Such an exciting day of games determining the first 4 berths into the Best 8 yesterday, and the slate of games today look like they shouldn't disappoint either.
The first game showcases a team quickly on the rise and a new possible contender for the title. That would be ace Nakagwa Ryou and Narita. They were tasked with defeated Chiben Wakayama in the first round, which they did by a slim margin of 2-1, then dismantled Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi 10-2 in the 2nd round. In Nakagawa's 18 innings of work, he struck out 24 while giving up just 17 hits and 2 walks.
Trying to stop the Narita Express is Kita-Ootsu. They had no trouble against Tokoha Tachibana winning 11-4 then pulled ahead late against Maebashi Shougyou 9-3. They won't have that luxury against Nakagawa, so they'll have to find a way to generate timely hitting to score runs.
The odds aren't in Kita-Ootsu's favor right now, but that' s why they take the field, isn't it?
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
LF Kitabayashi Masaya
2B Oono Shinpei
C Yamaguchi Motoki
RF Kotani Koutarou
3B Kitano Riki
CF Nakamura Takao
1B Nishino Sou
P Okamoto Takuya
SS Murai Shouta
8:30 - First Pitch!
Oogi with a single to center to start the game! He's bunted to 2nd.
Ah!! And now Okamoto hits Kaneko! Early pinch for Kita-Ootsu!
But Kondou hits a grounder to 2nd! Oono to Murai for one, relay to Nishino, two! 4-6-3 double play ends the inning for Narita!
Kitabayashi in a good AB against Nakagawa works a walk and is bunted to 2nd.
Yamaguchi with a drive to right! Katsuda fooled?? Running back, leaps, it's over his head!!! The ball goes all the way to the wall as Yamaguchi is in with an RBI triple! Kita-Ootsu leads 1-0!!
Kotani trying to drive in another run...
Nakagawa gets him on a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3!
And Kitano with a fly to center ends the inning!
Kita-Ootsu on the board, but they could have had more!
Okamoto issues a leadoff walk to Takahashi. Kimura tries to bunt him along, but pops it up and Okamoto has it for the 1st out.
Katsuta with a grounder to short, and now Murai starts the 6-4-3 double play to end yet another inning for Narita!
Nakagawa gets some help here in the 2nd as the Kita-Ootsu batters here are being aggressive at the bottom of the lineup. Outside of Nishino, who got ahead 3-0 before grounding out to 2nd, the other batters swing at the first couple of pitches. Nakagawa heads to the dugout having just thrown 8 pitches.
However, his control seems a little off so far today. Hasn't been hitting his spots like he's done before.
Okamoto working extremely fast on the mound, throwing the pitch from the windup almost as soon as he gets the ball!
One down and Nakagawa lines a single to left.
Oogi grounds to short! Murai goes to Oono for one, but this time Oogi beats the throw to prevent the double play.
Oka grounds to short and Kita-Ootsu heads back to the bench.
Oono with a two out single past the glove of Kimura into center.
Yamaguchi with a shot to left! Takahashi running back to the wall. He jumps on top of the padding...
Yamaguchi hits a 2-run homerun off of Nakagawa! Kita-Ootsu leads 3-0!!!
Kotani grounds out to end the inning, but this is certainly a shocker early on!
Kaneko with a single to right to start off the inning. Ojima-kantoku will play for the run.
Takahashi with a chopper right back at Okamoto! He looks the runner back and goes to 1st for the 2nd out!
AH!! And Kimura with an excuse-me swing hits one right back to Okamoto, who goes to 1st for 3 outs!!
Something might be wrong with Nakagawa's command. He goes 2-2 before getting Kitano swinging, then walks Nakamura on 5 pitches.
He gets a weak groundout from Nishino, and a shallow fly from Okamoto to end the inning.
Katsuta with a single to left to start off the inning, but again when they try to bunt the runner over, Okamoto is all over the ball and goes to 2nd for the force!
Anzui with the grounder to 2nd! Oono barehand flips to Murai for one! Murai to Nishino... TWO!!!
Kita-Ootsu turns the 3rd double play today to end an inning!!!
Murai with a grounder to shirt. Kimura's throw is high and Kaneko has to jump! He tries to swipe Murai as he goes past him, but misses! E6!
Hit and run! Kitabayashi with a comebacker to Nakagawa! He goes to 2nd, and Kimura secures the low throw as Murai slides, then pops up and lands on top of him!
Another hit and run! But Oono pops it up to shallow center! Everyone converges on the ball and Oka ends up making the catch! Kitabayashi committed on the hit and run, and is easily doubled off to end the inning.
We head to the break not with Narita leading, but Kita-Ootsu, by a score of 3-0! Can Kita-Ootsu keep the pressure on? Can Narita start a rally to get the runs back?
Oogi with a single past Kitano to left for a leadoff hit!
And AGAIN they can't bunt the runner over! Oka bunts the ball too hard to the left side and Okamoto once again gets the force at 2nd!!
And Okamoto picks off Oka! 2 out!!!!
He goes for the fielding trifecta as Kaneko chops one back to him and he throws to 1st for the third out!!!
Nakagawa gets only his 2nd 1-2-3 inning this game, retiring the side in 6 pitches.
Kondou with a single to left to start the inning.
Takahashi swinging away! He drives one to right center!!! That goes all the way to the wall! Kondou scores and Narita is on the board 3-1 on Takahashi's triple!
Kimura with a grounder back up the middle! Okamoto tries to block, but can't! Takahashi scores and it's 3-2 now!!
Katsuta flies out to center for the first out.
Anzui tries the bunt! But again Okamoto fields his position superbly and goes to 2nd for the out! 2 down and Okamoto is almost out of this mess!
Nakagawa singles through to left! Anzui advances to 2nd.
Oogi with a single through the right side!!! Anzui is being sent home!!! Throw is late and Narita has tied it up!!! 3-3!!!!!
Miyazaki-kantoku has no choice now but to go to the bullpen. #10 Yokoe comes in for Nishino and takes the hill. Okamoto goes to 1st.
But Yokoe falls behind Oka 3-1! He walks him!!! Manrui for Narita!!
And after getting ahead 1-2, he falls behind Kaneko 3-2! There's no place to put him!!
BALL 4!!!! HE WALKS HIM!!!!
Yokoe walks in the gyakuten run and Narita leads 4-3!!!
Kondou with a single to left! Oogi scores! Throw home and Oka stops at 3rd.
But wait!!! Yamaguchi notices that Kaneko is off 2nd! He throws there and they have him in a rundown! They chase him to 3rd where Oka goes off the bag, but is tagged for the 3rd out.
However Narita has exploded for 5 runs this inning and has taken the lead with just 9 outs left for Kita-Ootsu!!!
One down and #16 Mekata Jyun comes in to PH for Yokoe. His relief stint is done. But Mekata grounds to 1st for the 2nd out.
And while Okamoto singles to left, Murai flies out to center to end the inning.
#13 Yamamoto Jyun comes in for Mekata and goes to 1st. Okamoto re-takes the hill.
He'r rudely greeted by Takahashi who takes one to right and all the way to the wall for a double!
Kimura with a great bunt down the 3rd base line, and Okamoto's only play is to 1st.
Katsuta with a comebacker to Okamoto. Takahashi has to hold as Okamoto records the 2nd out.
Just when it seems like he's going to get out of the inning he walks Anzui.
But last batter Nakagawa hits one to short. Murai goes to 2nd for the force to end the inning.
Kitabayashi with a single behind the back of Nakagawa into center.
Oono with a grounder to 3rd. Anzui goes to 2nd and AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oono throws it away!!! It goes into the outfield and Kitabayashi goes to 3rd!!
Runners at the corners with no out! Ojima-kantoku calls a conference.
Yamaguchi with a single through the left side! Kitabayashi scores and it's now a 1-run ballgame! 5-4 and still nobody out!!!
Kotani up to try and tie the game.
Hit and run!?!?!
Kotani swings and misses! Kondou to rows to 3rd and Oono is out by a mile!! One down!!
Kotani grounds out to 2nd! Oogi loses the handle but makes the play with time to spare! Two down! Will Kita-Ootsu leave the tying run on 3rd?
Kitano singles to left! Yamaguchi comes in to score the douten run!!! 5-5!!!!! And now Kitano takes off for 2nd! He slides in ahead of the throw from Kondou and now the gyakuten run is in scoring position!
Nakamura strikes out on a ball in the dirt to end the inning, but they equalized with not much time to spare!
Oogi with a ball to the left side! Yamamoto dives but it deflects off his glove! Oono, backing up the play dives and makes the stop! But the throw to 1st is late! Infield hit!
Oka with the bunt down the 3rd base side and Kitano can only go to 1st.
Kaneko with a grounder to short! Murai looks at 3rd, but goes to 1st for the 2nd out!
Kondou the last chance here for Narita to break the tie... and he gets hit by Okamoto! Runners at the corners!
Takahashi with a drive to left! Kitabayashi to the wall, plays it off the wall! Oogi comes around to score on the double! Gyakuten!!!! 6-5 Narita!!!
Kimura with a grounder to the left side! Murai runs it down in the gap! Throws to 1st... OUT!!!!
What a play by Murai to save 2 runs! But Kita-Ootsu heads to the bottom of the 9th needing at least one run to continue playing!
Yamamot steps in, trying to get on base. But after getting ahead, he swings at an inside pitch and flies out to left.
Okamoto falls behind 0-2 and grounds out to short.
Murai steps in now as the last chance for Kita-Ootsu!
He lines to 2nd, and Narita has come back to defeat Kita-Ootsu 6-5!!
Another exciting game to start the day here! Kita-Ootsu, viewed as the underdog, gets ahead of Narita 3-0 thanks in part to a 2-run HR! Their ace Okamoto had been shutting the Narita offense down. That was until the 7th inning where Oakmoto tired leaving balls in the zone and Narita not only tied the ballgame, but took the lead!
Surely that would have broken the spirits of Kita-Ootsu, but no! They come back in the 8th to tie the ball game!
But in the end, the pitching couldn't last as Okamoto gives up one final run in the 9th to give Narita the victory and a spot in the Best 8.
Kita-Ootsu should be proud of their efforts here today. For 9 innings they gave Narita hell in their bid to advance. And if not for some timely hitting they very well could have advanced. They'll go home today, but they should feel good about what they've done here at Koushien.