Well, we're ending the 1st run with a bang aren't we? First there was the enchousen game between the Kyushu teams, and now we're seeing two hard throwers here to close the 1st round.
For Sendai Ikuei, it's Kimura Kengo, a lefty who throws in the low 140's with a curve, slider and forkball. His 3 ratios are impressive - 4.95 H/9, 11.7 K/9 and 1.58 BB/9.
Not to be outdone, there's Kaisei's Shirane Naoki who you may remember from the spring. A man not small in stature, he can hit 149 on the radar gun, and features a slider, curve, shuuto and fork. His ratios are just as gaudy - 3 H/9, 11.5 K/9, 2.25 BB/9.
So be prepared for a pitching duel to end the first round! Enjoy!
Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
1B Sanpei Masahiro
SS Hino Soumei
CF Satou Takanori
3B Inoue Shinji
P Kimura Kengo
C Saga Akira
2B Sasaki (Ken)
RF Shouji Hikari
LF Takata Ryouhei
3B Itohara Kento
2B Iwata Taru
CF Honda Hiroaki
C Idei Tooru
P Shirane Naoki
RF Ishihara (Yuuya)
1B Shinohara Makimasa
SS Oohata Yuuto
LF Ootani Takuya
12:29 - First Pitch!
Sanpei starts the game off by working a walk, and is bunted to 2nd.
Satou with a drive to center! Honda running back, misjudges it! The wind carries it away from him and it drops in front of the wall! Sanpei, thinking the ball would be caught advances only to 3rd, but it's an early pinch for Shirane!
But Inoue grounds to short! Oohata up with it, holds the runners, and makes the play at 1st, 2 down!
And Kimura takes the 1st pitch and grounds it to 1st! Shinohara's up with it and goes to the bag for the 3rd out! Shirane gets out of the early jam!
Iwata with a single past a diving Inoue for a one out base hit!
And now Honda draws a walk, bringing out Saga to the mound to talk to Kimura.
Chance here for cleanup batter Idei.
Chopper down the 3rd base line. That gets past Inoue and down the left field line! Iwata comes in to score on the double and it's 1-0 Kaisei!
Sasaki-kantoku calls a conference on the mound as there are runners on 2nd and 3rd for Kaisei.
Shirane steps in looking to help his cause.
But he walks away after waving at strike 3. 2 down for Ishihara.
Kimura falls behind Ishihara 3-1, prompting another visit from Saga! And he walks him anyway! Manrui for Kaisei!
Shinohara looking to blow it open early.
Shinohara looks at strike 3 on the outside corner and Sendai heads to the dugout. However, Kaisei strikes first here in the 1st!
Saga can't hold up on a slider outside and becomes Shirane's first K.
Sasaki gets a pitch and singles to left. Shouji chops one through the infield and into left. Douten run in scoring position for #9 batter Takata.
Looks like Sasaki-kantoku is asking for the bunt. Takata lays it down and breaks for 1st! Itohara with the strong throw and Shinohara holds on to it as Takata runs into him. 2 down!
And now Shirane walks Sanpei for the 2nd time! Manrui for Ikuei! Yamauchi-kantoku calls time and has a conference.
Hino with a grounder to short! Oohata tosses to 2nd and the inning is over! Shirane gets out of the pinch with no damage!!
One down and Ootani pushed a bunt down the right side! Sanpei goes to cover, but no one's covering 1st! Infield hit!
Back to the top of the order and Itohara.
Kimura continues to have problems with his control as he walks Itohara on 4 straight. Saga once again comes out to talk to him.
And Yamauchi is having Iwata bunt when Kimura hasn't been able to throw a strike??
The bunt is taken off, but Iwata grounds to short. Hino goes to 2nd for one, and that's all they'll get. Honda up now, and the outfield is shifted to the right.
AH! Honda takes off for 2nd! But Saga's throw has him! Honda doubles back, but now Ootani goes home! They go for him, but he sliders back in safely, and Honda reaches 2nd!
Kimura walks Honda again! Manrui for Kaisei again!
But Idei on a check swing hits a ball to 1st! Sanpei goes to 1s t to end the inning and Kimura gets another break!
Satou leads off the 3rd for Ikuei. Apparently he is the brother of Yoshinori Satou, #11 of the Yakult Swallows. He grounds out to Shirane.
Inoue with a base hit to right! Kimura with a shot down the right field line.. fair! Inoue holds up at 3rd. Gyakuten chance for Ikuei!
Saga with a grounder to short! Oohata has it and has Inoue hung up! He dives back to 3rd, but they tag him out! 2 down!
AH!! Kimura is caught running to 3rd! Shirane tosses to Itohara who makes the tag! Kimura makes the case for a balk, but to no avail... 3 down!
Shirane with a blast to right center! That's to the wall! He's in with a leadoff double!
Ishihara looking to bunt him along, but instead draws a walk! That's Kimura's 5th!
Shinohara bunts the runners along and Oohata with a big chance!
But he hits a short fly to center! Satou catches it and the runners hold!
And Ootani can't check his swing! He goes down and now Kaisei has left 8 men on base!
The opportunities keep coming for both teams! Sasaki walks on 4 straight, and now Shouji gets hit by Shirane!
Takata tries to bunt the runners along, but can't and has to swing away.
Chops one to right! Iwata trying to field and make a play, but it ends up going past him for a base hit! Sasaki comes in to score! Douten! 1-1!
Yamauchi-kantoku with another conference on the mound.
And with Sanpei up, Takata takes off for 2nd! Idei's throw is not nearly in time and now a basehit can score 2!
But Sanpei pops it up! Honda charging in, makes the catch and the runners hold. 1 down.
Hino up looking for the timely hit. But a sharp slider gets Hino, and now there's 2 down!
Last chance in Satou, but he flies out to center to end the inning. Ikuei ties the game, but they've left 8 runners on base through 4.
Itohara with a drive to right! But the wind knocks it down and Shouji catches it in front of the fence.
Iwata with another fly to right and this one is a bit easier for Shouji.
Ah. Honda gets hit by Kimura. He's reached 3 times, all via the walk or hit batter.
Idei with his 2nd hit as he buzzes one to left. Now can Shirane deliver with yet another runner in scoring position?
The runners take off! The 0-2 pitch is wide and the throw to 3rd is late! Base hit score 2 now!
Shirane with a easy swing that goes the other way to right center! That goes towards the wall as Honda and Idei score! Shirane with a 2-RBI double! 3-1 Kaisei!
Ishihara flies out to right to end the inning, but Kaisei finally gets another base hit with runners in scoring position!
Shirane is apparently determined to not get a 1-2-3 inning as he hits Saga with 2 down.
But Saga takes off for 2nd and Idei makes a good throw, gunning him down with time to spare.
So I guess it's a 1-2-3 inning??
It was a battle, but Kimura finally gets the first 1-2-3 inning on either side, striking out Shinohara, getting a grounder to 2nd from Oohata, and striking Ootani out. Only took 17 pitches.
As we head to the break, both teams have had opportunities in just about every inning as both aces have struggled mightily. Yet, for the most part they've been able to strand the runners. It's almost a wonder how the score is just 3-1.
Sasaki draws his 2nd walk of the game, and the 2nd to lead off an inning.
AH!! And Shirane hits Shouji AGAIN!!
And this time, Sasaki-kantoku has Takata bunt the runners over for Sanpei.
Comebacker! It gets through! Sasaki scores! Shouji rounds 3rd, he scores!! Douten, 3-3!!!!!
And now after a groundout, there's a gyakuten chance for Satou and Ikuei!
Shirane walks him on 4 straight!!!
Inoue with a hard grounder to 3rd. It goes off Itohara and everyone's safe! Manrui for Ikuei!
But... Kimura strands 3 more for Ikuei as he flies out to center to end the inning. Sanpei's timely hit though ties the game!
One down, and Iwata takes a glance off the helmet. He's required to go in the dugout as Itohara comes in to run for him.
Ah! A ball gets past Saga and Itohara takes 2nd! Meanwhile, Honda finally records his first AB, but perhaps he'd rather not as he strikes out...
Now comes the big boys. Cleanup batter Idei steps in... but quickly falls behind 0-2. And Iwata takes off for 3rd! Ball is in the dirt and all Saga can do is hold onto it!
But Idei grounds to 3rd. Inoue up with it and retires Idei to end the inning.
With one down, Shirane walks Sasaki for the 3rd time this game! Shouji bunts him over to get a one-time chance from Takata.
Shirane strikes him out on an outside shuuto for strike 3.
Shirane ABSOLUTELY CRUSHES a 2-0 fastball by Kimura to left center. It's 4-3 Kaisei!
And Ishihara takes the next pitch past Inoue down the left field line! He's in with a double!
Shinohara bunts the runner along, and it looks like Inoue has cramped up. #15 Oonuki Jyunpei comes out to replace him, even though he says he's ok.
Oohata tests Oonuki immediately with a squeeze bunt! Oonuki charges in, tries the glove toss, but it's over Saga's head! Ishihara scores and it's 5-3 Kaisei!
Kimura retires the next 2 batters, but the damage has been done off the bat of Shirane!
Sanpei with a leadoff single to right! Hino bunts him along to 2nd. Ikuei can still play for one run here.
But Satou grounds to 1st! Shinohara tosses to Shirane who makes the out.
However, it looks like Shirane is walking something off. Looks like Satou accidentally steps on Shirane. After a couple of throws he's fine... and gets PH #15 Onoyama Takumi to ground out to 3rd to end the inning.
Changes for Sendai Ikuei.
#10 Tanaka Kazuya comes in for Takata and takes over on the mound. Sanpei goes to left, Kimura goes to 1st. Meanwhile, Hino goes to SS, while Onoyama takes over at 3B.
And outside of hitting Idei, Tanaka has a quiet inning.
So, last 3 outs for Ikuei. Is there one more rally left?
Kimura stands in... hits one to right! But it hangs up in the wind! Ishihara with it for the 1st out!
#17 Yamamoto comes in to PH for Saga, but goes down swinging.
Last chance in Sasaki.
And he gets his 2nd hit of the day with a single up the middle! He's been on base all 5 times today!
Yamauchi-kantoku with another conference. Nothing to panic about just yet, but want to nip it in the bud.
Except that Shirane hits Shouji AGAIN! The douten runner is on base!
And now he falls behind Tanaka 2-0.
LINER!! FOUL!!!! Oh, that may have scored 2!
Check swing foul! 2-2! Ball in dirt, full count!
Grounder to short. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The ball bounces off Oohata and trickles into left!! Sasaki comes in to score and it's 5-4!!!! Still 2 down!
Conference on the mound...
Sanpei with a base hit past Oohata!!!! Shouji slips rounding 3rd and has to stay!!!
MANRUI FOR IKUEI!!!!!
Hino with a popup! Honda coming in. Should be....
The ball bounces in and out of Honda's glove!!! Shouji scores! Tanaka scores!!!
The game seemed all but in hand! And now Kaisei find themselves behind!
Satou flies out to left to end the inning, but it's all but too late. 2 errors for Kaisei give up the 2-run lead...
And unfortunatley for Kaisei, their power hitters are on the other side of the lineup.
#12 Chiba Ryousuke comes in at C for PH Yamamoto.
Ishihara grounds to 2nd, one down...
Shinohara ahead 3-1... and he's hit! Douten runner on base!
Conference on the mound as captain #10 Emoto Shouhei comes in to PH for Oohata.
Now Emoto gets ahead 3-1 as well! Swings and misses on a 144 kph fastball...
Emoto can't catch up to the 143 kph fastball and strikes out! 2 down!
#16 Mikami comes in to PH for Ootani. Last chance for Kaisei.
Mikami gets ahead 2-0.
Tanaka hits Mikami! Sayaonara runner on base!
And now #13 Satou Taku comes in to replace Chiba at C.
Itohara steps in.
And Tanaka falls behind 3-0! Misses the target, but still a strike.
FOULED! Full count! Runners will take off!
DRIVEN TO LEFT CENTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SANPEI RUNNING, RUNNING, DIVES.....
HE HAS IT!
SANPEI WITH THE CATCH TO END THE GAME!!!!!!!!
SENDAI IKUEI HOLDS ON FOR THE 6-5 WIN!!!!!
And seeing that I was rooting for Kaisei, I'm about as crushed as Kaisei's players are.
Actually, I'm just plain pissed off....
It was a great game with opportunities on both sides for the entire game. And yet, it comes down to 2 errors for a team who hadn't made one the entire summer qualifying that do them in. It has to be crushing to be that close to winning, twice, and see it slip away from you.
For Sendai Ikuei, it's a testament to the Koushien spirit of not giving up and fighting until the final out. Because you never know what may happen.
That's all I have to say. I'm done with this game for now.