(Round 2 commentary)
Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui) - Hokushinetsu Runner-up
CF Nishikiori Daisuke
2B Hayashi Rui
LF Nakao Yuuto
RF Yoshida Masataka
C Kubo Yuuta
SS Kanayama Yoshihiro
1B Okuno Kyouhei (#13)
P Ookubo Takashi
3B Kawashita Ryuusei
Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama) - Kanto Runner-up
SS Satou Takuya
2B Ootsuka Kentarou
3B Kimura Hayato
CF Totsuka Shun
RF Hashimoto Yuuki
P Gomyou Daisuke
LF Terai Masaaki
C Kiuchi Tatsuya
1B Hanabusa Yuuki
11:16 - First pitch!
The siren blares as Nishikiori pops up the first pitch. Kiuchi in foul territory with the catch and quickly there's one down.
Hayashi with a liner to left center, that's down for extra bases! Totuska bobbles the ball a little out there but Hayashi was looking 2 all the way.
Nakao shwoing bunt? Pulls it back and takes a strike.
But Gomyou gets him swinging. 2 down!
Cleanup batter Yoshida up and Kiuchi goes out to talk to Gomyou.
Gomyou paying a fair amount of attention to Hayashi at 2nd.
And Yoshida reaches out at a ball down and away and hits a grounder to 2nd to end the inning. Hayashi is left stranded at 2nd as we head to Hanasaki Tokuharu's first at bats.
I'm not sure I can get over the fact that a rally song used by oen-dans is "Yankee Doodle Dandy"...
Satou with a chopper to the left side. Kawashita ranging over, makes the running throw for the 1st out.
Also, who the heck decided that the uniform lettering would be a light blue with red outline? How does that even work?
Hanasaki's batters are working Ookubo early. Satou with a 6 pitch AB, Ootsuka with the same and ends up with a walk.
Kimura showing bunt, but pulling it back and taking a strike.
Swinging away, hits one to left center. Nishikiori and Nakao sprinting over, and it's Nishikiori with the catch. He has pretty good range there.
And now Iwai-kantoku sends Ootsuka! Kiuchi with the throw and they get him! That was a close play, but the 2nd base umpire calls Ootsuka out and Tsuruga Kehi head to the bench to pick up the sticks!
Gomyou gets Kubo swinging to start the 2nd, but then hits Kanayama.
Okuno with a grounder past Gomyou's feet and into center! Kanayama is going for 3! Totsuka with the throw on the fly! Kimura with the tag, but Kanayama is called safe! Another bang-bang play that goes in favor of Tsuruga Kehi!
Ookubo up with runners at the corners and one down.
Pitchout, but no squeeze. #10 Yamaguchi is warming up for Hanasaki Tokuharu.
Ookubo flashes bunt, but takes ball 2. And Ookubo takes a walk! Manrui for Tsuruga Kehi!
Last batter Kawashita up. Iwai-kantoku calls a conference.
Doesn't look like Hayashi-kantoku will be calling for a squeeze here.
Slow grounder to 2nd. Ootsuka up with it, goes to 2nd for the force and allowing Kanayama to score, making it 1-0 Tsuruga Kehi.
But Gomyou, trying to keep the ball out of the middle of the zone, walks Nishikiori to load the bases again!
And it's Hayashi who's up next! I don't think this is what Iwai-kantoku was imagining...
Hayashi makes Gomyou pay! He hits a liner over Hanabusa's head into right!! Okuno scores! Kawashita scores!! It's 3-0 Tsuruga Kehi!
Nakao with the safety bunt! Gomyou fields it, fires to first and beats a diving Nakao! (Learn to run through the bag, my friend).
That ends the inning, but Gomyou's control issues cost him this inning as 3 runs cross the plate.
Pretty easy 2nd inning for Ookubo. A flyout to center with popups to 2nd bookending the inning and Tsuruga Kehi is back in the dugout.
One down and Kubo laces one past Gomyou into center for a single.
Kanayama with a grounder to the left side. Satou quickly on it! Throws from his knees to 2nd for one! Relay to Hanabusa.... TWO!
Nice 6-4-3 double play turned by the Hanasaki Tokuharu defense and they cut down Tsuruga Kehi!
One down and Kiuchi hits a drive to left center!!! That's over Nishikiori's head and goes to the wall! Kiuchi in with a double!
But Ookubo gets Hanabusa to fly out to right. Kiuchi doesn't tag up.
2 down and back to the top of the order and Satou.
OH! Ookubo's 1-1 pitch gets away from him! It barely misses Satou's head, but hits the bat for a foul ball! How unfortunate!
And Satou grounds to 2nd to end the inning.
Gomyou was on his way to a 1-2-3 inning after getting Okuno to ground to short and striking out Ookubo swinging on nothing but fastballs, but he walks last batter Kawashita.
With Nishikiori up, Hayashi-kantoku starts calling for the hit-and-run! Nishikiori fouls off a couple, but winds up striking out to end the inning.
Totsuka gets a two-out single to left center, but Ookubo has little trouble - although Hashimoto does hit a fly to deep center.
Hayashi trying the safety bunt?! Gomyou with it, throws to 1st, beats a diving Hayashi!
(I'm going to give up mentioning about that, all of you who read about it know my stance on it...)
Nakao with a fly to right center. Totsuka running in, diving... but can't come up with it! Nakao is trying for 2! Totsuka throws it in, but Nakao is in safely!
Yoshida follows that up with a drive to center! Totsuka running back, and it lands in front of the wall! Nakao comes in to score on Yoshida's double and it's 4-0 Tsuruga Kehi!
Iwai-kantoku with a conference on the mound. #10 Yamaguchi is warming up on the bullpen.
Kubo with a fly to left. 2 down.
Kanayama with a grounder through the left side. Yoshida heading home, Terai up throwing. Throw isn't in time, but Kiuchi fires to 2nd.
Kiuchi overthrows 2nd and it goes into center field! And nobody's there!! Kanayama taking off and easily makes it home on the throwing error by Kiuchi. It's 6-0!
Gomyou gets Okuno to ground out to 3rd, but an error by Hanasaki Tokuharu doubles the lead.
Gomyou begins the inexorable march to 6 runs with a walk.
Terai shows bunt on the first pitch but swings away after that. However, Ookubo falls behind 3-0!
Gomyou takes off for 2nd on the 3-1 pitch! Kubo throws to 2nd and they get him!
Um... Kubo double clutched and still got him. I agree with the announcers, something was missed.
And Terai earns a walk. I can't tell if Iwai-kantoku is smarting or just sighing...
Kiuchi hits a grounder to short. Kanayama starts the 6-4-3 double play and Ookubo continues to hold them scoreless heading into the break.
Gomyou finally gets a true 1-2-3 inning against the 8-9-1 batters aided by a nice play at 3rd by Kimura.
Hanabusa leads off the 6th with a liner to center for a leadoff single.
No bunting now, gotta go for a big inning. But Satou flies out to fairly deep left after the count goes full.
Ootsuka with a single past a diving Okuno! Hanabusa holds at 2nd.
Kimura with a bloop hit to left! Hanabusa stops at 3rd, and it's manrui for Hanasaki Tokuharu!
Ookubo's control is wavering a bit, but he gets Totsuka on a inside high fastball for the second out!
He continues to have issues against Hashimoto throwing two balls low.
And Hashimoto hits a hanging fastball past a diving Hayashi into right! Hanabusa and Ootsuka both come in to score and Hanasaki is on the board at 6-2!
Gomyou up, and Ookubo bounces one at his feet. But he does get him to chase another high fastball and he flies out to left to end the inning. Hanasaki gets back 2 runs, but the loss of control for Ookubo would make me worried if I were Tsuruga Kehi.
Perhaps aided by the momentum, Gomyou retires the side in order aided by a nice sliding catch near the back screen by Kiuchi on a foul fly.
Terai with a chopper to short. Kanayama with the nice pick and his throw beats out a diving Terai.
Kiuchi flies out to right for the 2nd out.
Just when he's about to get out of the inning though, he walks Hanabusa.
And it looks like Hayashi-kantoku has seen enough. He pulls Ookubo from the game and sends in #11 Fujisawa.
Top of the order for Hanasaki, and Satou takes the first pitch and singles to right! Hanabusa advances to 3rd! Runners on the corners for Ootsuka!
And Iwai sends Satou on the 0-2 pitch! Throw from Kubo, not in time! Now a base hit can cut deficit in half!
But Fujisawa gets Ootsuka looking on a inside change and Hanasaki Tokuharu is denied!
Kubo with a short chopper up the 3rd base side. Kimura with the pick and the throw to first, beats out a hustling Kubo!
Kanayama with another grounder to 3rd, Kimura plays the bounce and makes another nice throw to 1st!
Okuno fixes that by hitting a single past Satou instead.
Gomyou though strikes out new P Fujisawa to end the inning.
Kimura leads off the 8th with a single past Kawashita.
Totsuka follows that up with a single to right center! Kimura advances to 3rd! Runners on the corners with no out!
And now Fujisawa walks Hashimoto! Manrui for Hanasaki Tokuharu!!
Hayashi-kantoku calls time and has a conference. Meanwhile he sends #18 Shirasaki out to the bullpen to warm up quickly as things could go spiraling out of hand.
Gomyou up and nothing would be better than driving in a couple for himself.
And he singles to left! Everyone advances a station and it's 6-3!!
Sure enough, Hayashi pulls Fujisawa. #18 Shirasaki comes into the game to try and stop the bleeding.
And he gets Terai to line out to left on his first pitch! 1 down!
Kiuchi up and he would like nothing better than to redeem himself after the error in the 5th.
Single back up the middle! That's by a diving Hayashi into center! Totsuka scores! Hashimoto rounds 3rd, he scores!!! Kiuchi with a 2-run single and Hanasaki Tokuharu is within 1 - and there's STILL only 1 out. 6-5!!
Runners on 1st and 2nd for Hanabusa. Base hit here could tie it up right now!
AH!! Shirasaki hits Hanabusa when he was ahead 1-2!! Manrui again for Hanasaki again!!!
Hayashi calls another conference. One more wrong move and they could find themselves behind!!
Top of the lineup in Satou now up for Hanasaki Tokuharu. But first things first. If nothing else, get a sac fly to score the tying run. Then focus on getting the go-ahead run.
But Satou pops it up! Okuno running in in foul territory, and he can't catch it! Oh! That could be costly!!
And the count goes full! Nowhere to put him!!
Grounded to short!! Kanayama to Hayashi for one! Hayashi's throw to 1st... TWO!!!
And Satou hunches over... he knows the worst outcome has just happened - a double play to end the inning! There's still hope down only one, but a great opportunity has gone by the wayside.
Gomyou trying to keep the deficit at 1 so his team can pick up the sticks.
He gets Kawashita looking for the first out.
But then Nishikiori works a walk. And it looks like Hayashi-kantoku is playing for an insurance run. "An" as in one. Hayashi bunts Nishikiori to 2nd.
Defensive change for Hanasaki Tokuharu. #16 Hayashi replaces Terai in left.
Nakao with a single to center! Totsuka fires the ball home, but it's not in time! Nakao advances to 2nd on the throw and they do indeed tack on a run. It's 7-5!!
Yoshida flies out to center, but they'll need 2 runs here in the bottom of the 9th to stay alive.
Shirasaki falling behind Ootsuka 3-0 to start the 9th! And he walks him!
Kimura with a liner to right! That's in for a base hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Hanasaki to start the 9th!
Conference on the mound...
Totsuka bunting!! He pops it up! Kubo running in foul territory dives, but can't get it!
Again bunting! But he pops it up! Kubo under this one and there's 1 down!
Cameras pan over to Totsuka, who's visibly crying. Oddly enough, that's the first time I've seen someone crying. And we're in day 6!
No bunting now. Gotta swing away again.
High chopper by Hashimoto! Kawashita up with it right near 3rd base, and he touches the bag for the force! Ootsuka slides into him to prevent any double play opportunity! But Hanasaki Tokuharu's down to their last out!
Gomyou trying to extend the game...
Shirasaki falls behind 3-0! He puts one in there for a strike. Will he get the green light?
Hit to center! Nishikiori running to his right... makes the catch!! Hanasaki Tokuharu's rally comes up short!
But give credit to the guys from Saitama. They continued to fight even when down 6 and was a base hit away from completing the comeback. In addition, it's the first time I can recall a team being as emotional as one in the summer Koshien. Sure it's the spring Koshien, and it's not as prestigious per se. But it's still Koshien, and I'm glad to see the players showing their emotions. Perhaps we'll see them back in the summer, but it is Saitama, and there are always a lot of teams.