Yesterday's games have just added to the already high quality (and exciting!) play we're seeing here in the 91st Summer Koshien.
So we hit our 2nd week of games, and the 2nd round for these teams. It should be a great day of games once again.
The opening game today features Kochi, who played about 15 innings over 3 days for the win (2 rainouts), versus Tokoha Tachibana.
In the acutal game that counted, Kochi's players were hitting across the board, from Nishioka in the number 3 hole who was 2-5 to last batter Okamoto who was 3-5.
On the mound, Kumon was solid - as long as it wasn't raining. However, perhaps some fatigue was showing late in the game as Jyousuikan started making good contact on the ball, including a homerun by cleanup batter Miyamoto. Attention should be paid to what happens late in this game as well.
For Tokoha Tachibana, their faced anAsahigawadai team that just couldn't hit. Shouji pitched a complete game 6-hitter, striking out 5. But Tachibana's offense didn't look all that great either. They managed only 5 hits, but capitalized on errors made by Asahigawadai to win 2-0. They'll need a little more than that if they want to defeat this weathered squad.
LF Ikechi (#18)
Tokoha Tachibana (Shizuoka)
8:30 AM - First pitch!
With the siren blaring, Ikechi takes the first pitch through the left side for a leadoff single!
Looking to get on the board quickly, Tanaka bunts the runner along.
But Shouji gets ahead of Nishoka early and he chops one to Shouji!
Kinoshita too hits a chopper up the middle, but Inazumi handles it and throws to 1st! 3 out!
Kumon looks good to start, quickly mixing up his pitches to induce grounders. He retires the side in order.
Kumon with a drive to left center! Yamada runs back to get it, leaps and it's over his head! Kumon running for 2nd! Throw in by Yamagishi short hops SS Inazumi! Kumon breaks for 3rd! But Inazumi gets it and relays to 3rd! And Kumon's out! A little greediness by the ace gets him out!
Shouji after seeing that really starts hitting his spots and he strikes out Ooishi on a slider inside, then Hamaguchi on a curve on the outside corner!
Ushiba with a drive deep down the right field line! Okamoto running to the wall, and it's off the base! He's in with a double!
Kurosawa-kantoku is not having Kawaguchi bunt! He work the count full and the lines one past Ooishi into right! Ushiba rounding 3rd, and Okamoto charging in can't get the ball! He has to double back and Ushiba comes home! 1-0 Tachibana!
Inazumi looking to bunt, can't put it down. Then Kurosawa-kantoku puts on the hit and run! But Inazumi flies out to left center. 1 down.
Yamagishi up and Kumon can't find the zone! He walks him on 4 straight! Runners on 1st and 2nd with one down!
Hayakawa hits a grounder to short, but it's hit too slowly for Nishoka to turn the double play.
Runners on the corners now for last batter Yamada.
And it's a liner to the left side! Nishoka dives, but not in time! That's through to left center! Kawaguchi scores! Hayakawa running on contact heads to 3rd! The outfielders finally cut it off near the wall and Hayakawa gets sent home! 2-RBI double by Yamada gives Tachibana the 3-0 lead!!
Konoto flies out to center, but Tachibana is hitting Kumon early!
Shouji's throwing his pitches for strikes forcing the Kochi batters to try and swing away. No luck for them though has go down in order.
Koizumi starts off the 3rd with a single to short! Nishoka cuts it off in the gap, but can't make the throw in time!
Shouji swinging away and lines one to right! But Okamoto charges in quickly and snags it! 1 down!
Then Ushiba strikes out for 2 down!
And with Kawaguchi up they catch Koizumi off base and pick him off!
With one down, Nishoka hits one to the right side. Inazumi cuts it off but can't get a handle on it!
Then Kinoshita hits one to the right center field gap! That heads to the wall as Nishioka heads for 3rd and is sent home! Kochi comes back with a run of their own on Kinoshita's double! 3-1!
AH! And a wild pitch by Shouji sends him to 3rd! Bit of a pinch for Shouji now!
But Kumon grounds out to short! Inazumi looks Kinoshita back and makes the play at 1st! 2 down!
And then Shouji strikes out Ooishi on a slider inside! He limits the damage to 1.
Kumon's control is a bit lacking at times, and while he gets the first 2 outs, Yamagishi hits a hard grounder to Yoshii and it goes off his glove! While the ball goes right to Nishioka, the throw to 1st is late! E5!
Hayakawa then with a single to right! Yamagishi goes for 3rd and is safe!
But Hayakawa tries to take 2nd on the throw and Yoshii throws it back to 2nd for the 3rd out!!
Bad baserunning by Tachibana gets them again!
Kochi is hitting Shouji hard now! Hamaguchi hits a hard liner to center that Yamagishi has to leap to get!
Then Yoshii lines one to right for a single! Okamoto right after with a single to left! Runners at 1st and 2nd with one down!
Ikechi with a shot back up the middle! Koizumi dives and makes the stop! Feeds to Inazumi for 1, throw to 1st.. double play! A great double play turned in ends Kochi's threat here in the 5th!
One down for Tachibana in the 5th and Konota grounds one back up the middle for a single!
Then Koizumi looking to bunt actually pushes it to the left side! Nishoka has to charge at it and his throw is late! Runners at 1st and 2nd with one down for Shouji! He can break the game open for himself here!
But he grounds to 2nd! Tanaka starts the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning! We head to the break with Tachibana up 3-1!
Tanaka and Nishioka quickly ground out to start the inning, but Kinoshita sneaks a ball up the middle for a base hit.
But Shouji gets Kumon to hit a weak grounder to 1st to end the inning.
Ushiba collects his 2nd hit of the day, reaching down and putting it in left for a leadoff single!
Kawaguchi not bunting, and hits one down just fair down the left field line! Ushiba is held at 3rd and Tachibana has a great scoring chance with Inazumi up!
And he hits a chopper to right! That's over Ooishi's head and into right! Ushiba scores and it's 4-1!
Yamagishi with a grounder to 3rd and Yoshi has Kawaguchi in a rundown! But he stays in it long enough to get the runners to 2nd and 3rd!
Hayakawa up now with 1 down, and he shoots one back up the middle! That too is past the drawn in infield! Inazumi scores! Yamagishi rounds 3rd, he scores!! Hayakawa with a 2-RBI single! 6-1!! (Yamagishi takes 2nd on the throw home)
#11 Fujisawa comes in to pinch-hit for Yamada. Not sure why... But he grounds to 2nd advancing the runner.
2 down for Konota. And he draws a walk after working the count full!
Koizumi also works the count full, and hits one up the middle! That sneaks through! Hayakawa scores and it's 7-1!
Shouji flies out to center, but Tachibana has blown it open with 4 runs here in the 6th!
Trying to get something started, Shimada puts in #13 Shimoyama to pinch hit for Ooishi who has struck out twice. But he hits a fly to left center.
Hamaguchi gets the base hit shooting one through the left side!
Yoshii with the comebacker at Shouji! Its off him and bounces towards 1st! Shouji runs over and throws to 2nd!! He gets the lead runner! 2 down!
Okamoto continues his hitting with a single through the right side! Runners at 1st and 2nd for top batter Ikechi.
And he drives one to deep right! Hayakawa runs back, but it's off the base of the wall! Yoshii scores! Okamoto is being sent home! He scores! A 2-out double but Ikechi makes it 7-3!!
Tanaka with a liner to center! Yamagishi charging in quickly! He slides, but it's out of his glove! Ikechi scores! 7-4 now!!
But Shouji gets Nishioka to fly out to left! The rally finally ends, but they almost negate Tachibana's 6th inning!
Defensive changes for Kochi. #10 Takihira comes in for Hamaguchi and takes the mound. Kumon moves to right, and Okamoto moves to cener. #9 Wada comes in for PH Shimoyama and plays 1st.
Takihiro gives up a 2-out single to Inazumi, but he wiped off trying to steal 2nd.
Shouji puts him in a bit of trouble after hitting Kinoshita to start the inning. That's followed by a wild pitch sending him to 2nd!
Kumon laces a ball to the left side, but Konota dives and makes a spectacular grab!
But Shouji continues to struggle, walking new 1B Wada.
Kurosawa-kantoku calls a conference to try and calm him down. New P Takihira up at bat now.
Shouji gets him swinging at a pitch down and away! 2 outs!
Ah!! A wild pitch by Shouji sends the runners along! Now a base hit can bring them within 1!
Yoshii reaches down and lines one into center! Kinoshita scores! Wada comes around, throw home by Yamagishi not in time! Ushiba fires to 2nd! They get Yoshii!
But indeed he does come through with a base hit and Kochi has drawn within 1!
Yamagishi singles through the left side to open the inning! Kurosawa, needing the insurance run now bunts him along.
Miyaji with a drive to center! But Okamoto goes back and runs it down! Yamagishi tags up.
Runner on 3rd, 2 down for Konota. Count goes full and...
...he grounds to 1st! 3 out! Now can Shouji and Tachibana hold on for 3 more outs??
First up for Kochi is dangerous 9th batter Okamoto, but Shouji gets him on a pitch up and in! One down!
Ikechi then with a drive to deep left center! That's all the way to the wall!
Ikechi rounding 2nd, going for 3rd! Relay from Yamagishi to Inazumi to Konota... and they nail him at 3rd! Ah! Ikechi trying to be greedy and it costs them! 2 down!
Nishioka is the last chance for Kochi. But he grounds to 3rd! Konota with the grab, goes to 1st... game set! Tokoha Tachibana holds on for the 7-6 win!