshioka flies out to center, but Kyukoku has taken the lead here in the 9th!
#16 Honda in for Matsuo and takes left. Yoshioka moves to right.
#3 Houman in to pinch hit for Sadaoka. He strikes out looking! One down!
#12 Noutomi in to pinch hit for Nakanishi. He grounds one up the middle! Wada over to field it, but can't get it out of his glove! Infield hit!
Shigeki next with single to center!! Runners on 1st and 2nd with one down!!
Uemura up and he lays down the bunt! But he deadens it too much! Kawano up with the ball and he fires to 3rd! 2 down!! Ah! What bad luck!
Last chance in Hara. Count goes to 2-2! Ball inside, checks swing! Full count! Runners take off and...
Hara swings at a pitch down and it and strikes out! Kyukoku wins it 3-1 thanks to a homerun by cleanup batter Enomoto!!!
We witness another great game, but unfortunately with every dramatic winner we have a loser. And this time it's Shounan. They battled with Kyukoku toe-to-toe for 8 innings, only to see their dream slip away in the 9th.
Enomoto (Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku) - 1-4, HR, R, RBI
Kobayashi (Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku) - 2-4
Yoshioka (Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku) - W, 5 IP, ER, 2 H, 4 K, BB
Noutomi (Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku) - SV, 4 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB, HBP
Shigeki (Shounan) - 2-4
Sorachi (Shounan) - 1-2, R, BB
Sorachi (Shounan) - L, 8.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 0 B, 2 HBP