Day 7 looks to be another interesting set of games.
First up on the docket is Miyazaki Kougyou and Kouryou. Miyazaki Kougyou had no trouble against Maebashi Kougyou in the first round, as Hamada gave up all of 2 hits and walked none. For Kouryou, they were in a offensive tussle against Ritsumeikan Uji when they were bailed out in the bottom of the 9th by a very questionable baserunning decision.
It'll be a very hard task for Miyazaki Kougyou I think. Pressure will fall to their ace Hamada to see if he can't keep them in the game. They may also have a chance if Arihara can't solve his control issues from the first game.
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
Kouryou (Hiroshima) - Chuugoku At-large
2B Fukuda Shuuhei
3B Tokuda Shinyuu (#13)
LF Kuramasu Takahiro
1B Maruko Tatsuya
CF Mikoshiba Daiki
RF Sanda Tatsuya (#6)
SS Toyota Takamitsu (#9)
P Arihara Kouhei
C Shintani Atsushi
9:02 - First pitch!
Satou working Arihara to start, but goes down swinging on the 7th pitch of the AB on an inside slider.
Inagaki shown the spectrum of Arihara's pitches, going down looking on a fastball away.
And Nagamine grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Fukuda with a grounder back up the middle for a leadoff single.
Tokuda showing bunt. Fukuda taking off on the 1-0 pitch! Tokuda swings, and Ibii's throw to 2nd is short. Fukuda in scoring position.
Now Hamada falling behind 3-1. Tokuda still showing bunt, but fouls it off. Full count, no bunt. But Hamada fires a fastball inside for strike 3!
Kuramasu up, no bunt now from Nakai-kantoku.
And Hamada strikes him out looking on another fastball away!
Maruko next up. And Fukuda takes off for 3rd on the 0-1 pitch. No throw from Ibii! I can't tell what happened there that allowed him to take the base so easily.
But Maruko grounds out to 3rd! Satou with the hard throw to 1st to end the inning! The ease of basestealing is a bit troubling to start, but Hamada is looking good to start the game.
Ibii gets under a slider and pops out to 2nd. Ukita with a chopper up the 3rd base line, Tokida playing the bounce, and fires to first for the out.
Arihara finished the quick 1-2-3 inning by inducing a weak comebacker from Kusunoki.
As expected, Miyazaki Kougyou having trouble early against Arihara.
Mikoshiba with a liner that is just over a leaping Satou and down the line! Ishiyama quickly gets to it limiting him to a single.
Sanda immediately bunting him over to 2nd.
Toyota up looking to give Kouryou the early lead.
He singles to right! Kusunoki playing the bounce, fires home! Mikoshiba has to go back to 3rd as Kusunoki fires a throw to home on the fly!
Arihara looking to help his own cause.
And now Toyota takes off for 2nd on the 2-1 pitch!! Ball is in the dirt and he's in safely. That's 3 SB's already!
But Arihara goes down swinging on a high fastball! 2 down!
And Shintani pops it up! Nagamine under it on the outfield grass and the side is retired!
Niimi trying to get on base, works the count full, but strikes out on a 143 kph high fastball.
Hamada falls behind in the count and grounds out to 3rd.
And Ishiyama works the count full too, but hits a weak grounder back to Arihara.
Miyazaki Kougyou is trying to get on base any way possible, taking pitches. But Arihara is throwing strikes and making the batters have to swing the bat.
Hamada not letting Fukuda get on base this time, he induces a groundout to 2nd.
Tokuda getting the high stuff from Hamada and flies out to right.
Hamada almost gets his 1-2-3 inning, but walks Kramasu on a full count fastball outside.
Maruko aggressive at the plate strikes out looking on a fastball up and away!
The struggles for Miyazaki Kougyou continue.
Satou working the pitch count goes down swinging.
Inagaki with a grounder to 3rd. Tokuda up with the throw and one hops it, but Maruko makes a nice pick for the out.
Nagamine hits a chopper to 3rd. Fukuda loops his throw a little, but still beats out a diving Nagamine.
Miyzaki hasn't been able to hit a ball out of the infield so far, and only one of Arihara's out is on a pop fly.
This half inning is might as well be called the Ukita show as Hamada induces three straight grounder to his 2nd baseman. He seems to be settling down from the first couple of innings.
And Ibii finally breaks through with a grounder past Toyota into left!
Certainly Iwakiri-kantoku will be asking for the bunt, and Ukita is indeed bunting. Lays it down, Arihara up with it and throws to 2nd and gets the force! Relay to 1st is late.
Wow, he seemed so casual about it, and yet still made the play by a fair amount.
0-2 to Kusunoki and Iwakiri sends Ukita! Shintani double clutches and his throw is short! Gets past Toyota but Mikoshiba is there to back it up. If Shintani had been clean with the throw, Ukita would have been out by a good margin it seems.
Ukita in scoring position, but Arihara nails him on an outside fastball!
Niimi trying to keep the inning alive, falls behind 0-2, then hits a high fly to right. Sanda is under it and Miyakou can't do anything with their first runner of the game.
Arihara with a hard grounder to short. Nagamine up with the ball, throw is a bit high, but Niimi reaches up and makes the play.
Shintani with a liner back at Hamada! He puts up the glove in self defense and it glances off of it and into center for a base hit! That's their first hit since the 2nd inning!
Fukuda with another ball back up the middle for back-to-back base hits! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Kouryou.
Iwakiri-kantoku calling a timeout here.
Tokuda first pitch swinging! Grounder to 2nd! Ukita falling back throws to 2nd for the force, but that's all they'll get. 2 down, runners at the corners.
Kuramasu looking for the timely hit.
Hamada throws to 1st, and they pick off Tokuda! Tokuda, perhaps not expecting the throw over since Hamada hasn't really done it, gets caught napping and the inning is over!
We head to the break with the game going at a fast clip. The teams have combined for all of 7 base runners and have also faced that many over the minimum.
The advantage goes to Kouryou though as they have had more opportunities to get people on base and score runs. Miyazaki Kougyou will need to find a way to get runners on base in any way if they even want a fighting chance.
Back from the break and the hitting woes continue.
Hamada strikes out looking... Ishiyama tries a safety bunt to start his AB, but winds up grounding out to short... and Satou strikes out swinging for the 3rd time...
Kouryou's oen-dan starts playing Dash Keio to try and get the offense going.
After a long AB, Hamada walks Kusunoki for the 2nd time today to start the inning.
Maruko up and Nakai isn't having him bunt. He's making some good contact, but pulling them foul.
Then he hits a grounder to short! Nagamine to the bag for one, throw to 1st, double play!
Mikoshiba grounds out to short to end the inning! Hamada continues to keep the Kouryou offense at bay!
Inagaki also trying the safety bunt, but chops it foul. Grounds back to Arihara on the next pitch.
And Arihara hits Nagamine! Runner on for Miyazaki Kougyou!
Nagamine takes off for 2nd on the first pitch! Throw from Shintani, not in time! Base hit could break the deadlock!
Wild pitch from Arihara! Gets away from Shintani and goes towards the 3rd base side! Nagamine rounding 3rd and GOING HOME????!!!
Shintani turns around finds the ball, tossed to Arihara...
Nagamine's gamble doesn't pay off! Shintani lost sight of the ball, but not for long enough!
I get the benefit of the overhead replay...
And it's close, VERY close...
Arihara did a good job of blocking the line with his right foot, but I think Nagamine might have just beaten the tag. From the umpire's point of view though, Arihara's tag would have been blind as he went down for the swipe.
In addition, the umpire was moving into the set position right as Nagamine was sliding in.
It's a tough call to make and in the end I can't find fault with the umpire on the bang-bang play other than the fact that he didn't seem set when the tag was being made.
Ibii works an 8 pitch walk, but Ukita grounds out on a fielder's choice to end the inning.
One has to wonder if they'll get a better chance than that one...
They show the replay one more time, and I think he may have been safe.
But the game continues on...
The lost chance doesn't seem to have affected Hamada though.
He gets Sanda to fly out to center, Toyota to pop up to short, and catches Arihara looking for a 1-2-3 inning.
Kusunoki with the safety bunt! Arihara fields it, but no one's covering 2nd! Fukuda doesn't move over to cover and he's on safely for Miyakou's 2nd hit of the game!
Niimi not bunting on the first pitch. Is Iwakiri-kantoku really going to let Niimi swing away?
But it's a grounder to 3rd! Tokuda bobbles the ball! Throws to 2nd for one, relay to 1st, double play!!?
How did they turn the DP after Tokuda bobbled the ball?
All I can think of is that Niimi isn't really a fast runner at all...
Oh. I check his stats. 197/87, or 6'3½" and ~192 lb. That would be why.
Hamada goes down looking to end the inning and another possible opportunity goes by the wayside.
Shintani with a flyout to shallow center.
Hamada's first pitch to Fukuda has him ducking out of the way. And then 2 pitches later he hits him!
Between Shintani and Fukuda, Hamada's control seems to be slipping a bit.
Tokuda showing bunt. Hamada throws to 1st! Umpire calls safe, but that was close to another pickoff!
Tokuda with the bunt, but pushes it foul! Count 1-2.
Tokuda pulls it back and takes ball 2.
Now it's a hit and run! But Tokuda fouls off a low pitch.
Another hit and run! Tokuda makes contact, but it's right at Nagamine! Fukuda can only watch as he's doubled off at 1st and the inning is over!
Nakai's strategy backfires here in the 8th and we enter the final frame of regulation still scoreless!
But one has to be concerned about Hamada's control there in the 8th. He's only thrown 128 pitches which is not necessarily a lot, but we don't know that for sure.
Again Ishiyama tries to safety bunt his way on base, but can't do so. Forced to swing away, he strikes out.
Satou fares no better. Falling behind in the count, he has to swing away and strikes out for the 4th time, earning the golden sombrero...
And all Inagaki can do is groundout to short.
First pitch to Kuramasu and he lines a hanging slider past a diving Fukuda into center!
Maruko first pitch swinging hits a hanging fastball into left center!! Ishiyama running it down and getting it in quickly! Kuramasu holds at 3rd! Sayonara run just 90 feet away!!
Iwakiri-kantoku calling time, the situation has quickly turned dire.
Certainly they'll have to intentionally walk Mikoshiba to load the bases.
#17 Okumoto comes in to pinch run for Kuramasu at 3rd.
And they do just that. Manrui for Kouryou, although the runner at 3rd is the only one that matters.
Sanda up. Ibii out to talk to Hamada.
Sanda connects on the first pitch! Grounder back up the middle!! Hamada can't get it! Nagamine dives, misses it - but it wouldn't have matter anyways because they wouldn't be able to cut down the runner at home!
Sanda with the sayonara hit sending Kouryou into the Best 8! In the end, Hamada could not last the full 9 innings as Kouryou took full advantage connecting on the first pitch from Hamada each time in the 9th.
Miyazaki Kougyou fought hard, and for as few opportunities they had they were oh so close to completing the job. Certainly if the call at home on the wild pitch had gone their way, who knows what would have happened. But they deserve credit for hanging in there with Kouryou for 8½ innings.