Ok, so perhaps the real reason people are staying is because of this game.
Narita defeated Chiba Reimei, Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku, Narashino and Toukaidai Bouyou en route to the championship.
But the real star of the team is their ace, Nakagawa Ryou. In his 6 appearances for Narita, he racked up 61 K's in just 45 innings, a 12.2 K/9 rate! That includes a 12 K performance against Narashino, and then 11 K's against Toukaidai Bouyou in the finals (not to mention a 1-hitter)!
He has a deliberate 3/4 delivery, throws in the low 140's with a slider, change and curve. He shows good control as he had quite a few looking strikeouts.
But if you're Narita, you have to ask, "Really? REALLY? We have to face who???"
Yes, they have to face Takashima-kantoku and Chiben Wakayama.
But things are a little different as Chiben. Interestingly enough, they made it thorough their qualifiers without a true staff ace. Of the pitchers that did make the roster, they are #15 Aoki Yuuto and #16 Uenoyama Shouma. In addition, the man wearing the #1 ace jersey, Yoshimoto Hiroshi, did not pitch at all! So it's hard to say what Chiben will do, but right now it's a staff by committee.
It's too bad one of these teams have to go home on day 1. And I really wish I was there live to see it...
Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
CF Shiroyama Akinori
2B Iwasado Ryou
RF Nishikawa Haruki
1B Yamamoto Sadahiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
3B Seto Yuusuke
LF Uenoyama Shouma (#16)
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
P Nakamura Kousei (#18)
2B Oogi Ryouta
CF Oka Michiya
1B Kaneko (Yasuhiro)
C Kondou ?
LF Takahashi (Kyuu)
SS Kimura Yuuji
RF Katsuda Yuuto
3B Anzui Daiki
P Nakagawa Ryou
12:54 PM - First Pitch!
Chiben Wakayama's batters are making Nakagawa work, but he's as advertised. He strikes out the first 2 batters, walks the 3rd, and then strikes out Yamamoto Sadahiro to end the inning.
Does throw 22 pitches though.
Interesting that Chiben sends out Uenoyama to start.
Oogi with a grounder past a diving Seto down the left field line for a leadoff single!
They immediately play for one run with Oka sac bunting.
But on a run on contact play, Kaneko grounds to short and Oogi is thrown out at 3rd.
And while Kondou walks, Takahashi grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Michibata finally makes contact on a ball from Nakagawa, although it's a fly out to center.
Seto walks away after swinging at a pitch way down and away.
You know, with Nakagawa's hat the way it is and his expression, he almost has the air of a Felix Hernandez.
Foul ball, and Anzui makes a diving attempts, and probably has a couple of turf burns now.
Kimura works a leadoff walk against Uenoyama. Uenoyama is a sidearmer, much like Watanabe. Speeds are the same too.
And Ojima-kantoku is really vocal in the dugout.
Uenoyama really gets himself into trouble as he walks Katsuda on 4 straight. Anzui bunts them over for #9 batter Nakagawa to help his own cause.
#15 Aoki is warming up in the bullpen for Chiben...
While he is a pitcher, a batter he's not. He easily goes down swinging.
Up to Oogi. But he flies out to center on the first pitch and Uenoyama gets out of the jam.
5th K for Nakagawa as he K's Ogasawara looking.
Uenoyama goes down swinging, 6 K's!
And a slider outside fools Shiroyama and that's 7 K's, and 2 innings of striking out the side.
Uenoyama finally gets a 1-2-3 inning. As long as he keeps the ball on the ground, he'll be effective.
Nakagawa racks up his 8th K as he gets Haruki swinging.
But Sadahiro gets Chiben their first hit! He singles to left with 2 down!
But Michibata lazily flies out to right to end the inning. They are making contact.
Uenoyama continues to keep the ball low. And while he has trouble falling behind Kimura and Katsuta, he works the count full and induces groundouts for a 2nd 1-2-3 inning.
In an attempt to start the offense, the oen-dan plays Jock Rock!
Except Seto chases a ball up and in for Nakagawa's 9th K!
Nakamura takes a good hack, but it's to right and the wind knocks it down. Easy catch for Katsuta.
Ogasawara inside outs a ball down the right field line for a 2-out double! Can Uenoyama get a timely hit?
Nope. He hits a weak nubber in front of home. Nakagawa rushes in and makes the throw to 1st to end the inning.
And Uenoyama's occasional wild pitch hits Anzui to give Narita another leadoff runner.
Nakagawa immediately in the bunting position and successfully lays it down.
Back to the top of the order and Oogi.
And Oogi blasts one to right center! That's in for a base hit and Anzui comes in for the first run of the game! 1-0 Narita!
And it looks like that was as long of a leash as Takashima-kantoku pulls Uenoyama for #15 Aoki Yuuto.
But Oka hits a blooper to center! Oogi realizes this and takes off for 3rd! He's sent home! The throw is late and it's 2-0 Narita!!
Aoki finally stems the damage, getting a popout from Kaneko and Michibata throwing out Oka stealing. But Narita is on the board and Chiben will have to find a way to get to Nakayama.
Chiben Wakayama gets their 1st leadoff runner as Kimura can't handle a slow grounder from Shiroyama.
Takashima-kantoku is playing for one run. Iwasado bunts him along for Haruki.
Haruki with a liner to left center! And Takahashi makes a great running jump catch!!! (I don't know how else to explain it)
Sadahiro pulls through! He lines one into center for a base hit! The throw goes into 2nd and it's 2-1 now!
Michibata bloops one to center. That's in for a hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd now!
Conference on the mound for Narita. Can't give up the lead now!
Seto is jammed, this time the bloop doesn't go far enough and Oogi secures it for the 3rd out.
But Chiben cuts the deficit in half, and there's still 3 innings left for them.
Aoki is a lefty, throws overhand, but throws in the low 130's/high 120's.
Gotou battles Aoki, and he hits a grounder that gets past Aoki! Iwasado charges in, but his throw is late!
But that is quickly erased when Takahashi bunts a ball back to Aoki who starts the 1-6-3 double play.
Then he returns the favor to Narita, walking Kimura on 4 straight.
A grounder to 1st ends the inning, and Narita has to hold on their 1 run lead.
Nakamura gets on with a single to center. Takashima again plays for one run bunting him over.
Aoki now steps in to try and level the game.
Unlike earlier when Nakagawa was striking out the batters, Chiben has been able to make decent contact.
Break for Chiben! Aoki's swing makes it a swinging bunt! Nakagawa charges in but his throw to 1st is late! Runners at the corners with just 1 down!
Conference on the mound again for Narita. Ojima-kantoku knows he can't let this lead get away.
Chiben's oen-dan starts playing Jock Rock again as top batter Shiroyama steps in.
Sanshin! Shiroyama is fooled on a slider way away! Crucial K for Nakagawa!
Up to Iwasado to keep the inning going...
1-2 pitch, Nakagawa shakes Kondou off, again, again...
Iwasado chases a fastball up and in for Nakayama's 11th K! Chiben is turned away!
It may be panic time over at the Chiben dugout now... although I really wonder if Nakagawa meant to throw up and in. Seemed to have missed Kondou's glove.
Aoki looked to have a 1-2-3 inning again, but Iwasado mishandles a grounder by Oogi. He gets another chance at it and makes the put out. So Aoki is keeping his team in the game, the question is whether the offense can deliver. They have just 6 outs left.
The outs continue to tick away. Flyout to center by Haruki... then Nakagawa's 12 K is credited to Sadahiro. And a grounder to 2nd ends the inning. Nakagawa retires the heart of the Chiben order!
Defensive changes for Chiben. #13 Kubo Shouhei comes in for Michibata at C, #14 Nishikawa Yuusuke comes in for Nakamura.
Aoki records another 1-2-3 inning, and it's go time for Chiben if they're going to mount a comeback...
#11 Fujii Tsuyoshi comes in to PH for Seto.
Sanshin! Nakagawa blows him away with a fastball!
Another daida for Chiben. #7 Bandou Yuuki in for new LF Nishikawa Yuusuke. Gets ahead 3-1, but the count gets filled up.
Nakagawa gets Bandou looking on a low strike! 14 K's!
Takashima calls back Ogasawara. #17 Yamamoto Ryuuta comes in as the 3rd PH this inning.
But it's no use. He swings at the first pitch and hits a fly to center! Oka gets under it and secures it for the 3rd out!
Narita has sent Chiben home in the first round for the first time since 2007 and only the third time this decade (counting summer only here). Takashima-kantoku will have to wait until the spring to extend his win count.
But for Narita, it's a trip to the 2nd round and a matchup against the winner of the next game.