This update will finish out all super-regionals. I'll go into the Meiji Jingu Fall Tournament in the next post.
When we last left teh Toukai region, all top seeds had advanced to the semifinals.
In the first semi was Mie versus Seisei. Mie had been a strong team over the last couple of years in the region, yet it was Seisei who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd. And while Mie pulled within 1 in the 4th, Seisei extended the lead back to 2 in the 7th. Seisei's ace Nomura couldn't hold the lead and yielded a run to Mie in the last 2 innings to tie the game and send it into enchousen. Perhaps making up for it, Nomura would come up in the bottom of the 11th with one down and runners at the corners and deliver a timely hit to right to win the game.
The other semifinal was not nearly as exciting as Oogaki Nichidai ran roughshot over Aikoudai Meiden winning 10-1 in 7 innings.
Seisei was certainly the underdog in the final against Oogaki Nichidai, yet they struck first with 2 in the top of the 1st, then when Oogaki scored 4 in the bottom of the 1st, they came back to tie it with 2 in the next half inning.
Oogaki would retake the lead with a run in the bottom of the 2nd, yet couldn't pull away. That is until the 4th-6th innings where they scored 2 runs apiece, making the game out of reach. Oogaki would win their 2nd consecutive (and overall) title with the victory. Their ace Kassai yielded just 16 hits and 11 runs in the prefecturals and super-regionals combined!
The Kinki super-regional was about ready to wrap up 1st round play. In those final games, Hyogo's #2 Kakogawa Kita shutout Osaka champion Osaka Touin in a shocker 2-0 to advance. Wakayama Shougyou couldn't keep up with PL Gakuen losing by the same score. And finally, a 5-run 3rd inning by Chiben Wakayama would help send Kyoto Gaidai Nishi home 6-3.
Moving on to the quarterfinals, it was the battle of 3 seeds as Houtoku Gakuen and Kyoto Seishou squared off. Yet it was the upstarts from Kyoto who built a lead, culminating in a 2-run 8th to give them a 4-0 lead! But perhaps it was the thought of defeating a Best 4 team, or maybe they just never closed out a game against a high quality squad. Whatever it was, Houtoku roared back into the game with a 3-run 8th, and then scored 2 in the 9th inning to send the boys from Kyoto home surely crying with a 5-4 loss. Their opponent in the semifinal would be Riseisha who had no trouble with Shiga's #2 Murayama, winning 11-0 in 8 innings.
On the other half of the bracket, Tenri couldn't really shake off Kakogawa Kita, but did win by a margin of 9-5. They would have to wait for the winner of the PL Gakuen-Chiben Wakayama matchup.
Early on, it was all Chiben Wakayama, scoring in each of the first 4 innings and building a 5-0 lead. PL would reply with 4 in the 5th to pull within 1. It would stay that way until the 8th where Chiben would reclaim those 4 runs and win 9-4.
So the Best 4 would be a field of teams who participated at Koushien this past summer.
Riseisha would take a 1-0 lead right off the bat against Houtoku Gakuen thanks to a timely hit by Oonishi. It wouldn't be until the bottom of the 5th inning where Tani for Houtoku would tie it up with a sac fly. That wouldn't last long as in the next half inning, with one down and runners on 1st and 2nd, Sakamoto would deliver a hit to retake the one-run margin. Riseisha's ace Iidzuka would give up only 3 hits to Houtoku and maintained the slim 1-run margin to win 2-1 and secure a place in the finals.
Tenri's game against Chiben Wakayama was almost a tale of 2 games. Tenri had scored 2 in the 3rd and that had been the only scoring in the game. But when they hit the last third of the game, all heck broke loose.
Top 7, 2 down, Chiben has the bases loaded. Leadoff batter Yamamoto hits a ball to left center, clearing the bases and giving them a 3-2 lead. Then in the 8th, Chiben would tack on two more giving them a 5-2 lead late.
Tenri wasn't about to give in that quickly though. Moriguchi would hit a 2-run blast to pull them within 1. Then in the 9th inning, after Tenri scored the tying run on a passed ball, Yanagimoto lines one to left, scoring the winning run from 2nd, sending Tenri to the championship game!!
Now Tenri had a bone to pick with Riseisha (and so did I for that matter), after Riseisha sent them home with a 4-1 win in the first round of the summer Koushien. Yet it was Riseisha who would strike first with a run in the 4th. Tenri struck back in the 5th after Date delivered a 2-out RBI with runners at 1st and 2nd.
Riseisha would have a golden opportunity with the bases loaded and 2 down in the top of the 8th, but couldn't plate the run.
One would wonder if that deflated Riseisha a bit as Tenri would take the lead in bottom of the inning, but in a most unusual fashion. With one down, Riseisha would walk the bases loaded. That would bring up Higashida, who would get hit by a pitch giving Tenri the 2-1 lead!
The 1-run margin would stick as Tenri would win their 7th fall title, and guaranteeing a spot in the Senbatsu!
Unlike Riseisha, Kanzei would not allow Soushi Gakuen to exact revenge for the loss in the prefectural final.
Kanzei would take the lead right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st thanks to a timely hit by Watanabe. That lead would be extended to 2 in the 2nd with hits from ace Mizuhara and Seki to left. Then in the 4th, Watanabe would get his 2nd RBI after singles by Ogura and Sejima. Finally, in the 5th, Mizuhara hits a gapper to left center for a double and Seki once again follows that up with a ball to right center for a triple, giving Kanzei a 4-run lead.
That was more than enough for Mizuhara, who limited Soushi Gakuen to 5 hits en route to a 4-0 win, and Kanzei's 5th super-regional title.
In the final, with some rain hampering play, Meitoku Gijyuku and Kagawa Nishi were knotted at 0 before Meitoku blew it open scoring 13 runs in the 6th-8th innings after leading 2-0. A convincing 15-1 win gives Meitoku Gijyuku their 7th title.