Last day of Day 6 features the only remaining 21st century team. Kouyou got here, not by defeating some no-name, but Kaisei - the Chuugoku regional champions. They're no pushover... but then again neither is Nichidai-san...
Kouyou did enough to win. They didn't really hit, but took walks instead. The defense played almost flawlessly and they didn't beat themselves. Flip over to Kaisei and they seemed like a team under pressure. They couldn't really hit, and Shirane was far from perfect.
Kouyou's win ended up being more than just a victory for their school, it also probably ended up being the end of Nonomura-kantoku's coaching career - although in a couple of years he might resurface, just not on a major team.
For Nichidai-san, they ran rings around another 21st century team in Yamagata Chuo. The offense had 20 hits, and 11 of those were extra bases. Yamazaki was far from perfect, walking 5 and giving up 4 runs.
So Kouyou's task is simple. Prove that their first game wasn't luck. Stay in step with Nichidai-san and make it competitive. Because if you can do that, you have a chance to win. And perhaps people might think that there's more to Wakayama than Chiben Wakayama.
Kouyou (Wakayama) - 21st Century Bid
SS Mori Toshirou
3B Tsumura Yuuki
CF Yamamoto Jyunjui
1B Nishyama Tatsuya
2B Nishioka Toshiki
C Ootsuki Tsukasa
LF Suzuki Kenta
P Fujita Tasuya
RF Higashiyama Takuma (#15)
Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Kanto/Tokyo At-large
RF Takayama Shun
2B Negishi Kouhei (#15)
CF Hiraiwa Takuji
3B Yokoo Toshitake
P Yamazaki Sachiya
SS Yoshizawa Shougo
1B Sano Tomohito
LF Azegami Shou
C Suzuki Takahiro (#12)
14:09 - First pitch!
Mori grounds out to 2nd to start the game.
Tsumura being pesky at the plate, going 9 pitches before flying out to 2nd.
Yamamoto grounds to 3rd, and Sano makes a nice pick on Yokoo's throw to end the inning. Nice start for Yamazaki.
Fujita gets Takayama to get under his slider and pop out to left.
Negishi with a hard liner to 3rd, and Tsumura is right there for the catch.
And Hiraiwa is jammed on an inside fastball. He hits a weak grounder to 3rd that Tsumura fires to 1st for the 3rd out.
Fujita looking good to start the game. He's getting first pitch strikes in which always helps.
Nishiyama goes down looking on a forkball from Yamazaki.
Nishioka sends an 0-2 fastball to center for a base hit.
Ishitani-kantoku playing for a run here, has Ootsuki bunt Nishioka over with one out.
Suzuki tasked with the job of getting the timely hit. But he falls behind 1-2.
Yamazaki hits him! Oh... he's hit on his upper right thigh.
After sitting up and getting some of that "itai" spray, he gets up and trots to 1st.
Unfortunately his sacrifice doesn't last long. Fujita flies the first pitch to center and the side is retired.
Yokoo with a base hit back up the middle for a leadoff hit.
Yamazaki not bunting here, and he lines one to left for another single! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Nichidai with no down!
Yoshizawa with the safety bunt!! Fujita charging in, but Yoshizawa bunts it past him on the left side! Fujita has to double back, and everyone's safe!!
Ishitani-kantoku calling a conference. Big test for the boys from Wakayama.
Sano with a grounder to short! Mori bobbles it! Throws to 2nd and gets the force. Yokoo scores and it's 1-0 Nichidai-san.
Azegami with a grounder past a diving Nishiyama into right! That scores Yamazaki and it's 2-0 Nichidai-san!!
Still one down though for Kouyou.
They catch a break as Suzuki pops it up. Infield fly rule is called as Nishiyama makes the catch. 2 down.
Takayama grounds to 3rd. Tsumura goes with the momentum, throws to 2nd and the inning is over. Fujita can't avoid giving up runs here in the 2nd, but down 2-0 is certainly not the worst thing that could have happened.
Last batter Higashiyama leading off the inning (and to Eva music, yay!).
Apparently, Yamazaki is anti-Eva and strikes him out swinging. Although he should have had a dead ball...
Wow, the Kouyou oen-dan section looks totally filled up. The oen-dan has their section displaying the kanji character for "wa" in blue on white "background".
Mori is frozen on a curve for strike 3. 3rd K for Yamazaki.
Yamazaki finishes the inning with a foul out to Suzuki near the Kouyou dugout.
The Nichidai-san rally music is pretty catchy...
Negishi strikes out after getting tied up on a fastball inside. Hiraiwa reaches out on a slider and chops one back to Fujita. Yokoo with a high chopper over Fujita's head. But Nishioka is there to field the ball and makes the throw to 1st to retire the side.
Fujita certainly won't get many strikeouts, but he'll get ahead in counts, and that's always an advantage.
Yamazaki with a 4 pitch walk to Yamamoto to start the inning. It's Kouyou's first leadoff runner this game.
Hm, the announcers mentioned it, and I could've noticed, but it's Ishitani-kantoku's birthday. Would be nice if the guys got him a win.
Ishitani giving the bunt sign to cleanup batter Nishiyama, and he lays it down.
Team captain Nishioka given the task of driving the run home.
And hit hits a grounder back up the middle past the stab of Yamazaki!! Hiraiwa plays it in center, and Yamamoto is being sent home!! The throw from Hiraiwa is over EVERYTHING! Yamamoto scores and Nishioka advances to 2nd! Kouyou is on the board and within 1! 2-1!!
Anoter base hit from Oostuki could tie this game up!!
No sac call from Ishitani. He wants to play the rush.
Chopper back to Yamazaki. It goes off his glove and deflects to short! But Yoshizawa was playing for the ball up the middle! Nishioka running to 3rd doubles back to 2nd, but then sees Yoshizawa running to the ball and takes off for 3rd again! After all is said and done, Ootsuki has an infield single and there's runners at the corners, and still only one down!!
Kenta up now and a mere sac fly could tie this game up!
SQUEEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kenta goes for the squeeze and pops it up!! Yoshizaki catches it, tosses to 1st to double up Ootsuki and the inning is over!
I've been thinking about the whole squeeze bunt thing, and my question is - Is it really that hard to get a sac fly?
Yamazaki taking an inside pitch past Nishiyama and down the 1st base line! He's in with a leadoff double!
Hm, it appears that Ogura is deciding to play small ball. He's having Yoshizawa bunt Yamazaki into scoring position.
Sano looking for a sac fly to get the runner home. The fielders are playing in.
Fujita gets ahead of Sano 1-2.
Chopper back to Fujita! He looks the runner back and goes to 1st for the 2nd out!
Another first pitch strike to Azegami. And now he's ahead 0-2!
Grounder down the first base line, just foul!
SANSHIN!! Azegami can't hold his swing and he strikes out! Fujita unfazed here on the big stage!
Fujita strikes out swinging to start the inning.
Last batter Higashiyama though hits a seeing-eye single past the Yoshizawa and Yokoo into left!
Ishitani elects not to bunt in this situation, perhaps because it's the top of the order.
But Mori strikes out and Tsumura hits a chopper back to Yamazaki to end the inning.
Last batter Suzuki posing problems for Fujita. He works the count full after falling behind 0-2. Hits a grounder to Tusmura right down the 3rd base line, but he misplays it and it continues on into left field! Suzuki in at 2nd on the error by Tsumura! Replay shows that perhaps it was the close proximity to 3rd base that caused him to miss.
Ogura has Takayama bunt him over, and that goes without fault.
Negishi up to try and add an insurance run. Kouyou's infield playing in.
Comebacker to Fujita! It's off his glove! Nishoka adjusting to the deflection, can't field it! Goes into center!! Suzuki comes in to score on the hit and it's 3-1 Nichidai!
Ootsuki goes out to the mound to talk to Fujita, Ishitani decides to make it a full conference.
Fujita falls behind Hiraiwa 2-0. Manages to level the count. Also is minding Negishi quite a bit.
Hiraiwa taking a slider away into right center for a base hit! Negishi advances to 3rd! Fujita in a bit of a pinch now!
Hit and run! But Yokoo pops it up! Nishiyama in foul territory making the catch and doubling off Hiraiwa??!
How did that happen?? Hiraiwa knew by the time he reached 2nd that he needed to get back. And it was about 4 seconds between the time he started sprinting back to when he was doubled up. Seems odd to me.
But either way, Kouyou is out of the jam! But an error leads to another run and Kouyou finds themselves down 2 again heading into the break.
And now it's a question of whether Kouyou will have any other opportunities this game especially now that it's back to a 2-run deficit.
Yamazaki retires the 3-4-5 batter in order with little difficulty...
Nichidai-san's batters trying to take advantage of Fujita's first pitch strikes, but wind up giving Fujita a 4 pitch inning!
It's beginning to look like Yamazaki and Nichidai-san are taking control of the game. Once again, Kouyou goes down in order with 3 groundouts. Fujita had a chance with a hot shot at 3rd, but it just sliced foul.
Their best opportunity against Nichidai-san may have already passed...
Fujita even though he's given up 3 runs, has thrown only 69 pitches!
Azegami first pitch hits a fly to left center! Yamamoto running over, but can't get there. Azegami in with a leadoff double.
Takahiro trying to bunt the runner over, but fall behind 1-2.
Fujita bails him out by hitting him!
Takayama bunting the runners into scoring position and Fujita in another pinch. Defense playing in for Negishi.
Doesn't look like he's going to squeeze. And he hits a shallow fly to left! Kenta in for the catch and the runners have to hold.
Hiraiwa up. Fujita gets ahead 0-2. Pitch outside corner... ball! Again outside corner... ball! Fujita located 2 balls on the outside part and doesn't get the call!
They go back inside and Fujita gets him swinging on what looks like a shuuto! I swear, this guy looks unflappable!
He's certainly no Imamura, but his demeanor reminds me of him.
Higashiyama leads off the 8th (along with Eva), needing to get on base and start the offense.
He hits a slow chopper up the 3rd base side! Yokoo charging in quickly, making the throw, offline!! It goes into foul territory and Higashiyama goes to 2nd on the error!
Higashiyama's done his job. #12 Taniguchi comes in to run for him.
Mori looking to bunt. Even down 2, if you can get a run in each inning that will tie the game.
Pops it up! Lands in front of Yokoo, but he lets it run foul!
Bunt again. Pops it up!! Takahiro with the quick catch and fires to 2nd! And Taniguchi is doubled off!! Poor execution bites Kouyou!
Tsumura can't check his swing and strikes out to end the inning. The door is starting to close on Kouyou's run at Koshien...
#13 Okamoto comes in the game for Taniguchi and takes over in RF.
Yokoo with a high drive to left center!! The fielders converge and it's off the base of the wall! Yokoo is in with a standup double!
Yamazaki with a grounder to 2nd. Nishioka makes the play and Yokoo advances to 3rd.
Yoshizawa can put this game away with a sac fly. But he pops it up! Nishiyama makes the catch and there's 2 down.
SANSHIN! Fujita paints the outside corner and gets Sano looking!
He may get the loss, but I am impressed at how he can locate. He doesn't have the top velocity, but maybe there's a future for him somewhere.
Defensive changes for Nichidai-san. #16 Kobayashi comes into the game for Sano and goes to CF. Hiraiwa moves from CF to LF, and Azegami moves from LF to 1B.
3-4-5 hitters up for Kouyou.
Yamamoto works the count full after falling behind 0-2. Hot shot to 3rd! The ball deflects off Yokoo, but right at Yoshizawa! He throws to 1st, SAFE!
Wow! That was almost a heads up play by Yoshizawa there! But Yamamoto hustling all the way beats it out!
But Nishiyama with a a grounder to 2nd! Yoshizawa to 2nd for one, and that's all they'll get as Negishi is upended by Yamamoto.
#9 Gotou in to pinch run for Nishiyama.
Nishioka with a drive to deep center! Kobayashi running back near the wall, but the park holds it! He makes the catch for the 2nd out!
Last chance in Ootsuki.
Wild pitch by Yamazaki sends the runner to 2nd, but Kouyou needs 2.
SANSHIN! Yamazaki gets Ootsuki swinging! Throw from Takahiro to 1st ends the game!
Kouyou and Fujita with a great performance against Nichidai-san, but it just wasn't enough as Nichidai was able to put together some hits and take advantage of the only Kouyou error.
Even in the loss, I am impressed by Kouyou and specifically Fujita. He is certainly not the biggest pitcher (173 cm ~ 5'8") nor a fireballer (mid 130's fastball), but I like him. It'd be nice to see him succeed after HS.