Well, we have had to wonderful games to start our day so far, how will the afternoon session go?
Our matinee game is between Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku and Niigata Meikun.
While Tankidai did defeat Hikawa 7-2. Hikawa did make it interesting by pulling within 1 against ace Mori Tetsuya. If he does have fatigue issues, which is understandable in this heat, he may not have the same luxury against this opponent.
Niigata Meikun struck early and often against Kyoto Gaidai Nishi's relief starter and never really looked back. Admittedly, they weren't as successful when the ace finally took the hill, but they had baserunners with less than 2 outs in all but 2 innings.
Now Niigata has a dual ace system, but both aces depend on bad/weak contact to be successful.
We may be in for a battle of defenses and who will make the fewest mistakes.
Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
CF Tsuru Shinya
LF Tsutsumi Hirota
2B Iura Kouji
C Kaneko Daiki
3B Furukawa Hiroki
SS Okui Kentarou
RF Kano Tomoharu
1B Tagata Yuuya
P Mori Tetsuya
Niigata Meikun (Niigata)
2B Yamamoto Hidemasa
CF Machiya Shougo
SS Tamura Masahiro
RF Karasawa Maki
1B Urushihara (Hiromu)
C Madou Ryou
3B Itou Gou
P Ikeda Shun
LF Nishiyama Takashi
13:16 - First Pitch!
Hm. Tankidai has their own version of Jock Rock. Not as good as Chiben Wakayama's.
Ikeda getting ahead of the hitters, getting a comebacker from Tsuru, and then strikes out Iura and Kaneko looking.
Machiya with a one-out single to center. Tamura's grounder to 1st moves the runner along, but he's stranded there as Karasawa pops out to right.
Kaneko singles under Tamura's glove to start the inning. But when they try the hit-and-run with Furukawa, it ends up being a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play!
And while Okui singles opposite field, Kano grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
2 down, and Itou hits one just wide of 2nd. Iura runs it down, and makes a nice throw, but can't get it there in time.
Ikeda grounds to short and we're moving right along.
Mori bloops one into center for a leadoff hit. Tsuru trades places as he grounds to 2nd.
Tsustsumi grounds out to short and we're still scoreless.
Nishiyama draws a leadoff walk. Yamamoto with a good bunt to the left side! Furukawa charges, throws, and throws it away!! Runners advance 90 feet and Tankidai is in trouble!
Machiya not bunting! He goes down swinging! One down!
Tamura with a fast grounder to 2nd! Iura with it and the runners hold! He goes to 1st and there's 2 down!
Cleanup batter Karasawa the last chance here.
Mori with the guts pose after getting Karasawa swinging on a 3-2 inside fastball!
Iura with a grounder to 2nd. It goes off Yamamoto's glove and into right! Iura heading for 2! Yamamoto retrieves the ball and throws to 2nd... OUT!
Nice recovery by Yamamoto!
Furukawa singles to center, butt Okui flies out to left to end the inning.
Urushihara with a single that goes over the glove of Okui into center. He's bunted along to 2nd, and when Itou grounds to short, he takes off on the throw and slides into 3rd safely!
Ikeda with a shot at 3rd! Furukawa with it, one hops it to 1st where Tagata makes a nice pick for the 3rd out!
Kano with a single past the glove of Tamura into left. He's bunted along to 2nd, and grounded to 3rd for top batter Tsuru looking for the first base hit with runners in scoring position this game.
Instead, he draws a walk, and that gets Satou-kantoku to call for a conference.
Ikeda doesn't given in. He gets Tsutsumi to groundout to 3rd to end the inning.
Mori retires the side in order, and as we head into the break the teams find themselves scoreless. Both teams have had opportunities, but have not been able to get the key base hit.
Iura with a base hit up the middle for a leadoff single! After Kaneko sac bunts, Satou-kantoku again takes Ikeda out at 5.1 IP and puts in #11 Kanda Kenta.
Furukawa grounds to short, but Tamura throws to 3rd where they get Iura trying to the 3rd.
And Okui pops out to Kenta to end the inning!
Mori walks Tamura on 4 straight, and after a sac bunt, we have another run-scoring situation!
Urushihara with a hard grounder to 3rd! It takes a high hop on Furukawa and bounces high in the air! Urushihara advances to 2nd and now Meikun has a great scoring opportunity!
Matou with a single to left! Tamura scores! Urushihara is being sent home! Tsutsumi with the throw, and it easily has Urushihara! 2 out! But Niigata Meikun breaks through! 1-0!!
Itou tries the safety bunt but is thrown out to end the inning.
Now can Tankidai respond with just 3 innings left?
Not this inning! Kenta retires the side in order and Tankidai is running out of time!
Keita with a grounder up the middle. Iura backhands it and makes a great throw to 1st for the out!
Yamamoto gets a one out single to right, but again, Mori does a good job of shutting the door by getting Machiya to ground to 3rd.
After what seemed like a good play by Tamura where he runs down a grounder from Tsutsumi and makes the play at 1st, he has to go to the dugout. Might have jammed his finger.
He out in no time though and we're back to playing.
Iura grounds to 2nd to end the inning, and Tankidai hasn't gotten a hit off of Keita since he's entered the game.
Furukawa fields all three of Meikun's out, and we're already to the 9th inning where Tankidai has just 3 outs to score one run.
Tankidai will send their 4-5-6 batters to the plate.
Kaneko with a drive to deep center!! Machiya running back to the wall! It falls in front of the wall, and Kaneko is in with a double!
Conference for Niigata as Nishimura-kantoku sends up #17 Nagatoshi Takuya to PH for Furukawa.
Nagatoshi takes the 1st pitch to center!! Kaneko stops at 3rd! Runners at the corners with no down!
Okui with a liner! It's right at Tamura! Nagatoshi is way off 1st! He's doubled off!!!
A terrible break for Tankidai!
And Kano grounds out to 1st to end the game!
What a way to end the game! When it seemed like Kenta had shut the door on Tankidai, they mount one last rally. But befitting of this game, it falls just short!
This game went pretty quickly and with no true action as each team tried inning after inning to get that one timely hit. In the end it was the boys from Niigata that got the job done.
While certainly not as fully exciting as some of the other close games, both teams did play very good baseball. The loss certainly will hurt for the Tankidai squad, but they played very well this tournament.