The last quarterfinal game pits two super-regional champions together.
Oogaki Nichidai is actually the Meiji Jingu Taikai champions and probably one of the favorites to win it all. But they barely handled 21st century team Kawashima 3-2, then came back with a strong 6-2 win over Osaka Touin.
Hokushou is the Hokkaido champions, but no team since Komadai Tomakomai has had success at Koshien. Hokushou hopes to break that trend this year. They handled Akita Shougyou 2-0, then edged out Jiyuugaoka (who had defeated Toukaidai Sagami) 5-4.
Certainly Hokushou is viewed as the underdog here. But can they play the part of spoiler and make a date with Kounan in the semis?
Hokushou (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Oono Masaya
2B Kimura Yuuji
C Nishida Akihisa
P Matano Tomoya
CF Abe Kenichi
LF Nodate Tomohito
1B Shintani Yuuki
3B Kuroda Kento
RF Chiba Tatsuki
Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
CF Morita Shouken
SS Kojima Takuya
RF Gotou Kenta
1B Takada Naohiro
3B Koo Takudai
LF Andou Yoshirou
2B Nagaoka Yoshiki
C Tokimoto Ryou
P Achira Takuma (#10)
16:18 - First pitch!
Oono takes the first pitch and singles to left! Looking for the quick run, Kimura bunts him over.
But Achira shuts the door, getting Nishida to fly out to center and Matano waving at a pitch outside to end the inning.
Matano looking good to start, getting Morita to fly out to center, while Kojima hits a comeback to him.
But then he loses control, walking Gotou and Takada back-to-back.
That costs him as Koo singles one past Kimura into center! Gotou rounds 3rd and scores making it 1-0!
And then he walks Andou! Manrui for Oogaki!
Nagaoka with a grounder past Shinani into right! Takada scores! Koo rounding 3rd... he scores! The walks immediately kill Matano as the score goes to 3-0!
And immediately Kawakami goes to the bullpen switching Matano and Chiba.
But Chiba has his own control issues, falling behind 3-1 to Tokimoto. He managers to work it full, then get Tokimoto to strike out looking to end the inning.
The damage has been done though, and Hokushou finds themselves in an early, and fairly large hole.
Abe tries to startup the offense with a bunt single, but it's too hard and Koo makes the play at 1st.
Nodate with a hard liner to left, but Andou makes the quick spring to his right and makes the catch.
And Achira gets Shintani on a pitch on the outside corner to end the inning.
Achira with a grounder to short. Oono up with it, the throw to first is short and gets by Shintani! Achira advances to 2nd on the error.
Morita looking to bunt him over, doesn't have to as Chiba misses wide and walks him. Runners on 1st and 2nd with no out.
Kojima laying down a great bunt. Chiba has to run over and get it since Kuroda is holding at 3rd. He turns, makes the hard throw and just beats out Kojima! (At least he was running through the base.)
Gotou with a grounder back up the middle, past Kimura! That will score 2! Achira and Morita score on the one out double and it's now 5-0 Oogaki!
Matano had issues flying open and throwing the ball wide. Chiba is either throwing the ball wide, or not getting it to the plate.
Takada with a hard grounder to 3rd. Kuroda up with it and makes the throw to 1st for the 2nd out.
But the woes continue for Hokushou....
Chiba with a base hit down the right field side to the wall for a double. Gotou scores, 6-0...
Andou with a shot to left-center for a triple... 7-0....
Nagaoka with a blooper to right center. Kimura, Abe and Matano converge, but none of them can get it. Nagaoka ends up with a double... 8-0...
Tokimoto flies out to center to end the inning... but the writing is on the wall early....
At least Hokushou has original oen-dan music which sounds cool...
Kuroda takes the first pitch and flies to center.
Chiba hits a grounder to the left side. Kojima runs it down, makes the strong throw off the back foot... and gets Chiba! Nice play!
Oono is jammed and grounds out to 2nd.
Hopefully they can get something going in this game.
Chiba seemed to have settled down after the shaky innings, getting Achira to ground out to 3rd and Morita to hit a nubber in front of the plate.
Kojima breaks it up with a single to center.
Then on Gotou's AB, Chiba has Kojima picked off! He takes off for 2nd! Shintani with the throw, but it's late and Kojima slides in safely!
And then Gotou is hit by Chiba! Oh boy...
Takada with a bloop to left center! Abe charges, dives, but can't come up with it! Kojima and Gotou come around to score, and it's now 10-0 here in the 3rd inning.
And Koo walks putting runners on 1st and 2nd.
Andou strikes out looking to end the inning, but now Oogaki's lead is double digits...
I feel bad for the boys from Hokkaido. It can't be fun playing right now down 10.
Kimura trying for a bunt single grounds back to Achira.
Nishida hits a laser beam to left center that zooms past the outfielders and to the wall. He rolls in with a double.
But that's as far as he would get. Matano flies out to left, and Abe grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Nagaoka walks to lead off the inning. And with a big lead, the batters are swinging away as Tokimoto flies out center.
Again, I say something and then the opposite happens. Achira bunts the runner along and cycles to the top of the order.
Morita though, flies out to left to end the inning, and Hokushou finally holds Oogaki scoreless.
Nodate gives Hokushou their 2nd leadoff runner as he shoots one back up the middle.
Shintani not bunting as the oen-dan plays Train-Train. But he flies out to right.
Kuroda up. Hit-and-run from Kawakami-kantoku. Kuroda swings and misses and Tokimoto throws out Nodate by a good margin.
He hits one to left center... Morita diving, but can't come up with it! It's to the wall! Kuroda heading to 3rd, but slips and has to hold at 2nd.
Chiba grounds to short, and Kojima goes for the out at 3rd. But the throw is to the wrong side of Koo and he can't make the throw. Wonder if they were practicing that particular play.
Runners at the corners with 2 down for Oono, but he flies out to center to end the inning.
Chiba ahead of Kojima 1-2, but Nishida is called for batter's interference.
Gotou works the count full, but gets frozen on a fastball inside.
Takada with a grounder to short. Oono throws to 2nd for one, relay to 1st in time for the double play to end the inning. Hokushou puts up another 0.
Kimura goes down swinging leading off the 6th. His expression as he slumps over probably is the feeling of the entire team inside.
Nishida does earn a 4-pitch walk, and then a wild pitch to Matano advances him to 2nd.
And a second consecutive one sends Nishida to 3rd. Achira fires to in there to even the count.
Ow. A foul ball of the bottom of Tokimoto's vest. And after another foul ball, Matano grounds out to Achira. 2 down.
Abe with a sharp comebacker up the middle and into center! Nishida comes home and Hokushou is finally on the board, 10-1.
Nodate with a grounder through the left side. Abe running hard breaks for 3rd and slides in safely. Runners at the corners for Shintani with 2 down.
But Shintani goes down swinging. Hokushou avoids the shutout, but it's probably little consolation.
Ow. Koo is hit in his upper leg. That's gotta hurt. Andou moves him over for Nagaoka. Chiba falls behind 3-1, but gets him to hit a comebacker for the 2nd out.
And Tokimoto grounds out to 2nd. Chiba takes the throw covering 1st to retire the side.
After a foul pop-out by Kuroda, Chiba shoots one up the middle for a single. Oono grounds to first and Takada takes out the lead runner.
Then with Kimura up, Oono takes off for 2nd, but is thrown out easily by Tokimoto.
A relatively quick inning for Chiba here in the 7th. He gets Achira to strike out looking, and after hitting Morita, 2 flyouts to Kojima and Gotou.
Defensive changes for Oogaki. #13 Tomita comes in for Gotou and takes his spot in right. #14 Tanigawa comes in for Andou and takes over in left.
2 quick out for Hokushou as Kimura grounds out to 3rd and Nishida strikes out on 3 straight.
Matano grounds one back past Kojima to center for a single.
Abe takes the first pitch to right and that ends the inning.
Defensive change for Hokushou. #17 Ikeda comes in for Shintani and takes over at 1B.
Another easy inning for Chiba. Watanabe hits a liner to left center, but Abe runs it down. Koo grounds back to Chiba, and Tanigawa strikes out looking.
Last ups for Hokushou in the spring Koshien.
Defensive change as #12 Watanabe comes in for Gotou and takes over at 1B.
Nodate after a prolonged at-bat, singles to center just in front of Morita. A wild pitch sends the runner to 2nd.
Ikeda with a grounder to short. Kojima up with it and Nodate, who had been running on contact, is caught between 2nd and 3rd. He's run down for the first out.
Kuroda next, and he goes down swinging.
Last chance in Chiba, but before that a double switch. #12 Watanabe takes over for Takada at 1B while #16 Sugiura comes in to pinch run for Ikeda.
Chiba flies out to Morita in center and that does it. Oogaki Nichidai advances to the semifinals with an easy 10-1 victory over Hokushou. Hokushou's staff never really got going to start and it cost them dearly falling behind 10-0 after 3 innings.
For Oogaki Nichidai, their run continues to the championship. Their next roadblock, the boys from Kounan in Okinawa and the strikeout king Shimabukuro.