A ton of great games at Koshien today! And Deanna is over there just behind the 3rd base dugout! I'm jealous!
The late game today shouldn't disappoint either. Meihou and SS/P Imamiya face off against Saijyou and one of my favorite aces Akiyama.
Both teams needed late game heroics to win their first game. Meihou was down 3-0 to Kounan and ace Shimabukuro, but rallied to tie it in the 8th thanks to Imamiya's leadoff double and then won it in the 9th with a base hit from ace Noguch!
For Saijyou, they led Yachiyo Higashi early 2-1, only to see them tie it up in the 7th. But in the 8th, a walk by Tokunaga would come around to score, thanks to an error by the LF as a base hit by Hino gets by Takahashi.
1B Kimori (#15)
4:15 PM - First pitch!
Akiyama is still flying open with his pitches, which I'm not to happy about, but he does retire the Meihou batters in order to start the game.
Inoshita with a chopper up the middle past a diving Sunagawa! Ochi bunts him into scoring position.
And Mori dashes one through the right side! Inoshita around 3rd and he's held up as Hirai throwa a strike home! Runners at the corners for cleanup batter and ace Akiyama!
Noguchi is treading carefully pitching him outside, outside, outside. He gets ahead 1-2 and then Mori takes off! Abe with the throw and they nail him, 2 down! Not sure why you send the runner unless you're doing the hit-and-run or a double steal.
And Akiyama swings at a pitch way down and out for strike 3! Noguchi gets out of the inning!
Clearly Akiyama needs to learn the idea of taking a pitch the opposite way...
Akiyama apparently wants to bring the heat. He's already hitting 147 kph.
After a silo high pop fly by Abe, Kimori singles to left center! Then Kawano follows that up with a high chopper to 3rd! Daitou has to wait for it and by the time he gets the throw off, Kawano reaches 1st! Runners on 1st and 2nd with one down!
Noguchi up, looking for another timely hit. Suddenly, Akiyama leaves his offspeed pitches high! He starts pumping fastballs into the zone! He hits 150kph!
And on a full count, Noguchi grounds one to 3rd! Daitou steps on the bag for 1, throw to 1st... double play! Noguchi with the 5-3 double play and Akiyama is out of the jam!
Saijyou looks to turn that defensive momentum into offensive momentum.
Shiba starts it off with a single through the right side! Tokunaga tries to bunt him along, but instead fouls out! One down!
Saiki liner to left! Runners at 1st and 2nd!
But Noguchi clamps down. Hino flies out to shallow center, and Daitou can't check his swing on a 2-2 pitch down in the zone!
Akiyama finally seems to be settling down. Meihou's batters are making contact, but they all ground out to the infield.
Noguchi is doing what he does best, inducing grounders. The top 2 batters ground out, but then Mori gets his 2nd hit lining one to left.
Akiyama finally doesn't get a pitch away and laces that one to right! Runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 down for Shiba!
Gets ahead 0-2, and strikes Shiba out looking on a pitch on the outside corner! 3 outs!
Sungawa makes a bid for a hit with a hard-hit grounder to 3rd, but Daitou makes the lunging stop and throws him out! Nice play!
Imamiya comes out and pops out to shallow right.
Abe up and...
I SWEAR AKIYAMA, STOP TRYING TO HIT 150! YOU CAN'T CONTROL IT!
Abe walks on 4 pitches.
Kimori up and... pickoff throw by Akiyama is muffed by Shiba! Abe advances to scoring position!
But Kimori srikes out on a pitch down and in! 3 outs!
Saijyou's batters continue to make poor contact on Noguchi's pitches. He induces 3 groundouts versus the bottom of Saijyou's order.
Kawano up for Meihou and...
Crushes one to deep left center! Tokunaga to the wall!
He takes an outside fastball opposite field and leaves the yard! 1-0 Meihou!!
Noguchi follows that up with a liner to left!!! Saimaki feigns the bunt and slaps one throught he right side! Runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody down!
Inagaki bunts the runners along to scoring position! Now a base hit could blow this thing wide open.
Hirai up and...
Hirai puts down the bunt! But Akiyama is quickly on it and feeds it to Mori! He makes the tag and Noguchi is out at home!!
Runners at the corners with 2 down.
Sunagawa at bat now, and Hirai takes off for 2nd! No throw! Runners at 2nd and 3rd again for Meihou!
But Sunagawa strikes out to end the inning! But Kawano gives Meihou the lead with a homerun!!
The already light-hitting Saijyou squad is being even further stifled by Noguchi. He induces two groundouts and a strikeout as we head to the break.
Back out of the break, Akiyama settles down and is starting to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes. Meihou goes down in order.
Saijyou starts working the count on Noguchi. Mori grounds out to Noguchi, but not before working the count full. Akiyama does the same and draws a walk.
Shiba up, grounder to the right side! Sunagawa with a diving stop! Feeds to Imamiya for one! Imamiya to 1st... double play!!!
Saijyou just can't catch a break.
First up at bat for Meihou here in the 7th is Kawano. He's 2-2 with the home run.
Akiyama isn't deterred though. He goes right after him, striking him out on a fastball away!
Noguchi up and what do you know! He strikes out looking the same way!
Saimaki won't stand for it though, he singles through the right side.
And then Daigoubou-kantoku starts the hit and run! Inagaki blasts one to left center! Kawano runs back, but it's over his head! Saimaki scores, and it's #9 batter Inagaki with an RBI triple!! 2-0!!
Akiyama gets Hirai to strike out, but Meihou extends their lead!
Noguchi gives up a one out single to Saiki, but then clamps down once again, striking out Hino and Daitou to end the inning. 2 innings left for Saijyou. Down 2, but it feels like much more....
Sunagawa leads off with a drag bunt to the right side! Akiyama can't field it! Sunagawa's on for Meihou!
Imamiya bunts him over to 2nd and Meihou is threatening once again.
Conference on the mound for Saijyou. They cannot let another run come across now.
Cleanup batter Abe crushes an Akiyama offering to left center! Tokunaga is at the wall, looks up and...
Akiyama gives up his 2nd homerun for the day! It's now 4-0 Meihou and with Saijyou's offense, this could be the death blow.
Kawano flies out to center to end the inning. But Meihou has a commanding lead!
Noguchi gives up a two-out single to Mori, but Akiyama pulls a ball to 2nd to end the inning....
Akiyama retires the bottom of Meihou's order, but with 3 outs left for 4 runs, is their run over?
Sadly for Saijyou, they go down in order, and fall 4-0 to Meihou...
Meihou took advantage of Akiyama not being able to locate his offspeed pitches and as a result could focus on his fastball. They advance to face the winner of the Kochi-Tokoha Tachibana game.
For Akiyama, his summer is over. He's taking it pretty hard knowing that his run with his team is at an end. Holding back tears, he thanks his players for all that they've been through together. Perhaps we'll see him yet again...
Abe (Meihou) - 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
Kawano (Meihou) - 2-4, HR, R, RBI
Noguchi (Meihou) - W, CG SHO, 8 H, 5 K, BB
Mori (Saijyou) - 3-4
Saiki (Saijyou) - 2-4