Day 9, another short day here at Koshien, and we have a GREAT game to start off the day.
On one side is Tohoku, alumni of Yu Darvish. On the other is Tokyo's powerhouse Nichidai-san, who won it all just 8 years ago.
Tohoku in their first game jumped on Kurashiki Shougyou early with a 6-run 2nd, and didn't give them a chance. For Nichidai-san, they were challenged by ace Sakamoto from Tokushima Kita only managing 3 hits! But they score a run all on errors, and the other on all 3 hits to advance 2-0. Helping them out was ace Sekiya who kept Tokushima to 4 hits striking out 8.
Should be an interesting brunch-time game.
3B Itou Wataru
1B Ooba Kouhei
RF Ooba Yuuji
SS Shinotsuka (#14)
Nichidai-san (Nishi Tokyo)
8:30 AM - First pitch!
Sano leading off the games singles to left! And Agatsuma-kantoku sets the game in motion! Sano takes off on the 0-1 pitch and reaches safely!! Now Kikuchi is trying to bunt him to 3rd! He lays it down, and Yoshida can't grab the ball! All safe!! Early trouble for Nichidai-san!
Kunishima puts down the squputs it down, and Sekiya charges at it! He gets to it, but has to play at home! And I can't tell what exactly happened, whether he had to play or there was no one covering, but Sekiya throws to 2nd! Satou slides in safe and once again everyone's safe!!! 1-0 Tohoku!
Agatsuma will continue to test the Nichidai defense as he asks cleanup batter Sonobe to lay down the 3rd consecutive bunt! But being a cleanup hitter, he can't and fouls out.
Wataru up, and he reaches one and puts that into center! Kikuchi comes around to score and it's 2-0 Tohoku!!
AH! Now Sekiya hits Kouhei! Manrui chance for Tohoku and still one down!
Satou up now and...
But he fails to make contact! Yoshida has Kunishima in a rundown and they get him out! 2 down, but the runners advance!
Sekiya gets Satou to hit a comebacker back to him to end the inning! But some defensive miscues lead to an early Tohoku lead!
Nichidai's strategy seems to be working the count against Satou. For now though, all they can manage are two groundouts to 2nd and a K. But they do make Satou through 16 pitches.
Yuuji with a drive to deep left center! That goes to the wall! He's flying around the bases and is in with a triple! Tohoku threatening once again!
Shinotsuka calls for the squeeze, but it's right at Yamazaki! He feeds it to Yoshida and...
Yoshida gets the tag in before Yuuji can get his foot across the plate! One down!
Sano with another hit, this time shooting it through the right side! Shinotsuka heading to 3rd and Momiyama tries to gun him down! But the ball gets away and Sano takes 2nd! Runners on 2nd and 3rd for Tohoku!
Agatsuma-kantoku calls for yet another bunt! But once again it's too hard! Sekiya this time with it and fires home! They have Shinotsuka out by a mile! 2 down!
Doesn't stop the Tohoku squad! Kikuchi takes off for 2nd on the 0-2 pitch to Kunishima! He's in safe!
Kunishima though, grounds to 2nd to end the inning! Bad execution on bunts gives the Nichidai squad a lucky break!
Yoshida looking to reply for Nichidai! He lines one past a diving Itou up the 3rd base line! He in with a double!
But there's no bunt from Yamazaki, and Satou strikes him out!
Uchiyama with a drive to left, but Kikuchi is easily under that one. And Sekiya strikes out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning! Leadoff double is stranded by Nichidai!!
One down for Tohoku and Wataru hits one down the left field line!
This time around, Kouhei doesn't bunt. But it backfires as he strikes out!
And Satou grounds to short to end the inning! Sekiya finally has some semblance of a normal inning!
Yoshizawa leads it off for Nichidai with a hit to the right center gap! He's running for 2 all the way, and just beats the throw in! Another leadoff double for Nichidai!
Momiyama looks to bunt him along, but HE can't and fouls out!
One down fro Ookuma. He hits a slow grounder to 1st! Yuuji with it, but elects to toss it to Satou! But Ookuma beats out Satou and everyone's safe!!!
Runners on the corners with 1 down for Nichidai!
Satou throws one in the ground and it gets away from Yoshida! Yoshizawa comes home and Nichidai-san's on the board! 2-1!!
Now a base hit can tie the game! But Sumi grounds to 2nd! Kunishima with the throw and AHH!!!!!
His throw is high and takes Yuuji off the bag! All safe!! E4 and the tying run is 90 feet away now!
Kusaka with the douten chance! He chops one down the 1st base line! Yuuji charges, gets it and fires home! Yoshida with a great block of home and they get Ookuma! 2 down!
Still, runners on 1st and 2nd for cleanup batter Yoshida!
But he goes around on a pitch in the dirt and strikes out! Nichidai-san can only manage one run against the errors of the Tohoku defense!
Perhaps the teams just needed to wake up or something like that, but Satou gets a 1-2-3 inning while racking up 2 K's.
The fielding woes for Tohoku continue! Yamazaki with a grounder to 3rd and Itou can't get a hold of the ball! E5!!
Uchiyama in a battle against Satou. Fouling off pitches, he works the count full! 8th pitch, lines one down the right field line, just foul!
But the next pitch he sends through to left! Yamazaki running aggressively heads to 3rd! Runners at the corners with no down!
But Sekiya strikes out again! 1 down for Tohoku now!
Yoshizawa up and Ogura-kantoku now sets his team in motion! Uchiyama goes for 2nd, and there's no throw! Nouw a base hit by Satou could tie the game!
He's battling with Satou and then chops one back up the middle! That's through to center! Yamazaki scores! Uchiyama is being sent home! Sano with throw home! And... they get him! Nichidai can't plate the gyakuten run! 2 out!
Yoshizawa does advance to 2nd, so Momiyama has a chance here to drive in the run himself.
But he grounds out to 1st to end the inning.
Sekiya really has settled down now, getting the batters to hit weak grounders or fly balls. He once again retires the side in order.
Satou is about to get one of his own, but Kusaka singles to left center with 2 down.
And with Yoshida at bat behing 1-2, he takes off for 2nd! The ball is in the dirt and he's in safely!
But Satou gets Yoshida to wave at a pitch away and the inning is over!
After a head-scratching start to the game, the game is tied as we head to the break. But certainly it seems like Nichidai's batters are making better contact with the ball.
And in his first hiccup since the 3rd, he hits Wataru to start the inning.
Kouhei bunts him over to put the go-ahead run in scoring position for Satou.
But Sekiya strikes out Satou for the 2nd out! He's almost out of the jam now, but then hits Yuuji! The inning continues for last batter Shinotsuka!
He weakly grounds to 1st and the inning is over.
Every inning the Nichidai squad has made Satou throw a lot of pitches. And after Yamazaki grounds out to 1st to start the inning, he has already hit the century mark.
But they keep on plugging away. Uchiyama gets ahead 3-1 before hitting a single back up the middle!
And Ogura starts the hit and run! But it's foulded off! Then he looks for the bunt, but the pitch is outside. He too eventually works the count full, but hits a ground ball to short! It's too slow to turn 2, so Shinotsuka goes to 1st for the 2nd out.
Yoshizawa, already 2-2 today looking for another timely hit - but grounds out to 3rd on the first pitch.
Sano with the drag bunt to start the inning! Yamazaki charges in, gets it, flips to Momiyama and they just get him!! One out!
Sekiya then racks up his 6th K as he strikes out Kikuchi, and gets Kunishima to ground out to 2nd for a quick inning!
Momiyama can't buy a hit as he grounds up the middle. Shinotsuka handles the slow hit ball and makes the out.
Ookuma then quickly grounds to short for the 2nd out.
Kusaka in another long battle with Satou, and on the 9th pitch he takes a low pitch and puts it into center!
Runner on for Kusaka! But Yoshida asks for the ball low and Kusaka offers for strike 3! With 2 innings left we're looking at another close game!,
With one down for Tohoku, Wataru gets on base for the 4th time this game as he singles through to center!
Kouhei up and Agatsuma-kantoku is electing to have Kouhei swing away.
And with the count 1-2, he has Wataru try to steal 2nd! But it's a pitchout! Yoshida's throw is a bit offline! Yoshizawa with the swipe and... he's out!
And Kouhei lines out to left to end the inning.
Yoshida with a grounder to the left side! Shinotsuka stops it in the gap. Makes the throw! Bounces a couple of time! Yamazaki picks it and... they get him! Nice play on both ends!
Yamazaki gives Nichidai the go-ahead runner as he singles to left!
Uchiyama up and he grounds to 3rd! Itou with the ball, but his throw to 2nd is wide! It goes into the outfield and Yamazaki advances to 3rd!
Sekiya up now, to try and drive in the run, but he's struck out twice and had 1 groundout.
He falls behind 1-2, and..
Ogura elects to have him put on the squeeze! But the pitch is outside! He makes contact, but it goes foul!! 2 down for Satou!
And with Yoshizawa up, whose 2-3, they elect to walk him in favor of facing Momiyama who is also 0-3.
Ogura-kantoku elects not to pinch hit. Momiyama falls behind 1-2... foul! just stays alive!
But Satou gets him to swing on a pitch away! Sanshin!!!!!!!!!!!
The strategy works! Nichidai-san is retired and we head to the 9th tied!
One down for Tohoku and Yuuji drives one to deep right center! That's to the wall! Yuuji rounding 2nd heading for 3rd and he slides in easily for a triple!
Last batter Shinotsuka up now. Sekiya being careful.
But he drives one to deep center!!! Kusaka running back, makes the leaping grab! Yuuji walks home and Tohoku pulls ahead 3-2!!
Sano flies out to deep center, but here in the 9th Tohoku takes the lead!
Can Nichidai-san come back here in the 9th? They do have the top of the order coming up, but they're each 1-4.
Ookuma falls behind 1-2 and looks at a pitch at the outside corner for out number 1!
Sumi with a drive to deep right center! Sano running back, full speed! Reaches out!
MAKES THE CATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He makes the running catch and hits the wall, but holds on! An amazing play by Sano to prevent an extra base hit! 2 down!
Up to Kusaka now... Watches strike one on the outside! Watches strike 2 on the outside! He's behind 0-2! Down to their last strike!
He swings at one down and in and strikes out! Tohoku pulls it out in the 9th to win 3-2!!!!!
This continues the run of amazing games here at Koshien! And the Nichidai-san players are taking it really hard. As they pack their things, 3B Uchiyama can be seen kneeling and crying, saying "Arigatou gozaimashita" to his teammates, but at the same time slamming his hat down in frustration as someone else can be heard saying "Doushite?"
For indeed Nichidai-san had a strong squad, but today they were not able to defeat the team from Miyagi.
Tohoku advances to face Hanamaki Higashi, but Nichidai made Satou throw 163 pitches. Wonder how that will affect him going forward....
Ooba Yuuji (Tohoku) - 2-3, 2 3B, R
Itou Wataru (Tohoku) - 3-3, 2B, RBI, W
Uchiyama (Nichidai-san) - 2-4
Yoshizawa (Nichidai-san) - 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, IBB