This game signifies the last of the teams to play.
Yamagata Chuo comes to Natsu Koushien for the first time while admittedly not having played any of the top tier schools.
That doesn't discount the work that their ace Yokoyama Yuuya has done. He throws in the mid 130's with a slider and curve and posted good numbers during the prefectruals (3.78 H/9, 9.45 K/9, and 1.89 BB/9).
They'll have to face Kyushu Gakuin, who dispatched another first timer in Matsumoto Kougyou by the score of 14-1. They'll look to do the same here, but the question is what is Kyushu's true ability?
Yamagata Chuo (Yamagata)
SS Hosoya (Rin)
1B Abe Kyouta
C Hashiba Mitsuki
LF Nawa (Tsuyoshi)
RF Koyama Naoya (#18)
CF Takahashi Shou
P Yokoyama (Yuuya)
3B Inage Masato
2B Narazaki Masanobu
Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto)
RF I Shouhei
SS Mizowaki Hayato (#15)
CF Yamashita Tsubasa
1B Hagiwara Eiji (#14)
2B Tomitaka Hirotaka
3B Matsunaga Rem
C Sakai Koushirou
P Watanabe Masataka
LF Shimoda Hayato
13:41 - First Pitch!
Hosoya with a dying liner to left, but Shimoda makes the diving catch! Abe follows that up with a routine fly to center.
Oh! Hashiba with a good eye as he takes a 3-2 borderline pitch for ball 4!
They test Sakai's arm early as Hashiba takes off for 2nd, but sadly he's thrown out by quite a bit.
AH! With Yokoyama ahead 1-2, he hits I!
A sac bunt and an excuse me grounder later, I ends up at 3rd. Cleanup batter Hagiwara looking for a timely hit.
But instead he waves at a high outside fastball for strike 3.
Nawa with a walk to start off the 2nd.
Koyama with a check swing hit back to Watanabe. It gets by him!! Tomitaka charges the ball, throws to 1st, AHHHHHHHH!!!!!
He throws it away!!!
Runners advance on the E1 and E4!!! Sakai-kantoku calling a quick conference.
Takahashi not showing squeeze! Shouji-kantoku is having him swing away!
Liner! CAUGHT! Nakamura catches it and doubles off Koyama! 2 down!!
Now Yokoyama stands in needing a base hit! Falls behind 0-2. Waste pitch high.
Yokoyama gets fooled on a change from Watanabe and Kyushu is out of the jam! What an opportunity missed by Yamagata Chuo!
And perhaps the momentum has swung to Kyushu? Tomitaka starts off the inning with a walk.
But after a sac bunt, Sakai strikes out on a high fastball, and Watanabe does the same to end the inning.
Yamagata Chuo gets their first hit as Hosoya collects a 2-out single to right.
But Abe can't check his swing and strikes out to end the inning.
Yokoyama hasn't allowed a hit, but he hits his 2nd batter in Shimoda giving Kyushu Gakuin their 3rd leadoff runner.
Lineup recycles to the top and I steps in looking to bunt. He does and now Kyushu with yet another scoring opportunity!
おっと！ Yokoyama throws high and in on Mizowaki!
The count runs to 2-2 and now Mizowaki starts fouling off pitches. 9th pitch...
SANSHIN!!! Yet another high fastball that a Kyushu batter whiffs on!
Yamashita gets a hold of a Yokoyama fastball! Nawa running back, leaps! It's over his head! Shimoda slides into 2nd as he breaks the deadlock with Kyushu's first hit! 1-0!
AH! Yokoyama hits his 3rd batter in Hagiwara.
Shouji-kantoku calls for a conference.
Count runs full on Tomitaka and the runners will take off.
Ball 4 inside! Oh, that ball looked good... Manrui for Kyushu as Matsunaga steps in.
Grounder to 2nd. Narazaki with it, throw to 1st... WIDE!! Abe tries to apply the tag, but he misses! All safe as Yamashita scores on the error! 2-0!
Now the count goes full on Sakai and the runners will one again take off...
Fouled off! They'll do this again....
Grounder to short. Nakamura with it, throw to 1st ends the inning. But a costly error puts Yamagata a run further behind - one they may not be able to afford.
Hashiba with a roller that just goes under the glove of a diving Tomitaka into center. He's bunted along as Shouji-kantoku looks to get one run back.
Koyama with a fly to center, but it's no problem for Yamashita. No tag up from Hashiba. 2 down.
Takahashi grounds out to 1st to end the 4th,
Watanabe takes a change away into right field for another leadoff runner.
Shimoda with the bunt. Hashiba goes to 2nd, but short hops the throw and Hosoya can't field it! All safe!
Shouji-kantoku with another conference. The game could get away from his team very quickly now...
But I can't lay the bunt down! He falls behind 0-2, but it looks like he's going to three bunt!
He lays it down! Hashiba throw to 1st, makes Narazaki stretch! But the get the out! That was a close one there!
Still, Yokoyama is in a pinch with 2 runners in scoring position and just 1 down...
Mizowaki puts down the squeeze on a 2-2 count! Yokoyama goes to 1st, but Abe ignores the out and goes home! Shimoda was being waved home! Hashiba with the tag...
Kyushu Gakuin was trying for the second 2-run squeeze this tournament! But Abe recognized this and threw back home for the out!! They still get the run though, and they've extended the lead to 3-0!
Yokoyama gives up a walk to Yamashita, but Hagiwara flies out to shallow left to end the inning.
There's a delay as LF Shimoda apparently needs treatment for something. Perhaps it was the slide into home on the 2-run squeeze attempt.
After a 5 minute delay, he emerges from the dugout.
And immediately he's put to work as Yokoyama hits a ball to him. It's a routine fly, so nothing too hard for him.
Yamagata Chuo is unable to gain any traction since the 2nd, and the bottom 3 here go down in order, although Narazaki put up a bit of a struggle.
Yokoyama seems to have settled down as well, as he retires Tomitaka to start the inning. That's the first time Yokoyama's retired the first batter! In fact, he retires the side in order!
We head to the break with Kyushu Gakuin leading by 3 over Yamagata Chuo. Yamagata hasn't been able to get to ace Watanabe yet, but they'll have to if they want to have any chance to advance.
Top of the order up for Yamagata, yet Hosoya goes down on a inside slider, and Abe and Hashiba both weakly ground out.
Watanabe with a shot to right center! That goes to the wall, and he slides in with a leadoff triple! Yokoyama in trouble immediately!
Shimoda with a comebacker to Yokoyama! He goes to 1st and Watanabe has to stay!
AH! Yokoyama hits I for the 2nd time today! Runners at the corners now!
Mizowaki with another drive to the right center field gap! Takahashi and Koyama converge on the ball, Koyama dives... but it falls in! Both runners come in to score on the 2nd triple this inning! 5-0!
Yokoyama walks his 4th batter of the day to put runners at the corners. Yamashita advances to 2nd on the first pitch with no challenge from Hashiba.
And in what seems like a scene from Groundhog's Day, Hagiwara drives a ball to right center for another triple and 2 more runs scored making it 7-0.
#11 Takeda Naoki warms up in the bullpen as Shouji-kantoku calls a conference. But even if he were to come in, chances are the game has already gotten out of hand...
Yokoyama is bailed out when a 3-2 pitch that hits Tomitaka is called strike 3 as the umpire says Tomitaka didn't check his swing. 2 down.
Matsunaga hits a chopper back to Yokoyama for the 3rd out, but Kyushu Gakuin has probably put this game out of reach of Yamagata.
It would appear that Yamagata Chuo has also accepted the fact that this game is over and goes down in order.
#11 Takeda Naoki comes in to relieve Yokoyama on the mound as Yokoyama looked gassed int he last inning.
Naoki certainly isn't a power pitcher, featuring a fastball in the low 130's and a change in the 110's and a slow curve in the high 90's.
The change in speeds seem to have Kyushu Gakuin thrown off as, he retires the side in order.
After Naoki goes down swinging to start the inning, Shouji-kantoku starts bringing in the reserves.
#9 Saitou Daisuke comes in to PH for Inage. He strikes out swinging, but the ball gets away from Sakai and his throw to first is high and goes off Hagiwara's glove.
But neither Narazaki or Hosoya can advance the runner and the inning is over.
#14 Miura Hino comes in for PH Daisuke and takes over at 3rd.
Yamashita gets Kyushu's first hit off of Naoki as he softly takes a pitch to left.
He's first pitch going as Naoki throws a slow curve. No chance at 2nd. And then on the very next pitch Hashiba throws to 2nd, but it's wide of the bag and goes into center. Yamashita advances to 3rd on the error.
Naoki then gives up his first walk to Hagiwara - who's replaced by #16 Nishiura Ryouhei on the basepaths.
Tomitaka with a fly to right, and while Koyama has a bit of an issue with the catch, he holds onto the ball for the 3rd out.
So the question now is whether Yamagata Chuo can avoid the shutout.
Defensive changes for Kyushu Gakuin. The starting numbers come out of the bench and take the field. #3 Miyazaki (Kazushige) comes in for PR Nishiura and takes over at 1st. #6 Nakamura Ryuunousuke comes in for Matsunaga and takes over at 3rd.
Abe leads off the inning with a single through the right side!
Hashiba follow that up by taking a 3-2 pitch to right for a base hit.
Sakai-kantoku calls a conference as cleanup batter Nawa steps in. But he flies out to 2nd for the 1st out.
Koyama with a slicer to right! But I runs it down for the 2nd out! It's down to Takahashi now - can he deliver the timely hit to give Yamagata Chuo a run?
No.... He goes down swinging to end the game.
So Yamagata Chuo could not avoid the shutout as Watanabe pitches a complete game 4-hitter. Looking back on it, there were certainly things that they could have done better. For Yokoyama, walks and/or hit batsmen proved to be the majority of his downfall. Still, they competed against Kyushu Gakuin well and shouldn't be too disappointed.
For Kyushu Gakuin, they may have had a better challenge here against another first timer, but they still cannot afford a letdown if they want to advance to the Best 8.