Things will really move quickly now here at Koushien as we cull the field down to the Best 8 over the next couple of days.
We start Day 8 with a matchup between Maebashi Shougyou and Kita-Ootsu. Kita-Ootsu easily handled Tokoha Tachibana 11-4 in the first round constantly getting ahead in counts and relentlessly putting runners on each inning. Meanwhile, ace Okamoto made most of his outs via the groundball, which wasn't surprising until you notice how many he had (19 of a possible 24!). Now, he did appear to have tired a bit in the 8th as Tokoha scored 4, so if that's the case already, it's not going to improve as the tournament progresses.
For Maebashi Shougyou, the 3-0 score belied a one-sided affair against Uwajima Higashi. Uwajima never really threatened at all in the game Maesho's ace Noguchi. And when Uwajima did get runners, Noguchi seemed to have a knack of picking them off. I don't know if it's an especially good pickoff move, but we may get a better indicator today. The offense was a bit on the light side, so it could be a bit of an issue should they advance.
Kita-Ootsu probably looks better on paper, but it's far from a sure thing.
LF Kitabayashi Masaya
2B Oono Shinpei
C Yamaguchi Genki
RF Kotani Koutarou
3B Kitano Riki
CF Nakamura Takao
1B Nishino Sou
P Okamoto Takuya
SS Murai Shouta
Maebashi Shougyou (Gunma)
RF Morisawa Tsubasa
2B Saitou Takuya
CF Gotou Shunta
SS Hakoda Shouta
LF Hara (Rikito)
3B Katsuyama (Daiki)
1B Sawaura ?
P Noguchi Ryouta
C Harada (Yoshiaki)
8:30 - First Pitch!
Oono gets a one-out single through the left side, but Noguchi gets two popups to start his day off well.
Saitou with grounder to the left side. Murai makes a fine stop in the gap, but his throw is far from being close to get him out.
He makes another fine stop on a Gotou grounder, flipping to 2nd for the out.
And just to finish it off, Kitano makes a nice backhand of a grounder by Hakoda and throws to 1st for the 3rd out!
Kitano with a single to left to lead off the 2nd! He's bunted over for Nishino.
And a ball gets away from Harada and Kitano advances to 3rd!
Nishino puts down the squeeze! Noguchi charges in, makes a glove toss to Harada...
Harada with a nice block of the plate makes the tag for the out!
And Okamoto strikes out on a high fastball to end the inning! Noguchi gets out of the jam!
Oh? A foul ball goes off C Yamaguchi and he's down. He can't seem to get up and looks to be in considerable pain. I'm trying to see what exactly the ball hit, and I wonder if it hit...
Oh, really? Did he really get hit there???? Don't they have cups for that? Oh! The ball bounced and came up to hit him there. Ouch....
After a bit of a delay, he comes back out again. That's gotta be a story to tell later... As long as you're not embarrassed about it.
Okamoto not affected by the break as he continues to locate his pitches really well, striking out Katsuyama looking and getting Sawaura on a routine grounder to 2nd.
OH??! Murai with a drive to left! Hara going back to the wall, stops!
Eh? The #9 batter for Kita-Ootsu hits a homerun! They lead 1-0!
And Oono with his 2nd hit! He lines one to right for a one-out single!
AH! Now a foul ball from Yamaguchi hits Harada in the inner thigh! He's in a bit of pain from that, but is back behind the plate.
Yamaguchi hits a chopper to the left side, Hakoda charging makes the nice pick and throws out Yamaguchi. (It doesn't look like Yamaguchi's running all that fast right now...)
Kotani strikes out swinging to end the inning, but power from an unlikely source gives Kita-Ootsu the lead!
Noguchi with a liner past Okamoto into center for a leadoff single!
Harada trying to put down the bunt almost gets his head chopped off as a shuuto runs in on him! But he three bunts anyway and lays it down!
Morisawa with a hard base hit to right, but Kotani gets it back in quickly so Noguchi has to hold.
Ah! Saitou takes a 2-2 pitch just outside for ball 3! And he takes the next pitch and drives it to right! Kotani is there for the catch and Noguchi comes in to score! Douten!! 1-1!!
Gotou grounds out to end the inning, but Maebashi replies Kita-Ootsu's run with a run of their own!!
Kitano with a fly to left! Hara going back, then starts running!! It falls in behind him and in front of the wall! He goes to AH!!!!
The throw from Hara gets away from Hakoda and now Kitano heads to 3rd! He's in there safely! It's a leadoff double and error on Hakoda!
Nakamura with a grounder to the left side! Katsuyama and Hakoda both dive for it, but it gets past both of them!! Kitano comes in to score and Kita-Ootsu regains the lead! It's 2-1!
Nishino bunts him to 2nd. And Okamoto tries a safety bunt! He's thrown out, but Nakamura advances to 3rd.
And Murai lines one to right! Nakamura comes in and Murai has his 2nd RBI of the day! 3-1 Kita-Ootsu!
Murai is doing it all! He takes off for 2nd and beats the throw from Harada!
Kitabayashi grounds out to end the inning (another case where he'd be safe if he slid, but whatever), but Kita-Ootsu takes back the lead with some authority!
One down for Maesho, and Hara hits a slow grounder to the right side. Oono charges, throws, and it's wild! It bounces to the camera well and Hara takes 2nd on the error.
And with 2 down, Okamoto makes a wild throw to 2nd! Hara is a bit late taking off for 3rd, and just barely beats the throw form Nakamura!
Sawaura with a grounder back up the middle! Oono makes a sliding pick just before the outfield grass pops up, and his throw beats a diving Sawaura!! (Another case of shouldn't have dived...)
Yamaguchi with a pop fly to shallow center. Hakoda and Gotou charge at the ball, but neither can get it!
Kotani with a liner to center. Gotou dives and makes the catch! He throws the ball on the ground to 1st, and Sawaura makes the pick for the double play!
I can't tell if that throw was intentional, but it does the job!
Two down, Morisawa with a comebacker to center for a basehit!
Saitou follows that up with a base hit to center! Morisawa heading for 3rd, but Murai takes the throw and goes to 2nd! And they throw Saitou trying to take 2nd! 3 outs!
Ah... Saitou tried to take 2nd on the apparent throw to 3rd, but instead gets thrown out. Kita-Ootsu has shown exemplary defense so far!
Kitano with a hard grounder up the 3rd base line. Katsuyama dives, but it deflects off of him and goes into left! And Kitano is busting it towards 2nd! Hara's throw is in time, but Oono's tag is too slow!
Miyazaki-kantoku elects not to bunt, but Nakamura pops out to Sawaura in foul territory for the 1st out. Nishino grounds out to 2nd moving Kitano to 3rd.
Okamoto can't bring in the run as he pops out to Saitou to end the inning.
Gotou with a liner to left! Kotani over to field it, but misplays it! Gotou, already heading for 2nd turns for 3 and reaches safely!
Hakoda with a single to left! That scores Gotou and it's a one run ballgame at 3-2!!
Hara bunts the douten runner along to 2nd for Katsuyama. But he hits a slow roller to the right side that Okamoto tosses to 1st for the 2nd out.
It's up to Sawaura to get his first hit to tie the ballgame.
And he reaches out on a shuuto and softly lines one over Murai's head! Douten!! Maebashi has come back to tie the game at 3-3!!
Noguchi grounds out to short to end the inning, but not before Maesho makes it a new ballgame!!
One down, Kitabayashi singles through the left side.
Then Oono a drive to left! Hara goes back a little, but it ends up going off the wall! Kitabayashi advances only to 2nd thinking the ball was caught.
Tomioka-kantoku has seen enough of Hara's play at left and brings in #17 Arai Kengo to take over in left.
Hit and run! Miyazaki-kantoku calls the hit and run, and Yamaguchi pokes it past a lunging Katsuyama and down the left field line! Kitabayashi comes in to score on the double and Kita-Ootsu regains the lead once again! 4-3!
Now Kotani with a grounder through the right side scores Oono and it's 5-3!!
That's it for Noguchi as #10 Kanou (Aya) comes in for just inserted Arai and takes the hill. Noguchi heads to left.
Kanou strikes out Kitano! 2 down!
AH!!! Nakamura with a drive to left! Noguchi racing back towards the wall can't get there in time! His momentum carries him into the wall as the runners race around the bases! Nakamura slides safely into 3rd, and Kita-Ootsu has broken it open now at 7-3!!
Nishino pops out to end the inning, but not before Kita-Ootsu takes a 4-run lead! First the lead was one run, then it doubled to 2, then it doubled again to 4!
I'm not sure Maesho has one more rally left in them, as they go down in oder.
Okamoto with a safety bunt to start the inning. Sawaura fields it, but collides with Kanou trying to make the tag and misses!!
Murai lays down a bunt in the same place, and AH!!! Sawaura just plain drops it making the throw! E1 and Kita-Ootsu has runners at 1st and 2nd! Kitabayashi trying to bunt, and Harada catches Okamoto off of 2nd and picks him off!
But Kanou gets himself in trouble again when he walks Kitabayashi!
Oono with a hard shot at 1st! Sawaura makes the block but it trickles into foul territory! He races over and recovers to make the play at 1st for the 2nd out.
But he can't get out of the jam! Yamaguchi with a hit to right center for his 2nd double! Murai and Kitabayashi score, making it 9-3!
That's it for Kanou as #11 Nakasone Ryousuke comes in to pitch. He a right-handed sidewinder.
He gets Kotani to pop up to Harada to end the inning, but those 2 runs may have put the game away.
Gotou singles to the right side giving Maesho a leadoff runner. One down, #18 Matsui Kouta comes in to PH for Nakasone.
Tomioka-kantoku calls the hit and run! The ball is hit towards 2nd! Murai over to field it, but he drops the ball! All safe!
Miyazaki-kantoku calling a quick conference...
Katsuyama strikes out swinging and Sawaura grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.
#13 Hayashi (Toshiya) comes in for PH Matsui and takes the mound.
Kitano with a shallow fly down the right field line. Morisawa charging in, dives, but can't get it! Kitano winds up with a double!
Nakamura with the push bunt! It gets past a charging Katsuyama and Hakoda has to eat it!
#13 Yamamoto Jyun comes in for Nishino. He strikes out, but Nakamura steals 2nd on the K.
Okamoto up and he tries the squeeze not once, but twice! He fouls it off both times, and then goes down swinging on an offspeed pitch.
And Murai hits a popup in foul territory. Katsuyama near the camera well makes the catch!
#16 Mekata Jyun comes in for Yamamoto and takes over at 1st.
Last ups for Maesho.
Noguchi earns a leadoff walk. PH #12 Iwaida though grounds to Oono who gets the leadoff runner. Morisawa grounds out to Oono and there's quickly 2 down.
Saitou grounds out to 2nd and that's the ball game.
Maebashi Shougyou plated a great game against Kita-Ootsu for 6 innings. Every time Kita-Ootsu scored a run, Maesho would comeback to tie the game. But unfortunately for Noguchi, he wasn't able to make it through the entire game as Kita-Ootsu would but 4 hits together capping it off with a 2-run triple.
Certainly nothing to hang you head about for Maesho, as they played a good game. For Kita-Ootsu, the they can enjoy the win today, but will have to get to work as they will square off against Narita for a berth into the Best 8.