Closing our short day will be Sendai Ikuei and Nobeoka Gakuen. Sendai Ikuei had the miraculous comeback when Kaisei completely folded with just 1 out left to win the game. This time around, they'll send their reliever, Tanaka Kazuya, to start the game.
Nobeoka Gakuen battled against prefectural neighbor Oita Kougyou for 10 tough innings as both teams had runners on base for just about every inning, and while it would go into extras, it wouldn't be long before someone broke the deadlock - and that was Nobeoka Gakuen.
Interestingly, Nobeoka Gakuen implemented a strategy that I wondered why hasn't been tried sooner - that is to basically carry a left and right handed pitcher and switch based upon matchups. I'm interested to see if the strategy is implemented again and how it turns out.
Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
2B Sasaki (Ken)
RF Shouji Hikari
CF Satou Takanori
3B Inoue Shinji
P Kimura Kengo
C Saga Akira
1B Tanaka Kazuya (#10)
LF Takata Ryouhei
SS Hino Soumei
Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki)
SS Kurogi (Ryouta)
LF Nagaike Shiro
1B Oshikawa (Ryouta)
3B Hamada (Akeshige)
RF Morimatsu Yuujirou (#14)
CF Yokoyama Shouhei
C Nakashima ? (#12)
P Sakamoto Yuuki
2B Yano Takehiro
14:30 - First Pitch!
One down, grounder to 2nd by Shouji is fumbled by Yano, and he reaches E4.
Takanori then singles under a diving Oshikawa into right, Shouji heads to 3rd!
Throw in from Hamada goes over everyone and into the camera well! Shouji is awarded home, and Takanori 3rd. 1-0
Sakamoto retires the next 2 batters, but a pair of errors cost them a run early.
Kurogi singles to center to start the inning. Nagaike with a grounder to the left side, Hino makes the stop, goes to 2nd.. SAFE! Kurogi is safe on the fielder's choice and trouble is brewing for Sendai Ikuei! And after Oshikawa bunts them along, a now there's a gyakuten chance!
Hamada takes the first pitch to deep right! Shouji plays it off the wall! Kurogi and Nagaike score! Gyakuten!! 2-1!
Morimatsu grounds to 2nd advancing Hamada to 3rd.
OH!!! Yokoyama hits a ball back at Kimura! It's off his hip/butt and deflects to the right side! Sasaki is out of position to get it and Hamada scores, making it 3-1!
Nakashima grounds out to 2nd to end the inning, but Nobeoka strikes right back!
One down and Tanaka hits one past Sakamoto before he can really react.
Takata with a shot to left center, but Nakaike on a full run makes the catch!
Hino with a shallow popup down the right field line! Yano and Hamada converge, but it falls in fair and slices into foul territory! Tanaka's given the green light to run home! Throw in for Hamada is up the 3rd base line! Yokyama in foul territory reaches out for the tag, but Tanaka avoids it! He's safe! 3-2!!
And now Sakamoto walks.
Shouji with a single to center! That scores Hino! Ikeui has come back to tie the game at 3-3!!
Takanori with a single to left. AHHH!!!!
It takes a high hop on Nagaike and deflects off his glove! Shouji comes in now in additon to Sasaki and it's now 5-3!
Shigemoto-kantoku goes to the bullpen and Oshikawa takes the mound. Sakamoto goes to 1st.
But he can't quite stop the bleeding just yet as Inoue singles through the left side. That scores Takanori and it's now 6-3!!
Kimura lines out to Nagaike to end the inning, but Ikuei comes back with 5 of their own and now lead by 3!
Sakamoto with a single to center to start the inning. Yano moves him along for the top of the order...
...but Kurogi strikes out swinging on 3 straight and although Nagaike hits a grounder back up the middle, it hits the mound and slows down, allowing Hino to field it and make the throw to 1st for the out.
(A personal rant here. How is it that any of the teams that I'm rooting for get bad breaks such as these, I mean really?)
Sakamoto re-takes the mound to start the inning.
And he retires the side in order. Probably wishes that happened in the 2nd... At least he seems to have settled down.
Oshikawa with a single back up the middle. No bunting here for cleanup batter Hamada.
Hamada with a swinging bunt up the right side. The entire right side moves towards the ball and no one commits to covering 1st! All safe!!
And now Morimatsu walks giving Nobeoka a manrui chance!
Shigemoto-kantoku calls for a conference on the mound. Can't be giving back another lead to Nobeoka now.
Yokoyama up, the same guy who hit Kimura in the 1st.
And he punishes him again! This time he shoots one in the right center field gap! That'll go to the wall! Oshikawa scores! Hamada scores!!! Morimatsu all the from 1st scores!!! Nobeoka has come back to tie the game at 6-6!!! Douten!!
Hm? Now we see why Sasaki-kantoku put Tanaka at 1st. He's implementing the 2 pitcher strategy as well! Tanaka is a righty with a 2-seam fastball, slider, fork, and curve.
Nakashima with a comebacker right at Tanaka! He fields it and Yokoyama is caught between bases! Tanaka runs him down for the first out!
Hit and run! Sakamoto with a drive to center! Satou has to play it off the wall, and Nakashima comes into score! Gyakuten!!! It's 7-6 now in favor of Nobeoka!!!
Tanaka finally retires the next 2 batters to end the inning, but Nobeoka retakes the lead!!!
Hino with a single up the middle! Ikuei looking to tie it back up again!
But Sasaki grounds to 1st! Oshikawa tags 1st, then goes to 2nd! Kuroki makes the tag for the 3-6 double play!
Sakamoto then throws a 4-pitch walk!
Takanori grounds to short to end the inning, but chances still abound.
Oshikawa with a liner down the left field line goes to the wall for a one-out double!
At this point Tanaka would like to end the inning before Yokoyama steps in the box.
And he strikes out Hamada looking on a forkball, then gets Morimatsu swinging on a slow curve to end the inning.
Defensive changes for Nobeoka. Hamada goes in to play 3rd, and #9 Shoudai Yasusada comes in for Morimatsu to play right.
Inoue with another liner down the left field line! Kimura can't advance him when he hits a comebacker right at Sakamoto!
So Inoue decides to do it himself! He takes off on the 1-0 pitch to Saga and steals 3rd!
And Saga brings him in with a single to right! We're douten once again at 7-7!!!
Tanaka with a grounder to 1st. Oshikawa goes to 2nd for one, but can't get Tanaka back at 1st for the double play.
Takata strikes out to end the inning, but not before Ikuei levels the game once again!
Now perhaps we're seeing some pitchers throwing with authority. Tanaka strikes out the side for the first 1-2-3 inning for Ikuei. We head to the break all knotted up at 7.
But more importantly...
WHO WANTS TO WIN THIS GAME?
Sakamoto isn't getting K's but he is getting infield out. Groundout to 2nd and two weak infield flies later, Nobeoka is grabbing the sticks again.
Yano goes down on a fork for Tanaka's 4th consecutive K.
Kurogi puts an end to that with a drive to deep center! Satou running back to the wall, but it falls in just in front! He's in with a double!
But Tanaka gets Nagaike to pop up to 3rd for the 2nd out! ...and then proceeds to walk Oshikawa on 4 straight. Hamada grounds out to 2nd for the 3rd out to get out of the jam!
Takanori with a hard shot at 3rd! Hamada fields it, but drops it! Picks it up, throws.... OUT!
Wow. That's got to be an arm for him to do that.
Inoue with a ball to the left side. Kurogi runs over, gets part of the glove on it, but it trickles into the outfield for a base hit.
Kimura tries a bunt, but Sakamoto fields it and goes to 2nd for the force!
No matter though , as Kimura takes off on the 0-1 pitch to Saga and gets no throw!!
Saga with a single to left! They're waving Kimura home!!! Nagaike relays to Hamada who goes home!
Nobeoka throws the runner out at home to end the inning! And we're still tied at 7!
Shoudai with a grounder to the left side. Hino with another stop in the gap throws to 1st, but it's not in time.
Yokoyama up, and he gets ahead 3-1.
Yokoyama bunts, but pops it up! Tanaka charges in and makes the diving catch!!! 1 down!
Nakashima can't check his swing and he goes down for the 2nd out.
It's down to Sakamoto to try and keep the inning going! Shoudai helps him out! He takes off for 2nd and slides in safely! Now a basehit can break the deadlock!
(C'mon Sakamoto, you have the Evangelion theme playing, go win!)
Nope, no, not really. He swings at a 3-2 pitch in the dirt and the inning is over.
One down and Takata singles up the middle. Hino bunts him over for a one timer.
Sasaki with a ball wide of 2nd! Yano dives and gets the ball! Pops and throws to 1st...
Yano saves a run with that play!!!!! 3 outs!!!
Yano comes right back to the plate and singles to right! Kurogi bunts him along for Nagaike.
Sasaki-kantoku calls a conference.
But Nagaike isn't going along with their plans! He singles through the left side! Yano has to stop at 3rd, but there's runners at the corners!
Oshikawa puts down the bunt! Tanaka charges, barehands the ball to Saga....
The squeeze fails!
Saga goes to 1st and they get Oshikawa! He wasn't running to 1st!!!
WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU NOT RUNNING TO 1ST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The double play ends the inning and Nobeoka is left scoreless!
Takanori singles past Kurogi into center for a base hit.
Inoue not bunting, but hits a shallow fly down the right field line. Shoudai running in, dives....
AND MAKES THE CATCH!!!!! WOW!!!!
Kimura grounds out to 2nd and now have to hold serve to keep the game alive.
Hamada leads off the 9th with a single to right. Sayonara man on! Shoudai bunts him over for Yokoyama who has been quiet since Tanaka's taken the hill.
They're careful with Yokoyama and wind up walking him. Not really any effect since only the lead runner matters. Does create a force.
AH! Tanaka hits Nakashima, but he was swinging, so it's a strike instead of a hit batter. And then he strikes out looking on a borderline low pitch.
2 down now, and it's ace on ace here as the Evangelion theme plays again...
Grounder to 1st! Kimura with the ball and goes to the bag for the 3rd out!
2 quick out for Ikuei when Takata hits a slow roller up the right side. Yano charges in and throws to AH!!!
He throws it away! It goes in and out of the camera well and Takata takes 2nd!
No harm done though as Hino flies to right though to end the inning.
Yano with a seeing eye single through the left side! Kurogi immediately moves the sayonara run into scoring position.
Takada falls behind Nagaike, but comes back to fill up the count...
Nagaike swings at a fork out of the zone! 2 down!!
Another conference on the mound for Sendai. Oshikawa steps in.
Grounder to 1st! Kimura with the ball! Tosses to Tanaka! Footrace to the bag...
Tanaka with the guts pose as Nobeoka Gakuen is stranded yet again!!!!
One down for Ikuei when Shouji singles to center.
Takanori hits a foul pop up. Nakashima running behind home on the 3rd base side collides with the fence, but doesn't come up with it.
And now he looks hurt... He walks back to home, but in a bit of pain.
And now they're bringing out the stretcher... That's not good..
He goes in for treatment...
It's quite a bit of a delay, and in the meantime #18 Oohira comes out to replace Yokoyama who was catching Sakamoto's practice pitches. When Oohira comes out, Sakamoto goes to the dugout as if to say, "is he really not returning?".
He comes out!! Nakashima returns! But is he really ok?
Sakamoto with a newfound energy strikes out Shouji, and then gets Inoue to fly out to center to end the inning!
Nakashima struggling to get up and back to the dugout, but does so.
2 outs and Yokoyama is hit by a pitch. Shigenobu-kantoku is like, "great, my catcher is up next", then turns around and stumbles on the dugout steps. (At first I thought he was acting like his injured catcher).
Almost as expected Yokoyama tries to steal 2nd, but fails.
So we'll see what happens to Nakashima at bat next inning.
Kimura with a single up the right field line. He's replaced at 1st by #17 Yamamoto. Sac bunt moves him into scoring position.
Tanaka with a single through the left side! Yamamoto has to hold at 3rd.
Takata with a shot to short! Kurogi with it, and goes home??
Yamamoto returns to 3rd and it's manrui!
I'm not sure why they didn't try to turn 2 on that play.
(And now Tanaka is injured??!)
Hino with a grounder to the left side of 2nd! Kurogi running over... it's off his glove! The ball trickles into center! Yamamoto scores! Tanaka scores!! 9-7 Ikuei!
Sasaki with a fly to left! Nagaike under it, and Takata tags up! Throw is offline and it's 10-7!!
And although Hino steals 2nd during Shouji's AB, he pops out behind 2nd for the 3rd out.
But Ikuei breaks through here in the 12th!
It's almost all but over for Nobeoka now barring a final big rally.
#15 Nakane Satoshi comes in to PH for Nakashima, but strikes out...
Sakamoto goes down swinging....
And Yano pops out to Inoue in foul ground to end the game...
Sendai Ikuei advances with a 10-7 win in 12 innings, but both teams should be applauded. They both played really well today. From the flurry of runs early, to the pitchers' duel that ensued, to the defensive plays made on both sides, to the guts that each team showed on the field, this by far is one of, if not the best games at Koushien so far.
Nobeoka Gakuen will go home to Miyazaki, but I'm sure they'll come back with cheers and applause for their efforts this year.