Our last game is one between neighboring prefectures. And these neighbors combined eliminated Hokkaido in back-to-back games.
Nagasaki Nichidai got a timely 2-run homerun from Takao to give them a 3-2 lead over Hokushou en route to a 4-2 win. Saga Gakuen jumped on Asahikawa ace Suzuki for 3 runs early and never looked back.
While perhaps the opposition were not on level footing, it seems like Saga has a slight edge in pitching with ace Mineshita, and the early hitting from Saga versus the late hitting of Nagasaki indicate that Saga may have a better offense.
Still, I'd like to see Nagasaki win this one.
Nagasaki Nichidai (Nagasaki)
3B Shimabukuro Shouki
SS Higa (#12)
2B Shikada Koutarou
C Yamashita Kengo
1B Hirata Taijirou
LF Takao Souichirou
RF Yamazaki Takeshi
CF Maehara (Takashi)
P Nakamura Souhei
Saga Gakuen (Saga)
CF Kitamura Gouki
LF Shibasaki Takaya
P Mineshita Tomohiro
RF Noguchi Shouhei
1B Yamaguchi Shouta
SS Shibasaki Shouya
3B Urase Keisuke
C Kaihara Tatsunori
2B Ootani ?
17:28 - First Pitch!
Shimabukuro with a walk to start off the game.
Kinjyou-kantoku putting on the hit and run! And Higa singles through the left side! Runner on the corners for Nagasaki!
Shikada though strikes out.
And Kinjyou continues to remain aggressive! Higa takes off for 2nd and gets no throw!
Yamashita with a single to right center! Shimabukuro in! Higa rounds 3rd and he scores! 2-0 Nagasaki!
Nagasaki continues to hit off of Mineshita1 Hirata with a looper over a leaping Shouya into left. Runners at 1st and 2nd.
Another hit and run!!
The runners take off, but Takao hits it back to Mineshita. Mineshita goes to 2nd! They get the out at 2nd and complete the double play at 1st to end the inning!
Nice double play, but Nagasaki strikes first!
One down and Takeya blasts one to right! That falls in just short of the wall for a double!
Mineshita pops out, so it's up to Noguchi to deliver.
And he hits a low liner over Yamazaki's head for a double! That scores Takaya to make it 2-1!
Yamaguchi grounds out to short to end the inning, but Saga Gakuen immediately strikes back!
Mineshita walks his 2nd leadoff batter.
Another hit and run!
But this time Maehara misses! Kaihara throws to 2nd and they nail Yamazaki!
Mineshita retires the next 2 batters and the inning is quickly over.
Shouya is hit by Nakamura to start the inning and is bunted over.
Kaihara with a sharp single back up the middle! It's hit too hard and Shouya has to stop at 3rd.
But it's a pitchout! Ootani dives out to try and hit it, but can't! Shouya is run down for the out! That was just too predictable!
Ootani hita a comebacker to Nakamura! But he loses the handle! Throw to first is wild and Yamashita can't field it! E1, and runners at the corners!
Kinjyou-kantoku with a conference.
But Kitamura singles past a diving Shikada into center! Kaihara comes around and we have a new ballgame! Douten!
And now Takaya hits a hooking liner that's just fair down the left field line! Ootani scores the gyakuten run and Saga has taken the lead 3-2!!
Mineshita grounds out to 1st to end the inning, but Saga has responded quickly to Nagasaki's runs in the 1st and have taken the lead themselves!
Mineshita might finally have a quiet inning! He does have Shouya whiff on a grounder by Higa, but otherwise, he retires the side for without trouble!
Yamaguchi with a comebacker that Nakamura can't quite field! It dribbles towards 2nd and by the time Shikada fields it, Yamaguchi is on 1st.
Now Kose-kantoku tries to send the game in motion as Yamaguchi takes off for 2nd! But Yamashita throws him out easily. And while Shouya gets a single to right, Urase is retired to end the inning.
Hirata with a bloop to shallow center. Ootani, Shouya and Kitamura all converge on it but it drops in! He bunted into scoring position looking for a timely to score the douten run.
But Yamazaki strikes out swinging for the 2nd out!
Mineshita doesn't help his cause though when he hits Maehara. He finally gets out of the jam by striking out Nakamura looking.
Nakamura finally gets his first 1-2-3 inning, which is probably a welcome sight to him and his team!
One down, and Higa gets his 2nd hit of the day as he singles past a diving Ootani to left.
But instead of a hit and run, Kinjyou-kantoku calls for a bunt looking for a one-timer from Yamashita...
...he hits a routine fly to center though, and the inning is over.
The 2nd year ace has really settled into a rhythm nicely as he quickly retires the 2-3-4 batters of Saga. We head to the break with Saga leading by just a run.
Takao (who's batting theme song is Zankoku na tenshi no teeze - auto win), singles to center with one down.
Kinjyou once again calls for the bunt. Wonder why he's not calling the hit and run anymore.
It doesn't pay off as Maehara strikes out to end the inning...
Nakamura has looked very good the last 4 innings hitting his spots and inducing poor contact. Hegets yet another 1-2-3 inning and has only allowed 1 hit in those 4 innings.
Mineshita has just about matched Nakamura step for step here, striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 inning. Outside of the first inning he has looked really good.
The game continues to fly by under the lights as batters on both sides are retired one after another. And while Nakamura continues to sit down the Saga Gakuen batters, that's only half the battle.
Because Nagasaki still finds themselves down one with just 6 outs to go...
Nagasaki gets another base runner as cleanup batter Yamashita lines a single to left.
Kinjyou again calling for a bunt. Hirata lays it down and Mineshita goes to 2nd! But the throw is late! Shouya fires to 1st and they just get Hirata!
Takao hits one back to Mineshita! He tosses to 1st for the 3rd out!
Nakamura has done all that he can do. He's retired the last 16 batters in order. All he can do is turn it over to his offense to try and pick him up.
#17 Kitamura Hikari comes in to play left.
Yamazaki with a grounder to the left side. Shouya cuts it off, throws to 1st, but can't beat a diving Yamazaki!
Maehara bunts him along into scoring position.
And now Kinjyou sends in a PH for Nakamura! No point keeping your ace in the game if you can't score!
(Yes, I know the Teikyou-Chiben Wakayama game)
#14 Kamachi Satoru steps in... and he hits a slow roller up the 1st base line! Yamaguchi comes in, gets the ball as it stays fair, and tags Kamachi for the out! 2 down!
It's down to Shimabukuro now, and the tying run is just 90 feet away!
He hits a grounder to the left side! Urase can't get it! Shouya with another stop in the gap! He trows to first...
This time Shouya's throw beats a diving Shimabukuro and the game is over! Shimabukuro is slow to get up because he knows it's all over...
Certainly Nagasaki Nichidai had multiple chances to score after the flurry of runs early, but each time Mineshita shut it down. And in that way, it is certainly a crushing loss. But they can be proud of the effort they put forth here tonight.
For Saga Gakuen, it was a great win especially figting back so soon after falling behind. It'll only get tougher as they will have to face the winner of the Houtoku Gakuen-Fukui Shougyou game for a berth to the best 8.