Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 6 - Game 4 - Hikawa (Yamanashi) vs. Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)

Hikawa makes their first appearance defeating teams such as Nihon Koukuu (JAL), and Fuji Gakuen. Wearing their ace number is Furuya Yoshiki, the slowest thrower of everyone here at Koushien. Of course, he's also a submariner, so that kind of makes sense.

And being a submariner, your stats aren't very impressive (5.91 H/9, 6.12 K/9, 2.53 BB/9).

But you could certainly do worse.

Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku's road included games against Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou, Iidzuka, and Higashi-Fukuoka - not exactly pushovers. They heavily depended on their ace Mori Tetsuya, who is the 2nd slowest thrower in the tournament at 129. But for such a slow speed, he has decent peripherals (6.6 H/9, 5.85 K/9, 1.95 BB/9).

Hikawa (Yamanashi)
SS Okuwaki (Toshikazu)
C Takeshita Ryou
RF Hishi Kazuhiro
LF Maruyama Hiroshi
1B Matsunaga (Seiya)
3B Hirose Shuuhei
CF Kunugi Atsushi
P Furuya Yoshiki
2B Fukushima Shinpei

Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
CF Tsuru Shinya
LF Tsutsumi Hirota
2B Iura Kouji
C Kaneko Daiki
3B Furukawa Hiroki
SS Okui Kentarou
RF Kano Tomoharu
1B Tagata Yuuya
P Mori Tetsuya


17:35 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
With the hour delay due to Typhoon 4, this becomes a night game and umpires are added down the lines and the lights turn on.

Hishi with a 2-out single back up the middle for Hikawa, but he gets picked off 1st to end the inning.

Bottom 1st
Furuya doing an equally good job here in the 1st, retiring the 1st three batters with relative ease.

Top 2nd
Outside of a dead ball, Mori doesn't let a ball get past the infield.

Bottom 2nd
...and there's the problem with a submariner...

You leave it up in the zone, and it gets punished. Kaneko crushed a Furuya mistake down the left field line and Tankidai leads 1-0.

And while Furuya gives up a 4-pitch walk to Okui, he retires the next 2 batters to end the inning, but Tankidai strikes first!

Top 3rd
One down, and a grounder to short by Fukushima is booted by Okui.

But just as quickly as he gets on, he's wiped out by a Okuwaki 6-4-3 double play...

Bottom 3rd
Mori with a leadoff single up the midddle. Tsuru bunts them over for Tsutsumi.

He hits a grounder up the first base line. Matsunaga puts out the glove, but it bounces off it! Fortunately for him, it goes straight in the air and he tags 1st for the out.

Iuchi flies out to center to end the inning.

Top 4th
Takeshita with a single to left to start the inning!

And he takes off for 2nd! Throw from Kaneko is in time, but Kaneko's tag misses Takeshita!

Hishi then swings away, but flails at a pitch in the dirt.

While Maruayama advances Takeshita with a grounder to 2nd, Matsunaga hits a high infield fly to end the threat.

Bottom 4th
Kaneko hit by Furuya to start the inning, tries to test Takeshita's arm, but is thrown out with a good tag by Okuwaki.

Furuya retires the next two batters and outside of the homerun, has pitched well.

Top 5th
One down, and Hikawa gets another runner when Mori hits Kunugi on a 95 kph slow curve.

Furuya looked to bunt him over, but Kunugi didn't notice that he had pulled back the bat. Kaneko fires to 1st, and Kunugi is meat.

Now 2 down, Furuya ground to 3rd. Furukawa's throw is offline, but Tagata makes the tag for the 3rd out.

Bottom 5th
Two down for Tankidai, and Mori is able to work a walk.

Tsuru with a drive to right center!! Hishi running over, dives, but doesn't have it! It goes all the way to the wall, as the runners circle the bases! Tsuru slides in with an RBI triple! 2-0!

And now Tsutsumi with a hit to left center! Tsuru scores, and Tsutsumi just slides into 2nd safely! It's 3-0 Tankidai!

Iuchi flies out to center again to end the inning, but there's some breathing room now for Tankidai heading into the break.

Top 6th
With the extra runs, Mori is more relaxed on the mound. He induces 3 ground outs and they're quickly back in the dugout.

Bottom 6th
Furukawa seems to have settled down during the break as he retires Tankidai in order. But the offense will have to pick up the pace.

Top 7th
Hishi with their first base hit since the 4th!

Ikeya-kantoku elects not to bunt, and Maruyama winds up striking out on a ball way down and outside. One down.

Matsunaga flies out to center, and Hirose grounds out to short to end the inning. Time quickly running low for Hikawa.

Bottom 7th
Furuya walks Kano on 4 straight, and is moved over for last batter Mori.

He grounds back to Furuya, but his only play is to first. 2 down, runner on 3rd.

Tsuru flies out to center, and Hikawa comes in to pick up the bats once again.

Top 8th
Kunugi with a leadoff single through the left side. Hikawa needs at least 1 run here to feel like they still have a chance.

Ball gets away from Kaneko! Kunugi breaks for 2nd, but the ball doesn't go far! Kaneko fires to 2nd, but he slides in safe!

Furuya with a bloop single to center! Runners at the corners for Hikawa!

And Fukushima delivers! He singles to left scoring Kunugi! It's 3-1!

And Okuwaki on a 3-2 count with a bailed swing singles through the left side! Manrui for Hikawa!!

Nishimura-kantoku finally calls a conference. 4 straight hits by Hikawa and now a base hit could tie the game!


Takeshita swings at a ball in the dirt, but it's called a foul ball! It sure didn't look like he made contact, but the AB continues...


Wild pitch by Mori!!! Furuya comes in to score! 3-2!!! Tying run just 90 feet away!


Takeshita tries the squeeze bunt on 3-2, but fouls it off! One down!

Mori still needs to dodge 2 bullets. But he walks Hishi! Good news is that it creates a force.

And Maruyama grounds to Iuchi!! He tosses to Okui for one, throw to Tagata... TWO!!

Mori induces the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning! More importantly, he still has the lead!

Bottom 8th
Tsutsumi with a single to left. Nishmura-kantoku, playing for the insurance run, has him bunted over...

But Furuya hits Kaneko for the 2nd time today! Runners on 1st and 2nd!

Furukawa with a single to left! Tsutsumi rounding 3rd, heading home! Throw home is cut off by Okui! His throw home... SAFE!!! Furukawa with the timely hit giving Tankidai a crucial insurance run! It's 4-2!

Okui with the safety bunt! Hirose charging in, throw to 1st... safe! Matsunaga doesn't secure the ball in time and everyone's safe! Manrui for Tankidai!

Kano with a single through the left side. Kaneko and Furukawa come in to score. It's now 6-2.

Tagata with another grounder to the left side... AH! Hirose takes a bad angle and it goes into left! Okui comes in and it's 7-2.

Mori with a grounder to 2nd. Fukushima goes home and they get Kano at the plate. 2 down.

Tsuru with a comeback to Furuya, and he tosses to 1st to end the inning...

Unfortunately for Hikawa, they had just run out of gas trying to catch up...

Top 9th
But they have 3 more outs to give it one, final try.

Matsunaga with a foul fly to right, Kano makes the catch before the 1st base wall.

Hirose with a grounder to the left side! Furukawa cuts it off, and makes a fine throw to retire Hirose! 2 down...

And Kunogi grounds out to 2nd to end the game...

A good matchup between the two teams here, but Hikawa just spent everything that they had trying to catch up to Tankidai. When they failed to equalize in the 8th, you had a feeling that perhaps their opportunity had passed.

But that takes nothing away from the effort they put on to the field. They should be proud of their efforts here tonight under the lights. I'm sure their oen-dan, which was filled, feels the same way.

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