Today wraps up the first go around for all the teams. And one of the teams that I personally like finally takes the field in Kyoto Gaidai Nishi. Admittedly, KGN didn't face any of the strong teams such as Ryuukokudai Heian or Fukuchiyama Seibi (who self-imposed suspension on themselves for inappropriate actions), so it's hard to really gauge their team.
KGN's ace is Nakamura Makoto, whose speeds match the average pitcher, but he has the lowest K/9 ratio of the entire field (3.45), which is a bit disconcerting.
They square off against Niigata Meikun, who's key victory was in the title game against last year's runner up Nihon Bunri where they won 11-6.
Their ace Ikeda Takashi is a bit bigger for a P than some of the others you see. He throws in the low 140's and struck out a 9.62/9, while yielding just 2.79 hits/9 and 1.24 BB/9.
Niigata also has offensive threats in Karasawa and Urushihara situated in the middle of the lineup.
I really do want KGN to win this game, but given my luck at this tournament, they'll lose.
Kyoto Gaidai Nishi (Kyoto)
3B Shinomura Shun
2B Ogino Keisuke
SS Maeda Kouhei
RF Kanesedo (Takehito)
LF Watanabe Yuuto
1B Nishishita Masatoshi
CF Ishiyama Reiyuu
C Kusumi Ryouta
P Satou Yuuta (#11)
Niigata Meikun (Niigata)
2B Yamamoto Hidemasa
CF Machiya Shougo
SS Tamura Masahiro
RF Karasawa Maki
1B Urushihara (Hiromu)
3B Itou Gou
LF Nishiyama Takashi
C Madou Ryou
P Ikeda (Takashi)
8:30 - First Pitch!
Shimomura leads off the game with a base hit to left! Ueba-kantoku wants the bunt, but Ogino pops the bunt up! Ikeda with the catch and there's one down.
Maeda with a tricky grounder that gets past Ikeda. Itou charges in and makes a good throw for the 2nd out.
Kanesedo hit a chopper back to Ikeda who goes to 1st to retire the side.
Yamamoto with a swinging bunt up the 3rd base line. Satou over to field it, but his throw is wide and late! Infield hit!
Machida tries the bunt, but Satou is quick upon and goes to 2nd for the force!
Satou is said to have a slider, curve, and shuuto.
Tamura up, and in a bit of a battle with Satou, fouling a couple of pitches off.
Machiya taking off for 2nd! Kusumi hesitates and his throw to 2nd is late!
Tamura with a drive to center! That's over Ishiyama's head! It bounces to the wall for a double, scoring Machiya and giving Niigata Meikun the 1-0 lead!
And now cleanup batter Karasawa is up. He grounds to 2nd, advancing the runner. And Shinohara strikes out ending the inning.
Watanabe with a single to center to lead off the inning. Nishishita pops another bunt attempt! It drops in, but Itou makes the throw to 2nd for the force. The next 2 batters are retired with little problems.
Madou with a drive to deep right! Kanesedo gives chance, but it falls in behind him! He's in with a leadoff double.
Nishiyama with a fly to right. Ogino and Kanesedo charge towards the ball, but it drops in between them! Runners at the corners for Meikun.
Ikeda with a fly to center. That's deep enough to get the runner in as Ishiyama gets under it for the 2nd out. 2-0 Meikun!
And with Yamamoto up, Nishiyama takes off for 2nd. The ball goes off Kusumi's glove and the umpires call time.
After a conference, the chief umpire goes on the mic and announces catcher's interference and calling the batter out. 3 down and Gaidai Nishi returns to the dugout. But Meikun adds on another run.
Satou with a liner down the left field line for a leadoff double! That's the 3rd time KGN has had a leadoff runner on!
This time, they get the sac bunt down without issue, and they have a good chance to get a run back now.
But Ogino fails to put down the bunt! Satou is run down and KGN loses their opportunity. Ogino grounds to 3rd to end the inning.
Machiya with a seeing eye single back up the middle and Meikun looks to continue adding on.
Machiya takes off for 2nd! Kusumi clutching the ball, but doesn't make a throw!
And Tamura with a shot to deep center! Ishiyama with the catch right as his back collides with the wall.
Karasawa grounder to the right side... gets past the infield! Machiya comes in to score, making it 3-0 Meikun.
That's it for Satou as #1 Nakamura Makoto comes in to relieve him.
Shinohara with a single to left. Watanabe misses his grab on the ball and the runners advance! Mental errors now coming in for KGN!
But Itou pops it up! Shimomura in foul territory has it for the 2nd out.
Nakamura is careful with Madou as he walks him to load the bases.
It works as Nakamura strikes out looking to end the inning. But again, Niigata adds yet another run.
Maeda with a grounder back up the middle for KGN's 4th leadoff hit. But they have yet to cash in the run.
Kanesedo swinging away, but strikes out. Will this be another inning where KGN doesn't score?
Watanabe tries to change their luck as he singles to right.
But Nishishita grounds back to Ikeda. He goes to 2nd, but the throw is high! All safe!
Manrui for KGN as Meikun calls a conference...
Ishida with a fly to left, but it's too shallow and the runners can't advance.
Kusumi flies out to center, and KGN loses a big opportunity.
Ikeda with a single to left to start the inning. After a sac bunt, Niigata looks to add yet another run.
And Nakamura hits Machiya! Runners at 1st and 2nd now as we hit the heart of the lineup.
Tamura though with a routine fly to right. Kanesedo catches it for the 2nd out.
Oh? Somehow Machiya is caught in a rundown! Was there supposed to be a tag up somewhere??
Either way, Machiya is run down for the odd 9-3-6 double play.
KGN gets yet another runner on as Shimamura gets a one out single through the right side.
AH! Ogino is hit in the head! He's okay, but now KGN has runners at 1st and 2nd. Yet another good opportunity to score runs here.
But Maeda grounds to short! Tamura goes to 2nd for one, throw to first,
... gets by Shinohara!! The ball goes into foul territory! Shimomura comes in to score and it's 3-1!
Kanesedo with a single through the left side! Maeda who advanced to 2nd on the error, comes around to score, and it's now 3-2!!
The inning continues for KGN as Watanabe with a true swinging bunt and all Itou can do is to field it!
Ueba-kantoku interestingly pulls Watanabe (who's now 3-3) and puts in #15 Shibata Kensuke to run for him.
KGN cannot get the tying run in as Nishishita flies out to center to end the inning. BUT! They've managed to cut the deficit to 1!
Shibata stays in the game and plays 3rd. Shimomura goes to left.
KGN seems to have gained some life after that inning, as Nakamura retires the side in just 5 pitches, ending in an emphatic K of Itou!
We head the to the break with Meikun holding the 3-2 lead, but the momentum may lie with KGN!
After Ikeda retires Ishida with a comebacker, Satou-kantoku replaces Ikeda with #11 Kanda Keita. This is planned by Meikun as they have runned this setup against Nihon Bunri in the finals.
Kanda throws in addition to a low 130's fastball, a slider, curve and sinker.
He does his job, retiring the 8 and 9 batters for KGN in order. This may also throw off KGN's momentum.
Madou with a single past new 3B Shibata to start the inning and is bunted over for reliver Keita.
And hit hits one opposite field! That's into the gap! Madou rounding 3rd and he'll score easily on the double! 4-2 Meikun!
It looks like the break may have helped Meikun settle down! With 2 down, Machiya lines one down the left field line past Shimomura! Machiya with an RBI single and they gotten all the runs back! 5-2!
Tamura with a single through the left side! Shimomura up with it as Machiya is sent home! The relay throw from Shibata is in time! 3 outs!
However, KGN finds themselves back down by 3 with just 3 innings to go.
It seems that the wind has come out of KGN's sails as only PH #14 Nakazawa Katsuya (who comes in for Ogino) gets a base hit, as the others are retired.
Defensive changes for KGN. #16 Inoue Hayaki comes in for PH Nakazawa and takes over at short. Maeda shifts across the bag to 2nd.
Watanabe with a single to center! He tries to stretch it out for 2, but Ishiyama's throw is on the mark and Inoue makes the tag!
Nakamura retires the next 2 batters, but they need runs more than they need outs right now...
Watanabe reaches out and drives a ball into the opposite field gap! That's to the wall as he slides in with a leadoff triple!
Nishishita with a grounder to the right side! Yamamoto makes the diving stop! Throw to first.. beats a diving Nishishita! Shibata comes in to score to make it 5-3, but...
STOP SLIDING INTO FIRST!!!!! YOU SLOW DOWN!!!!! DON'T YOU SEE THAT RUNNING IT OUT AND BEING SAFE IS BETTER THAN SLIDING TO SHOW YOUR "GUTS", GETTING OUT AND BEING ONE OUT CLOSER TO LOSING?????
Anyways, the next 2 batters for KGN are retired to end the inning, and while they get back a run, they still have (at least) 2 more to go in the 9th...
Two down, and Yamamoto hits a grounder back up the middle! Maeda runs it down, makes a jiumping throw to 1st and gets the out!! Nice play by the Maeda to end the inning!
But they're still down to their last 3 outs.
Make that 2... Nakamura with an easy fly to center for out number 1.
Back to the top of the order and Shimomura, who's 2-3 today. But he goes down swinging for the 2nd out!
Last chance comes down to PH #10 Morinaga Yuu...
First pitch taken to left! Nishiyama running back, but can't get it! Morinaga's in with a double!
The inning continues for KGN!
But Maeda hits a grounder to short! Tamura with it, throw to 1st... 3 outs!
Niigata Meikun carries the torch for Niigata with a 5-3 win over Kyoto Gaidai Nishi! They were able to take the lead early over starting pitcher Satou, and KGN had to play catchup the entire game. However, they were not with out opportunities as they had runners on with less than 2 outs in 6 of the 9 innings and yet managed only 3 runs. They played a good game, but certainly they go home looking back knowing that they could have done better,
For Niigata Meikun, the win continues a run that Nihon Bunri started last year. Could it perhaps signify a rise in Niigata baseball? They'll get a chance to prove it against Nishi Nippon Tankidai fuzoku for a berth to the Best 8.