So so far, the Kyushu super-regional winner has gone down, the Chuugoku super-regional winner has been sent home and one of the perennial teams out of Kinki was given their papers. What next?
Well, we have the matinee game which is the first game of the 2nd quadrant. Maebashi Kougyou, the 3/4 out of Kanto squares off against Miyazaki Kougyou, Kyushu's runner-up.
Maebashiko as mentioned many times before doesn't stand out in any particular aspect - other than perhaps their manager Kogure Naoya being only 25 years old. He has Koshien experience playing for Maebashi Shougyou, and went to Waseda Daigaku afterwards.
Back to the team though, they don't hit for average, don't hit for power, aren't aggressive on base, and while ace Hirai supressed runs, he wasn't blowing by batters either. And perhaps that's why Kogure-kantoku changed things up sending almost his entire infield to the bench.
Miyazakiko doesn't hit for power either, but take more than their fare share of walks, and steal a couple of bases. Ace Hamada doesn't overpower, but instead mixed in 3 different off-speed pitches and a two-seam fastball to throw the batters off. It does lead to some walks though, as evidenced by his 3 BB/9 and 2 K/BB. But if he can keep his control, he'll give his team a shot.
Miyazaki Kougyou (Miyazaki) - Kyushu Runner-up
3B Satou Ryou
CF Inagaki Yuuya
SS Nagamine Shuuhei
C Ibii Yuuji
2B Ukita Jin
RF Kusunoki Hiroki
1B Niimi Kouki
P Hamada Tomohiro
LF Ishiyama Kazuma
Maebashi Kougyou (Gunma) - Kanto 3/4
CF Tanaka Keitarou
2B Matsunaga Shuuhei
1B (Ishihara Masatoshi)
LF Tomizawa Tatsuki
P Hirai Azuma
3B Kosuda Dai
RF Itagaki Tsuyoshi
C Harasawa Tadashi
SS Taguchi Shuuhei
11:23 - First pitch!
Hirai is like most of the pitchers in this tournament. Fastball in the low 130's, and some kind of offspeed pitch in the 110's. And one of those off speed pitches induces a grounder by Satou to 1B.
Of course, Hirai breaks out a slow curve at around 100.
Camera pans over to Gokure-kantoku who could almost pass for a player!
Anyways Inagaki draws a walk. Then tries to steals 2nd! The pitch is high, Harasawa is easily set to make the throw and Inagaki is out by a wiiiiide margin.
And now Nagamine walks on 4 straight! That's gotta hurt considering they had a baserunner already.
Iwakiri-kantoku now sends Nagamine! This time Harasawa's throw is late! But man, he's not waiting for send the runners, even though Hirai is struggling with his control.
And Hirai can't find the plate! He walks Ibii on 4 straight and now there's runners on 1st and 2nd!
Harasawa goes to the mound to settle Hirai down.
EH?? Hirai turns around just as Nagamine hops towards 3rd and he's suddenly caught! Hirai goes to Matsunaga who runs him down for the 3rd out!
Um... Someone please tell me how a team managers to get 3 straight walks with one out and yet not score a run. (Yes, I know a double play, but I mean seriously - a caught stealing and a pickoff? C'mon man!)
Wow, Hamada's delivery is really funky. It's an overhand throw, but his hand motion is really strange. He's hitting in the mid 130's and the announcers are saying he has a slider, cutter, change and curve. One of them hits the 120's (slider?) and another in the 110's (change?).
The batters are certainly having some issues to start. Tanaka grounds to 1st, Matsunaga grounds to 3rd, and Ishihara whiffs on a slider (?) away.
Ukita up again and he golfs a ball way down in the zone and it's a lazy fly to right.
Kusunoki hits a grounder up the middle, but Taguchi is playing close to the bag and makes the play.
Hirai gets ahead of Niimi 0-2 and that 2nd pitch he throws certainly has some late movement. Niimi though, continues to work the count, fouling off pitches and staying alive.
Then he hits a pitch to left! Tomizawa goes back to a spot probably 20 feet from the left field wall and makes the catch for the 3rd out. That didn't seem like it was hit that hard, and the wind isn't blowing either. Huh.
Hamada falls behind Tomizawa 3-0 but eventually induces a grounder to 2nd. One down.
He gets ahead of Hirai 0-2, then nibbles a bit. But he gets him to ground to 3rd. Nice stretch by 1B Niimi.
And a offspeed pitch gets Kosuda to swing for strike 3. And I think Hamada may be more of a 3/4 pitcher.
Hamada draws a leadoff walk to start the inning, Hirai's 4th of the day.
Ishiyama squares to bunt, but takes a change for a strike. And he tries for a safety bunt, but is jammed and fouls that off. 1-2, and he's still squaring to bunt! But he gets it down and there's a runner in scoring position for the top of the lineup.
But Hirai's fastball runs up and in on Satou! He jumps back, but it nicks the jersey! Runners on 1st and 2nd!
Inagaki with a drive down the right field line! Itagaki running over diving, and it's foul!
Count 0-2 now, and Harasawa calls for the pitchout. Nobody moves.
A grounder to 2nd by Inagaki. Matsunaga goes to 2nd for one, throw to Ishihara... not in time! Inagaki beats out the throw to keep the inning going.
Nagamine up, and Inagaki takes off for 2nd! Nagamine makes contact and hits one to left! That's in for a base hit! Hamada comes in to score and Miyazakiko scores the first run of the game on a timely hit. 1-0.
Runners on 1st and 2nd for Ibii. Gokure-kantoku calls a conference.
And Hirai gets Ibii swinging on an offspeed away for the 3rd out. But Miyazaki has drawn first blood in the battle of commercial schools!
Itagaki hits a slow roller to 2nd, but Ukita's throw beats a diving Itagaki for the first out.
Ah, and I see Hamada's slow curve at 97kph. And then he turns around and fires a cutball at 131 for the K.
Man Hamada works fast. I can barely keep up!
Grounder to 3rd by Taguchi is grabbed by Satou, but his throw is high! It goes to the fence and Taguchi takes 2nd on the error! There goes Hamada's perfect game!
A grounder to short by Tanaka ends the inning. Small hiccup there for Miyazakiko, but Hamada keeps on rolling.
Ukita gets plunked by a pitch from Hirai and needs a bit more attention with the itai spray. After a couple of minutes, Kusunoki steps up to bunt.
And Ukita takes off for 2nd! Throw from Harasawa is online, but Taguchi drops the ball while moving to make the tag! Would've been a close play, but the drop gives him the base.
Now the bunt by Kusunoki sends the runner to 3rd with one down.
Niimi grounds to short, and Ukita is running home! Taguchi up with the throw and Ukita is... well out by a good bit.
Hamada strikes out swinging to end the inning, and Maebashiko dodges a bullet.
Matsunaga lifts one to shallow right and Kusunoki runs in to make the catch.
And Ishihara lines a fastball to right for Maebashiko's 1st hit of the game!
Tomizawa hits a liner right at Nagamine who looks Ishihara back to 1st.
And Gokure puts on the hit-and-run! Hirai hits a shot past a lunging Satou down the left field line! Ishihara has to stop at 2nd as Ishiyama gets to the ball quickly, but there's a possible situation brewing here for Maebashiko!
Kosuda grounds one to the left side! It's out of the reach of a diving Satou, but Nagamine is there to back it up! He flicks it to 2nd, and they get the force to end the inning! Nice play by the defense!
Hirai strikes out last batter Ishibashi to open the 5th.
Satou with a drive to left-center!! Tomizawa and Tanaka run back, but can't reach it! It's to the wall! Satou flying around the bases, heads for 3rd! Relay throw from Taguchi is high and Satou slides in safely! That's some wheels there!
Inagaki up and immediately Hirai goes to the pitchout. Infield is playing in for a play at the plate.
Grounder by Inagaki to short! Satou running home. Throw is in time and Harasawa makes a fine block with his legs to give him time to make the tag! 2 down!
If Satou was smart about it, he would have tried to slide around the leg then come back with his hand. May not have worked, but would've given him a better chance.
And Miyazakiko completely runs themselves out of the inning as Inagaki takes off for 2nd and is thrown out by Harasawa. A great scoring opportunity is wasted by Miyazakiko and they remain up by a single run.
Um. I think I just missed the bottom of the 5th. In 4 pitches, Hamada retires the side in order.
Nagamine grounds to short, and while Taguchi's throw is offline, Ishihara reaches out and makes the swipe tag for the out.
Ibii collects his first hit as he hits a liner back up the middle for a single.
Hirai gets Ukita to pop out to Taguchi for the 2nd out. But Kusunoki hits a comebacker past Hirai and into center for another single. Runners at 1st and 2nd now for Niimi.
Niimi with a grounder up the 3rd base line! Kosuda dives but can't get it! It goes over the bag and it's fair! Tomizawa runs it down, but Ibii easily makes it home! 2-0 on the timely hit by Niimi!
Gokure-kantoku calls another conference. #18 Yamaguchi Takuma warms up in the bullpen.
Chopper hit by Hamada back at Hirai. It's off his glove! He races over, picks it up and his throw to 1st is in time to retire the side. Timely hitting by Miyazakiko though extends the lead.
Hamada continues on cruise control.
Tanaka grounds out to 3rd. Matsunaga is trying to crouch low perhaps to not give the umpire a good vision of the strike zone, but that doesn't work. Then he inside-out's a dribbler that Satou lets go, and just barely goes foul missing the bag by mere inches. That's all before he strikes out swinging. And Niimi blocks an Ishihara grounder for the 3rd out.
After a quick groundout by Ishiyama, Satou draws a walk.
And Iwakiri puts on the hit and run! Inagaki grounds to 1st, but Ishihara's only play is at 1B.
Hirai retires the side by getting Nagamine to pop out to right, so the deficit stays at 2.
Time is starting to run short for Maebashiko. But they're finding no answers. Cleanup batter Tomizawa strikes out swinging, Hirai grounds to 3rd and Kosuda also strikes out swinging.
Maebashiko has only 2 hits so far this game, and they were both in the 6th. They'll need the offense to step up and quick.
Ibii gets his 2nd hit of the game with a single to center. Okita moves him to 2nd.
Kusunoki lines out to right, and Niimi grounds out to short. Quick inning from Hirai.
Maebashiko is running out of time to figure out Hamada. Try as they might, all they can do is go down in order...
Itagaki lines out to left.
Harasawa strikes out looking.
Taguchi pops out to Satou in foul territoy.
Hirai gets the first two batters out but then gives up a base hit to Satou has he lines one to right.
And Inagaki lines one to right! That's down the right field line and past Itagaki! He chases it to the wall as Satou barrels for home! He scores, and Ingaki ends up at 3rd. 3-0 Miyazaki!
Nagamine with a scorcher past a diving Kosuda and down the left field line! That's all the way to the wall. Ingaki scores, and it's 4-0!
Ibii pops out to 1st, but Miyazaki doubles their lead and with only 2 hits so far, Maebashi's chances are slipping away.
Tanaka with a grounder to 3rd. Satou's throw to 1st is high! Niimi has to leap off the bag to make the catch, and Tanaka slides in safely! 2nd error on Satou today!
Gokure-kantoku goes to his bench and PH #15 Yoshizawa for Matsunaga who was 0-3.
But he goes down swinging for out #1.
Ishihara grounds to short, and Maebashi is down to their last out.
Tomizawa though grounds to 2nd, and Ukita tosses to Nagamine for the last out! Miyazakiko advances with a convincing 4-0 win over Maebashiko!
WP - Hamada Tomohiro - CG, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 0 BB
LP - Hirai Azuma - CG, 4 ER, 9 H, 3 K, 7 BB
Satou Ryou (Miyazaki Kougyou) - 2-3, 3B, R, 2 BB
Nagamine Shuuhei (Miyazaki Kougyou) - 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB
Ishihara Masatoshi (Maebashi Kougyou) - 1-4, K
Hirai Azuma (Maebashi Kougyou) - 1-3