Two interesting games so far with evenly matched teams. The afternoon session looks to be more of the same.
On one side is Honjyou Dai-ichi. They defeated both Urawa Gakuin and Hanasaki Tokuharu to advance to Koushien. Their ace is Tamura Kazuma, a righty who can throw in the upper 140's. But he doesn't strike out many batters, or walk many either.
For Meitoku Gijyuku, they use a tandem of #6 Maeda Yoshiki and #11 Yamada Yuta. Both righties, both strike out a fair amount of batters, don't walk a lot of batters or give up hits. Odd that the ace isn't included in their pitchers.
Honjyou Dai-ichi (Saitama)
LF Nuruki (Hiroki)
3B Tanimoto (Takashi)
P Tamura Kazuma
1B Tajiri Hiroki
C Hanashi Yuusuke
RF Nakazawa Hiroaki
SS Karasuyama (Nobuo)
CF Tamura Kaito
2B Yanagida Kouta
Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
1B Shouji Hiroto
2B Umeda Tsubasa
RF Andrew Singh
LF Kitagawa Rintarou
3B Sakida Genki
CF Matsumori Daiga
C Sugihara Kengo (#12)
P Maeda Yoshiki (#6)
SS Imazato ? (#13)
13:22 - First Pitch!
Maeda with a quick top of the 1st, retiring the side in order.
Tamura with two quick outs, and yes, if you see the roster right, they have a half-Indian on their squad in Andrew Singh. He strikes out on a borderline low pitch to end the inning.
Tajiri hit by Maeda to start the inning. Hanashi tries the push bunt but instead pushes it right to Sakida for the out.
And Nakazawa grounds into the 6-3 double play to quickly end the inning.
Kitagawa takes a pitch from Tamura into the left center gap! That's down for a leadoff double!
Sakida bunts him to 3rd so a sac fly can do the job. Except that Matsumori is hit on the 2-2 pitch. Runners now at the corners for Sugihara.
They call the squeeze, but the pitch is away! Sugihara can't reach it and Kitagawa is run down! 2 out and Matsumori advances to 2nd.
Sugihara grounds to 2nd to end the inning and Meitoku is denied.
Maeda has a pretty standard delivery, nothing noticeable that I can see. But Honjyou's batter's can't seem to get good contact on it. 3 straight groundouts end the inning.
Same goes for Kazuma. He gets 3 straight outs and once again, we may be in a low scoring affair.
Kazuma gets Honjyou's first hit, a liner down the right field side for a 2-out double!
But Tajiri lazily flies out to left to end the inning.
Singh gets the 2nd hit for Meitoku, a low liner that goes into right.
But he's quickly erased as Kitagawa grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Outside of a stubborn AB by Karasuyama, the inning goes smoothly for Maeda. He's faced one more than the minimum.
Ditto for Kazuma. He's faced just one over the minimum. The pitchers are effective for the most part. They're hitting their spots for the most part, and when they miss, it's generally not a "mistake" pitch.
Bunt by Kaito! Maeda runs to the 3rd base line and his throw to 1st is high! It forces Shouji to jump and get off the bag! Safe!
After a bunt by Yanagida, Nuruki singles through the left side! Runners at the corners!
Mabuchi-kantoku calling a conference...
AH!!! Maeda's pitcth gets by Sugihara! Kaito comes in to score on the passed ball! 1-0 Honjyou!
Sunaga has Tanimoto bunt the runner over for a one-timer.
Kazuma delivers! It's a ball past the infield into right for a base hit and it's 2-0 Honjyou!
Tajiri grounds out to 2nd to end the inning, but Honjyou Dai-ichi is on the board and Meitoku needs to work quickly to play catch-up.
One down for Meitoku, and Mabuchi-kantoku calls on #2 Zaha Masaya to PH for Imazato.
OH... MY... GOD.
He looked like a big kid, and the stats show he weighs 87 kg.
And he just CRUSHED ONE. That one was a real, honest-to-god, no-doubt-about-it homerun.
The deficit is emphatically cut in half now at 2-1!
And while the next two batters are retired, one run, even in a low scoring affair is far from impossible.
Changes for Meitoku... #1 Iwamoto Toshiki comes in for Shouji and takes over on the mound. Zaha stays in and goes to play 1st and Maeda goes to his numbered position at SS.
Hanashi with a grounder to short. Umeda loses the handle on the ball and his throw is late! E4!
No bunt called for Nakazawa, and he flies out to left.
Then they put on the hit and run, which advances the runner when Karasuyama grounds to 1st.
Kaito strikes out to end the inning, so Honjyou will have to live with the itten lead for now.
Singh to lead off the 7th. He has one of the 3 hits for Meitoku.
Drive to left center! That take a hop to the wall! Singh full speed past 2nd for 3rd! Throw in... not in time!! Leadoff triple for Meitoku and a great chance to level the score!
Oh? Nuruki is replaced in left by #16 Tabata Yuki as Sunaga-kantoku calls a conference. Wonder if he was taken out for a slightly bad relay throw on the Singh triple.
Kitagawa with a single through the right side! Singh scores the douten run, and we're all level at 2-2!
And with no down, Mabuchi has Sakita bunt the runner over. Can Meitoku take the lead for the first time this game?
Matsumori advances the runner with a groundout to 2nd. One time chance for Sugihara.
He draws a walk, and runners are at the corners. Sunaga-kantoku calls time and Komori overruns the conference. Whoops.
Maeda with a pop up to right center. Tamura runs in, running in, dives!
Can't get it! Kitagawa scores! Sugihara comes all the way around from 1st to score! It's 4-2 Meitoku on a gyakuten bloop single!
Zaha pops out in the infield to end the inning, but the tables have been turned on Honjyou Dai-ichi and they find themselves down 2 with just 2 innings remaining!
Yanagida with a hard grounder to 3rd. Sakida's throw is wide, but Zaha keeps his foot on the bag for the out.
The next 2 batters are retired, and Honjyou is in danger of being eliminated.
#10 Saitou Kazuma comes in for Kaito and takes over on the mound as Kazuma goes to center. Saitou is a true submariner.
New P Iwamoto singles to left. Umeda bunts him over as an insurance run never hurts.
And after Tajiri make a great catch next to the fence to retire Singh, Sunaga-kantoku relieves Saitou. #11 Shitara Yuusuke comes in for #9 Nakazawa and takes over on the mound while Saitou goes to right.
But Shitara walks Kitagawa, gives up a single to right scoring one to make it 5-2, and hits Matsumori to load the bases.
Sunaga then switches Saitou and Shitara, so for the 2nd time this inning, Saitou takes the hill.
And promptly gives up a liner to right that one hops Nakazawa. Another run scores to make it 6-2.
Maeda grounds to 3rd to end the inning, but Meitoku should be free and clear now.
Defensive change for Meitoku. #10 Taniguchi Toshiki comes in for Kitagawa in left, and #14 Yamaguchi Reimon comes in for Matsumori in center.
And it's a 1-2-3 inning for Honjyou Dai-ichi, and their Koushien is over. It certainly was a close game early, but the pitching for Honjyou just broke down late. Again a good performance by the team who has to go home, but just not enough today.