After that exciting starter to the day, we turn our attention to the summer champions Chuukyoudai Chuukyou.
Looking to hold both titles simultaneously, they managed to get by Moriokadai Fuzoku despite a sub-par performance from finals savior ace Morimoto. And while the offense scored 5 runs, the hitting seemed out of whack as well.
Shinkou Gakuen had the unenviable task of facing perennial team Kochi in the first round, and wound up in a bit of a slugfest, pulling it out in the bottom of the 9th inning after Kochi had tied it up in the top of the frame.
Advantage in the matchup has to go to Chuukyoudai Chuukyou. The talent level, especially on the mound is much different. Again though, if Morimoto can't find the mark - and Maenaka can keep it together, Shinkou could have a shot.
Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) - Tokai Runner-up
RF Ogiso Ryou
CF Iwatsuki Yuuma
P Morimoto Jyunpei
C Isomura Yoshitaka
LF Iwaikawa Yuuta
2B Fujinami Daisuke
SS Kawamoto Takeshi
3B Fukushima Hirotaka
1B Takeuchi Hirotaka
Shinkou Gakuen (Hyogo) - Kinki 3/4
SS Masuda Kukiya
RF Yokogawa Shun
3B Itou Ryousuke
1B Iseki Takashi
LF Fujishima Hirotoshi
CF Furutani Ryouhei
P Maenaka Masashi
C Shimizu Shouta
2B Hatokawa Takuma
11:18 - First Pitch!
Ogiso with a grounder back up the middle for a leadoff single! Iwatsuki moves him over.
Morimoto with a chance early to get the lead, grounds back to Maenaka. Goes to look the runner back, but Ogiso is caught in no-man's land! Maenaka immediately starts the rundownd and they get Ogiso! Morimoto doesn't advance to 2nd on the rundown, and is almost thrown out at 1st instead!
The baserunning error hurts as Isomura hits a single to shallow center!
Maenaka gets Iwaikawa to fly out to left! Fujishima is there to make the catch and retire the side.
Masuda with a liner to left, but Iwaikawa is there for the 1st out.
Yokogawa bloops one to right center. All the fielders converge on the ball, but can't reach it.
Itou swinging away, strikes out on a change down and away.
Morimoto finishes the inning by getting Iseki to fly out to left center. He looks better to start the game.
Maenaka with a 1-2-3 inning as he gets 3 easy groundouts from the 6-7-8 hitters. Maenaka looking pretty good himself, although the bottom of the Chuukyou order are trying to work the count.
Morimoto with his own 1-2-3 inning dispatching the Shinkou batters in a tidy 8 pitches.
Last batter Takeuchi grounds out to 1st.
Ogiso with his 2nd hit of the day lining one to left. Iwatsuki looking to move him over.
But Oofuji-kantoku decides to send Ogiso to 2nd! Throw from Shimizu not in time! Now a bunt will advance the runner to 3rd!
But Iwatsuki isn't bunting on the 2-1 pitch! Maenaka misses, and it's 3-1. Shows bunt again, but he ends up walking!
Runners on 1st and 2nd now with only one down!
Morimoto up again to help his own cause.
But he hits a grounder to 1st! Iseki goes to 2nd for one, AH!
Masuda trying to go for the double play forgets to secure the first out first! He whiffs on the throw and it goes into the outfield! Ogiso comes in from 3rd and the error puts Chuukyou on the board 1-0!
Again runners on 1st and 2nd with only one down!
But Isomura flies out to Furutani for the 2nd out, and Maenaka goes down looking for the 3rd out! Chuukyou is on the board first thanks to a defensive miscue by the Shinkou captain.
Shimizu flies out to left while Hatokawa fouls off several pitches before going down swinging for 2 outs.
Masuda, trying to make up for his error, gets a two-out single back up the middle past a diving Fujinami.
Yokogawa with a liner down the right field line... FAIR!! Masuda turns on the jets as Ogiso runs it down near the foul pole! They're waving him home! The relay throw home is not in time and Yokogawa's RBI double ties the game! It's 1-1!
Morimoto then walks Itou! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Shinkou!
Oofuji-kantoku calls time for a conference.
Morimoto's control has lost him, but is it only temporary?
Ball one to Iseki, maybe not.
And Kitahara-kantoku decides to call a hit-and-run! But Iseki fouls the pitch off.
He calls it again, and again Iseki fouls it off.
Kitahara calls it off, but Iseki can't get a base hit and goes down swinging on a curveball away!
But Shinkou comes right back and responds to Chuukyou's opening salvo!
Maenaka facing the 6-7-8 hitters once again - and once again, he retires them in order without much trouble.
Morimoto facing the 5-6-7 hitters again - and he retires the first two without trouble.
But then Maenaka gets a hold of a Morimoto fastball and sends it to deep center! It takes one bounce to the wall as Iwatsuki runs back to retrieve it and Maenaka is in with a 2-out double!
Shimizu up and Morimoto falls behind 3-0! But Shimizu swings away and grounds out to 1st!
Maenaka having no trouble with the Chuukyou batters after giving up the run. Once again, he retires the side in order with a grounder to 3rd and two flyouts.
Interesting, Oofuji has #10 Asano warming up in the bullpen.
Morimoto, trying to make the case to stay in, strikes out Hatogawa to start the inning.
Back to the top of the order and Masuda, and after Kawamoto can't catch up to a foul ball, he fixes his timing and lines one to left for a single!
Yokogawa showing bunt, but pulling back each time. Morimoto walks him on 4 straight!
Isomura coming to talk to Morimoto, and Oofuji makes it a full conference.
Kitahara has Itou swinging away, but he's send packing on 3 straight as Morimoto climbs the ladder on him, culminating in a swing on a high fastball!
Iseki with a fly to left, and that ends the inning. Morimoto getting himself into trouble once again but continues to find ways out!
The Chuukyou batters are really eager to swing the bat. They're swinging early and often, but not making good contact. Maenaka gets a 1-2-3 inning in just 5 pitches!
Morimoto with only 79 pitches so far after 6. The bigger issue is his control.
Routine grounder by Fujishimato short. Kawamoto with the throw, and it's high! It goes in the camera well and Fujishima ends up at 2nd!
Shinkou has another great scoring opportunity!!!
Furutani with the bunt! Fukushima charging in, but decides to try and let it roll foul! It's rolling towards the line, but getting closer to the 3rd base bag! Closer, closer...
... and it rolls foul within inches of the 3rd base bag! That was too close!
Furutani with another bunt, this time definitely in fair territory. Fukushima charging in again, throws to first, but Furutani is already by the bag! All safe and runners at the corners with nobody down!!
Isomura up to talk to Morimoto again. But Shinkou with a great chance to take the lead!
Maenaka showing bunt, but pulls it back. Furutani taking off for 2nd, and there's no throw from Isomura! Runners on 2nd and 3rd with no down!
And Maenaka is swinging?? He whiffs on a curve down and away in the dirt. Chuukyou has an open bag, you may not get anything hittable!
And Maenaka hits a hanging curve, but on the ground to short! The runners have to hold and there's one down!
Get the ball up in the air!
Shimizu with Shinkou's second chance at break point. Again, Morimoto not pitching in the zone. Fastball away for ball 1, curveball away that catches the corner, 1-1.
Curve way low, Shimizu check swings, but appeal down the 3rd says that he went. 1-2!
SANSHIN! Shimizu swings and misses on a low change! 2 down!
Morimoto has avoided 2 break points, has one more in #9 batter Hatogawa.
Kitahara-kantoku pulls Hatogawa and puts in #13 Yamaguchi to pinch hit. And now Shinkou will need a base hit to score a run.
Morimoto gets his first strike and starts throwing junk. Yamaguchi swings at a change in the dirt and he's behind the 8-ball 1-2.
Holds off on a fastball outside, but Morimoto gets him swinging on another curveball! Isomura throws to 1st to complete the out and Morimoto gets out of the jam!
That's pretty much unforgivable to have runners at 2nd and 3rd with no out and not score. Blame goes to the players who don't understand that Morimoto has some leeway with 1st base open not to throw anything good to a batter, and that all that was initially needed was a fly ball which would immediately dictate pitches down in the zone. Kitahara also gets part of the blame for not talking to his players about the situation and what is expected - especially if you're deciding not to squeeze.
Should Shinkou lose this game, they only need to look back to this half-inning as the reason why.
Yamaguchi stays in the game and goes to right. Yokogawa comes in to play 2nd.
Fujinami strikes out on a bit of an excuse me swing for the first out.
Kawamoto with a first-pitch single through to left. Fukushima looking to bunt him along. But Maenaka misses with his 1st two pitches, falling behind 2-0.
Kawamoto takes off! Fukushima swings and misses, throw from Shimizu to 2nd, short and not in time!
Fukushima given the green light! He hits a fly just to the right of center. Furutani under it, but Kawamoto tags up! Throw to 3rd is not in time the go-ahead run is 90 feet away!
Oofuji calling for a pinch hitter as well, calling on #13 Horii to pinch hit for Takeuchi. Kitahara calls a conference to discuss strategy.
As expected, they're pitching Horii away, and Horii is waiting for anything in the zone to back away at. Maenaka falls behind 3-1, then gets him to swing on a high fastball. But the payoff pitch is down and away and Horii doesn't bite! Runners on the corners with 2 down and we're back to the top of the order and Ogiso!
Maenaka continuing to throw fastballs at Ogiso.
And he pays the price!
Ogiso times the 2-1 pitch and drives it to left center!! Furutani running over, dives, but can't come up with it! Kawamoto comes in to score. Fujishima backing up the play runs it down, gets it back in. Horii stops at 3rd, but Ogiso's 3rd hit of the day gives Chuukyou back the lead! 2-1!
Iwatsuki grounds out to 3rd to end the inning, but Ogiso comes through with another hit and gives his team the lead!
Horii stays in the game and takes over at 1st.
Morimoto taking full advantage of the fact that Shinkou is pressing. His control isn't great right now, but it's also making the hitters antsy and swing at anything in the zone instead of trying to draw a walk.
In each case, the batter made contact on the first pitch in the zone and was retired. 7 pitches for Morimoto, and with the way Shinkou is approaching each AB, Chuukyou is on their way to the next round.
One down and Isomura with a drive to left center! Fujishima running back, and it falls at the base of the wall! He's in with a double!
Iwaikawa with a fly to deep center. Furutani under it for the 2nd out, but Isomura advances to 3rd.
Fujinami pops it up. Yokogawa under it in shallow right, and the side is retired.
Iseki not waiting for a ball and is swinging away, continues to foul off balls, but Morimoto eventually wins the battle with a slider down and away.
Fujishima pops it up in foul territory and Isomura hustles down the 3rd base side, makes a final adjustment, and maes the catch.
Furutani is finally patient enough to let Morimoto throw several balls and works a walk.
Maenaka up, and Kitahara sends Furutani on the 2-0 pitch! Ball in the dirt and Isomura's throw is late! Runner in scoring position and Maenaka is ahead 3-0!
He swings at the 3-0 pitch and hits a fly ball! Iwatsuki under it and he catches it for the 3rd out!
Shinkou not letting a somewhat erratic Morimoto try to defeat himself - and are constantly bailing him out.
Kawamoto with the safety bunt! Iseki charging gets the ball, but he can't make a clean feed to Yokogawa and Kawamoto reaches safely! Fukushima bunts him along to 2nd.
And Horii gets his 2nd walk! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Chuukyoudai Chuukyou!
Now Ogiso's 4th hit could put the game away for Chuukyou!
Maenaka continues go after him with fastballs...
Gets him swinging on a fastball down in the zone! 2 down!
And Iwatsuki grounds out to 3rd! Itou steps on 3rd for the 3rd out, and it's the last chance for Shinkou. Cna they stop pressing themselves and put a rally together?
Morimoto with nothing but offspeed pitches. Shimizu pops one up to shallow center. Iwatsuki charging in, makes the running catch for the 1st out.
Changes it up to fastballs to Yamaguchi. And he goes down looking on a fastball on the outside corner! 2 down!
And Masuda hits a fly to left. That should do it. Iwaikawa running in, makes the catch!
Chuukyoudai Chuukyou holds on against Shinkou Gakuen and advances into the Best 8! It was another subpar performance from Morimoto, but he managed to get through the game and eke out the one run victory.
Shinkou Gakuen played with Chuukyoudai Chuukyou step for step, but they'll look back knowing they had every opportunity to win that game and just did not deliver. And so will begin the arduous trek towards the Natsu Koshien.