The middle game will be interesting to watch. Because Chuukyoudai Chuukyou will be looking to hold both the spring and summer Koshien titles.
While Doubayashi Shouta has left for Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium, he leaves the team in the hands of Morimoto Jyunpei - who really was the savior of the championship game against Nihon Bunri. Yet, he's not the only ace in the hole they have! He splits time with #10 Asano Fumiya who is not as dominating, but almost just as effective. Look at their lines:
Morimoto - 46.2 IP, 6.364 H/9, 8.293 K/9, 1.929 BB/9
Fumiya - 29.1 IP, 7.977 H/9, 6.136 K/9, 2.761 BB/9
Offensively, they still have the pop in the lineup in Isomura and Iwaikawa (.228 and .346 ISO in 9 games).
Moriokadai Fuzoku has been no stranger to Koshien (4 summer appearances in the last decade), but certainly were overshadowed recently by Kikuchi Yuusei and Hanamaki Higashi.
They have a pitching duo on the mound, not necessarily like Morimoto and Fumiya, but perhaps more like Kubo and Baba of Deanna's darlings Saga Kita. For the most part, they split the innings (ace Shiraishi takes a larger percentage though), and they give two different looks - Shiraishi is a righty, Takatou a southpaw; Shiraishi gives up fewer hits, Takatou walks fewer batters:
Shiraishi - 58.2 IP, 5.523 H/9, 6.29 K/9, 3.222 BB/9
Takatou - 38 IP, 8.523 H/9, 5.921 K/9, 0.947 (!) BB/9
Offensively, they're like a lot of the other teams here. They can get their base hits, and take some walks, but don't hit for power or steal bases. The main exceptions are Tsukidate who has 5 of the team's 19 doubles, and Sasaki who also has 5 doubles and 6 SB.
We could be in for a pitcher's duel between the team's tandem of pitchers. Should be a lot of fun.
Takatou takes the hill for Moriokadai. Looks like they're trying for the lefty-on-lefty match-up. They'll take a hit on the quality of the pitcher, but they hope they'll make up for it on the platoon. If it works, they might have a chance.
Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate) - Tohoku Runner-up
LF Sasaki Masatoshi
3B Ishikawa Shouhei
SS Sakai Yuuki
C Tsukidate Hiroya
1B Satou Tomoyuki
RF Imakami Satoru (#8)
CF Shiraishi Takehiro(#1)
2B Sakurai Masaki
P Takatou Yuuji (#9)
Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) - Tokai Runner-up
RF Ogiso Ryou
CF Iwatsuki Yuuma
P Morimoto Jyunpei
C Isomura Yoshitaka
LF Iwaikawa Yuuta
2B Fujinami Daisuke
3B Fukushima Hirotaka
1B Takeuchi Hirotaka
SS Kawamoto Takeshi
11:46 - First Pitch!
There are still quite a few umbrellas out in the stands. While the rain may be falling, the ground doesn't look the worse for wear. At least not yet.
Morimoto throwing predominantly fastballs (he only throws in the upper 120's) to start as he gets Sasaki to ground to 3rd.
And now there's a slow curve at 106 to Ishikawa for strike 1. And what might be a slider in at the low 120's just outside.
Boy the stands are empty.
Nubber to short by Ishikawa, handled by Kawamoto for out number 2.
And a grounder to 3rd by Nishikawa ends the inning. Morimoto still feeling at home here at Koshien half a year later retiring the side in order. He won't be mistaken for a Kikuchi Yuusei, but a Kuroda Hiroki? Maybe.
First pitch to Okiso a fastball blooped into center.
Uh oh. Iwatsuki walks on 4 straight.
Morimoto up and he's squaring to bunt! Don't you even wait to see if he throws a strike first?
Guess not. He lays it down, but deadens it right at home plate! Tsukidate up with it and fires to 3rd for the force!
Ah~~~ Wild pitch by Takatou moves both runners into scoring position! This is a really shaky start for Takatou!
Sekiguchi-kantoku with an immediate conference.
Isomura pops it up! Tsukidate under it and has it! 2 down. Takatou might get out of the inning after all!
And he gets ahead of Iwaikawa with a 1-1 fastball in.
Oh, Takatou has a fastball that sits in the low 130's and a change or curve in the 110's.
And Iwaikawa lines one back into center! Iwatsuki scores, but Morimoto has to hold at 3rd after Shiraishi fires a ball back to home! That was on the fly!
Anyways, Chuukyoudai Chuukyou is up 1-0!
Fujinami witha grounder that sneaks by Satou into right! Morimoto scores and it's a 2-0 game!
Fukushima flies to right, but it's not a good start for Moriokadai as they go behind 2 runs early.
Tsukidate with a base hit to right-center, and while I thought it might go for a double, he holds for a single. That seemed a bit odd.
Satou looking to bunt, then pulling back. Showing bunt again and pulling it back for a ball. Ball low by Morimoto and it's 3-1. And a ball in the dirt gives Moriokadai runners at 1st and 2nd with no out!
Isomura goes out to chat, then the infield makes it an impromptu conference.
Imakami up now also looking to bunt. Pops it foul! Oy. But he puts it down and now it's Moriokadai with the runners in scoring position.
Morimoto starts Shiraishi off with a curve that he whiffs on. Foul ball makes it 0-2.
He swings at a pitch down in the zone! It's a soft liner that falls behind the infield for a base hit! Iwaikawa is up with it quickly so Satou has to hold at 3rd, but Shiraishi gets one of the runs back. It's 2-1.
Sakurai up to try and... SQUEEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First pitch he puts the bunt down the 1st base line! Takeuchi with it and tags Sakurai, but Satou comes in from 3rd and Moriokadai comes right back! 動転!!
Takatou flies out to left to end the inning, but perhaps we have a game on our hands?
Takeuchi with a comebacker right at Takatou's feet and it scoots into center for a leadoff single.
Kawamoto up, looking to bunt but falls behind 0-2. Still looking to bunt, puts it in the air!
But Ishikawa has over-charged the ball and it goes over his head! He quickly goes back to it, but drops the ball! Base hit!
And the field isn't in as good condition as I thought. When that ball is dropped, there's a good chuck of mud that ends up on it. Puddles may not be forming, but the field is certainly getting worse.
Back to the top of the order and Okiso looks to bunt. He lays it down and the runners advance. Takatou is in a pinch for the 2nd consecutive inning!
あぶない! Takatou with a high pitch but Tsukidate keeps it in front.
Grounder to 3rd. Ishikawa can't field it! It goes into left and Takeuchi scores! 3-2 Chuukyoudai! It's an error on Ishikawa, but I can't tell if the ball takes a side hop past him or not. Either way, Takatou can't escape damage here in the 2nd - and there's still only 1 down!
Moriomoto up to help his own cause. Iwatsuki takes off on the 1-0 pitch, and it's inside on Morimoto allowing him to steal 2nd easily!
And Takatou walks Morimoto and the bases are loaded! Sekiguchi-kantoku calls time while #10 Tateshita warms up in the bullpen.
To make matters worse, cleanup batter Isomura is up...
Takatou does get ahead 0-2.
Grounder up the middle! Sakai over, gets it! Steps on 2nd for one, throw to 1st, double play!!
Moriokadai turns two and they get out of the inning without further damage! They should feel fortunate, but they're once again behind.
Top of the order for Moriokadai continues to struggle against Morimoto. Ishikawa does give the ball a good drive to center, but Iwatsuki easily tracks it down.
Takatou finally has an uneventful inning. He strikes out Iwaikawa looking, gets Fujinami to ground to 2nd, and after a bit of a struggle against Fukushima, strikes him out looking.
Tsukidate with a grounder to short. Kawamoto up with it, throw is short and gets by Takeuchi! E6 and Moriokadai gets the lead runner on!
Satou trying to bunt can't lay it down. He falls behind 1-2, then a wild pitch by Morimoto! Tsukidate advances to 2nd!
Satou continues to stay alive, fouling off pitches and working the count full. 9th pitch of the AB now, and he grounds to short. Tsukidate takes off on contact and Kawamoto goes to 1st.
Infield in for Chuukyoudai looking for a play at the plate.
Imakami with a fly to left! Iwaikawa under it, but it's plenty far to get the run home! They've tied it back at 3-3!
Come to think of it, that's the first sac fly I remember this tournament!
Shiraishi earns a walk with 2 down.
Sakurai with a hard hit to 3rd, but Fukushima has it. Throw is short! But Takeuchi makes a nice pick to get the out. Once again though, Moriokadai rallies and levels the score!
Ew. The batters boxes are starting to look pretty muddy. Also the place where the home plate umpire is standing doesn't look good either.
Takeuchi works the count full, but ends up lining to left.
Kawamoto earns a walk, and the lineup turns over to the top.
Hit-and-run from Oofuji! Ogiso grounds to short, but his only play is to 1st. Runner on 2nd, 2 down for Iwatsuki.
He's jammed as he hits one to shallow center, but it falls in! Kawamoto scores from 2nd and once again Takatou is unable to hold the lead! 4-3!
Morimoto strikes out to end the inning, but Chuukyoudai retakes the lead!
That'll be the end of the day for Takatou. #11 Suzuki pinch-hits for him to lead off the 5th.
And he walks on 4 straight!
Moriokadai gets the tying run on base, and Suzuki's done his job. He's replaced at 1st by #12 Kai. Sasaki immediately looks to bunt him over. He tries the push bunt, but Takeuchi isn't overplaying and makes the putout.
Ishikawa shows bunt, but pulls it back for ball 1. He hits a hard grounder to 2nd, and Fujinami goes to 1st. Kai advances to 3rd, but there's 2 out.
And the top of the order remains stymied. Sakai hits a fly to center to end the inning. The top 3 batters are a combined 0-9.
With Takatou out of the game, Shiraishi takes the mound. Imakami moves to his spot in center, and Kai stays in the game to play center.
Shiraishi has a fastball in the high 130's and a curve in the mid 110's.
Isomura collects his first hit, grounding a ball through to right. Iwaikawa immediately bunts him over.
Hm... Chuukyou's playing Keio Chance waaaaaaaay to fast...
Fujinami pops out to Sakurai on the right field foul line. 2 down.
Shiraishi gets ahead 0-2 on Fukushima then throws 2 balls not really close. He hits a drive down the left side! But it's hooking foul as Sasaki makes a sliding attempt.
And Fukushima is hit by Shiraishi! Well, at least the ball hits his back foot while he tries to get away.
But the threat is neutralized as Shiraishi gets Takeuchi to flyout to center.
Morimoto walks his 2nd leadoff batter in as many innings. That the 4th leadoff runner allowed by Morimoto so far.
Ah, and it looks like they put out the diamond dry around the bases during the maintenance break.
Satou looking to bunt him over, but takes a called strike 2. Now what?
He tries to bunt again, but fouls it off! One down!
Imakami with a hit to shallow center. Tsukidate holds at 2nd. Now the failed bunt means that the tying run is at 2nd not 3rd.
And Shiraishi pops it up! Infield fly rule is called as Kawamoto secures it. 2 down!
Sakurai shows bunt?? Certainly he can't be serious? He shows it two more times taking each pitch. Count goes to 2-1, and he ends up walking him! Manrui for Moriokadai!
Oofuji-kantoku calls for a conference. Tying run is 90 feet away as new CF Kai steps into the box.
Now Kai feigns bunt! Fielders don't respond. 2-2 pitch fouled off. And another off his foot.
Ah! He reaches down and pops it up! Iwaikawa comes in and makes the catch in shallow center. Big opportunity lost by Moriokadai!
Kawamoto leads off the 6th with a walk. He's been on base all 3 times today.
And the first pitch to Ogiso goes off Tsukidate's glove! Kawamoto advances to 2nd! Now Ogiso's bunt moves him to 3rd instead of 2nd! Now a sac fly from Iwatsuki extends the lead!
Iwatsuki tries to lay down the squeeze on Shiraishi's 1-1 pitch, but he can't make contact! Kawamoto is trapped! He's run down 2-5 and the immediate threat is over!
Iwatsuki is jammed and dribbles a ball down the 1st base line. Satou flips to Shiraishi for the out and a great opportunity by Chuukyoudai is wasted!
Sasaki up 3-0, tries to get a walk but after 2 strikes by Morimoto ends up flying to left.
Ishikawa fares no better, getting under a ball and fouling out to 1st.
Sakai finally gets his first hit with a grounder to left! That's the first hit by the top of the order!
Tsukidate reaching out and grounding one to the left side. Kawamoto runs it down, but has no momentum on the throw and Tsukidate beats it out! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Moriokadai!
Satou steps in, 0-2 on the day. Need a timely hit here.
Tries to go the other way on the first pitch! Iwaikawa running over, diving, but it goes foul!
And Satou strikes out looking on a pitch on the inside corner! Might have been low, but it doesn't matter! Moriokadai is turned away once again!
Morimoto takes a first pitch curve to center for a leadoff hit! That's the 5th inning where the leadoff batter has reached base! Isomura immediately bunts him over.
WOW! Iwaikawa just turned on that 1-0 pitch from Shiraishi and sent a laser to right! Imakami runs it down at the wall, but Morimoto can just stroll in from 2nd. RBI double for Iwaikawa and Chuukyoudai has added an insurance run. It's 5-3!
Fujinami with a hard grounder! Ishikawa blocks it, fumbles a little with the ball, but has time to make the throw to 1st for the out. 2 down for Fukushima.
Cameras pan over to Chuukyoudai's bullpen where #10 Asano is warming up.
Fukushima strikes out to end the inning, but Chuukyou has extended their lead. And it looks like Asano is coming into the game!
So Asano comes in for 3B Fukushima. Kawamoto moves to 3B, and Morimoto shifts to short. Interesting shift.
One down quickly as Imakami flies out to right on the first pitch.
But Shiraishi earns a walk. And Sakurai gets one as well! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Moriokadai!
#13 Omiya comes in to PH for Kai. Tying run on base, just need a base hit to trim the margin.
Hm. Omiya is wearing glasses. Been a while since I remember a player wearing glasses in game.
But he lifts a ball to right and there's 2 down. Shiraishi advances to 3rd.
Moriokadai desperately needs a hit from leadoff batter Sasaki. But he harmlessly flies out to center and that ends the inning.
#17 Saitou comes in for PH Omiya and takes over in right. Imakami shifts to center.
Quick out by Takeuchi as he pops up foul on the 3rd base side.
Ow... Kawamoto is hit right around the kneecap. He stays down for a while, then eventually makes his way to 1st.
And he takes off??! After being hit in the knee area, he's sent on a 2-1 pitch to 2nd! Almost expectedly he's thrown out - although it was closer than I had thought.
Grounder to 3rd by Ogiso ends the inning. Last ups for Moriokadai, down 2!
Ishikawa walks on 4 straight to leadoff the inning! Isomura out to talk to Asano.
Sakai with a bunt?! Asano over to field it, falls down!! Gets up, but it's too late, everyone's reached base!
Ah? What's this? Oofuji pulls Asano and puts back ace Morimoto to the hill! #14 Suzuki comes in Asano's spot and takes short. Morimoto will be looked on to close the game, much like he did last summer.
Tsukidate up. Will they give up an out to put runners in scoring position? Looks like it.
Up and in for ball 1 puts him on his seat to start. Count 2-1, he lays it down. Tying run in scoring position.
Bunt again from Satou?? Just showing it.
Grounder to 2nd! But Fujinami is up with it and he makes the play at 1st. Ishikawa scores to make it 5-4, but there's 2 down!
Conference on the mound. Just need one more.
AH! Imakami with a drive, but it's foul into the oen-dan! Down to his last strike!
Fouled off! Check swing... check 1st base umpire, didn't go!
Curve down and away, count even.
Grounder to 3rd! Kawamoto up with it, throw to 1st... in time!
Moriokadai Fuzoku pulls within 1 here in the 9th, but leave the tying run 90 feet away! Morimoto and Chuukyoudai Chuukyou hold on for the 5-4 win!
WP - Morimoto Jyunpei (Chuukyoudai Chuukyou) - SV, 8 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 5 BB
LP - Takatou Yuuji (Moriokadai Fuzoku) - 4 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 3 K, 3 BB
Iwaikawa Yuuta (Chuukyoudai Chuukyou) - 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, K
Kawamoto Takeshi (Chuukyoudai Chuukyou) - 1-1, R, 3 BB
Tsukidate Hiroya (Moriokadai Fuzoku) - 2-3, 2 R, BB
Sakurai Masaki (Moriokadai Fuzoku) - 0-1, 2 BB