Ok, so I'm pretty much sideways about how the last game ended, mostly because it seems like all the teams I root for lose, while all the teams certain people I know root for win. It's really not fair.
So it kinda takes away from me and this game. In some ways I just want to say screw it and hope that Toukaidai Sagami just eats it against Suijyou just to spite people.
Realistically, the chances of that happening is more remote than winning the lottery.
Mostly because Toukaidai Sagami has ace Hifumi Shinta.
It would be more fitting of his name if he struck out more batters, but that's not the case. Interestingly, Hifumi has changed his to a sidearm delivery, something that is rarely done at this stage. The results have been rather inconclusive. Just looking at results, they are back at Koushien. But the peripherals show a more disturbing picture. Where he sported a 7.24 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in the spring, here in the summer those same numbers are 6.88 and 5.03(!) respectively.
Now certainly, this could be a result of him just transitioning to a new delivery. But in a elimination game scenario there generally isn't room for error. Fortunately for him, his team is a solid offensive squad that can score runs to make up for any deficiencies.
Suijyou seemed to avoid almost all obstacles in their run to the Ibaraki title. Their only "big" challenge was a quarterfinal game against #1 seed Shimotsuma Dai-ni in which they cruised 6-1.
I don't really have any information on Suijyou other than their ace Ookawa. He was their main pitcher throughout the tournament. He throws in the mid 130's and his peripherals match those of most of the better pitchers throwing at that speed range (5.36 H/9, 6.35 K/9, 1.99 BB/9).
Like I said before, Suijyou probably has a snowball's chance in... well, you know. But who knows, weirder things have already happened today.
Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
RF Watanabe Masaru
LF Ijyuuin Jyun
2B Tanaka Shinta
C Ooshiro Takumi
P Hifumi Shinta
3B Fukuyama Ryou
SS Someya Ryuutarou
1B Ooshiro Kenji
CF Idzichi Akira (#18)
RF Tanii Ryouta
SS Kabutou (Tatsunori)
1B Onose Daikatsu
CF Hagiya Naoto
3B Ishii Yuudai
LF Nihei Ryouhei (#16)
2B Ikeda Yuuki
P Ookawa Masashi
C Onose Takeru
15:39 - First Pitch!
Ookawa does well to start the game, giving up a walk to Tanaka before retiring Takumi on a flyout to right.
A bit of a rough start for Hifumi to start. He walks Tanii and then balks sending Tanii to 2nd.
But Daikatsu pops it up to shallow left! Ijyuuin with the catch and Tanii has to hold!
2 down for Suijyou. Hagiya first pitch single back up the middle! Suijyou take the 1-0 lead!
Ishii grounds to 1st to end the inning, but Suijyou is the one to strike first!
One down for Sagami and Fukuyama hits a drive to left! Nihei running back can't get to it and Fukuyama's in with a double!
Kenji looking to bunt, but Ookawa falls behind Someya 3-1.
He pays for it! Someya lines one down the right field line for a double, scoring Fukuyama! 1-1!
Kenji gets caught looking on a change on the outside corner for the 2nd out. Ookawa not out of the woods yet as Idzichi steps in.
Blooper to center! Hagiya charges in, but it drops between everyone! And with both Ikeda and Kabutou running out, Idzichi reaches 2nd as Someya scores. Sagami comes right back to take the lead 2-1!
And Watanabe with a base hit that goes off Daikatsu and into right! Idzichi scores and it's 3-1!
Ijyuuin with a single to right. Tanii misplays the ball and it goes all the way to the wall! Watanabe scores on the error and it's now 4-1 Sagami.
Tanaka flies out to center to end the inning, but Sagami roars back in a big way to take a 4-1 lead.
Hifumi perhaps not getting some of the calls as he walks Nihei to start the inning. Ikeda looks to bunt him over, but strikes out on a borderline pitch. So Ookawa does the bunting.
And then Takeru takes a walk. That's Hifumi's 3rd of the game.
No harm as Tanii weakly grounds out to 1st to end the inning.
Hifumi gets a one-out bloop single and then with Someya up to bat, Hifumi takes off for 2nd! The throw is not even close to being in time.
Someya harmlessly flies out to right to end the inning.
Hifumi walks his 3rd leadoff batter in a row (4th overall) in Kabutou. Daikatsu bunts him over.
Hagiya with solid contact, but hits a routine fly to center. 2 down.
Ishii takes a ball opposite field! That's in for a hit! Kabutou rounding 3rd and he scores! 4-2!!
Nihei up, and Hifumi falls behind 3-1. But he induces a chopper from Nihei that Kenji fields for the 3rd out. But Suijo manages to manufacture a run here in the 3rd.
After getting a lazy fly ball by Kenji, Ookawa hits #9 batter Idzichi and flipping the lineup over to Watanabe - who then promptly lines one to right for a base hit.
Runners on 1st and 2nd for Ijyuuin.
Ijyuuin with a low liner to left. Nihei immediately goes to play it off the wall, but both runners come in to score anyways. It's 6-2 Sagami.
Ookawa retires the next two batters to end the inning, but Suijyou is a bit outmatched.
Hifumi continues to have control issues. With one down, he hits Ookawa. Again, Hashimoto plays for the one-timer as Takeru bunts the runner over.
Tanii delivers! He hits a comebacker back up the middle and Ookawa scores! 6-3!
Kabutou flies out to left, but Suijyou is finding a way to score runs off Hifumi.
Hifumi with yet another bloop hit into shallow center for a base hit. A bunt and grounder to 2nd move him to 3rd with 2 down.
Kenji with a liner, but right at Kabutou to end the inning.
Grounder to 3rd byt Daikatsu short hops Fukuyama and bounces away from him! Daikatsu end up at 2nd!
Hagiya with a drive to center. Idzichi with the catch, but Daikatsu advances to 3rd.
Ishii with a chance, but he grounds to 3rd. Daikatsu has to hold as the putout is made at 1st.
One time chance now for Nihei. He falls behind 0-2, but evens the count. Fouls off a pitch to stay in the AB.
And Hifumi hits his 2nd batter! Runners at the corners for Ikeda.
Ikeda too, falls behind 0-2.
Nihei tries a delayed steal, but it doesn't work. Takumi throws to 2nd and they have him in a rundown. Kenji makes the tag and the inning is over.
We head to the break with Sagami unsurprisingly head, but with Suijyou having scored and creating chances.
Ookawa takes a ball off him as Ijyuuin nails him with a liner. Ookawa makes the play, and isn't in too much pain.
Watanabe with a shot to right. That's to the wall for a double.
Ijyuuin lines out to short, but Kabutou in trying to double Watanabe up, throws it away!!
It goes all the way into foul territory and Watanabe scores making it 7-3.
Tanaka flies out to left to end the inning, but Suijyou doesn't help their cause with another unforced error.
Hifumi walks another leadoff batter in Ikeda. Suijyou's been playing for one run the last couple of innings. Will Hashimoto-kantoku continue the strategy?
Ookawa is certainly squaring to bunt, but after taking strike 2, swings away and strikes out.
Also, keep in mind that Hifumi has walked/hit quite a few batters. So perhaps they can Hifumi help them out more.
Nonetheless, Takeru bunts the runner over again for a one-time shot from Tanii again.
Tanii gets ahead 3-0 and takes a strike. Swings at the next pitch and grounds out to 1st. Kenji flips to Hifumi for the 3rd out.
The errors continue to compound themselves on Kabutou. Grounder from Takumi is fielded by Kabutou, but his throw is short and gets by Daikatsu. Takumi ends up at 2nd.
Hifumi watches a 2-2 pitch on the outside and takes it for a ball. Forced to throw a strike, Hifumi takes the fastball to left center for an RBI double to make it 8-3.
Fukuyama tries to bunt, but it ends up right at Ookawa who goes to Ishii and they get Hifumi out.
Someya lays another bunt down to get the runner into scoring position. Kenji pops out to 2nd though to end the inning.
Toukaidai Sagami continues to extend their lead over Suijyou.
With one down, Daikatsu loops one to right. Hagiya follows that up with a liner to center.
They're at the point now where they can't play for the bunt.
But they could've still been patient at the plate as Hifumi continued to have issues.
However, Ishii swings away and strikes out. Nihei flies out to center quickly to end the inning.
#18 Kimura Kouhei takes over in left for Nihei.
Ijyuuin gets a two out single, but I think at this point Toukaidai Sagami is content where the score is right now.
PH #13 Ebisawa Yuutarou comes in to pinch hit for Ikeda, and he singles. #17 Yamazaki Satoshi comes in to pinch run.
Except he doesn't get real far. Ookawa grounds into the 6-3 double play.
Takeru grounds to 2nd to end the inning.
Yamazaki stays in the game to play 1st. Daikatsu slides to 2nd.
And while he may have struggled on the mound, he has done well at the plate as he takes a 2-0 pitch deep to left. Kimura climbs onto the fence, but it's no use. 2-run homerun makes it 10-3.
Fukuyama with a grounder to the right side. Both Yamazaki and Daikatsu go to get it, and when Daikatsu gets it, there's no one to cover 1st.
Hashimoto-kantoku isn't too happy with that, so #14 Hiranuma Shouta comes in for Yamazaki and goes to 2nd. Daikatsu goes back to 1st.
Ookawa strikes out Someya, and Kenji grounds into the 4-6-3 double play.
Last ups for Suijyou.
After Hifumi retires the first 2 batters (including captain Asano who comes in as a PH), Hifumi is relieved on the mound. #11 Nakajima Daisuke comes in for Ijyuuin and takes the mound. Hifumi goes to left.
Daikatsu draws a walk, and Hagiya is plunked. Ishii with a single to left scores Daikatsu to make it 10-4.
#12 Nakamura Kosuke comes in for Kimura, and singles through the left side. Hagiya comes in to score and it's 10-5.
#15 Kawamata Motohito comes in for Hiranuma and tries to keep the inning going.
Alas he strikes out and the game is over.
As expected, Toukaidai Sagami cruises through their first game. Certainly, there are issues to be dealt with, specifically Hifumi's high walk/dead ball total today.
Which brings me to Suijyou. Hashimoto-kantoku had a plan, stuck to it to until the last possible moment, and had his players buy into it. Specifically that Hifumi had control issues and to try and take advantage of those. Yes, there were places were they could have executed better, but scoring 3 runs and getting a lot of baserunners was not bad. In addition, while there were errors, there were also good fundamental thinking, such as Nihei's play of the ball off the wall. I figure most fielders would chase after it, and the ball might get away, but while the results was still a run, the process is just as important. It may have been a 10-3 loss, but they played baseball their way, and it worked just fine, even if they lost.