For the first round, unless you're a big name school, chances are you'll play in front of a smaller crowd unless you're playing on opening day.
That's what Kyushu Gakuin and Matsumoto Kougyou have the honor of doing as they will play to a packed crowd here on Saturday morning.
Kyushu Gakuin did not have to face any of the stronger teams out of Kumamoto. They did show quite a bit of offense in their games, with notable hitters through the tournament being:
- Leadoff batter RF I (? I've never seen a person with a last name of 井 before. Generally, you read it as "I", but I have a hard time believing that's his last name) Shouhei
- SS Mizowaki Hayato (he's wearing #15??!)
- 3B Matsunaga
Matsumoto Kougyou made it by the skin of their teeth against Matsushou Gakuen. Certain key players helped their offense get the team over the top:
- 3rd batter, C Ookuma Shinya (a 2nd year!)
- P Kakita Yuuta helps his own cause as well.
- CF Sasaki (Yasuhito)
Should be an interesting first game! Let's go!
Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto)
RF I Shouhei
SS Mizowaki Hayato (#15)
CF Yamashita Tsubasa
1B Hagiwara Eiji (#14)
P Watanabe Masataka
2B Tomitaka Hirotaka
3B Matsunaga Rem
C Sakai Koushirou
LF Shimoda Hayato
Matsumoto Kougyou (Nagano)
SS Uehara (Kenjirou)
2B Usui Takahiro
C Ookuma Shinya
P Kakita Yuuta
1B Koike Shou
CF Sasaki (Yashuhito)
3B Kohaba Ryou
LF Kurata Kenta
RF Endou Yuusuke
10:29 AM - First Pitch!
Quick out as the first pitch is grounded to short.
But Kakita gets into trouble as Mizowaki hits a grounder to the right side that Usui dives and grabs, but has to eat it. Yamashita puts a beautiful bunt down the 3rd base line and gets on base. Then a blooper by Hagiwara loads the bases.
Tomitaka jumps on the opportunity by driving an 0-2 pitch to left center! That goes off the wall as all 3 runners come in to score! 3-0!
Then with 2 down, Sakai bloops another one to center. Sasaki comes up throwing and has Tomitaka out easily at home! But Kyushu Gakuin is on the board in a big way!
Matsumoto Kougyou's batters flail at the plate to start, probably as a result of quickly going down 3-0. They go in order
Watanabe helps his own cause with a blast to left center! That bounces off the top of the wall and back in play for a triple!
Things get worse for Kakita as he walks Shimoda on 4 straight, brining it back to I.
This time I hits a grounder past a diving Usui, scoring Watanabe, making it 4-0.
Mizowaki lines one to right on a hit-and run, and Shimoda scores, 5-0.
Oh no... wild pitch on the K to Hagiwara, and I scores. 6-0.
Kakita records the next 2 outs quickly, but now they're down 6-0.
Matsukou can't manage anything against Watanabe's side delivery and go down again in order.
Things continue to go bad for Matsuko. Grounder to short goes under Uehara's glove. Then on a bunt by Sakai is thrown wide by Kakita. It pulls Koike off the bag, and that's the 2nd straight error.
There's certainly nerves given that this is their first time, but it's starting to look ugly...
Watanabe puts down another bunt, this time fielded cleanly, and there's runners at 2nd and 3rd with one down.
Shimoda hits one down the left field line for a single, scoring Matsunaga. I follows that up with a grounder to 1st. Matsukou takes the out for the run, and its now 8-0.
Mizowaki lines to 3rd to end the inning, but the rout is on for Kyushu Gakuin...
The bats aren't waking up for Matsuko either. They've gone down in order for 3 straight innings, no ball has been hit out of the infield, and Watanabe has struck out 4.
Yamashita starts the inning with a liner over a leaping Uehara to left. Then after Yamashita steals 2nd, Hagiwara slaps one to left putting runners at the corners.
And then Tomitaka puts a charge into the ball, driving it into the left-center field gap. That scores both runners and it's 10-0... That's 5 RBI's for Tomitaka.
Now you have to feel bad for Matsuko now... Especially Kakita as he's out there to stay it looks like. They're not pulling him and no one is warming up.
After Matsunaga grounds out to short, Sakai singles back up the middle, scoring Tominaga. 11-1.
And Watanabe hits a laser to left-center rolling all the way to the wall for his 2nd triple. 12-0...
Kakita gets the next 2 outs, and Kyushu Gakuin is back on pace at 3 runs an inning...
It doesn't seem like Watanabe is throwing that hard. Generally in the low to mid 130's with a 110 change and keeping the ball down.
Matsukou goes down in order, still without hitting a ball past the infield...
1st year Mizowaki collects his 3rd hit. A hard grounder past a diving Kohaba into left.
But Kakita induces 2 pop-ups, and then Mizowaki is caught stealing 2nd! Matsukou holds Kyushu Gakuin scoreless!
Yatta! Matsumoto Kougyou gets their 1st hit! Sasaki lines a ball to center for a 2-out single! Then Kohaba hits a short chopper down the 3rd base side for their 2nd hit! Maybe they'll score a run?
And Kurata gets ahead 3-0!
Watanabe fills out the count.
Caught by Matsunaga! Matsumoto Kougyou is denied! We head to break with Kyushu Gakuin up 12-0.
It looks like they've put Kakita out of his misery. Sasaki moves in from CF to take the hill. RF Endou is replaced by #13 Sano Shouhei and goes to CF, and Kakita goes to RF.
Sasaki though didn't pitch in the prefecturals.
After retiring the first batter, Matsunaga singles to right. Things start to look shaky after Sasaki hits Sakai, but after getting Watanabe to pop up for the 2nd out, he gets Shimoda looking to end the inning.
New CF Sano slaps the ball the other way through the infield for a single!
Uehara grounds one past a lunging Mizowaki for another single!
Usui lays down a great bunt to advance the runners along, and now it's up to Ookuma to get them home.
He hits a grounder to 2nd! They give up the run as they make the play at first and Matsukou is on the board! 12-1!
Kakita unfortunately can't bring the 2nd runner home has he is badly fooled 3 times on offspeed pitches down and away. But they've avoided the shutout!
Sasaki is getting himself into a bit of trouble again. After retiring I, he walks Mizowaki then hits Yamashita.
Hagiwara hits a towering pop-up, and Uehara makes a quick last correction to catch it for the 2nd out.
And another pop-up! Tomitaka pops one up in foul territory and Koike secures it near the 1st base dugout!
Watanabe gives up his first walk with 2 out here in the 7th. Then Kurata gets around on an inside pitch and singles to center.
So there's runners on 1st and 2nd for Matsukou, but Sano quickly swings on the first pitch and grounds back to Watanabe for the final out.
#10 Matsushita Shintarou comes in for Koike and takes over at 1B.
Matsunaga gets his 2nd hit of the day, a soft liner past a leaping Usui.
Looks like Kyushu is practicing their small ball. Sakai lays down the bunt.
Liner by Watanabe is caught by Matsushita! He makes a diving stab and catches the ball!
Grounder to 2nd by Shimoda should end the inning, but Usui's throw pulls Matsushita off the bag.
And that really hurts when I hits a ball to the left-center field wall for a double, making it 14-1.
Mizowaki strikes out looking to end the inning.
Uehara's grounder to 2nd takes an odd hop and gets by Tomitaka for a base hit.
But after Usui strikes out, Ookuma grounds into a 5-4-3 double play.
Yamashita with a hard grounder to 3rd! Kohaba with the nice diving stop and his throw to 1st beats out a diving Yamashita!
Hagiwara flies out down the left field line, and one more routine grounder to Kohaba ends the inning!
Last ups for Matsumoto.
Two quick outs leave it up to Sasaki who give it a good run at the plate, but in the end records Watanabe 8th K for the game.
It certainly wasn't the way Matsumoto Kougyou wanted to end their Koushien experience, butas painful as it was, I'm sure they enjoyed the fact that they got here in the first place.
For Kyushu Gakuin, it'll be business as usual as they prepare now for Yamagata Chuo.