And we end the day featuring another team in Sapporo Daiichi facing repeat contender Chiben Wakayama.
Uncharacteristically, Chiben Wakayama was limited to only 2 runs and 7 hits by Shiga Gakuen. However, Okada limited Shiga to just 2 hits. Perhaps Chiben this year is more of a defensive squad??? Or perhaps Shiga was a better matchup than we thought? Or are they just warming up?
For Sapporo Dai-ichi, they were in a close game with Tottori Jyouhoku until the late innings where they blew it open against ace Nakao, capped off by a homerun by Matsuura in the 9th. They won't be as fortunate against Chiben's ace Okada. But they did show that they were patient at the plate and willing to work the count when needed. They'll be depending on their ace and their 2 hitters in Matsuura and Miyata to help them.
Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
Sapporo Dai-ichi (Minami Hokkaido)
2:40 PM - First pitch!
Kakehata stumbles out of the block with a walk to Oohata. But then he strikes out Iwasato.
And with Nishigawa at bat Takashima-kantoku sends Oohata! But Matsuura makes a great throw to 2nd and they get the out! 2 down!
Nishigawa grounds softly to 1st to end the inning.
Sure enough, Sapporo's batters are working the count as much as they can, but when it comes down to swinging, they have some issues to start. Okada K's 2 while retiring the side in order.
One down, and the wind blowing out to right center, Okada blasts one to deep center! But he just gets under it too much as Yada makes the catch in front of the warning track.
Kakehata retires the heart of the Chiben order and looks good to start.
Okada hits Matsuura on his, well... oshiri desu. Leadoff runner for Sapporo on!
Tomita lays down the bunt, but Okada fields it quickly! Throw to 2nd... High!
The throw pulls Kitabatake off the bag! All safe! E1!
Kitabatake with the bunt. Yamamoto charging in, gets the ball... LOSES THE BALL!
By the time he gets the ball, everyone's safe! Manrui for Sapporo Dai-ichi!!!
But it's too obvious! It's a pitchout and Matsuura is caught! They run him down, but the other runners advance 90 feet.
Sakamoto still up and AHHH!!!!!!
Okada throws one all the way to the backstop!!!! Tomita comes home to score and it's 1-0 Sapporo!! And Kakehata is only 90 feet away now!
Sakamoto hits a blooper to center! Oohata and Iwasato race out, but it's just over their heads! Kakehata scores! And Sakamoto heads for 2nd! The throw back to 2nd and Okada trying to cover stumbles! Sakamoto steps around him and reaches 2nd! 2-0 Sapporo!!
Miura up looking to bunt and AH!!!
He pops it up! But it's popped up over a charging Seto! He turns around and races back, but it drops behind him! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Sapporo!
And Okada falls behind Imaizumi 3-0. But Imaizumi swings away! He grounds to short! Sakamoto is charging home and Kitabatake has an easy play at home. 2 down!
And Yada grounds out to 3rd. Sapporo Dai-ichi takes the lead, but the game's still early!
One down for Chiben, and Seto draws a walk after working the count full. After a sac bunt, Kakehata walks top batter Oohata!! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Chiben!
Iwasato with a single through the right side! Seto is sent home! Sakamoto's throw home is off line and it gets away from Matsuura! Runners advance! 2-1!
Nishigawa hits another single through the right side! Oohata scores, Iwasato is being sent home! Imaizumi with the strong throw home... and they get him! Inning over!
But Chiben ties the game up! The lead by Sapporo is short lived, 2-2!!
Hata leads off the inning with a drive to right center! Oohata runs back but it one hops the wall! Leadoff double for Sapporo!
But Okada strikes out Miyata for the 2nd time. One down.
Tomita with a single through the left side! They send Tomita home! The throw from Oohata goes over EVERYONE!!! Hata scores and Tomita takes 2nd! 3-2!! Had the throw been accurate they could have had him!
And then Kakehata sneaks one past a diving Iwasato into right! They send Tomita home! BUt this time Nishigawa's throw home is on target and they nail him! 3 outs!
I know that you're facing Chiben Wakayama, but really. Be smart about when you send runners home...
With the new found lead, Kakehata looks to preseve it. He gets Yamamoto to hit a comebacker, Okada to ground to 2nd, and after a hard hit ball by Hirano that goes off Hata for a base hit, he gets Kitabatake to hit another comebacker to end the inning.
One down for Sapporo and Miura grounds to 2nd. Iwasato up withe ball, throws to 1st.. and Yamamoto muffs it! E3! How did he miss that?
Imaizumi with a hard hit grounder to Seto, but it eats him up! The ball bounces off him and into left! Runners on 1st and 2nd with one down!
Kikuchi-kantoku calls for the bunt and Yada puts it down. Runners at 2nd and 3rd for Hata who had the double earlier.
He lines one to right center! Miura scores! Imaizumi scores!!! It's 5-2 Sapporo Dai-ichi!!!!!
And Miyata strikes out for his 3rd time to end the inning. But Sapporo now has a 3 run lead!
Kakehata is on his game right now. After a strikeout of Seto, he gets 2 more groundouts to retire the side in order.
Okada stems the bleeding here in the 5th. He strikes out Matsuura for the 2nd time, and gets Tomita and Kakehata to fly out for his 1-2-3 inning.
We head to the break and it's Sapporo Dai-ichi who's leading! But can they close it out!
Iwasato with a high fly to deep center, but the park holds it as Yada catches it in front of the warning track. Nishigawa with a liner to 1st and Miyata makes the diving catch!
And Yamamoto with a hard grounder to Hata! He blocks it, gathers it in and throws him out! Kakehata throws only 4 pitches to retire the side!!
And almost just as quickly, Okada retires the bottom of the Sapporo order in quick fashion. Sakamoto with a grounder to 2nd, Miura on a bunt single attempt, and Imaizumi striking out looking.
One down for Hirano, and he hits one down the left field line... just foul! Next pitch, does it again! This time it's fair! And he's in with a double!
Kitabatake with a single through the left side! Hirano holds at 3rd and there's runners at the corners with only 1 down for Seto!
#15 Miyake comes in to pinch hit for Seto.
Grounder to 2nd and AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He's too eager and lifts his glove! The ball goes under his legs and into right! Hirano scores and Kitabatake goes to 3rd! 5-3!!
That error may cost Sapporo Dai-ichi!
#14, captain Sakou to pinch hit for Shiroyama. He hits a blooper to center! Sakamoto and Yada charge, but it falls in! Kitabatake scores and Miyake goes to 2nd!!! 5-4!!
AND THERE'S STILL ONLY 1 DOWN!!!!!
Takashima-kantoku pulls its runners. #11 Monguchi comes in for lead runner Miyake. #12 Okamoto comes in for Sakou.
Oohata works the count full....
SINGLE TO CENTER!!!!
They wave Monguchi home!!! Yada up with the throw!
And it's a strike! Matsuura catches it on the fly, blocks the plate and...
Yada with a perfect throw home and Chiben is denied the douten run!!!
One for Sapporo and Hata collects his third hit, this time a blooper to center!
And after Okada strikes out Miyata, he hits Matsuura. Runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 down!
But Okada strikes out Tomita on 3 straight to keep his team in it!
Nishigawa with a grounder to 2nd, but Sakamoto can't secure the ball! He kicks it in front of him! Another error by Sakamoto!
Sotohama moves him over to 2nd for Okada.
Hard grounder by Okada at Miyata! He dives and gets it! Goes to 1st for the 2nd out! But Nishigawa heads to 3rd!
Hirano with the double earlier. Can he get the base hit?
NO! He bails on a pitch and hits it back at Kakehata! He makes the throw to 1st, inning over!!!
Sakamoto's 2nd error doesn't cost them!
Okada does his job. He retires the Sapporo batters in order, adding 2 more K's to his total. Now, is there a rally left in Chiben?
Kitabatake up. And he singles past a diving Hata into left! Douten runner on!
Monguchi bunts him along to 2nd.
Kida up now.
REACHES DOWN FOR ONE!!!! GOES TO LEFT CENTER!!!! THAT'S TO THE WALL!!!
Kitabatake scores!!! Kita with the douten timely!!!!! 5-5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oohata with a liner to left! That's over Miura's head! Tomita with the throw home, and Kida holds! But Oohata advances to 2nd on the throw! Runners at 2nd and 3rd!
And that's it for Kakehata. Kikuchi-kantoku pulls him for #10 Suda.
They work around Iwasato to load the bases and setup the double play.
Next up is Nishikawa. Suda gets the count to 2-2, and...
He lines one to right! Falls in fair!!!!!!!! Kida and Oohata score!!! Chiben takes the lead, 7-5!!!!!
Sotohama up now, still one down!
And he hits one to left! That's deep enough and Iwasato tags up! 8-5 Chiben!!!
Okada strikes out looking, but its too late. They score 4 in the 9th to take a 3 run lead into the bottom half.
Imaizumi up... takes a called strike 3 on a ball outside! One down...
Yada grounds to short... 2 down!!
Hata the last chance for Sapporo...
And it's a weak grounder to 2nd. Iwasato with the toss to first... Game set! Chiben rallies from behind to defeat Sapporo Dai-ichi!
And that, for those not familiar with kokoyakyu, is the power of Chiben Wakayama. They may not have the best squad, but just ask Teikyou in 2006, and now Sapporo Dai-Ichi here - there is a pressure in facing them. One that's suffocating... one that doesn't let up... one that only increases as the innings progresses... one that makes any lead against them mean nothing...
And when they do come back, it leaves many in despair...
It has to be a crushing defeat for Sapporo Dai-ichi. There's just no way around it. 3 outs from victory to a loss and the end of their summer... Hopefully, they'll get over this loss and instead remember how they took one of the best teams in the nation toe-to-toe for 9 innings...
Nishikawa (Chiben Wakayama) - 2-5, Gyakuten 2B, 3 RBI
Kida (Chiben Wakayama) - 1-1, 2B
Hata (Sapporo Dai-ichi) - 3-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Sakamoto (Sapporo Dai-ichi) - 1-4, RBI