Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 2 - Game 2 - Uwajima Higashi (Ehime) vs. Maebashi Shougyou (Gunma)

If you're just coming out of brunch, and heading into the stadium, you'll get to see this game between Maebashi Shougyou and Uwajima Higashi.

Now Maebashi Shougyou breezed through the Gunma prefecturals, 34-2, and those runs were given up in the semifinals and finals. What's puzzling is that their ace, Noguchi Ryouta is apparently not an overpowering pitcher (his max is supposedly 131, but it doesn't seem like it on the video). About the only thing I can see is that he moves around with his pitches, trying to move the batter's eyes up and down. It seemed to work as he only gave up 4.54 H/9. His K rate is understandably not high due to his speed (6.81 K/9), but again he limits his walks (1.13 BB/9)

The big threat offensively is CF Gotou Shunta. He hit .435 which included a double, 3(!) triples, and a HR for slugging percentage of .870.

For Uwajima Higashi, it's been over a decade since they've been at Koushien, and this year they had to go through 2 strong teams in Saijyou and Saibi. Interestingly, I don't have information on their ace Yamamoto Takashi, but instead their #10 Akamatsu Shigeki, who throws in the mid-upper 130's but whose peripherals are that of all the other aces today. It's strange that I have his information given they went to ace Yamamoto against those two schools.

They are not big offensive squad, but do work a lot of walks. Perhaps C Takemoto Kouki, ace Yamamoto, and CF Fukuoka Yuuki could be considered for consistent offense.

Uwajima Higashi (Ehime)
3B Terao Keita
1B Shimizu Kyouhei
SS Miura Shingo
C Takemoto Kouki
2B Nakamura Yuuta
P Yamamoto Takashi
CF Fukuoka Yuuki
RF Yamashita Taichi
LF Asano Shinya

Maebashi Shougyou (Gunma)
RF Morisawa Tsubasa
2B Saitou Takuya
CF Gotou Shunta
SS Hakoda Shouta
1B Sawaura ?
3B Katsuyama (Daiki)
LF Hara (Rikito)
P Noguchi Ryouta
C Harada (Yoshiaki)


10:58 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Quiet inning for Uwajima to start as Noguchi retires the side in order.

Bottom 1st
Morisawa with a hard hit ball to the right side of 2nd. Nakamura dives and makes the grab! He completes the play to 1st to record the out! Nice play!


But the defense can't do anything about that ball! Saitou drives a pitch all the way to the right center field wall, and he's booking it around the bases! Throw in to 3rd is late and he's in with a triple!

Already Doi-kantoku calls a conference.

Gotou with a hard ball to 1st! Shimizu with the diving stop! Only play is at 1st, but Yamamoto is late! All safe, and Saitou scores! 1-0 Maesho!

And he takes off for 2nd on the first pitch! The ball gets away from Kouki! Gotou continues on to 3rd on the wild pitch!

Ah... and now a single to center by cleanup batter Hakoda scores another. 2-0 Maesho!

Yamamoto K's the next 2 batters, but the damage has been done. Maesho out to the early lead.

Top 2nd
Noguchi appears to be successful despite a 130 fastball, because he can locate it with good accuracy. His breaking stuff, not so much. Although, if that were the case, just look for the fastball.

However, Uwajima goes down in order again.

Bottom 2nd
Hara with a liner to left for a leadoff single. Immediately bunted to 2nd.

And I swear Harada hit a bouncing ball and grounded to 2nd. Either way, Hara goes to 3rd.

But a grounder to short ends the inning without any damage.

I can't really see anything about ace Yamamoto yet. Just looks like another average hurler on the mound.

Top 3rd
Uwajima's batters are trying to be patient, but it's hard when the opposing pitcher is throwing strikes.

However, Uwajima does get their first runner when Asano earns a 2-out walk. Terao though grounds out to short to end the inning.

If Noguchi continues to throw strikes, I think the Uwajima batters will have to look fastball and swing away.

Bottom 3rd
Yamamoto gives up a leadoff walk to Saitou.


Ball hit by Gotou to the right side, and Nakamura runs it down. Turns, throwing to 2nd while going away from the bag and Miura throws to 1st completing the DP!

Yamamoto retires the next batter, and after the shaky start, he's settled down.

Top 4th
Nothing's changed for Uwajima. They still cannot make good contact on Noguchi's stuff right now. They still have plenty of time though.

Bottom 4th
Yamamoto has a traditional overhand delivery, throws predominantly off-speed stuff and has a mid 130's fastball.

And yet, he strikes out the side here in the 4th either fooling the batter on an change down, or throwing a fastball after so many henkakyu's....

Top 5th
Uwajima's batter continue to chase the non-fastballs out of the zone for strikeouts, and are unable to wait/recognize the fastball. They'll have no shot if this continues.

Bottom 5th
Leadoff single for Noguchi as the ball finds a way past a diving Miura. But Noguchi is stranded there ofter a sac bunt. This game has also gone by really quickly at 54 minutes for 5 innings.

Top 6th
After the break, will Uwajima have anything figured out on Noguchi.

Well, guess so!

Yamashita lines one to center for a base hit!

And is promptly picked off... oy.

Why in the world would you risk getting picked off?

And then Asano walks for the 2nd time. Now where would they be without the pickoff?

Short grounder to 2nd by Terao is charged by Saitou who makes the force at 2nd. He makes a successful steal of 2nd, but Shimizu chases a ball in the dirt for the 3rd out.

They get their first hit, but they could have had a better chance.

Bottom 6th
Another fine play! One down and Hakoda with a scorcher down the 3rd base line! But Terao dives and makes the stop! His throw to 1st is in plenty of time to get Hakoda!

And just when it might have been a 1-2-3 inning, Sawaura bloops one into the fielding triangle in the outfield for a single.

Whoops. A passed ball by Takemoto allows the runner to move into scoring position.

Yamamoto breathes a sigh of relief as a ball pulled by Katsuyama goes foul.

In the end, he K's Matsuyama for the 3rd time this game to end the inning.

Top 7th
Now there should be a bit of nervousness in the Uwajima camp. They're in the final stages of the game and need baserunners.

They get one as Kouki hits a one-out single to center!

But Nakamura chases one up in the zone for Noguchi's 8th K.

*sighs* and Kouki is picked off 1st to end the inning. I don't know if it's a balk move, but if it isn't Uwajima is shooting themselves in the foot over and over again.

Bottom 7th
Hara with a drive to left and over Asano's head for a leadoff double. Doi-kantoku with another conference.


Yamamoto bounced one to the plate and hits Noguchi in the left knee. And he stays down. The trainers look at him and he has to be helped to the dugout.

Meanwhile, Uwajima makes a double switch. Fukuoka leaves the game and #10 Akamatsu Shigeki comes in to relieve Yamamoto. He moves to right and Yamashita goes to center.

Harada grounds to first, but they hold the runner at 3rd and make the play at 1st.

Instead of creating the force, they're electing to pitch to Morisawa.

He hits a fly to deep left. Asano under it, and it pops out of his glove!!

Hara scores, and now there's runners at the corners with only 1 down! 3-0 Maesho!


Saitou tries to put on the squeeze, but it's a pitchout! He can't make contact and the runner is trapped! He's run down 2-5-1, but not before Morisawa advances to 3rd.

Saitou grounds out to 2nd, but Maesho has added a crucial insurance run.

Top 8th
Noguchi returns to the mound after receiving treatment, but how will the knee fare?

Well, Yamamoto leads off with a seeing eye single to left. Doi elects to have Akamatsu swing away, and sadly it ends up in a 6-4-3 double play. That kills the rally, and the boys from Ehime will have 3 outs to make up 3 runs.

Bottom 8th
Provided Akamatsu can hold serve here.

WOW! Asano makes up for the dropped ball, as he dives and catches a dying liner down the left field line!

Hakoda with a deep fly to right, but Yamamoto goes back against the wall to make the catch.

Grounder to short ends the inning, so Akamatsu's done his part (with some help). Last chance for Uwajima as we head to the 9th.

Top 9th
Noguchi finally retires Asano for the first time this game with a K.

Terao makes good contact, but it's a liner to center.

And Shimizu grounds out to short to end the game.

Uwajima Higashi had no answer for Noguchi as he records 9 K's in his 3-hit shutout. I expected a little more from Uwajima, but it is what it is. Maesho will advance to meet Kita-Ootsu in the 2nd round.

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