Quarterfinal action should be nothing but fireworks today. Narita and Kanto Dai-ichi, who were just on the field yesterday, are back on the mound with a spot on the Best 4 on the line.
Narita seemed dead to rights against Kita-Ootsu yesterday, down 3-0 and managing just 5 hits after 5. But Kita-Ootsu ace Okamoto tired in the 7th leading to 5 runs. It wouldn't be over yet as Kita-Ootsu found a way to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. But the pitching failed them again, giving up the winning run in the top of the 9th.
But Nakagawa pitched the entire game, and didn't look as sharp to start or to finish...
Kanto Dai-ichi on the other hand never trailed to Waseda Jitsugyou, garnering a 5-2 lead before blowing up late leading 10-3 before winning 10-6.
It may have come at a price. Yonezawa-kantoku may not have made a smart decision on his birthday leaving Shirai on the mound. Not only did he pitch the entire game, but he gave up 3 runs in the 9th, definitely a sign of fatigue.
So when both aces pitch CG's, Narita is sending ace Nakagawa back to the mound, Kantou is sending #10 Ide Kazuki to the hill in this all-important game.
Whose decision will be right?
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
Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
2B Yamashita Kouki
RF Shibusawa Maiya
SS Itou Shinji
3B Miyashita Akihiro
C Honma Ryou
CF Haketa Hiroki
1B Koyama Kouhei
LF Saitou Yutaka
P Ide Kazuki (#10)
11:01 - First Pitch!
One down for Narita and Oka singles to center.
Ah~~~~ and now he hits Kaneko.
...and now he walks Kondou???!!!!
Manrui for Narita, and Ide is in big trouble!
Takahashi with a grounder to 1st. Koyama goes to 2nd for one, but the relay to 1st isn't nearly in time and Narita leads 1-0!
And Takahashi takes off for 2nd! No throw! Runners on 2nd and 3rd!
Kimura with a drive to right center!! Hakata running over, sprinting furiously, dives!
It's in and out of his glove!!!! Kaneko scores! Takahashi scores!! It's 3-0 Narita!
Ide finally strikes out Katsuta to end the inning - but not before he puts his team down 3 right off the bat!
Yamashita with a single past Kimura's glove into center leads things off for Kanto. Yonezawa plays for the one run, but Itou's fly to center make it quickly 2 down.
Nakagawa gets cleanup batter Miyashita looking on a fastball for strike 3! Nakagawa not looking so bad on 24 hours rest.
Anzui with a grounder to short. Itou with a one-bounder to 1st and Koyama can't make the pick!
A bunt and a grounder give Narita the usual runner on 3rd, 2 out situation.
The error doesn't hurt Kanto as Oka flies out to center. But at this point errors are not an option for any team needing to play the role of upset.
One down, and Haketa draws a walk. Nakagawa's control didn't look particularly good there as a pitch goes above Haketa's head. and ball 4 wasn't particularly close.
With 2 down, Haketa decides to get himself into scoring position and steals 2nd on a pitch down and away that Kondou has to smother.
But it won't do him good this inning as Saitou is late on a fastball and flies to right to end the inning.
Ide hits Kaneko for the 2nd time today to start the 3rd, and looking to play add-on Ojima-kantoku elects for the bunt.
Takahashi holds on a 3-2 pitch wide and walks. Runners on 1st and 2nd with one out.
Yonezawa-kantoku has little choice but to warm up Shirai.
Kimura singles to center! Kaneko holds at 3rd! Manrui for Narita again!
And that forces Yonezawa's hand. Shirai, who threw over 170 pitches yesterday, will retake the hill to try and stem the tide.
Katsuta with a fly to center! Haketa under it for the catch, but it will easily score Kaneko making it 4-0 Kanto!
But he walks Anzui to load the bases again!
Nakagawa with a grounder to the left side! Miyashita with the running grab, fires to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Shirai gets Kanto out of the inning with minimal damage, but they still find themselves down 4.
Shirai strikes out looking on a borderline low pitch from Nakagawa.
Yamashita on for the 2nd time today, this one on a walk. And he takes off on the 1-0 pitch and slides in easily!
But Shibusawa pops up to shallow center, leaving it to #3 batter Itou to get the runner in.
Except that Yamashita takes off for 3rd! Kondou with the throw, and Yamashita is out!!! Kanto runs themselves out of the inning here in the 3rd!
Oogi with a single to left. Oka tries to bunt him along, but Shirai fires to 2nd, and gets the lead runner!
Ooo~~~ that was a close call there, I though the runner could have been safe...
Kaneko with hard grounder right at 2nd! Yamashita blocks it, has trouble fielding the ball, but makes the back toss to 2nd for the out.
And Kaneko tries to steal 2nd! Honma with the good throw and they nail him to end the inning!
Nakagawa goes 3 up, 3 down here in the 4th. If Nakagawa's finally hitting his stride, that's not a good sign for Kanto...
Kimura with a diving catch in right on a shallow fly by Kimura to end the inning! Shirai gets his first real 1-2-3 inning!
Haketa with a grounder just out of the reach of a diving Kaneko into right for a leadoff single!
And he takes off for 2nd! Kondou with another strong throw and they nail him!
Saitou with a drive to left center! Takahashi runs to the wall, leaps and it lands just in front of the wall! Saitou running all the way slides into 3rd!
How much does the CS hurt Kanto now???
Shirai takes it the other way through the left side for a single! Saitou scores and Kanto is on the board at 4-1!
Yamashita flies out to center to end the inning, and Kanto does have a run on the board heading into the break. But it easily could have been more.
Very quick inning for Shirai as he retires the bottom of the Narita order in 9 pitches.
But the bats need to start turning around at this junction.
Shibusawa strikes out swinging on a high change...
Sanhin!!! Itou gets caught looking at a fastball inside for strike 3!
On the verge of striking out the side, Miyashita hits one to left center! Takahashi runs over and makes the sliding block of the ball, but Miyashita is in with a double.
Up to Honma to try and drive the runner in.
But he grounds to 2nd! Kimura throws to 1st for the out and Kanto can't draw closer here in the 6th!
Oogi with a liner to left for a leadoff singe. Bunt and grounder advance him to 3rd for a one-timer with cleanup batter Kondou.
Shirai throws a 0-1 slow curve and Kondou laces it to right! Oogi scores to make it 5-1! Not sure you want to give the batter that type of ball in that situation though...
Takahashi grounds to 2nd for the 3rd out, but Kantou has one more run that they need to make up now!
Nakagawa about to have an easy 1-2-3 inning when Saitou grounder to 3rd takes an irregular bound and goes above Anzui in the left for a single.
Saitou takes off for 2nd! Kondou's throw is high and he just slides in safe!
But Nakagawa strikes out Shirai on a high fastball to end the inning!
2 down and Anzui singles to right. Shibusawa fires to 1st, and they almost nail Anzui!
Nakagawa with a drive to center!! Haketa running back to the wall!! Jumps!
It's off the top of the padding! The ball goes back in to play where they throw in in, but not before Nakagawa slides in with an RBI double! It's 6-1 Narita!
Oogi flies to right to end the inning, but the door is closing on Kanto Dai-ichi's run at Koushien.
Yamashita with a comebacker past Nakagawa for a leadoff single. Shibusawa tries the drag bunt up the 1st base line, but fails as he's thrown out at 1st.
Itou with a single to right! Yamashita rounds 3rd and scores to make it 6-2!
Miyashita up now to keep the rally going...
SANSHIN!!! Miyashita swings on a slider away for strike 3! 2 down!
Honma with a drive to center! Oka running to the wall, and it bounces off the wall in center! Itou comes around to score and it's 6-3!
One more run and things get interesting!
Ah! Haketa pops out to 2nd to end the inning! Kanto scores a couple of runs, but the deficit is still at a big 3 runs!
Oka with the safety bunt down the 3rd base line! Miyashita charges in, but his throw to 1st is late! Leadoff hit for Narita!
A bunt and a tagup on a fly to right give the runner on 3rd 2 out situation.
Takahashi flies out to left to end the inning...
And it's crunch time for Kanto Dai-ichi...
7-8-9 batters are scheduled to step in.
#15 Funakoshi Ryou steps in for Koyama... Gets ahead 2-0, then looks at 2 strikes... Grounder to shirt! Kimura throws to 1st, one down!
Saitou with a drive to right center! Takes a bounce to the wall for a double!
Yonezawa-kantoku with a conference as #12 Kashiwabara Mitsumu steps in for Shirai! This is all hands on deck for Kanto!
Comebacker to Nakagawa! Turns to 2nd! Catches Saitou off the bag! They run him down and there's 2 outs! Kashiwabara advances to 2nd.
Yamashita with a drive down the right field line!! Katsuta running to the foul pole! Runs into the wall, AND MAKES THE CATCH! Katsuta with a fine running catch right at the foul pole ends the game!
Kanto Dai-ichi's gamble of using their reliever to start the game backfires as Narita jumps on him for 4 runs and never look back! Even on just 24 hours rest, Nakagawa pitches superbly against a formidable opponent.
But it will be Narita who moves one step close to the 92nd summer title!!