Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #4 - Hokushou (Hokkaido) vs. Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu)

The last quarterfinal game pits two super-regional champions together.

Oogaki Nichidai is actually the Meiji Jingu Taikai champions and probably one of the favorites to win it all. But they barely handled 21st century team Kawashima 3-2, then came back with a strong 6-2 win over Osaka Touin.

Hokushou is the Hokkaido champions, but no team since Komadai Tomakomai has had success at Koshien. Hokushou hopes to break that trend this year. They handled Akita Shougyou 2-0, then edged out Jiyuugaoka (who had defeated Toukaidai Sagami) 5-4.

Certainly Hokushou is viewed as the underdog here. But can they play the part of spoiler and make a date with Kounan in the semis?

Hokushou (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Oono Masaya
2B Kimura Yuuji
C Nishida Akihisa
P Matano Tomoya
CF Abe Kenichi
LF Nodate Tomohito
1B Shintani Yuuki
3B Kuroda Kento
RF Chiba Tatsuki

Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
CF Morita Shouken
SS Kojima Takuya
RF Gotou Kenta
1B Takada Naohiro
3B Koo Takudai
LF Andou Yoshirou
2B Nagaoka Yoshiki
C Tokimoto Ryou
P Achira Takuma (#10)


16:18 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Oono takes the first pitch and singles to left! Looking for the quick run, Kimura bunts him over.

But Achira shuts the door, getting Nishida to fly out to center and Matano waving at a pitch outside to end the inning.

Bottom 1st
Matano looking good to start, getting Morita to fly out to center, while Kojima hits a comeback to him.

But then he loses control, walking Gotou and Takada back-to-back.

That costs him as Koo singles one past Kimura into center! Gotou rounds 3rd and scores making it 1-0!

And then he walks Andou! Manrui for Oogaki!

Nagaoka with a grounder past Shinani into right! Takada scores! Koo rounding 3rd... he scores! The walks immediately kill Matano as the score goes to 3-0!

And immediately Kawakami goes to the bullpen switching Matano and Chiba.

But Chiba has his own control issues, falling behind 3-1 to Tokimoto. He managers to work it full, then get Tokimoto to strike out looking to end the inning.

The damage has been done though, and Hokushou finds themselves in an early, and fairly large hole.

Top 2nd
Abe tries to startup the offense with a bunt single, but it's too hard and Koo makes the play at 1st.

Nodate with a hard liner to left, but Andou makes the quick spring to his right and makes the catch.

And Achira gets Shintani on a pitch on the outside corner to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Achira with a grounder to short. Oono up with it, the throw to first is short and gets by Shintani! Achira advances to 2nd on the error.

Morita looking to bunt him over, doesn't have to as Chiba misses wide and walks him. Runners on 1st and 2nd with no out.

Kojima laying down a great bunt. Chiba has to run over and get it since Kuroda is holding at 3rd. He turns, makes the hard throw and just beats out Kojima! (At least he was running through the base.)

Gotou with a grounder back up the middle, past Kimura! That will score 2! Achira and Morita score on the one out double and it's now 5-0 Oogaki!

Matano had issues flying open and throwing the ball wide. Chiba is either throwing the ball wide, or not getting it to the plate.

Takada with a hard grounder to 3rd. Kuroda up with it and makes the throw to 1st for the 2nd out.

But the woes continue for Hokushou....

Chiba with a base hit down the right field side to the wall for a double. Gotou scores, 6-0...

Andou with a shot to left-center for a triple... 7-0....

Nagaoka with a blooper to right center. Kimura, Abe and Matano converge, but none of them can get it. Nagaoka ends up with a double... 8-0...

Tokimoto flies out to center to end the inning... but the writing is on the wall early....

Top 3rd
At least Hokushou has original oen-dan music which sounds cool...

Kuroda takes the first pitch and flies to center.

Chiba hits a grounder to the left side. Kojima runs it down, makes the strong throw off the back foot... and gets Chiba! Nice play!

Oono is jammed and grounds out to 2nd.

Hopefully they can get something going in this game.

Bottom 3rd
Chiba seemed to have settled down after the shaky innings, getting Achira to ground out to 3rd and Morita to hit a nubber in front of the plate.

Kojima breaks it up with a single to center.

Then on Gotou's AB, Chiba has Kojima picked off! He takes off for 2nd! Shintani with the throw, but it's late and Kojima slides in safely!

And then Gotou is hit by Chiba! Oh boy...

Takada with a bloop to left center! Abe charges, dives, but can't come up with it! Kojima and Gotou come around to score, and it's now 10-0 here in the 3rd inning.

And Koo walks putting runners on 1st and 2nd.

Andou strikes out looking to end the inning, but now Oogaki's lead is double digits...

Top 4th
I feel bad for the boys from Hokkaido. It can't be fun playing right now down 10.

Kimura trying for a bunt single grounds back to Achira.

Nishida hits a laser beam to left center that zooms past the outfielders and to the wall. He rolls in with a double.

But that's as far as he would get. Matano flies out to left, and Abe grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
Nagaoka walks to lead off the inning. And with a big lead, the batters are swinging away as Tokimoto flies out center.

Again, I say something and then the opposite happens. Achira bunts the runner along and cycles to the top of the order.

Morita though, flies out to left to end the inning, and Hokushou finally holds Oogaki scoreless.

Top 5th
Nodate gives Hokushou their 2nd leadoff runner as he shoots one back up the middle.

Shintani not bunting as the oen-dan plays Train-Train. But he flies out to right.

Kuroda up. Hit-and-run from Kawakami-kantoku. Kuroda swings and misses and Tokimoto throws out Nodate by a good margin.

He hits one to left center... Morita diving, but can't come up with it! It's to the wall! Kuroda heading to 3rd, but slips and has to hold at 2nd.

Chiba grounds to short, and Kojima goes for the out at 3rd. But the throw is to the wrong side of Koo and he can't make the throw. Wonder if they were practicing that particular play.

Runners at the corners with 2 down for Oono, but he flies out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Chiba ahead of Kojima 1-2, but Nishida is called for batter's interference.

Gotou works the count full, but gets frozen on a fastball inside.

Takada with a grounder to short. Oono throws to 2nd for one, relay to 1st in time for the double play to end the inning. Hokushou puts up another 0.

Top 6th
Kimura goes down swinging leading off the 6th. His expression as he slumps over probably is the feeling of the entire team inside.

Nishida does earn a 4-pitch walk, and then a wild pitch to Matano advances him to 2nd.

And a second consecutive one sends Nishida to 3rd. Achira fires to in there to even the count.

Ow. A foul ball of the bottom of Tokimoto's vest. And after another foul ball, Matano grounds out to Achira. 2 down.

Abe with a sharp comebacker up the middle and into center! Nishida comes home and Hokushou is finally on the board, 10-1.

Nodate with a grounder through the left side. Abe running hard breaks for 3rd and slides in safely. Runners at the corners for Shintani with 2 down.

But Shintani goes down swinging. Hokushou avoids the shutout, but it's probably little consolation.

Bottom 6th
Ow. Koo is hit in his upper leg. That's gotta hurt. Andou moves him over for Nagaoka. Chiba falls behind 3-1, but gets him to hit a comebacker for the 2nd out.

And Tokimoto grounds out to 2nd. Chiba takes the throw covering 1st to retire the side.

Top 7th
After a foul pop-out by Kuroda, Chiba shoots one up the middle for a single. Oono grounds to first and Takada takes out the lead runner.

Then with Kimura up, Oono takes off for 2nd, but is thrown out easily by Tokimoto.

Bottom 7th
A relatively quick inning for Chiba here in the 7th. He gets Achira to strike out looking, and after hitting Morita, 2 flyouts to Kojima and Gotou.

Top 8th
Defensive changes for Oogaki. #13 Tomita comes in for Gotou and takes his spot in right. #14 Tanigawa comes in for Andou and takes over in left.

2 quick out for Hokushou as Kimura grounds out to 3rd and Nishida strikes out on 3 straight.

Matano grounds one back past Kojima to center for a single.

Abe takes the first pitch to right and that ends the inning.

Bottom 8th
Defensive change for Hokushou. #17 Ikeda comes in for Shintani and takes over at 1B.

Another easy inning for Chiba. Watanabe hits a liner to left center, but Abe runs it down. Koo grounds back to Chiba, and Tanigawa strikes out looking.

Top 9th
Last ups for Hokushou in the spring Koshien.

Defensive change as #12 Watanabe comes in for Gotou and takes over at 1B.

Nodate after a prolonged at-bat, singles to center just in front of Morita. A wild pitch sends the runner to 2nd.

Ikeda with a grounder to short. Kojima up with it and Nodate, who had been running on contact, is caught between 2nd and 3rd. He's run down for the first out.

Kuroda next, and he goes down swinging.

Last chance in Chiba, but before that a double switch. #12 Watanabe takes over for Takada at 1B while #16 Sugiura comes in to pinch run for Ikeda.

Chiba flies out to Morita in center and that does it. Oogaki Nichidai advances to the semifinals with an easy 10-1 victory over Hokushou. Hokushou's staff never really got going to start and it cost them dearly falling behind 10-0 after 3 innings.

For Oogaki Nichidai, their run continues to the championship. Their next roadblock, the boys from Kounan in Okinawa and the strikeout king Shimabukuro.

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #3 - Kounan (Okinawa) vs. Teikyou (Tokyo)

So we hit the backend of the quarterfinal games for today. And boy, the matinee game should be a lot of fun. Teikyou and 2nd-year ace Itou versus strikeout machine Shimabukuro and Kounan.

Teikyou has not had their prototypical tournament. In both games, they have had to rally in the late innings to defeat Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Mie. The offense hasn't been as strong as in Koshiens past. But it has been enough to get them through. The question is either, how long can they do this or when will it finally turn around?

Kounan finally broke through the first round in 3 attempts in defeating Kanzei. They then built on that success by routing Chiben Wakayama albeit with a weakened pitching staff. Now they face a much harder task in Teikyou. Is the offense up to it? Because we all know that the offense is the weakest part of their game.

Kounan (Okinawa) - Kyushu 3/4
2B Kuniyoshi Tairiku (#6)
CF Ketashiro Kai
3B Ganeko Moritsugu
1B Maehira Daiki
RF Mekaru Keisuke
C Yamakawa Daisuke
LF Irei Shinya
P Shimabukuro Yousuke
2B Ooshiro Kouji (#15)

Teikyou (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
3B Taguchi Masaki (#4)
2B Yoshioka Shun (#5)
LF Sonoda Takato
CF Kubota (Hirotomo)
P Suzuki Shouta
SS Matsumoto Gou
1B Shimada Naoto
C Yasuo Toshiya
RF Watanabe Yuusuke (#13)


13:44 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Tairiku takes the first pitch and grounds it right back to Suzuki. It goes off his glove but he retrieves it and makes the throw to 1st for the out.

Then Ketashiro is caught swinging at a pitch down in the zone for out number 2.

Suzuki gets a grounder from Ganeko to 2nd, but Yoshioka's throw to 1st is offline and pulls Shimada from the bag! E4!

And now Maehira sends a grounder through the left side for a base hit! Could Kounan be getting to Suzuki?

Mekaru with a grounder to short. Kouji goes to 2nd to retire the side and Kounan's 2-out rally fizzles away.

Bottom 1st
Shimabukuro looking strong to start. He strikes out Taguchi, then does the same to Yoshioka.

But Sonoda lines a single to right. Mekaru fumbles it though, and Sonoda gets to 2nd!

And then Shimabukuro walks Kubota! Teikyou with their own 2-out rally!

Shimabukuro shuts it down as well, getting Suzuki to groundout to 1st.

Top 2nd
Suzuki settling down now? Yamakawa grounds out to 2nd after working the count full.

Irei can't hold up his swing, but the ball goes past Yasuo and to the backstop! Irei sprints to 1st and reaches base on the passed ball!

Gakiya-kantoku then has Shimabukuro bunt. They're looking for the timely hit.

Kouji though grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Matsumoto with a leadoff single to left! Shimada looks to bunt him along, but he bunts it too hard! Shimabukuro up with it and he goes to 2nd! Kouji double clutches though, and his throw is late! Still they get the leadoff runner.

Yasuo up, but he pops it up! Ganeko in foul territory secures it for the 2nd out.

Last batter Watanabe up, and it's a wild pitch by Shimabukuro! Shimada advances to 2nd!

No matter though Shimabukuro strikes Watanabe out to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Tairiku with the leadoff hit for Kounan as he singles through the right side! Ketashiro immediately bunts him along into scoring position and we have our first real threat!

Ganeko up... Grounder to the right side... it's through! Tairiku rounding 3rd, and Watanabe can't find the handle on the ball! Tairiku comes home... and scores! It's 1-0 Kounan!!

Maehira looking to continue the rally. And Ganeko takes off! Ball is in the dirt and Ganeko is easily in! Now a base hit could extend the lead!

But Maehira strikes out waving on a pitch outside! 2 down!

Mekaru up to try his luck.

But Gakiya sends Ganeko to 3rd!! Yasuo up with the throw, and it's in plenty enough time to make the play! 3 out!

Kounan gets the first run of the game, but run themselves out of the inning. Perhaps pressing too much?

Bottom 3rd
Taguchi with a grounder to the left side. Kouji runs it down, but a diving Taguchi beats it out. (STOP SLIDING!)

*ahem* Anywho, Yoshioka moves him along to 2nd. Teikyou threatening to tie it right back.

And now Ogura-kantoku sends Taguchi! It's a pitchout! Throw by Yamakawa in plenty of time to get Taguchi! That's 2 runners now thrown out at 3rd!

That baserunning decision really hurts now! Sonoda shoots one through to left for a single!

Cleanup batter Kubota up, and Sonoda takes off for 2nd! Throw by Yamakawa is offline and Sonoda has 2nd!

Now Shimabukuro walks Kubota and there's runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 down!

But Suzuki harmlessly grounds back to Shimabukuro who makes the easy play at 1st to end the inning.

Early on, both teams are getting runners on base, but the pitching has tightened up almost every time.

Top 4th
Mekaru gets the 2nd leadoff runner on as he sneaks one up through the middle for a single.

Yamakawa looking to bunt, but he bunts it too hard! Suzuki up with it quickly and fires to 2nd! One! Throw to 1st... Two! Double play wipes out the chance!

And Suzuki strikes out Irei to end the inning! Kounan still clings onto that slim 1-0 lead!

Bottom 4th
Shimabukuro makes short work of Teikyou here in the 4th. Matsumoto flies out to right, Shimada pops up in foul territory to 3rd, and Yasuo offers at a pitch way outside, and looks up as if to say, "Why did I do that?".

Top 5th
Shimabukuro makes Suzuki work leading off the 5th. 8th pitch he makes good contact with, but it's a liner right to Sonoda.

Kouji is also making Suzuki work, running it full again. But he has success taking the 7th pitch back up the middle for a base hit!

And Gakiya-kantoku puts up the hit and run! But Tairiku hits a hard grounder right back to Suzuki! He goes to 2nd, gets the lead runner! Throw to 1st.. Two! Another double play by Suzuki and Teikyou ends the possible threat!

Bottom 5th
Ah! Shimabukuro allows a leadoff runner as Shimabukuro hits Watanabe to start the 5th.

Taguchi with the late show of bunt! But he pops it up! Shimabukuro charges in and makes the catch! Maeda-kantoku can't be too happy with that...

Yoshioka early on swinging away, but then shows bunt! Pops it up again, and Gakiya makes the catch! 2 down!

Sonoda works the count on Shimabukuro, and earns a walk. Runners on 1st and 2nd now as Gakiya calls for a conference.

Kubota looking for the timely hit, also works the count on Shimabukuro. And Shimabukuro hits him! At least that's what they call. But it's hard to tell if it hit him or the bat.

But now it's manrui for Teikyou with Suzuki at bat!

And after whiffing on the first pitch, Maeda has a bench player relay instructions to Suzuki.

But he soon finds himself down 0-2. Shimabukuro is pitching away, and again. Count goes even. Goes inside a little, but leaves it over! But Suzuki just fouls it off!

Again over the plate! This time he hits it fair! But he's gets too much under it! Ketashiro gets under it for the 3rd out!

We head to the break with Kounan still holding on to the 1-0 lead. We've seen before though that such a lead is not safe at all. Will Kounan be able to add on, or will they have to continue holding for dear life?

Top 6th
Delay to start the 6th as Kubota's hand is being worked on. Looked like he was hit after all.

He finally emerges, takes his glove and heads to center.

Ketashiro works Suzuki hard, then sneaks one past a diving Yoshioka into right for a leadoff hit! Ganeko moves to 2nd.

And a soft liner to center by Maehira! Ketashiro was holding up so he only advances to 3rd. Runners at the corners and Maeda sends a player to talk to Yasuo.

Mekaru up... SQUEEZE!!!

Suzuki up with it, but Ketashiro sprints home! Yasuo moves from home and tells Suzuki to concede the run, it's 2-0 Kounan!

Yamakawa looking for another timely hit. Hits one to center, but Kubota is under it to end the inning. But Kounan adds a crucial run!

Bottom 6th
Shimabukuro strikes out Matsumoto for only his 5th K of the game.

Shimada sends a good drive to left, but the crosswinds knock it down and Mekaru has it for the 2nd out.

Yasuo with a drive to center! Ketashiro running back, plays it off the wall! Yasuo slides in with a two-out double!

Can Watanabe get that run back?

Count goes to 2-2...

SANSHIN!!! He's caught looking on an inside pitch for strike 3! Nice pitching by Shimabukuro to get out of the inning!

Top 7th
#16 Agena comes in to pinch hit for Irei, but grounds back right to Suzuki for out number 1.

Shimabukuro grounds out to 2nd for the 2nd out.

But Kouji puts one into right for a base hit... and then Gakiya puts on the hit-and-run! Tairiku sends it to the right side, and an out of position Matsumoto can't get back to it! Kouji motors to 3rd and there's runners at the corners with 2 down!

Ganeko looking to get the timely hit. But Gakiya isn't waiting! He sends Tairiku! Throw to 2nd by Yasuo is cut off by Matsumoto, but Tairiku stopped midway! Matsumoto fumbles it, but Tairiku just stands there! Matsumoto gets it and starts running down Tairiku. Throw to Shimada as he runs him to 2nd, but the Kouji runs for home! Shimada runs to 3rd, then throws, but it's high! Everyone's safe!!!

And that's costly!! Ketashiro bloops one into left center! Kouji scores... Tairiku rounds 3rd... he scores! The error cost them 2 runs, and Kounan now leads 4-0!

That's it for Suzuki. But it's not Itou, but instead #10 Yamazaki who comes in. He comes in for Watanabe while Suzuki goes to RF.

Ganeko up and Ketashiro takes off for 2nd! Throw from Yasuo is offline and he has the base!

Ganeko with a blooper! That's past the outstretched hand of Yoshioka! Ketashiro scores!! It's 5-0 Teikyou and there's still no sign of Itou!!

Maehira up and Ganeko takes off for 2nd! Yasuo double clutches and the throw isn't in time! They have another stolen base!

But Maehira strikes out to end the inning. Not before Kounan puts up 3 big runs here in the 7th!

Bottom 7th
#16 Agena stays in the game in LF.

Teikyou can only go quietly as Shimabukuro gets the top of the order to go down 1-2-3 as Taguchi flies out to new LF Agena, Yoshioka flies out to center, and Sonoda grounds out to 2nd. Teikyou's time at Koshien may be drawing to a close.

Top 8th
Looks like the team is in cruise control right now, just wanting to shorten the game and make give their team some rest. Mekaru grounds to 2nd, Yamakawa pops up to 2nd, and Agena strikes out looking.

Bottom 8th
Shimabukuro is in cruise control, at least it seems that way. He makes short work of the middle of the Teikyou lineup, getting Kubota to fly to right, Suzuki with a comebacker (that does hit Shimabukuro, but he's ok), and Matsumoto to ground to 3rd.

Top 9th
Yamazaki makes short work of the bottom of the order, striking out Shimabukuro and getting Kouji to ground to 3rd.

But then he walks Tairiku, and then allows a grounder to right by Ketashiro.

It almost looks like another bad inning, but Ganeko flies out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 9th
3 outs left for Teikyou...

Shimada flies out to left...

Yasuo strikes out looking...

#18 Yamada pinch-hitting for Yamazaki... flies out to center...

And there you have it, Kounan takes down Teikyou and heads to the Best 4! Itou never takes the mound in the quarterfinal game and has to watch as his team goes down! Perhaps he wanted to save him, but it doesn't matter if you save him if you don't advance.

For Kounan, Shimabukuro continues his march to the championship. He's just 2 games away from reaching that goal!

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #2 - Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) vs. Kouryou (Hiroshima)

So with the Tokyo at-large bid in Nichidai-san earning the first spot in the Best 4, who will they face?

It's been a tale of two games so far for Kouryou. After a tenuous 7-6 win over Ritsumeikan Uji where ace Arihara gave up 6 runs while striking out 13 and walking 8, he comes back with a 2-hitter against Miyazaki Kougyou with 10 K's and only 2 walks.

The same goes for Chuukyoudai Chuukyou. Morimoto looked less than stellar against Moriokadai Fuzoku going 8 innings, giving up 4 runs, while only striking out 2 and walking 5. Against Shinkou Gakuen though, he struck out 9 while yielding only 3 walks in a 2-1 victory.

Certainly both pitchers seem to be hitting their stride now. The question is, who will be in top form now?

Kouryou (Hiroshima) - Chuugoku At-large
2B Fukuda Shuuhei
SS Toyota Takamitsu (#9)
LF Kuramasu Takahiro
1B Maruko Tatsuya
RF Tokuda Shinyuu (#13)
3B Sanda Tatsuya (#6)
CF Makoshiba Daiki
P Arihara Kouhei
C Shintani Atsushi

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) - Tokai Runner-up
RF Ogiso Ryou
CF Iwatsuki Yuuma
P Morimoto Jyunpei
C Isomura Yoshitaka
LF Iwaikawa Yuuta
2B Fujinami Daisuke
3B Fukushima Hirotaka
1B Horii Yasuhiro (#13)
SS Kawamoto Takeshi


11:10 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Oh... not a good start for Morimoto. He walks leadoff batter Fukuda.

Toyota bunts him over to 2nd...

Morimoto gets ahead of Kuramasu 1-2, but what? Kuramasu is heading to 1st???

Oh! Isomura is called for catcher's interference!

Conference on the mound now. Oofuji-kantoku needs to settle things down now.

But no! Maruko with a single to left! And Fukuda's being sent home!! Throw from Iwaikawa is cut off and Kouryou is on the board! 1-0!

Makoshiba with a grounder through the left side! Kuramasu holds at 3rd!

Sanda with another base hit through the left side! Kuramasu scores! Maruko being waved home! Throw from Iwaikawa... not in time!! It's 3-0 Kouryou on the 2-run single by Sanda!

Tokuda with another grounder to the left side! This time Kawamoto has it. NO! He loses the handle and the ball trickles away! All safe!

Oh, E6, and the game may be slipping from Chuukyou's hands in the 1st inning!

Arihara up, not really swinging away and strikes out looking on a full count.

Shintani the 9th batter to come to the place here in the 1st...

Hard grounder to the left side! Fukushima is up with the nice play and goes to 2nd for the force to end the inning.

But Kouryou sends 9 batters to the plate and scores 3 quick runs.

Bottom 1st
Arihara looks a little better to start getting Oogiso to strike out swinging.

But then he turns around and walks Iwatsuki.

Unlike Morimoto, he settles down. getting Morimoto to ground to 2nd, and Isomura to hit a comebacker for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
Morimoto still doesn't look all that good. Fukuda, leading off the 2nd straight inning, gets a base hit through the right side.

Anf after Toyota bunts him over for the 2nd straight time, Kuramasu lines one to center! Fukuda holds up at 3rd. Runners at the corners for Kouryou!

Maruko looking to try and end it early here! But he strikes out swinging! Fukuda taking off for 2nd! Isomura up with the throw... and they get him! Strike 'em out throw 'em out double play!

Just like that Morimoto's out of the jam!

Bottom 2nd
Arihara continues to look like the better pitcher on the mound.

Iwakawa strikes out swinging to start the inning. Then Fujinami grounds to 1st.

Kawamoto hangs in there fouling off pitches, then a pitch in the dirt inside appears to hit him! Couldn't tell from what I saw.

Horii up, and he grounds one up the middle past a diving Fukuda! Makoshiba bobbles it in center and Kawamoto takes off for 3rd! Runners at the corners for Chuukyou!

But Fukushima hits a lazy fly. Kuramasu secures it and Arihara is out of the jam!

Top 3rd
Morimoto can finally say... "At last!". He gets his first 1-2-3 inning as he gets a popup from Makoshiba, a grounder to 3rd from Sanda, and a comebacker from Tokuda.

Bottom 3rd
Now if only the offense could get going...

Oogiso has no such luck striking out looking.

Iwatsuki grounds to 3rd, and a nice pick by Maruko completes the play.

And Morimoto can't help himself out, flying out to left. Arihara is looking sharp, and his off-speed stuff is going over for strikes and freezing the batters.

Top 4th
Arihara with a hard hit to the left side. Kawamoto over to get it, but it's just off his glove and rolls away from him! Arihara on with a leadoff single!

Shintani trying to lay down the bunt, but Arihara for some reason hesitates before taking off and is thrown out by Morimoto! Not sure what happened there...

Oy. Morimoto walks Fukuda for the 2nd time, this iteration on 4 straight.

Oofuji calls another conference trying to stem the incoming tide.

Toyota looking to bunt? Pulls it back for ball 1. Now he swings away, but flies out to left for the 2nd out.

One more to go for Morimoto as Kuramasu steps up having already reached base twice today...

Morimoto gets ahead 1-2... but throws one in the dirt... another one low and now the runners are taking off...

SANSHIN!! Morimoto gets him to swing at another pitch low and the inning is over! Morimoto gets out of another jam!

But he can't keep doing this and expect his team to win. He needs to settle down, and soon.

Bottom 4th
Isomura first-pitch swinging... but grounds out to 3rd.

Iwaikawa with a groundout to short.

And Fujinami grounds to 2nd. Arihara making short work of the Chuukyou batters for the 2nd straight inning. Not looking good for them right now...

Top 5th
Morimoto still having some issues. After striking out Maruko on 3 straight, he turns around and walks Makoshiba.

Nakai-kantoku putting on the hit-and-run! But Sanda flies out to left and Makoshiba has to return to 1st.

Eh? Nakai is pinch hitting for Tokuda. #5 Yamauchi is coming in. And on a 3-1 pitch, he singles through the left side!

Arihara up now looking to extend his lead.

But he hits a grounder to short! Kawamoto up with it, takes his time, and makes the throw to 1st to end the inning. Morimoto continues to allow baserunners, but not allowing them to score.

Bottom 5th
#12 Ninomiya comes in for Yamauchi and takes over at 3B.

Kawamoto with a grounder past a diving Fukuda for a leadoff single!

Horii bunts him over into scoring position for Fukushima. Can they finally get on the board?

Grounder back to Arihara! He gets it, looks Kawamoto back and throws to 1st. 2 down!

Back to the top of the order and Oogiso.

SANSHIN!!! Oogiso gets caught swinging at a pitch down and away for strike 3! Arihara doesn't let the leadoff hit get to him and Chuukyou is denied!

We head to the break with Kouryou still up 3-0, but Arihara is in full control right now.

Top 6th
Morimoto through 5 is already sitting at 92 pitches. Will he make it to the end?

Shintani with a drive to left! Iwaikawa going back... it's off the wall! He's in with a leadoff double!

Fukuda up looking to bunt him over... fouls it back.

Swings away, singles though the right side! Runners at the corners! Uh oh!

Toyoda with a short pop up! Fujinami with it, throws to 1st??? Double play???!!!

Fukuda was off the bag, and was thrown out at 1st??!! WHY? There's no reason to be off the bag at all! Big baserunning blunder but Kouryou there!

And with Kuramasu striking out swinging, yet another opportunity by Kouryou is wasted. They may be up 3, but it's certainly not impossible.

Bottom 6th
And the longer you leave a good team in it, the better a chance they get back in it.

Iwatsuki tries the bunt single, but Arihara fields it cleanly for the first out.

Morimoto with a liner down the left field line! Sanda up with it, but Morimoto's in with a double!

Isomura goes down swinging on a ball in the dirt. It gets away from Shintani a little allowing Morimoto go reach 3rd. 2 down.

Iwaikawa desperately looking for a base hit falls behind 0-2. Barely fouls one off... Fights another one off... Just gets a piece of an inside pitch...

SANSHIN! Iwaikawa swings and Shintani is able to hold it for the 3rd strike! Arihara gets out of the jam and Kouryou holds the 3 run lead!

Top 7th
Wonder if the message in the dugout was to make Morimoto pitch. Count goes full on Maruko before he grounds out to 1st. Makoshiba does the same, and earns a walk.

Morimoto slider gets away from him and hits Sanda. Runners at 1st and 2nd with one down for Ninomiya.

Ball in the dirt and the runners take off! Isomura with the throw, but not in time! Runners at 2nd and 3rd!


Nakai-kantoku calls for the squeeze and Ninomiya lays it down! Horii quickly with it, but has to go to 1st! Makoshiba scores and it's 4-0 Kouryou on the well-executed squeeze!!

Arihara goes down swinging, but finally they push through another run! Chuukyou's deficit stands at 4 with just 3 innings to play...

Bottom 7th
Arihara breaking out the slow curves now. 2 straight to Fujinami and he grounds back to Arihara. Kawamoto flies out to left.

And another slow curve gets Horii to ground out to 2nd. Through 7 now, and Chuukyou just can't do anything against Arihara and time is quickly running short.

Top 8th
Shintani with a shot down the left field line... fair! It goes to the foul pole as Shintani walks in with his 2nd double of the day!

Fukuda looking to bunt again, but Morimoto is pitching out. Falls behind 2-0.

Swings away! Hot shot right to Horii! He has it and touches 1st for the out! Shintani has to hold!

Toyoda with a grounder to short. Kawamoto with the play and Shintani once again has to say at 2nd.

Kuramasu with a hit to center. Iwatsuki charging in... dives.. can't get it! It bounces in front of him! Shintani comes around 3rd and he scores! Kuramasu hustling on the hit reaches 2nd! 5-0 Kouryou!

#16 Okamoto comes in to pinch-run for Kuramasu.

Maruko up with a chance to extend the lead further, hit a dribbler up the 3rd base line! Morimoto over to get it, but Maruko running through the bag beats the throw!

Finally! Someone who runs THROUGH the bag!

Runners at the corners with 2 down for Makoshiba. Grounder back up the middle. Snagged by Kawamoto! Throw to 1st... in time! But Kouryou has extended the lead to 5 making the task just that much harder.

Bottom 8th
#15 Eguchi comes in for Okamoto and plays left.

#16 Kojima in to pinch-hit for Fukushima... but grounds back to Arihara for the first out.

Oogiso with the safety bunt! Maruko charging in, but can't get the throw to 1st in time. Infield hit!

AH!! Grounder to 3rd by Iwatsuki! Ninomiya with it, goes to 2nd for one, relay by Fukuda... TWO! The double play wipes out the runners and the inning! They're down to their last 3 outs!

Top 9th
#10 Asano comes in for Kojima and relieves Morimoto. But he stays in and moves to SS, while Kawamoto moves to 3rd.

And one wonders if Asano should have come in sooner. He winds up striking out the side in order. Could he have prevented the other 2 runs?

Bottom 9th
Morimoto up, and Arihara gets him swinging at a ball in the dirt for the 1st out.

あれ? Nakai-kantoku decides to make a pitching change! #10 Ueno comes in for Maruko and takes the hill. Arihara moves over to 1st. Maybe he wanted to get the dangerous batter out of the way first in Morimoto.

Isomura up with one down, hits a grounder to the left side. Toyoda running into the gap gets it! Throw to 1st... short! Arihara can't pick it and Isomura's safe!

Iwaikawa up now, and he hits a blooper to shallow left! Eguchi running in... can't get to it! That goes in for a single and now there's runners on 1st and 2nd!

Things not looking so good for Ueno. But he gets Fujinami to fly to right! And while Isomura tags up for 3rd, there's only one out left!

Kawamoto looking to extend the game. He bloops one to left center! Eguchi charging in again... can't get this one either! Isomura rounding 3rd, and scores! 5-1!

Uh oh. Nakai-kantoku with a conference on the mound. This should be simple, and yet it has the possibility of getting out of hand.

Horii now trying to continue the rally. But he hits a high popup! Fukuda under it... makes the catch! Game set!

Kouryou has done it! They have defeated the summer champions Chuukyoudai Chuukyou in superb fashion by a score of 5-1! That will set up the first semifinal matchup between Nichidai-san and Kouryou!

As for Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, they certainly made a good run to take both titles, but their journey ends in the semifinals. They just couldn't get anything started against Arihara, and Morimoto got off to a slow start. They'll have the next couple of months to regroup before making their push to repeat as summer champions.

Day 9 - Quarterfinal #1 - Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui) vs. Nichidai-san (Tokyo)

(AUGH! No one told me the games would be shown live on MBS!!!)

Our opening semifinal puts the kids of Tsuruga Kehi out of Fukui-ken versus the old guard in Tokyo's Nichidai-san.

Tsuruga Kehi took advantage of a weak Tenri bullpen in the first round, while holding off a late charge against Hanasaki Tokuharu in their second round game. The team has shown some timely hitting and will need it against this opponent.

It's hard to tell how Nichidai-san has fared so far. They've played two 21st century teams so far and have had mixed results. Against Yamagata Chuo in the first round, they took care of easily 3-1. But then against Kouyou, they only managed 3 runs in a 3-1 win. Given, Kouyou perhaps was a stronger 21st century team since they defeated Kaisei, but in the end it can only mean so much.

Tsuruga Kehi should prove to be a test of how the team really is. They're more of a known commodity and we can get a better gauge of how good this team really is.

As you can see, I don't really have a favorite in this matchup.

Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui) - Hokushinetsu Runner-up
CF Nishikiori Daisuke
2B Hayashi Rui
LF Nakao Yuuto
RF Yoshida Masataka
C Kubo Yuuta
SS Kanayama Yoshihiro
1B Okuno Kyouhei (#13)
P Ookubo Takashi
3B Kawashita Ryuusei

Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Kanto/Tokyo At-large
RF Takayama Shun
1B Ogihara Tatsurou (#4)
CF Hiraiwa Takuji
3B Yokoo Toshitake
P Yamazaki Sachiya
SS Yoshizawa Shougo
LF Azegami Shou
1B Negishi Kouhei (#15)
C Suzuki Takahiro (#12)


8:32 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Nishikiori is proving to be stubborn for Yamazaki to start off the game. He lasts 9 pitches, but flies out to center.

Yamazaki quickly issues his first walk as he walks Hayashi on 4 straight.

And then he falls behind Nakao 3-0!

Hayashi-kantoku sets the game in motion, sending Hayashi! Throw from Suzuki and Hayashi just slides in under the tag!

And Nakao earns a walk! Runners on 1st and 2nd early for Tsuruga Kehi!

Yoshida up now looking for a timely hit. But he grounds one to short. Yoshizawa to Negishi for one, throw to Ogihara, just beats a running Yoshida! A timely double play ends the inning!

Bottom 1st
Ookubo gets Takayama swinging for out number 1.

Ogihara with a liner down the right field line. Yoshida plays it off the wall and Ogihara is in with a double.

And now Ookubo falls behind Hiraiwa 3-0. However, he gets Hiraiwa to hit a grounder to Kanayama and he makes the play at 1st. Ogihara can't advance on the play.

But Yokoo gets a base hit to left! Nakao charging in and they're sending Ogihara home! Throw from Nakao is OVER EVERYONE!! Ogihara scores easily and Yokoo advances to 2nd on the errant throw. It's 1-0 Nichidai!

Yamazaki grounds out to 1st to end the inning, but Nichidai-san is on the board.

Top 2nd
Yamazaki's control issues seem to persist. He walks Kubo to start the inning. Kanayama bunts him over and Tsuruga Kehi is threatening to tie it up here.

Okuno with a slow grounder to short. Kubo takes off for 3rd as Yoshizawa field the ball and makes a running throw to 1st for the 2nd out.

Ookubo swinging on first pitch and grounds to Yokoo who fires to 1st to end the inning. Tsuruga Kehi is unable to equalize here in the 2nd.

Bottom 2nd
Yoshizawa with a drive down the right field line! Yoshida over to the wall and has to play the bounce! Yoshizawa with a leadoff double!

Azegami doesn't seem to be bunting in this situation and is in fact hitting anything that is in the zone - and some out of it as well.

We're at the 9th pitch, and Ookubo finally gets Azegami as he grounds out to 2nd. But he does advance Yoshizawa to 3rd.

I wonder if Ookubo was protecting against a squeeze, because he winds up walking Negishi on 4 straight. If nothing else it creates a double play opportunity.

Last batter Suzuki up now.


Suzuki on the 1-0 pitch surprises everyone and shows bunt! But he pushes it foul up the 1st base line. Looks like it was a one-shot deal though and Suzuki is back to swinging away.

And Suzuki takes a pitch away and bloops it to right! Yoshizawa scores and it's now 2-0!

Negishi advances to 3rd on the hit so once again Nichidai-san has runners at the corners!

Takayama with a grounder back to Ookubo! He starts the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning!

Once again though, Nichidai-san tacks on another run.

Top 3rd
Yamazaki gets Kawashita swinging to start off the 3rd.

Nishikiori with a comebacker to Yamazaki! He puts out his glove, but it glances off and goes towards 1st! Ogihara goes over to get it, throws to Yamazaki who runs to cover 1st, and makes the out! That's your standard 1-3-1 putout there!

And Hayashi goes down on 3 straight to end the inning. Looks like Yamazaki may have settled down from the first 2 innings.

Bottom 3rd
#11 Fujisawa is up and throwing as Ookubo pitches to Ogihara.

And Ogihara with a drive to deep right center!! That one takes one hop to the wall!! Ogihara heading for third as Hayashi, AH!

Hayashi loses the handle on the relay throw and Ogihara comes home! Throw isn't in time and Ogihara scores!! It's 3-0! Ogihara is credited with a 3B and the error allows him to get home.

Ookubo walks Hiraiwa and things don't look so good.

Hayashi-kantoku calls time, and it looks like Ookubo's day is done. #18 Shirazaki comes in for Ookubo and takes the hill.

But Yokoo singles past a diving Kawashita and Nichidai-san is threatening again.

Yamazaki up trying to bunt, but can't lay it down. Instead he singles past Shirazaki and a diving Hayashi into center! Nishikiori fires home but it's not in time! What's more, both runners advance a base on the throw so Nichidai has runners on 2nd and 3rd!! It's 4-0!

Hayashi-kantoku calls time and calls for a conference.

Slight issue as Nishikiori has a bit of trouble with his contact lens, but he's okay and the game continues.

Yoshizawa with a hard grounder up the 3rd base line! Kawashita knocks it down and throws to 1st for the out. Runners have to hold.

Shirazaki falls behind Azegami 3-0, although that may have been partially due to the worry about a squeeze. And while he manages to fill up the count, he walks Azegami.

Manrui for Nichidai-san, although a double play ends the inning.

But Shirazaki falls behind Negishi 3-1! There's nowhere to put him!

And he walks him! Yokoo comes home and it's now 5-0!

Suzuki with a grounder past Kawashita into left! Yamazaki comes home and now it's 6-0! What a disastrous inning for Tsuruga Kehi!

Back to the top of the order in Takayama. He hits a grounder to 2nd. Hayashi goes home with the throw and they get the force on Azegami.

Ogihara, who led off the inning stands at the plate again. He goes down swinging to end the inning, but unfortunately for Tsuruga Kehi, the damage has been done. They trail by 6 after 3 innings, and their future prospects in the game don't look so good.

Top 4th
Tsuruga Kehi finally gets themselves a base hit as Nakao hits a bloop single to left. That has to boost their confidence a little...

But Yoshida pops up to Suzuki, Kubo strikes out looking... and Nakao gets thrown out trying to steal 2nd... Nichidai-san appears to be in full control.

Bottom 4th
Shirazaki finally stops the bleeding. He gets Hiraiwa to pop up to 2nd, then after allowing a walk to Yokoo, induces a 6U-3 double play from Yamazaki to end the inning!

Top 5th
Down 6 though, they'll need to start chipping away now.

No luck though against Yamazaki. Kanayama grounds out to 1st, while Okuno and Shirazaki strikeout freezing on the curve...

Bottom 5th
Yoshizawa with a deep drive to center! Nishikiori running back! Makes the catch in front of the fence! Throws it back in, but takes a glance back...

Shirazaki can't seem to shake the walk bug though... He walks Azegami. Fortunately, it doesn't lead to anything as Negishi grounds out to 2nd, and Suzuki flies out to left.

(You know, I kinda like Nichidai-san's oen-dan original music)

Top 6th
Oh man... Tsuruga Kehi is looking baffled at the plate...

Kawashita strikes out looking...

Nishikiori flies to center...

Hayashi strikes out swinging...

I honestly don't see rhem coming back from this deficit...

Bottom 6th
Takayama reaching out and gets contact. It seems to find the gap, but Kanayama runs it down! That's all he can do though as Takayama flies down the line. Ogihara successfully moves him to 2nd.

AAHHHH! Wild pitch by Shirazaki! Takayama goes to 3rd!

And Shirazaki walks Hiraiwa! It's only the 6th and the team looks defeated.

Hiraiwa heading for 2nd on the first pitch! It's cut off and now there's runners on 2nd and 3rd!!

Yokoo hits a hanging curve to right center!!! Nishikiori trying to cut it off, but can't! It goes to the wall! Takayama scores, Hiraiwa rounding 3rd, being sent home... he scores! Yokoo in with a 2-run triple and now it's 8-0 Nichidai-san.

Yamazaki with a base hit to the right side past a drawn-in infield and Yokoo scores... 9-0. The Tsurua boys may have been playing scared, now it's almost playing with resignation.

It's almost reflected in the next play as Yoshizawa grounds to 3rd, and it looks like a double play... but Hayashi drops the ball at 2nd. He gets it back to get the force, but nothing else.

Yoshizawa gets thrown out trying to steal 2nd, and so the inning ends. But Nichidai-san is in full rout mode now.

Top 7th
Tsuruga Kehi is swinging away now. Nakao flies out to left. Another fly ball by Yoshida, this time to center. Kubo with another fly to left center, but this time it falls in! Hiraiwa runs it down, but not before Kubo is in with a double!

The joy is short-lived as Kanayama immediately grounds to 3rd to end the inning.

Bottom 7th
Shirazaki just can't shake the wak bug. He walks Azegami to start the inning.

He's bailed out as Negishi grounds back to him. He goes to 2nd for one, relay from Kanayama is in time to complete the double play!

Teikyou doesn't stop putting on the pressure as Suzuki singles through to left. Fortunately, Takayama strikes out to end the inning.

Top 8th
Defensive changes for Nichidai-san. #16 Kobayashi comes in for Negishi and takes center. Hiraiwa shifts to left, Azekami shifts to 1B, and Ogihara shifts to 2B.

Okuno grounds back to Yamazaki...

#15 Iwata in to PH for Shirazaki marking the end of his day. And he takes the first pitch to right for a base hit! #14 Hirota in to run for Iwata...

AHHH!!!! Kawashita lines one right to Yoshizawa! Hirota is caught off the bag and is doubled off to end the inning!!

Bottom 8th
#11 Fujisawa comes in now for Tsuruga Kehi. Defensive change as well as #3 Ishibashi comes in for Okuno at 1B.

Fujisawa off to a good start striking out Ogihara.

And a popup to 2nd by Hiraiwa... but Hayashi drops it as he brings the glove down! Could have still been called out because it looked like he dropped it on the transfer, but it isn't and it's an E4!

And they pay for the call! Yamazaki with a drive to left center that falls in! It's run down, but Hiraiwa is flying around the bases! He's being sent home and the throw is offline! Another run scores and Nichidai-san hits double digits. 10-0.

Yoshizawa grounds to short to end the inning, and Tsuruga Kehi will have their last ups.

Top 9th
Yamazaki continues stong to the finish. Nishikiori pops out to 1st... Hayashi goes down swinging... and Nakao grounds out to short to end the game...

In the most dominating performance by Nichidai-san this tournament so far, they dismantled Tsuruga Kehi to the tune of 10-0 and punch their ticket to the Best 4.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 8 - Game 3 - Hokushou (Hokkaido) vs. Jiyuugaoka (Fukuoka)

We wind down the 2nd round with a matchup of teams across the country.

Hokushou faced neighboring Akita Shougyou, and made a 2-run 1st inning lead stick. Matano did a good job of shutting down the Akitashou defense, but the lack of offense from Hokushou after the first inning is concerning. Only Nodate had a multiple hit night.

Meanwhile, Jiyuugaoka was given no chance to defeat Toukaidai Sagami in it's first round matchup. But Hifumi looked mortal on the mound, collapsed in the 8th inning and next thing you knew, Jiyuugaoka had pulled off the upset.

However, the offense only managed just 6 hits, and two of the three runs in the 8th were due to walks. Sure, it was against Hifumi, but if they want the cinderella run to last longer, that will have to improve.

Both teams have something to prove, both teams have flaws that can be exploited. The question will be who will be able to take advantage of it.

Hokushou (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Oono Masaya
2B Kimura Yuuji
C Nishida Akihisa
P Matano Tomoya
CF Abe Kenichi
LF Nodate Tomohito
1B Shintani Yuuki
RF Chiba Tatsuki
3B Kuroda Kento

Jiyuugaoka (Fukuoka) - Kyushu 3/4
2B Yanagi Takuma
CF Itadani Takahiro
P Ono Gouki
LF Koga Shouta
C Nakamura Keita
1B Sotono Takamasa
RF Kusuda Kousuke (#13)
SS Fujii Shouta
3B Miyzaki Shinnosuke


14:07 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Oono leads off the game with a liner to center. Kimura tries to bunt him along, but Ono winds up walking him instead! Early chance for Hokushou!

Nakamura comes out to talk with Ono and settle him down.

Nishida not bunting, which seems a bit strange.

Grounder to 3rd! Goes to the bag for one, throw to 1st, double play!! And just like that there's 2 outs!

Matano flies out to shallow left, and that's the inning! While I don't necessarily agree with the amount of bunting that goes on in kokoyakyu, I could understand if they had decided to there instead.

But, Ono gets out of the early jam and we're off and running!

Bottom 1st
And so is Yanagi!! He hits a grounder up the 3rd base line past a diving Kuroda! That rolls all the way to the wall as Yanagi is in with a stand-up double!

Itadani squares up to bunt, but pops it up! Matano comes in and makes the catch!

Now Ono works a walk and there's runners on 1st and 2nd for Jiyuugaoka!

Cleanup batter Shouta steps in, but Suetsugu-kantoku isn't waiting! He sends both runners! The 0-1 pitch from Matano is low and there's no throw! Now a sac fly can give them the early lead!

But Shouta can't get under a high slider and he grounds one to short! Oono makes the play and the runners have to hold!

Nakamura flies out to center, and Matano is also out of a jam here in the 1st!

Top 2nd
A much more uneventful 2nd for Ono. Abe grounds out to short, Nodate fouls out to Nakamura near the Jiyuugaoka dugout, and Shintani flies out to right.

Bottom 2nd
Matano seems to be settling down too. He strikes out Sotono and Kusuda back to back, then gets Fujii to foul out to Shintani to end the inning.

Top 3rd
One down for #9 batter Chiba and he drives one to left center, and that falls in! Itadani chases it to the wall and Chiba's in with a double!

Dash Keio plays as we head back to the top of the order, but Ono changes eye levels on Oono and gets him to swing at a high fastball and pop out to 3rd.

Kimura grounds out to short, and as quickly as the opportunity came, it left.

Bottom 3rd
Matano's control isn't quite all there yet, but he's still effective against the Jiyuugaoka batters.

He racks up another 2 strikeouts as he gets Miyazaki looking and Yanagi swinging.

Itadani finally breaks it up with a single to right for a two-out single.

Suetsugu continues to be aggressive on the basepaths! Itadani takes off on the 1-1 pitch, but Nishida throws him out easily. Wonder if that was supposed to be a delayed steal?

Top 4th
Defensive change for Jiyuugaoka. #10 Yukuhiro comes in for Miyazaki and takes over at 3rd.

After a quick flyout by Nishida, Matano draws a walk.

Kawakami-kantoku decides to have Abe bunt him along, but instead Abe bunts it right at Ono who goes to 2nd for the force.

Ono paying a lot of attention to Abe.

Now it's Kawakami-kantoku putting the game in motion! He calls for the hit-and-run! But Nodate fouls it back.

2 pitches later, he tries it again, but Nodate swings and misses on a change to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
Not sure what was going it, but there seemed to be attention paid to Matano and his throwing hand. He takes some warm-up pitches and is seen working the area between his thumb and index finger.

Ono hits a grounder that is just past a diving Kimura for a leadoff single!

Nakamura grounds back to Matano. He looks Kimura back and goes to 1st for the 2nd out.

And Sotono can't hold up on a slider away and Matano gets through another inning. The control still isn't quite there though.

Top 5th
Shintani with a single back up the middle. But Kuroda pops up his bunt and Ono makes the catch!

Kawakami asks Chiba to bunt too, and he lays it down.

And Ono with a wild pitch! Shintani just 90 feet away now.

But Oono grounds out to Sotono and Hokushou remains scoreless.

Bottom 5th
Matano walks Kusuda to start the inning, and Fujii bunts him along.

And Matano having even more trouble with his control. He walks Yukuhiro on 4 straight!

Looks like Kawakami-kantoku has seen enough from Matano. Matano and Chiba switch places. Guess the question is if whatever's bothering Matano is serious should they win.

Yanagi hits Chiba's first pitch though to right! And the 3rd base coach indeed sends Kusuda home! He stumbles a bit stepping on 3rd, but continues on! Throw in from Nodate is on line, and Nishida makes the tag for the out!

You had to figure on a base hit that they would be sending Kusuda, and they did, but Nodate makes a fine throw to gun him down!

Itadani flies out to center, and Chiba gets Hokushou out of the pinch! We head into the break scoreless!

Top 6th
Kimura comes back from the break and leads off the 6th with a single to left. Nishida moves him into scoring position for Matano.

He hits a high drive to center! Itadani under it for the 2nd out, but Kimura tags up and reaches 3rd.

But once again Ono leaves the runner stranded at 3rd as he strikes out Abe to end the inning!

Bottom 6th
Ono gets his 2nd hit of the day as he lines one past the glove of Chiba into center!

Suetsugu is having Shouta bunt come hell or high water, and on the 2-2- pitch he lays it down. But Chiba gets to it quickly and fires to 2nd for the force!

Nakamura with a grounder past Kuroda for another hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 down!

Camera goes to Matano who's shown wearing a brace on his hand. That can't be good.

Meanwhile, Sotono strikes out for the 3rd time this game on a curve away.

Kusuda grounds out to 1st and the teams still remain scoreless.

Top 7th
Nodate leads off the inning with a single to center. Shintani moves him over and Hokushou once again has a scoring opportunity.

Kawakami goes to his bench and calls on #17 Ikeda to pinch hit for Kuroda.

And he hits the first pitch past a diving Fujii for a base hit! Runners on the corners with one down.

Suetsugu calling a conference as Chiba steps in.


Chiba shows bunt and hits a hard one that gets past Ono! Fujii gets the ball, looks home but goes to 1st! Nodate scores and Hokushou breaks the deadlock! It's 1-0!


Oono with a drive to right center! That hits off the base of the wall! Ikeda comes around to score on Oono's 2-out triple and it's 2-0!!

Kimura with the safety bunt!!!! It's another hard bunt past Ono! Yanagi charging in, throws to 1st... SAFE!!!

Yanagi takes an extra step or two, and as a result, his throw is late and Oono comes in to score! It's 3-0 Hokushou!!!

Now Kimura takes off for 2nd! Throw from Nakamura is not in time and Hokushou continues to put the pressure on Ono!

But he gets Nishida to fly out to right to end the inning. Hokushou has broken the scoreless draw in a big way and now holds a 3-run lead!

Bottom 7th
#15 Kanazawa comes in for Ikeda and takes over at 3B.

Fujii with a slow grounder to short. Oono double cluches and his throw to 1st can't beat out a sliding Fujii!

Eh? Fujii takes off for 2nd, but once again he's thrown out by a country mile. It's not even close...

And Yukuhiro walks on 4 straight. And Chiba walks Yanagi!! How much does the caught stealing hurt now?

It hurts a lot more now!!

Itadani lines one over Nodate's head and to the wall! Yukuhiro scores from 2nd as Itadani hits an RBI double! Jiyuugaoka is on the board at 3-1!

Nishida goes out to the mound as Kawakami-kantoku callas a conference.

Ono with a base hit to left. That scores Yanagi and it's 3-2!!

The hit parade continues! Shouta with a grounder to right! Itadani comes in to score and Jiyuugaoka has tied it up! 3-3!!!!

The players have another conference on the mound and now #10 Sakata is warming up in the pen.

Nakamura looking to continue the assault. Count goes full!

Grounder to 3rd! Kanazawa there to get it, but can't make a clean grab! Goes to 2nd for one out, throw to first... double play!!

Even with the bobble, they are able to turn the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Jiyuugaoka comes right back to tie the game, but could have had the lead had they not tried the SB earlier in the inning...

Top 8th
Ono retires the first two batters via groundout, but then Nodate lines one over Yukuhiro's head and down the left field line for a double. Small chance for Hokushou!

But Shintani grounds out to short to end the inning. Ono outside of the 7th has done a servicable job and has thrown only 101 pitches.

Bottom 8th
Sotono unfortunately has to live with the infamous golden sombrero as he strikes out for the 4th time.

Kusuda up to the tune of Evangelion, and gets a 4-pitch walk!

Fujii with the bunt, Nishida goes to field it, but can't get the ball out of his glove! His throw to 1st is late and everyone's safe!!

Yukuhiro not bunting.

The runners take off! 1-1 pitch is in the dirt and Nishida can't get it! Everyone's safe!

After the last 2 failed attempts I'm a bit surprised they tried this, but I guess so was Hokushou!

Now a sac fly will give Jiyuugaoka the lead!!

But Yukuhiro goes down swinging! 2 down for Chiba!

Up to Yanagi now. Count even at 2-2, fouls a couple off. Works it full...

But he goes down swinging on a curve in the dirt! Chiba gets out of another jam and we head to the 9th all tied at 3!

Top 9th
New 3B Kanazawa starts the inning off with a leadoff walk! Chiba immediately bunts him over into scoring position!

Suetsugu-kantoku calls a conference. We're back to the top of the order and Oono.

Oono with a fly ball in foul territory. Yukuhiro running over, reaches out, but it goes off the end of his glove! I think he may have been worried about the bullpen mound, but he probably had a play at that one.

Oono with a fly to deep center. Itadani with it, but it's deep enough to let Kanazawa advance to 3rd!

Kimura with the safety bunt! Yukuhiro running in, decides to try and let the ball run foul...


The ball hits the uneven ground and rolls back into fair territory!! Kanazawa scores on the play and Hokushou takes the lead here in the top of the 9th! 4-3!

Nishida with a fly ball to left! Shouta running back, still running back, can't make the catch! Kimura comes all the way around to 1st on Nishida's triple and Hokushou leads 5-3!!

That seemed like it was more of a poor fielding attempt than a solid hit. Shouta continue to run back while trying to get bearings on the ball, when it seemed like he had enough time to run back turn around and make the catch instead.

Suetsugu-kantoku calls for a pitching change. It's tough luck for Ono who should have been out of this inning and without any runs scored. It won't show up as errors, but should have been.

So there's a shuffle within the corner fielders. Yukuhiro goes from 3rd to take the hill, #15 Yoshihara comes in for Sotono and takes over at 3B, while Ono goes to 1B.

Matano fouls out to 1st to end the inning, but Jiyuugaoka finds themselves down 2 runs with only 3 outs to go!

Bottom 9th
Itadani weakly grounds to 2nd, one down.

Ono quickly down 0-2, but starts fighting at the plate and works the count full.

But he hits a fly to right! Matano comes in and makes the catch for the 2nd out!

Shouta the last hope for Jiyuugaoka. Grounder to 3rd! And it rolls up Kanazawa and deflects into shallow left center!! Shouta hustles for 2, and slides in safely!!

Nakamura with a drive to left center!! That falls in behind Nodate! Shouta rounds 3rd and scores on the RBI double and Jiyuugaoka is within 1! It's 5-4!!

Suetsugu pulls his last card. #18 Arita comes in to pinch hit for Yoshihara.

He gets ahead in the count 3-1! Swing and a miss! Arita thinking fastball, but Chiba throws a curve! Full count!


Chiba throws a 3-2 curve and gets Arita swinging!! Hokushou holds on for the 5-4 victory!!

Jiyuugaoka certainly had their chances throughout the game, but it may have been some defensive miscues that cost them the game.

Nonetheless, the boys from Fukuoka put on a good show, and perhaps we'll see more from them this summer.

Day 8 - Game 2 - Osaka Touin (Osaka) vs. Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu)

After that exciting game to start the day, what will the next game give us? Osaka Touin, a regular at Koshien, faces upstart Oogaki Nichidai who won it all last fall.

Osaka Touin had no trouble in the first round against Toukaidai Bouyou leading wire-to-wire in a 9-2 victory. The offense made contact, drew walks and had timely hitting. However, the pitching as usual for this team is not as sharp, and could pose a problem against Oogaki Nichidai.

Oogaki Nichidai had one heck of a time against Kawashima. They could only muster 7 hits against Higashitani and had the benefit of two walks in the 10th inning to advance.

Kassai looked good against Kawashima, but will face a stern test in Osaka Touin.

Still, it seems odd to have Osaka Touin as an underdog, but it's true.

Osaka Touin (Osaka) - Kinki Runner-up
CF Ichikawa Ryouta
2B Hirohata Minoru
SS Yamaguchi Takuya
3B Kawahara Ukyou
C Emura Naoya
1B Nishida Naoto
RF Fujita Hiromasa
LF Yamaashi Tatsuya
P Fukumoto Tsubasa

Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
CF Morita Shouken
SS Kojima Takuya
RF Gotou Kenta
1B Takada Naohiro
3B Koo Takudai
LF Andou Yoshirou
2B Nagaoka Yoshiki
C Tokimoto Ryou
P Kassai Yukiya


11:33 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Kassai off to a good start. He gets Ichikawa and Hirohata on groundouts, then strikes out Yamaguchi swinging on a slider for a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 1st
Fukumoto also off to a clean inning. Induces a comebacker from Morita, gets Kojima to ground out to first, and Gotou to foul out to Kawahara near the camera well.

Still, Nishitani-kantoku as #16 Nakano throwing in the bullpen.

Top 2nd
Kassai still in control on the mound. Strikes out Kawahara, then retires Emura and Nishida on flyouts.

Bottom 2nd
Fukumoto gets a grounder from Takada to short.

Koo with a hit to left center. Ichikawa goes over to field it and slips! Koo continues on to 2nd for a double!

Andou then draws a walk! Developing situation for Oogaki Nichidai!

Nagaoka with a fly to deep right. Hiromasa there for the catch, but Koo tags up to 3rd.

And Tokimoto take the first pitch to center! Koo rounds third and scores! Andou digging for 3rd! Ichikawa with the throw...

...and it gets by Kawahara and goes into the dugout!! Andou comes in to score and Oogaki takes a 2-0 lead on the RBI single by Tokimoto and error on Kawahara!!

Tokimoto on 3rd for pitcher Kassai, but he strikes out looking to end the inning.

Oogaki Nichidai though jumps out to a 2-0 lead on Osaka Touin!

Top 3rd
Hiromasa starts off with a single to center as they try to strike back.

And Nishitani-kantoku sends Hiromasa! Tokimoto with the throw, it's high! Nagaoka jumps, comes down with the ball, makes the tag, and gets the out!!

Yamaashi grounds out to short and Fukumoto reaches down for a ball, bu hits it right at Kojima for the 3rd out.

Bottom 3rd
Ow? Morita has a curve bounce off his head after 6 pitches and takes 1st base.

But even though he's fine, the umpires have him go to the bench temporarily. Nagaoka comes out to run in his place this time around.

Kojima trying to put a surprise bunt down, but pops it up! Emura loses it and can't make the catch. He eventually flies out to left.

Sakaguchi putting on the hit-and-run, but Gotou pops it up! Hirohata under it for the 2nd out.

Takada collects his first hit as he lines a fastball to left. But Yamaashi bobbles the ball and allows Nagaoka to advance to 3rd! Runner at the corners with 2 down for Koo.

But he hits a popup! Yamaguchi under it for the 3rd out.

Top 4th
Kassai gets leadoff batter Ichikawa looking, then Hirahata swinging for his 3rd and 4th K's.

Yamaguchi with a hard grounder up the 3rd base line that just gets by Koo! Andou up with it quickly and Yamaguchi has to hold at 1st.

Now Kawahara walks to put runners on 1st and 2nd!

But Emura gets under a high fastball and pops it up! Koo under it and makes the catch to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
After a groundout by Andou, Nagaoka draws a walk.

And then Nagaoka takes off for 2nd! Emura goes to throw, but loses the ball! Nagaoka slides in with the stolen base!

Tokimoto with a drive to deep right!! Hiromasa running towards the foul pole hits the wall!!


The #8 batter Tokimoto comes through again, this time a 2-run homerun to right! It's 4-0 Oogaki Nichidai!!

Kassai with a falling liner to center. Ichikawa runs in, and makes a great sliding catch!!

Morita hits a comebacker to Fukumoto to end the inning, but Oogaki seems to be taking control of this game here in the 4th!

Top 5th
Nishida hit in his left arm and Osaka Touin has the leadoff batter on. Masahiro bunts the runner along for Yamaashi.

But Yamaashi is caught looking on a fastball outside, and there's 2 down.

Eh? #14 Yamanaka Tsukasa is in to pinch hit for Fukumoto meaning his day is done. #16 Nakano is warming up in the bullpen, so he's probably the next pitcher.

But Tsukasa is no help. He too goes down swinging on a slider for Kassai's 6th K.

Bottom 5th
Nakano indeed comes into the game, but comes in for Hiromasa. Yamaashi head over to the other corner outfield position (RF), while Tsukasa stays in to play LF.

No problems for Nakano in relief so far. He strikes out Kojima, then gets Gotou to hit a comebacker and Takada a grounder to 3rd.

But his team still trails by 4 going into the break,

Top 6th
#15 Fujita Genki comes in to pinch hit for Ichikawa. But he has little luck as well, grounding out to 2nd.

Hirahata fouls out to Takada for the 2nd out.

Yamaguchi with a hard hit to center, Morita sprinting back towards right center reaches out and makes the catch on a dead run to retire the side!

Bottom 6th
Genki stays in the game to play CF.

Well, that's a small world. Koo steps in to face Nakano, and the announcers mention that both went to the same middle school - with Koo being the senior of the two.

Nakano at least for this AB doesn't care has he strikes out Koo looking.

Andou with a opposite field drive to left. Tsukasa running back towards the foul pole. Looks up?!


Well, I'd be more excited if I weren't surprised. It didn't look like a homerun, and he hit it opposite field, but nevertheless it's a homerun!! 5-0 Oogaki Nichidai!

Nagaoka grounds out to short, and Nishida makes a nice pick to complete the play.

Nakano's control doesn't seem all there right now.

Ow.... Kawahara chases a foul ball from Tokimoto, but doesn't realize he's approaching the camera well, and well... tumbles into it.

Tokimoto with a drive down the right field line again!! Yamaashi running over to the foul pole! Stands right in front of the fence, and makes the catch! Tokimoto just missing his 2nd homerun by a couple of feet!

Top 7th
Kawahara with a hard hit to the right side! Nagaoka makes the diving stop and throws to first to retire Kawahara!

Emura gets his first hit of the game as he lines one into center.

Nishida with a hard hit to center! Morita running back towards the wall, makes the catch near the "warning track" for the 2nd out!

Nakano with a grounder to the right side! Nagaoka ranging to his left makes the diving stop right on the outfield grass! Throw to first, not in time! But not by a whole lot! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Yamaashi.

But Yamaashi hits a high fly to left! Andou under it and makes the catch to retire the side.

Bottom 7th
Outside of the homerun, Nakano has looked good. He retires Kassai Morita and Kojiima with relatively little trouble, but down 5 runs with 6 outs to go, it's not good enough.

Top 8th
Some defensive changes for Oogaki Nichidai. #13 Tomida comes in for Gotou and takes over in right, while #14 Tanigawa comes in for Andou and plays left.

Tsukasa with a drive to deep left center!! Tanigawa playing in, sprints back towards the wall. Pulls up!


Tsukasa getting Osaka Touin on the board in a big manner with a homerun! That's the third one today between the two teams!! It's 5-1!

Sakaguchi -kantoku calls a conference. Game certainly isn't in jeopardy, but probably wants to calm him down a little.

And now Genki hits a grounder just out of the reach of a diving Koo for a single!

Hirahata reaches down and hits a soft liner to the right side. Nagaoka has to play it on the hop, and gets the force on Genki as he wasn't sure if that was going to be caught or not.

Yamaguchi with a liner back at Kassai! He makes the catch, throws to 1st and doubles off Hirahata to end the inning!

Osaka Touin prevents the shutout, but still trails by 4 runs.

Bottom 8th
New RF Tomida flies out to center for the 1st out.

Takada also flies out to center for the 2nd out.

Koo with a hard shot at 3rd, AH!!

The ball deflects off of Kawahara and goes right into the dugout! Time is immediately called and Kawahara is down on the ground!

Nishitani-kantoku comes out immediately. It looks like he was hit on the head after the bounce. The stretcher comes out for him, but he actually stands up! The doctors convince him that discretion is the better part of valor and he lies back down on the stretcher and is carried off.

EH? Kawahara actually comes out of the dugout and returns to play 3rd!

Tanigawa fouls one off on the 3rd base side, Kawahara does charge in, so it seems like he's ok, but still...

Tanigawa singles back up the middle! Koo, who was awarded a double on that hit, is being sent home! Throw from Genki, not in time! Oogaki extends the lead back to 5! 6-1!

And Sakaguchi sends Tanigawa to 2nd! Throw is high, but Genki backs up the play.

Time is called, and I think Nishitani-kantoku is also thinking that discretion is the better part of valor and pulls Kawahara. #13 Koyama comes in for him and goes to 1st while Nishida goes across the diamond to 3rd.

And immediately, Sakaguchi-kantoku tests them by sending Tanigawa to 3rd! But there's no throw from Emura!

Nagaoka grounds back to Nakano for the 3rd out.

Camera pans over to the Osaka Touin dugout where Kawahara is being led by staffers out of the dugout as his team prepares to take the sticks in the 9th.

Top 9th
New 1B Koyama singles to left to start the 9th!

Emura with a liner over Koo's head for back-to-back hits! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Osaka Toin!

Nishida hits a grounder to 2nd. Nagaoka goes to Kojima for one, throw to 1st - not in time.

#17 Takamiya comes in to pinch hit for Nakano.

He hits a fly to right. Tomida is there to make the catch and Koyama tags up and scores from 3rd to make it 6-2.

Last chance in Yamaashi, but he grounds out to short. Kojima goes to 2nd for the force and that's the game!

Oogaki Nichidai continues it's run to the spring Koshien title, although the win is tempered by the injury to Osaka Touin 3B Kawahara. Hopefully everything is okay with him. While Osaka is always a competetive prefecture, you can be sure Osaka Touin will be in the mix to return to Koshien.

(Note: Turns out that Kawahara was looked at and was diagnosed with a light concussion. A concussion is never good, but at least it wasn't more serious. - Thanks to Yakyu Baka for that update)

Day 8 - Game 1 - Mie (Mie) vs. Teikyou (Tokyo)

We hit our final day of round 2 games, and headlining the day is Mie and Teikyou.

Mie had their hands full with Imabari Nishi, a team that has had a long history of participating in the spring Koshien, but only recently has emerged as the team out of Ehime. But they continued to fight, rallied and came back to win in extra innings.

Matsuda led the team, going 4-5 with 2 RBI's and being the sayonara run in the 10th.

Ace Masuda held his own in the game, although he did give up 5 runs.

He'll have to dig deep down as he now faces the offensive powerhouse Teikyou.

While one of the favorites to win it all, they had their hands full with Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Okamoto Ken and were trailing 2-0 late into the game. But a possible premature pulling of Okamoto led to a Teikyou rally and and eventual victory.

In recent years, the offense has looked uncharacteristically quiet as perhaps the events of 2006 led to the team switching to a more pitching oriented team.

If anything, that at least helps Mie in that Teikyou won't necessarily run away with it. But they're still facing sensation Itou Takurou...

Mie (Mie) - Meiji Jingu Tournament Bid
CF Yamaguchi Yuudai
3B Aoki Shou
2B Jinushi Kazuma
RF Matsuda Shougo
1B Tanigawa Koutarou
LF Doukai Masayuki
SS Shigeyama Eiji
P Masuda Daiki
C Katou Takuma

Teikyou (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
3B Taguchi Masaki (#4)
2B Yoshioka Shun (#5)
LF Sonoda Takato
CF Kubota (Hirotomo)
RF Okabe (Michiori)
1B Suzuki Shouta (#1)
SS Matsumoto Gou
C Yasuo Toshiya
P Itou Takuro (#11)


9:02 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Itou turning down the heat a little to start against Mie, but is just as effective. He's sitting in the low 140's with his fastball, but quickly racks up 2 K's on Yamaguchi and Aoki.

Jinushi with a hard shot to Yoshioka, but he blocks it and makes the throw for the 3rd out.

Bottom 1st
Taguchi takes a high fastball to center, but the defense is playing back and Yamaguchi is ther for the catch.

Groundout to short by Yoshioka and there's 2 down.

Sonoda gets a 2-out single to left, but Kuboto grounds to 1st to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Tanigawa with a one-out single to left.

Doukai with a liner down the right field line, fair! Okabe over to get it, but bobbles it! Runners now at 2nd and 3rd with one down!


Shigeyama lays down the bunt and Itou has no other play than 1st! Tanigawa scores and Mie strikes first! 1-0!

Masuda hits a slicing ball going foul. Sonoda over near the fence makes the play to retire the side. But it's Mie who gets on the board first!

Bottom 2nd
Okabe with a hot shot at Tanigawa, but he fields it and takes it himself to the bag.

Suzuki with a comebacker just out of Masuda's glove and into center for a base hit.

Matsumoto hits a grounder to 2nd. Jinushi feeds to Shigeyama for one, but the throw to Tanigawa is low and he can't make the pick.

Maeda-kantoku sends Matsumoto! Throw from Katou a bit high and Shigeyama can't field it! No advance as Yamaguchi is there to back it up.

SANSHIN! Masuda strikes out Yasuo looking and that's the inning!

Top 3rd
#9 batter Katou up for hist 1st AB.

And he drives a high fastball to deep right center! That falls in between the fielders and Katou's in with a leadoff double!!

Yamaguchi bunting, but Itou is quickly on the ball and throws to 3rd! Katou easily tagged out!

That was a questionable bunt by Yamaguchi. Itou had been falling off and charging to the 3rd base side each time he delivered the pitch to Yamaguchi. Why then bunt into where he is charging into?

And now Okita sends Yamaguchi! Throw from Yasuo, not in time! Yamaguchi slides in just before the tag and Mie once again has a runner in scoring position!

But Aoki can't check his swing on a slider away and there's 2 down!

Hm? Itou is readuy to deliver his pitch, but time is called as Maeda-kantoku calls for a conference.

Jinushi takes a fastball to left center! That's in the gap for extra bases!!

Yamaguchi scores on the 2nd double this inning and Mie is up 2-0!!

Matsuda again grounds out to 2nd, but Mie tacks on another run and leads by 2 against Itou!

I can understand if Itou took a couple of kph off the fastball to add control, but right he he's taken a couple kph off and has shaky control!

Bottom 3rd
Itou with a grounder through the right side for a leadoff single. Tagiuchi bunts him over into scoring position.

Yoshioka grounds out to Masuda and there's 2 down with Itou still standing at 2nd.

Sonoda with a grounder just wide of Masuda's glove and back up the middle! Yamaguchi fires the ball in quickly and Itou holds at 3rd. Runners at the corners for Kubota.

Kubota with a hit that shoots past Aoki into left and Teikyou is on the board! 2-1!

Okabe grounds out to short to end the inning, but Teikyou gets a run back!

Top 4th
Itou's control issues continue! He walks Tanigawa on 4 straight to start the inning!

Doukai with a drive to deep center. But Kubota parks a couple of steps in front of the fence for the 1st out. That's still a good hit.

Shigeyama with a ball back up the middle. Yoshioka with it, tosses from his knees for one, Mastumoto's relay to 1st completes the double play!

Bottom 4th
Suzuki with another hit back up the middle for a single. He's seeing the ball well. Matsumoto puts the bunt down to advance him along.

OH! Masuda hits Yasuo putting runners on 1st and 2nd!

Itou up and a base hit could tie the game. But he pops it up! Tanigawa in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!

And Taguchi grounds out to 2nd to end the inning! Teikyou certianly getting the baserunners, but Masuda is shutting it down so far when he's gotten into trouble.

Top 5th
Itou finally gets his first 1-2-3 inning inducing 3 groundouts to the 8-9-1 batters. Like Arihara, it seems strange that he gets such an inning this late in the game.

Bottom 5th
After Yoshioka strikes out looking on 3 straight, Sonoda singles to right.

Kubota immediately grounds to short, and while they get the out at 2nd, Jinushi double clutches and can't make the throw to 1st.

No matter though. Okabe hits one back to Masuda who makes the play at first to retire the side.

We head to the break with Mie ahead of Teikyou by one run. Teikyou's making good contact on the ball for base hits, but can't seem to string them together.

Top 6th
Aoki with a high chopper over Itou. Matsumoto fields it throws to 1st. Suzuki falling over to his right, makes the catch and keeps contact with the bag for the out!

Jinushi collects his 2nd hit with a single to left.

Cleanup batter Matsuda hits a grounder past the infield into right for his first hit! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Mie!

Tanigawa with a grounder to 1st. Suzuki with it, but only play to first. Runs it over, then tosses to Itou covering for the 2nd out.

Runners at 2nd and 3rd now for Doukai. Base hit here would be really helpful as insurance runs against Teikyou are an absolute necessity. He's certainly trying, fouling off several pitches.

And Itou gets Doukai swinging on a slider! He's out of the jam, but he still less than dominating.

Bottom 6th
Masuda with the easiest inning one could have!!

Suzuki first-pitch swinging grounds out to 2nd.

Matusmoto first-pitch swinging flies out to center.

Yasuo first-pitch swinging grounds out to 3rd.

3 pitches, 3 outs!

Top 7th
Defensive substitution for Teikyou. #3 Shimada comes in for Okabe and goes to 1st while Suzuki goes out to RF.

Shigeyama with a shot back at Itou. It's off his glove and deflects to the right side! Yoshioka comes in, but it's way too late.

Masuda bunting and it's right back at Itou! He goes to 2nd for one, and the relay to first completes the double play!! That's the 2nd failed bunt attempt by Mie!

Katou strikes out to end the inning and Mie continues to be stuck at 2 runs.

Bottom 7th
Masuda, after falling behind Itou 3-0, works the count full and gets him to fly out to right.

Ow. Taguchi with a pop fly in foul territory, Tanigawa running over, doesn't notice the bullpen mound and stumbles and falls.

Taguchi with a grounder to Tanigawa! AH! The ball takes an irregular hop and gets by him! Jinushi tries to get the ball back to 1st, but it's too late.

Maeda putting on the hit-and-run! Yoshioka though fouls it off.

And again! But again, the pitch is fouled off...

SANSHIN!! Yoshioka looks at a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3! 2 down!

And Sonoda flies out to left to end the inning! Masuda continues to hold off Teikyou!

Top 8th
Itou retires the first two batters as his pitch count stands at 99.

Jinushi with his 3rd hit of the day! He singles to center!

But that's all Mie gets. Matsuda grounds out to short. Matsumoto making a nice throw going away from the bag gets the force at 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
Time is quickly running out on Teikyou, they still trail by 1 with only 6 outs to go!

But Masuda continues to shut them down!

Kubota grounds out to short.

Then he strikes out Shimada swinging!!

And strikes out Suzuki swinging to end the inning!!!!!

Top 9th
Itou continues to keep the Mie offense at bay, retiring the side in order, but they're out of time. If they're going to make a comeback, it has to be now!

Bottom 9th
Matsumoto shoots one through the infield to left! Yasuo bunts him over.

Itou with a fly to deep center! Yamaguchi back to the fence, with his back to the fence, makes the catch!! Matsumoto touches up and heads to 3rd, but there's 2 down!

Masuda needs to get one more batter. And that is top batter Taguchi. Katou goes out to talk to Masuda...

Taguchi with a hit to left! That falls in and Teikyou has tied the game up!!!

Masuda left a slider up in the zone and Taguchi takes it to left, tying the game with just one out to go for Masuda.

Yoshioka grounds out to 3rd, but the damage has been done. We head into extras tied at 2-2.

Top 10th
The question for Mie is how will they respond? Is there still any fight left in them?

There seems to be the will, but the execution just isn't there. 3 groundouts later and they have to pick up the gloves once again.

Bottom 10th
After scoring the tying run in the 9th, the momentum has shifted over to Teikyou's side. Masuda will have to hold off the rush, otherwise it may be over quickly.

Sonoda gets jammed but fists one past Masuda! Aoki comes in to field it, but his throw is way late and Sonoda is on with a leadoff hit!


Masuda hits Kubota on the chest with a fastball as he squares to bunt! He's on the ground in pain and Maeda-kantoku goes out to check on him. He's a bit slow to get up, but afterwards makes his way to 1st.

But this is slowly getting away from Masuda now. Okita-kantoku calling time, but with the sayonara run in scoring position with nobody out, it doesn't look good.

Shimada showing bunt, but pulls it back and fouls it off!!

He does it again and fists one over the infield into left! Sonoda stops at 3rd, but Teikyou now with the winning run 90 feet away and possibly 3 chances to get him in!

They'll only need one!! Suzuki with a hard hit at 3rd! Aoki there, but he can't field it! It bounces away from him and Sonoda scores!! サヨナラ!!!

Teikyou advances to the Best 8 with a 3-2 win over Mie in extra innings!

Masuda can only crouch on the mound, looking at home and wondering, "Really?"...

While Mie is certainly no newcomer to Koshien, the chance at beating one of the big names on such a stage doesn't come often, and Masuda knows it. He was just one out away from closing the deal, and then here in the 10th a fielded ball could have resulted in a double play and possibly living for another inning.

But instead it goes down as a crushing loss...

Hopefully Mie will get another chance to come back and make another run at a big team.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 7 - Game 3 - Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) vs. Kounan (Okinawa)

Our final game features one team whose conquests at Koshien are noted and who is always capable of reaching the Best 8 and beyond, and another whose ace is in new territory.

Chiben Wakayama had little trouble with Takaoka Shougyou in their first round game, but the question still revolves around the pitching staff. It didn't seem like Takashima-kantoku has that go-to ace - which is unusual for his teams. Ace Yoshimoto will be on the hill so it'll be interesting to see how he performs.

Kounan handled Kanzei 4-1 in their first round game, putting together a couple of runs together - which they couldn't do in the past. But now they're facing a top tier team, and while the pitching is a bit suspect, they'll need to continue delivering for their ace.

There will be little to worry about with Shimabukuro. His poise on the mound is unquestioned and he doesn't back down to anyone. He'll rack up the K's, and keep his team in it.

Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Kinki At-large
CF Shiroyama Akinori
2B Iwasado Ryou
RF Nishikawa Haruki
1B Yamamoto Sadahiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
LF Miyakawa Yuuki (#10)
3B Seto Yuuzuke
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
P Yoshimoto Hiroshi

Kounan (Okinawa) - Kyushu 3/4
2B Kuniyoshi Tairiku (#6)
CF Ketashiro Kai
3B Ganeko Moritsugu
1B Maehira Daiki
RF Mekaru Keisuke
C Yamakawa Daisuke
LF Irei Shinya
P Shimabukuro Yousuke
2B Ooshiro Kouji (#15)


13:54 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Shiroyama gets under a fastball. Maehira in foul territory catches it next to the fence.

Iwasado gives it a good drive to right, but Mekaru catches it in front of the "warning track".

Haruki a bit more patient, and he's awarded with a walk from Shimabukuro.

Yamamoto up, and dear lord does he take a big swing. Falls behind 1-2, and Takashima puts on the hit-and-run! Yamamoto pops it up! Yamakawa near Chiben's batting circle, looks to have it, but makes a last second move and loses it! Yamamoto stays alive!

No matter! Yamamoto can't hold up on a curveball from Shimabukuro and the side is retired! He gives up an early walk, but looks good otherwise.

Bottom 1st
Yoshimoto with a huge curve to against Tairiku and he grounds out to 3rd.

Ketashiro with a low liner to short, and it goes under Ogasawara's legs! E6 and Kounan has their first runner.

Yoshimoto is certainly not an overpowering pitcher with a fastball sitting in the high 120's/low 130's.

Ganeko with a ball back up the middle for a base hit! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Kounan!

That brings up cleanup batter Maehira. Has a chance to get his team on the board.

Hard liner to right! Haruki running towards the line makes the catch as Ketashiro tags up and advances to 3rd.

Mekaru steps in the box and Michibata comes out to talk to Yoshimoto.

Ganeko takes off for 2nd on the 1-2 pitch! Michibata comes out firing, but Yoshimoto cuts it off! Runners at 2nd and 3rd now for Kounan!

SANSHIN! Mekaru swings and misses on a high fastball and the side is retired!

Top 2nd
Michibata under a curve and flies out to 2nd.

Miyagawa with a hit past a diving Ganeko and down the left field line! Irei over to get it as Miyagawa slides into 2nd with a double.

Seto with a looping hit over Shimabukuro! Tairiku and Kouji both try to cut it off, but it goes into center! Miyagawa had to double back in case it was caught, and as a result only makes it to 3rd. But runners are on the corners with only one down for Ogasawara!

Yamakawa goes out to talk to Shimabukuro.

Ogasawara with a single to shallow right!! Miyakawa comes in to score, and it's 1-0 Chiben Wakayama! Shimabukuro gives up 3 consecutive hits which culminate with the run, and there's still only one down!

Yoshimoto up being asked to bunt the runners along. But he takes a strike and then fouls one off. 1-2, and he bunts again! But he fouls it off and there's 2 down.

Shimabukuro gets Shiroyama to ground out to 1st. Maehira takes it himself to the bag for the 3rd out, but Chiben Wakayama has struck first!

Bottom 2nd
Yamakawa flies out to right leading off the 2nd.

Irei takes one the other way to right for a base hit. Gakiya has Shimabukuro lay down the bunt with 1 down and he does so. So two down now with Kouji up to bat.

He hits a hard grounder right at Seto! It deflects off of him and straight up in the air! By the time it comes down everyone's safe!

Runners at the corners with the top of the lineup coming for Kounan.


Michibata doesn't block Yoshimoto's 0-1 pitch and it goes all the way to the backstop! Irei comes in and Kounan ties the game up! It's 1-1, and the go ahead run is in scoring position!

Tairiku with a grounder past Seto into left! They're sending Kouji home! Throw from Miyakawa is in plenty of time to get Kouji and the inning is over! They'll have to settle for a tie ball game!

Top 3rd
Iwasado leads off the 3rd with a single through the infield to left.

And Yamakawa can't block Shimabukuro's first pitch to Nishikawa! Iwasado advances to 2nd!

But Haruki goes down looking on a pitch down and in! 1 out!

Cleanup batter Yamamoto goes down swinging on a slider in the dirt! 2 down!

Just when it seemed like Shimabukuro would get out of the jam with no trouble, he walks Michibata!

AH!!! And now he hits Miyakawa and it's manrui for Chiben Wakayama!!

Yamakawa goes out to talk to Shimabukuro as the 7-batter Seto is due up.

SANSHIN!! Shimabukuro gets Seto out on a slider in the dirt! He gets out of his own jam and the game is still tied at 1!

Bottom 3rd
Ketashiro with a grounder back up the middle for a leadoff single!

Ganeko shows bunt! Pushes it up the 1st base line! Yoshimoto picking it up throws to Iwasado covering, but throws it behind him! Iwasado can't catch it, but Ganeko would have beaten it out anyways! Runners on 1st and 2nd for Kounan!

Maehira trying to bunt the runners along, fouls it off.

Now he swings away and hits a hard liner, but Shiroyama runs it down in center for the 1st out.

#11 Fujii is warming up in the bullpen for Chiben Wakayama in case things start getting out of hand.

Mekaru with a comebacker to Yoshimoto! Throws to 2nd for one. But wait! Ogasawara goes back to tag 2nd! Umpire calls safe! All safe!!

Ogasawara was there to receive the throw, but never touched the bag! Everyone's safe! Manrui for Kounan with only 1 down!

But Yamakawa hits one right back to Yoshimoto! He goes home for one, Michibata's throw to 1st in plenty of time for the double play! The 1-2-3 double play quickly ends the threat for Kounan and Chiben Wakayama goes to take the sticks!

Top 4th
Shimabukuro strikes out his 6th batter in Ogasawara to start the 4th.

Yoshimoto pops one up to short. Kouji calls for it in the outfield grass and makes the catch for the 2nd out.

Back to the top of the order and Shiroyama hits a grounder to the left side. Kouji running over gets to it, but can't quite put the glove on it and it deflects into left for a base hit.

Iwasado with a drive to left center!! Ketashiro trying to run it down, but it's no use! It falls in and goes all the way to the wall! Shiroyama rounding the bases scores all the way from first and Iwasado gives Chiben Wakayama back the lead here in the 4th! 2-1!

Shimabukuro then issues his 4th free pass today! What is going on with him today?

Gakiya-kantoku calls time. Conference is being held on the mound while #10 Sunagawa is warming up.

Really??! Are they really going to relieve Shimabukuro??!

Cleanup batter Yamamoto up...

First pitch slider, he's way early on. Second pitch, fastball, he's late on. But man is he getting some hard contact on the ball.

SANSHIN!!! Shimabukuro catches him looking at a fastball on the outside corner!! That's Yamamoto's 3rd K of the game!

Shimabukuro gets out of the inning, but not before Chiben Wakayama reclaims the lead.

Bottom 4th
Irei starts the inning with a quick groundout to 2nd.

Shimabukuro gets brushed on his left elbow by a Yoshimoto pitch! He was kinda checking into it, but a dead ball is a dead ball.

Kouji with a sac bunt! Seto makes the play at 1st.

2 down, tying runner in scoring position for Tairiku.

He hits a liner, but right at Iwasado! Inning over!

Top 5th
Chiben Wakayama's oen-dan finally break out Jock Rock here in the 5th.

Cameras go over to Takashima-kantoku with a graphic showing his record. He's been to 11 spring Koshien tournaments, and 18 summer winning 24 and 35 games respectively.

When I say that Chiben Wakayama is the dominant team out of Wakayama, that's what I mean.

Michibata with a grounder to 3rd. Miyakawa softly grounds out to 2nd.

And Seto swings at the first pitch and flies out to right for his first 1-2-3 inning. Yes, that's right, his first.

Bottom 5th
Ketashiro with a liner back up the middle for a leadoff hit!

Ganeko showing bunt, takes strike 1. Shows bunt again, outside.

Not bunting, Ketashiro takes off! IS BUNTING!!! ISN'T BUNTING!!!!!!

Single to right!!! Ketashiro advances to 3rd!!

What?! Ganeko didn't show bunt to start, started to show it as Yoshimoto was delivering the ball, then pulled it back and slapped it past Iwasado into right field! How is that even conceivable??!

Takashima-kantoku has seen enough and pulls Yoshimoto in favor of #11 Fujii who pitched in the first game.

Maehira shows bunt, but pulls it back.

Comebacker to Fujii! Looks the runner back to 3rd. Throws to 2nd. SAFE!!!

Fujii's throw to 2nd pulls Ogasawara off the bag! Everyone's safe!

Manrui for Kounan for #5 hitter Mekaru. Fujii falls behind him 3-0!!

High!! Fujii walks him on 4 straight!!! Kounan ties the game on a bases loaded walk! It's 2-2!!!

Takashima-kantoku calls time and sends a quick message to the mound.

Yamakawa gets the job done! He hits a fly ball to center! Shiroyama has to back up to field it and that allows Ganeko to score! Kounan takes the lead 3-2!

Also on the play Maehira advances to 3rd.


Irei lays down the squeeze on the 0-1 pitch and Fujii's only play is to 1st! Maehira comes in to score and it's 4-2 Kounan!!

Shimabukuro draws a walk! The inning continues for Kounan!

Kouji flies out to right, but Kounan sends 8 batters to the plate and score 3 runs. They now hold a 2-run lead on Chiben Wakayama heading into the break!

Top 6th
Shimabukuro has already thrown 90 pitches so far after 5. He's probably going to go the distance now, so he'll have a lot of mileage put on that arm today.

Ogasawara with a grounder to 3rd. Ganeko up with it, throws to first and Maehira with the nice stretch gets the throw, but it pulls him off the bag! E5 gives Chiben a leadoff runner!

Fujii looking to bunt the runner over, pops it up! Maehira running in, dives, but can't get it! The ball rolls up under him and his throw to 1st is late - all safe!!

Shiroyama to bunt, but he pops it up! Maehira charging in again, makes the running catch just in foul territory! One down.

Iwasado with a grounder to 3rd! Ganeko over to the bag for one, throw to 1st, double play! Maehira with a great pick to complete the double play and Chiben is denied here in the 6th!!

Bottom 6th
Fujii quickly retires the first two batters before yielding Ganeko's 4th hit of the game - a liner into center.

But Maehira pops it up to 3rd to end the inning and we move to the 7th with Chiben behind by 2.

Top 7th
Haruki gets jammed by Shimabukuro and weakly grounds out to 1st.

Shimabukuro has reached the 100 pitch mark as Yamamoto steps in.

SANSHIN!! Yamamoto is ahead of a slider and he strikes out for the 4th time! He earns the golden sombrero award!

Michibata flies out to center to end the inning. Time is not on their side anymore...

Bottom 7th
Defensive change for Chiben Wakayama. #13 Kubo comes in for Michibata and takes over at C.

Mekaru with a shot back up the middle for a leadoff single. Gakiya has Yamakawa move him over to try and get an insurance run.

And now Fujii brushes Irei with a pitch, giving Kounan runners on 1st and 2nd with one out!

And what's this? Takashima-kantoku's making another pitching change. #14 Nishikawa Yuusuke comes in for Fujii and goes to left, meaning that #10 Miyakawa comes in to take the hill.

Shimabukuro first pitch swinging hits it back to Miyakawa. He goes to 2nd for one, and that's all they'll get. 2 down for Kouji.

He hits a ball down the right field line. Haruki running over, slides, and makes the catch as he hits the wall! Miyakawa gets Chiben Wakayama out of the pinch, but to win this game, they'll need to hit the sticks and get the offense going!

Top 8th
Miyakawa leads off the 8th with a single to center!

Intially intending to bunt, Seto changes tack and bloops one into left for a base hit.

Runners on 1st and 2nd now and Ogasawara tries to bunt, but pops it into the air! Shimabukuro with the ball, fires it to 2nd and they double up Miyakawa! Diaster for Chiben!

Yuusuke pops up to Kouji and the inning is over!

Bottom 8th
Back to the top of the order in Tairiku. He grounds one up the middle for a single.

Gakiya calls for the hit and run! Ketashiro grounds to short. Ogasawara looks at 2nd, but Iwasado's not covering! Ogasawara goes to 1st for the out.

Ganeko gets his 5th hit of the day! He singles past Yamamoto into right! Tairiku being sent home! Relay throw not in time!!

Maehira with a drive to deep center!! Shiroyama going back, going back...


A 2-run homerun from Maehira blows the game open! It's 7-2!!

That's it for Miyakawa. #16 Uenoyama is called in by Takashima-kantoku to take the hill. He's a siderarmer with good velocity.

He strikes Mekaru out looking, and gets Yamakawa to ground to 3rd to end the inning.

But Maehira's homerun just about puts this game out of reach.

Top 9th
Defensive change for Kounan. #4 Yamashiro comes into the game for Tairiku and takes over at 2B

#7 Bandou comes in to pinch hit for Shiroyama, but to no avail. He can't check his swing on a slider in the dirt and there's 1 down.

Iwasado singles to left center for his 3rd hit today.

But Shimabukuro rings up his 10th K as he gets Haruki on a slider inside. 2 down!

Yamamoto steps in as the last chance for Chiben Wakayama. Already with 4 K's, will he earn the dubious platinum sombrero?

SANSHIN!!! He does! Shimabukuro gets him one more time with the slider in the dirt and the game is over!

Chiben Wakayama's pitching staff couldn't hold back the Kounan offense, while their own offense was stifled by a somewhat ineffective Shimabukuro.

Kounan continues on their journey, and while Shimabukuro continued to rack up the K's, the amount of hits and walks he gave up are concerning, especially since he'll have just one day to rest.