Day 6 arrives and we have the final game of the 1st round. And it's a matchup I kinda wish didn't happen.
I have a soft spot for teams from the Tohoku region. They have little success in the Koshien tournament and I kind of want a team from there to succeed.
But Akita Shougyou gets to face Hokushou, one of the better teams from Hokkaido.
Akita Shougyou (Akita) - Tohoku Champions
SS Asou Makoto
C Monma Shouya
LF Suzuki Fumiya
CF Kamada Takahiro
3B Matsuhashi Tatsuo
1B Suzuki Kouji
RF Sasaki Shou
P Suda Takashi (#10)
2B Miura Koudai
Hokushou (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Oono Masaya
2B Kimura Yuuji
C Nishida Akihisa
P Matano Tomoya
CF Abe Kenichi
LF Nodate Tomohito
1B Shintani Yuuki
RF Chiba Tatsuki
3B Kuroda Kento
9:01 - First pitch!
Matano has little trouble to start the game. He gets Asou to fly out to 3rd in foul territory, then strikes Monma out swinging, and finally gets Fumiya to fly out to left.
Matano is reaching the 140's with his fastball, but not quite the "magical" 145.
Oono leads off the first for Hokushou with a single to right. Kimura, trying to bunt the runner over doesn't get a chance to! Suda walks him on 4 straight!
Monmo goes out to talk to Suda, but the Oota-kantoku calls time making it a full conference.
Ace Kataoka is already warming up in the bullpen.
But Suda gets a groundball from Nishida! Asou to Miura for one, throw to 1st completes the double play!! 2 down for Akitasho!
Runner on 3rd now for Matano.
Suda with a strike that gets Monma crossed up!! It defects towards Akitasho's dugout and Oono comes in to score! 1-0 Hokushou!
Matano drives a high fastball to deep left center!!!!! That is crushed for a homerun!!!!!
Ace Matano helps his own cause with a homerun to make it 2-0!!
Abe with a slow grounder up the 3rd base line! Kuroda charging in, makes the throw, but it's not in time! Infield hit for Abe!
And now Abe takes off on the 1-0 pitch! Throw from Monma, just late! Abe beats out the tag, but just barely!
Nodate with a grounder through the left side for a single! Abe holds up at 3rd and there's runners at the corners for Hokushou!
What??? Nodate takes off for 2nd while Suda still has the ball??!! Suda goes to throw for the rundown, but the infielders call him to 3rd where Abe is off the bag! Suda goes to 3rd, Matsuhashi makes the tag... but Abe slides in safely - and Nodate goes to 2nd!
There's no way that was planned. Right?
Uh oh... Suda walks Shintani to load the bases.
Thanksfully, Suda gets Chiba to ground out to 1st to end the inning. But Hokushou is out to an early 2-0 lead.
Matano cruising along has a quick 2nd inning. Kamada strikes out looking on three straight, Matsuhashi grounds back to Matano, and Kouji first pitch swinging pops up to short.
Suda also with a 1-2-3 inning. Kuroda grounds out to 2nd after a 7 pitch AB, Oono grounds out to 3rd, and Kimura first pitch swinging pops up to 2nd.
Matano allows his first runner after he hits Sasaki.
Suda trying to bunt him over, fouls two off. He's given the green light to try again, but bunts it foul and strikes out!
Miura lays down the bunt, but Matano fires to 2nd and gets the lead runner! Oota-kantoku must be smarting at the lack of execution.
So Oota sends Miura to 2nd! Throw from Nishida isn't in time! That'll work.
But Asou hits a comebacker to Matano and that ends the inning.
Suda gets a routine grounder to 2nd from Nishida.
Matano up and he drives one to deep center!! Kamada backing up, still backing up, and catches it right in front of the fence in center. Yeesh.
And after a grounder to short by Abe, Suda is happy to get in with another 1-2-3 inning.
One down for Fumiya and he drives one to right! That's all the way to the wall! Chiba throwing it in and Fumiya is heading for 3rd! He's in safely and Akitasho's threatening!
Kamada up, and it looks like he's swinging away. Oota-kantoku not calling a squeeze. But he goes down swinging on a slider!
Matsuhashi up trying to save the inning... but he goes down looking on another slider!!
Akitasho with a runner on 3rd and one out can't bring the runner home!
Suda really settling into a groove now. Hokushou's batters are getting contact on the ball, but it's right at the defense. So he winds up with a 3rd 1-2-3 inning.
Kouji going down on 3 quick sliders.
Sasaki with a hard grounder to the left side. Oono running over, blocks it but can't field it cleanly. Throw to first, not in time and he's in with an infield hit!
Suda trying to bunt him to 2nd, but fouls the first pitch off. Then he hits a grounder to 1st! Shintani to Oono for one, back to Matano, and they get 2! He barely beats Suda to the bag and the inning is over!
Suda continuing to shut down the Hokushou offense. A flyout to center by Oono sandwiched between two infield outs gives Suda his 4th consecutive 1-2-3 inning as we head into the break. However, his team still trails by 2 runs.
Miura flies out to center as we come out of the break.
Asou with a bloop to right center. Kimura, Abe and Chiba all converge on the ball, but no one calls for it! It falls right in the middle of all 3 of them! Asou ends up at 2nd!
But it seems whenever Akitasho gets a runner on base, the offense really dries up.
Monma goes down looking on, yep, another slider.
Fumiya pops it up. Oono in the outfield grass makes the catch and that ends the threat once again.
Nishida leads off with a fly out to center. Then, on the first pitch to Matano he hits a grounder to short. Asou with the throw, but the stretch by Kouji pulls him off the bag as Matano jumps over him!
On the replay though, Matano may have jumped over the defender, but he didn't touch the bag.
Doesn't matter! Suda throws to first and picks off Matano!!
Abe with an easy comebacker to Suda, and it's another 1-2-3 inning! (Kinda.)
Meanwhile, Akitasho's offense is still spinning its wheels...
Kamada goes down swinging. Matsuhashi pops it up. Oono runs over into foul territory and makes the catch. And Kouji grounds out to 2nd..
And Suda finally gives up his first hit since the 1st inning! Nodate shoots one past a diving Asou into left for a leadoff single!
Shintani lays down the bunt advancing the "rare" runner into scoring position.
Chiba with a groundout to 2nd advances the runner another 90 feet.
That's as far as Nodate will go though as Kuroda grounds to short to end the inning.
Matano continues to baffle the Akitasho batters.
Sasaki strikes out swinging...
Oota-kantoku pinch hits #13 Hatakeyama for Suda, which also means that Suda's day on the hill is done, but he too strikes out swinging.
Another pinch hitter, #17 Oyamada in for Miura. But Oyamada grounds out to 3rd to end the inning...
As expected, ace Kataoka comes in for Hatakeyama and takes the hill. Also, #14 Satou comes in for PH Oyamada and takes over at 2nd.
Oono with a hot shot at 1st, but Kouji handles it nicely for the first out.
Kimura lays down the safety bunt, but Matsuhashi charging in, making a great throw to 1st to just beat out Kimura for the 2nd out.
And Kataoka gets Nishida to ground out to short for a 1-2-3 8th.
But now they're at their last ups. If they're going to make a run at Hokushou, it has to be now.
Asou leads off the 9th with a flare to right for a base hit!
#12 Koyama in to pinch it for Monma.
And Matano falls behind Koyama 3-0! Kawakami-kantoku calling for a conference. Matano fires one in there.
DRIVE TO LEFT CENTER!!!! NODATE BACK TO THE WALL!! IT'S OFF THE WALL!!
They get the ball back in, but Koyama has a double! Asou stops at 3rd!
Fumiya up, and a sac fly can get one runner in. Base hit could tie this game up!
But Fumiya first pitch swinging hits a grounder to 1st! Shintani is there and runs to the bag for the 1st out!
Cleanup batter Kamada up. He swings at the first pitch and hits a grounder to short!! Oono throws to first and now there's 2 down - and no runners have scored!!
Just like that Akitasho is down to their last out and Matsuhashi.
But Matsuhashi hits a grounder to short! Oono up with it, throw to 1st... in time!
Hokushou holds off a late charge by Akita Shougyou and wins 2-0!
Man, this game went pretty quickly (91 minutes!). And it was filled with interesting stories... First of all Akita Shougyou's utter lack of offense - being limited to 5 hits. But 3 of those were extra base hits. Three times they had a runner in scoring position with less than 2 outs, and in all three cases they failed to score. The 9th inning was probably a microcosm of their game. They got the runners on base, but then started pressing and couldn't take advantage of them.
Then you have the pitching of Akita Shougyou. The 2 pitchers combined to give up all of 5 hits, 4 of which were in the 1st. Even more bizarre, they didn't strike out a single batter!
For Hokushou, they send 8 batters to the plate in the 1st inning and scored 2 runs. After that, they went down in order ever single inning except for the 8th when Nodate led off with a single, THEN went down in order.
While both teams' chances may have been dimished had they not played each other, I'm still irked that they had to. Sure Akita Shougyou's offense was non-existent, but I would've liked to see them play say a Kochi or a Miyazaki Kougyou.
But that's what you get when you have a random draw... Oh well.