Our final game features one team whose conquests at Koshien are noted and who is always capable of reaching the Best 8 and beyond, and another whose ace is in new territory.
Chiben Wakayama had little trouble with Takaoka Shougyou in their first round game, but the question still revolves around the pitching staff. It didn't seem like Takashima-kantoku has that go-to ace - which is unusual for his teams. Ace Yoshimoto will be on the hill so it'll be interesting to see how he performs.
Kounan handled Kanzei 4-1 in their first round game, putting together a couple of runs together - which they couldn't do in the past. But now they're facing a top tier team, and while the pitching is a bit suspect, they'll need to continue delivering for their ace.
There will be little to worry about with Shimabukuro. His poise on the mound is unquestioned and he doesn't back down to anyone. He'll rack up the K's, and keep his team in it.
Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Kinki At-large
CF Shiroyama Akinori
2B Iwasado Ryou
RF Nishikawa Haruki
1B Yamamoto Sadahiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
LF Miyakawa Yuuki (#10)
3B Seto Yuuzuke
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
P Yoshimoto Hiroshi
Kounan (Okinawa) - Kyushu 3/4
2B Kuniyoshi Tairiku (#6)
CF Ketashiro Kai
3B Ganeko Moritsugu
1B Maehira Daiki
RF Mekaru Keisuke
C Yamakawa Daisuke
LF Irei Shinya
P Shimabukuro Yousuke
2B Ooshiro Kouji (#15)
13:54 - First pitch!
Shiroyama gets under a fastball. Maehira in foul territory catches it next to the fence.
Iwasado gives it a good drive to right, but Mekaru catches it in front of the "warning track".
Haruki a bit more patient, and he's awarded with a walk from Shimabukuro.
Yamamoto up, and dear lord does he take a big swing. Falls behind 1-2, and Takashima puts on the hit-and-run! Yamamoto pops it up! Yamakawa near Chiben's batting circle, looks to have it, but makes a last second move and loses it! Yamamoto stays alive!
No matter! Yamamoto can't hold up on a curveball from Shimabukuro and the side is retired! He gives up an early walk, but looks good otherwise.
Yoshimoto with a huge curve to against Tairiku and he grounds out to 3rd.
Ketashiro with a low liner to short, and it goes under Ogasawara's legs! E6 and Kounan has their first runner.
Yoshimoto is certainly not an overpowering pitcher with a fastball sitting in the high 120's/low 130's.
Ganeko with a ball back up the middle for a base hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Kounan!
That brings up cleanup batter Maehira. Has a chance to get his team on the board.
Hard liner to right! Haruki running towards the line makes the catch as Ketashiro tags up and advances to 3rd.
Mekaru steps in the box and Michibata comes out to talk to Yoshimoto.
Ganeko takes off for 2nd on the 1-2 pitch! Michibata comes out firing, but Yoshimoto cuts it off! Runners at 2nd and 3rd now for Kounan!
SANSHIN! Mekaru swings and misses on a high fastball and the side is retired!
Michibata under a curve and flies out to 2nd.
Miyagawa with a hit past a diving Ganeko and down the left field line! Irei over to get it as Miyagawa slides into 2nd with a double.
Seto with a looping hit over Shimabukuro! Tairiku and Kouji both try to cut it off, but it goes into center! Miyagawa had to double back in case it was caught, and as a result only makes it to 3rd. But runners are on the corners with only one down for Ogasawara!
Yamakawa goes out to talk to Shimabukuro.
Ogasawara with a single to shallow right!! Miyakawa comes in to score, and it's 1-0 Chiben Wakayama! Shimabukuro gives up 3 consecutive hits which culminate with the run, and there's still only one down!
Yoshimoto up being asked to bunt the runners along. But he takes a strike and then fouls one off. 1-2, and he bunts again! But he fouls it off and there's 2 down.
Shimabukuro gets Shiroyama to ground out to 1st. Maehira takes it himself to the bag for the 3rd out, but Chiben Wakayama has struck first!
Yamakawa flies out to right leading off the 2nd.
Irei takes one the other way to right for a base hit. Gakiya has Shimabukuro lay down the bunt with 1 down and he does so. So two down now with Kouji up to bat.
He hits a hard grounder right at Seto! It deflects off of him and straight up in the air! By the time it comes down everyone's safe!
Runners at the corners with the top of the lineup coming for Kounan.
Michibata doesn't block Yoshimoto's 0-1 pitch and it goes all the way to the backstop! Irei comes in and Kounan ties the game up! It's 1-1, and the go ahead run is in scoring position!
Tairiku with a grounder past Seto into left! They're sending Kouji home! Throw from Miyakawa is in plenty of time to get Kouji and the inning is over! They'll have to settle for a tie ball game!
Iwasado leads off the 3rd with a single through the infield to left.
And Yamakawa can't block Shimabukuro's first pitch to Nishikawa! Iwasado advances to 2nd!
But Haruki goes down looking on a pitch down and in! 1 out!
Cleanup batter Yamamoto goes down swinging on a slider in the dirt! 2 down!
Just when it seemed like Shimabukuro would get out of the jam with no trouble, he walks Michibata!
AH!!! And now he hits Miyakawa and it's manrui for Chiben Wakayama!!
Yamakawa goes out to talk to Shimabukuro as the 7-batter Seto is due up.
SANSHIN!! Shimabukuro gets Seto out on a slider in the dirt! He gets out of his own jam and the game is still tied at 1!
Ketashiro with a grounder back up the middle for a leadoff single!
Ganeko shows bunt! Pushes it up the 1st base line! Yoshimoto picking it up throws to Iwasado covering, but throws it behind him! Iwasado can't catch it, but Ganeko would have beaten it out anyways! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Kounan!
Maehira trying to bunt the runners along, fouls it off.
Now he swings away and hits a hard liner, but Shiroyama runs it down in center for the 1st out.
#11 Fujii is warming up in the bullpen for Chiben Wakayama in case things start getting out of hand.
Mekaru with a comebacker to Yoshimoto! Throws to 2nd for one. But wait! Ogasawara goes back to tag 2nd! Umpire calls safe! All safe!!
Ogasawara was there to receive the throw, but never touched the bag! Everyone's safe! Manrui for Kounan with only 1 down!
But Yamakawa hits one right back to Yoshimoto! He goes home for one, Michibata's throw to 1st in plenty of time for the double play! The 1-2-3 double play quickly ends the threat for Kounan and Chiben Wakayama goes to take the sticks!
Shimabukuro strikes out his 6th batter in Ogasawara to start the 4th.
Yoshimoto pops one up to short. Kouji calls for it in the outfield grass and makes the catch for the 2nd out.
Back to the top of the order and Shiroyama hits a grounder to the left side. Kouji running over gets to it, but can't quite put the glove on it and it deflects into left for a base hit.
Iwasado with a drive to left center!! Ketashiro trying to run it down, but it's no use! It falls in and goes all the way to the wall! Shiroyama rounding the bases scores all the way from first and Iwasado gives Chiben Wakayama back the lead here in the 4th! 2-1!
Shimabukuro then issues his 4th free pass today! What is going on with him today?
Gakiya-kantoku calls time. Conference is being held on the mound while #10 Sunagawa is warming up.
Really??! Are they really going to relieve Shimabukuro??!
Cleanup batter Yamamoto up...
First pitch slider, he's way early on. Second pitch, fastball, he's late on. But man is he getting some hard contact on the ball.
SANSHIN!!! Shimabukuro catches him looking at a fastball on the outside corner!! That's Yamamoto's 3rd K of the game!
Shimabukuro gets out of the inning, but not before Chiben Wakayama reclaims the lead.
Irei starts the inning with a quick groundout to 2nd.
Shimabukuro gets brushed on his left elbow by a Yoshimoto pitch! He was kinda checking into it, but a dead ball is a dead ball.
Kouji with a sac bunt! Seto makes the play at 1st.
2 down, tying runner in scoring position for Tairiku.
He hits a liner, but right at Iwasado! Inning over!
Chiben Wakayama's oen-dan finally break out Jock Rock here in the 5th.
Cameras go over to Takashima-kantoku with a graphic showing his record. He's been to 11 spring Koshien tournaments, and 18 summer winning 24 and 35 games respectively.
When I say that Chiben Wakayama is the dominant team out of Wakayama, that's what I mean.
Michibata with a grounder to 3rd. Miyakawa softly grounds out to 2nd.
And Seto swings at the first pitch and flies out to right for his first 1-2-3 inning. Yes, that's right, his first.
Ketashiro with a liner back up the middle for a leadoff hit!
Ganeko showing bunt, takes strike 1. Shows bunt again, outside.
Not bunting, Ketashiro takes off! IS BUNTING!!! ISN'T BUNTING!!!!!!
Single to right!!! Ketashiro advances to 3rd!!
What?! Ganeko didn't show bunt to start, started to show it as Yoshimoto was delivering the ball, then pulled it back and slapped it past Iwasado into right field! How is that even conceivable??!
Takashima-kantoku has seen enough and pulls Yoshimoto in favor of #11 Fujii who pitched in the first game.
Maehira shows bunt, but pulls it back.
Comebacker to Fujii! Looks the runner back to 3rd. Throws to 2nd. SAFE!!!
Fujii's throw to 2nd pulls Ogasawara off the bag! Everyone's safe!
Manrui for Kounan for #5 hitter Mekaru. Fujii falls behind him 3-0!!
High!! Fujii walks him on 4 straight!!! Kounan ties the game on a bases loaded walk! It's 2-2!!!
Takashima-kantoku calls time and sends a quick message to the mound.
Yamakawa gets the job done! He hits a fly ball to center! Shiroyama has to back up to field it and that allows Ganeko to score! Kounan takes the lead 3-2!
Also on the play Maehira advances to 3rd.
Irei lays down the squeeze on the 0-1 pitch and Fujii's only play is to 1st! Maehira comes in to score and it's 4-2 Kounan!!
Shimabukuro draws a walk! The inning continues for Kounan!
Kouji flies out to right, but Kounan sends 8 batters to the plate and score 3 runs. They now hold a 2-run lead on Chiben Wakayama heading into the break!
Shimabukuro has already thrown 90 pitches so far after 5. He's probably going to go the distance now, so he'll have a lot of mileage put on that arm today.
Ogasawara with a grounder to 3rd. Ganeko up with it, throws to first and Maehira with the nice stretch gets the throw, but it pulls him off the bag! E5 gives Chiben a leadoff runner!
Fujii looking to bunt the runner over, pops it up! Maehira running in, dives, but can't get it! The ball rolls up under him and his throw to 1st is late - all safe!!
Shiroyama to bunt, but he pops it up! Maehira charging in again, makes the running catch just in foul territory! One down.
Iwasado with a grounder to 3rd! Ganeko over to the bag for one, throw to 1st, double play! Maehira with a great pick to complete the double play and Chiben is denied here in the 6th!!
Fujii quickly retires the first two batters before yielding Ganeko's 4th hit of the game - a liner into center.
But Maehira pops it up to 3rd to end the inning and we move to the 7th with Chiben behind by 2.
Haruki gets jammed by Shimabukuro and weakly grounds out to 1st.
Shimabukuro has reached the 100 pitch mark as Yamamoto steps in.
SANSHIN!! Yamamoto is ahead of a slider and he strikes out for the 4th time! He earns the golden sombrero award!
Michibata flies out to center to end the inning. Time is not on their side anymore...
Defensive change for Chiben Wakayama. #13 Kubo comes in for Michibata and takes over at C.
Mekaru with a shot back up the middle for a leadoff single. Gakiya has Yamakawa move him over to try and get an insurance run.
And now Fujii brushes Irei with a pitch, giving Kounan runners on 1st and 2nd with one out!
And what's this? Takashima-kantoku's making another pitching change. #14 Nishikawa Yuusuke comes in for Fujii and goes to left, meaning that #10 Miyakawa comes in to take the hill.
Shimabukuro first pitch swinging hits it back to Miyakawa. He goes to 2nd for one, and that's all they'll get. 2 down for Kouji.
He hits a ball down the right field line. Haruki running over, slides, and makes the catch as he hits the wall! Miyakawa gets Chiben Wakayama out of the pinch, but to win this game, they'll need to hit the sticks and get the offense going!
Miyakawa leads off the 8th with a single to center!
Intially intending to bunt, Seto changes tack and bloops one into left for a base hit.
Runners on 1st and 2nd now and Ogasawara tries to bunt, but pops it into the air! Shimabukuro with the ball, fires it to 2nd and they double up Miyakawa! Diaster for Chiben!
Yuusuke pops up to Kouji and the inning is over!
Back to the top of the order in Tairiku. He grounds one up the middle for a single.
Gakiya calls for the hit and run! Ketashiro grounds to short. Ogasawara looks at 2nd, but Iwasado's not covering! Ogasawara goes to 1st for the out.
Ganeko gets his 5th hit of the day! He singles past Yamamoto into right! Tairiku being sent home! Relay throw not in time!!
Maehira with a drive to deep center!! Shiroyama going back, going back...
A 2-run homerun from Maehira blows the game open! It's 7-2!!
That's it for Miyakawa. #16 Uenoyama is called in by Takashima-kantoku to take the hill. He's a siderarmer with good velocity.
He strikes Mekaru out looking, and gets Yamakawa to ground to 3rd to end the inning.
But Maehira's homerun just about puts this game out of reach.
Defensive change for Kounan. #4 Yamashiro comes into the game for Tairiku and takes over at 2B
#7 Bandou comes in to pinch hit for Shiroyama, but to no avail. He can't check his swing on a slider in the dirt and there's 1 down.
Iwasado singles to left center for his 3rd hit today.
But Shimabukuro rings up his 10th K as he gets Haruki on a slider inside. 2 down!
Yamamoto steps in as the last chance for Chiben Wakayama. Already with 4 K's, will he earn the dubious platinum sombrero?
SANSHIN!!! He does! Shimabukuro gets him one more time with the slider in the dirt and the game is over!
Chiben Wakayama's pitching staff couldn't hold back the Kounan offense, while their own offense was stifled by a somewhat ineffective Shimabukuro.
Kounan continues on their journey, and while Shimabukuro continued to rack up the K's, the amount of hits and walks he gave up are concerning, especially since he'll have just one day to rest.