The afternoon game looks once again to be the most even of today's games, even though one was a champion and the other had to wait to see if it was the last teams in.
For Kakogawa Kita, they defeated tournament darling Kansei Gakuin and surprised Houtoku Gakuen before losing 7-1 to Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku in the prefectural final. And in the super-regionals, they shocked Osaka Touin, shutting them out 2-0, and played a respectable game against Tenri losing 9-5.
Kanazawa faced one real test in Yuugakukan which they won 2-1, and while they had some trouble early against Kanazawa Sakuragaoka in the finals, they broke them down in the late innings to win the fall prefectural title.
They then defeated Tsuruga Kehi and Saku Chousei before winning wire-to-wire against Nihon Bunri for the title.
So while Kanazawa won their super-region, and Kakogawa Kita only made it to the quarterfinals, it's really all about where you are as opposed to how far you go. The Hokushinestu region isn't known as a baseball area, while Kinki is almost the exact opposite. That's why in many ways I think this will be a close game between these schools.
Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) - Kinki 5th-8th place
2B Shibumura Ryousuke
SS Takeda Yuuki
CF Shibata Seiji
RF Tokura Kenshi
P Inoue Maito
LF Odashima Suguru (#10)
C Satou Hiroki
3B Ujihashi Yuuto
1B Yamamoto Takaki
Kanazawa (Ishikawa) - Hokushinetsu Champions
2B Sakurakichi Hiroki
3B Yoshida Takaaki
CF Nakamura Yuusaku
1B Ishida Shouta
P Kamata Yoshinao
C Tanbo Yuushi
LF Koshida Takayuki
SS Tashiro Kento
RF Sakashita Kouki
14:20 - Game start!
Kamata is a face that those in kokoyakyu should get to know. His repertoire includes a fastball in the 140's with a slider in the high 120's-low 130's.
Shibumura comes up and Kamata is immediately throwing gas. He grounds out to short. Takeda hits a liner back at Kamata, but it's easily picked for the 2nd out.
And now Kamata decides to turn it up a little, hitting 150 as Shibata goes down swinging to retire the side.
After a routine grounder to 3rd, Inoue has trouble finding the zone, walking both Yoshida and Nakamura!
But he's bailed out by his defense as Ishida grounds into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play!
Kakogawa Kita's batters just can't keep pase with Kamata right now. Tokura goes down looking on a slider. Inoue hits a weak comebacker to Kamata, and it's just not fair for Odashima as he sees a 140+ fastball, a 100 curve then a 129 slider for another looking strikeout.
Inoue's differentials are not as pronounced as he has a low 130's fastball, a low 120's slider and a mid 100 curve.
Still seems to work as Kamata grounds out to 3rd and Tanbo flies out to shallow left.
Koshida though gets one and singles through the left side. That amount to nothing as Inoue induces a grounder from Tashiro to short to end the inning.
Bottom 3rd of the order for Kakogawa Kita, can any of them make good contact?
Satou becomes Kamata's 4th K as he looks at a 149 fastball on the outside corner.
Ujihashi K's on a low fastball for Kamata's 5th K.
And wait for it... Yamamoto swings on a slider in the dirt as Kamata strikes out the side.
What Kamata does by himself, Inoue uses his defense.
Sakashita hits a chopper to Takeda at short for the 1st out. Then fools Sakurakichi on a ball outside to record his first K.
And oddly, Yoshida earns his 2nd walk in as many plate appearances.
Asai-kantoku sends Yoshida! Satou's throw is high but Takeda makes the tag for the out! 3 outs!
Shibumura is completely fooled by Kamata's slider and becomes his 4th consecutive K.
Takeda avoides that fate by swinging away, but pops it up to shallow right. Sakashita comes in and makes a sliding catch.
And Shibata had no idea what to do at the plate. He flails at a 145 kph fastball outside, and Kamata stays perfect, retiring 8 of the 12 batters via the K.
After a weak grounder back to Inoue by Nakamura, Ishida earns the 4th walk on him. But that is wiped out quickly as Kamata grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning!
Tokura becomes Kamata's 9th victim as he goes down swinging.
Inoue makes good contact on a Kamata offering, but Tashiro makes a nice pick and throws him out!
Odashima crushes one to left! That's over Koshida's head and lands in front of the wall! Odashima take a big lead off of 2nd, and goes for 3! Tashiro throws for 3rd, but Toshida is playing up and isn't in position! The ball gets by him, but Kamata's backing him up. What a heady play by Odashima!
Satou walks putting runners at the corners. Asai-kantoku calls a conference as things have quickly deteriorated.
Ah! Fukumura-kantoku sends Satou! Tanbo with the fake catches Odashima off the bag at 3rd! Tanbo throws to 3rd as Odashima goes home! Throw from Yoshida hits Odashima! Odashima collides with Tanbo, but reaches home! It's 1-0 Kakogawa Kita!
And Ujihashi with a buzzer past the glove of Kamata into center! Satou comes in to score and it's 2-0 Kakogawa Kita!
Yamamoto fouls out to end the inning, but the damage has been done. Kakogawa Kita breaks the deadlock and has a 2-run lead!
Inoue records just his 2nd K as Tanbo is caught napping on a slider over the plate. Koshida hits a grounder to short, but Takeda boots the ball! Kanazawa gets another baserunner.
Tashiro tries to bunt him along, but instead pops it up! Satou with the catch and there's now 2 out!
Sakashita with a routine grounder to 2nd ends the inning. Heading into the break though, the champions of Hokushinetsu find themselves playing catch-up.
One down for Kakogawa Kita and Takeda hits one to shallow right. Sakashita charging in, slides, and misses the ball!!!! Takeda flying around the bases slides into 3rd! Another opportunity for Kakogawa Kita!
Shibata with the safety bunt! Yoshida charges in, but has no play! Runners at the corners!
Tokura up now, and Shibata takes off for 2nd! No throw from Tanbo and now a base hit could blow it wide open!
Tokura goes for the squeeze, but he pops it up! Kamata coming in makes the catch and doubles off Takeda to end the inning! He keeps his team in with his defense!!
But Inoue is quietly controlling the game. Sakurakichi goes down swinging again on a pitch outside. Yoshida grounds out to short, with Yamamoto makes a nice stretch and pick to get the out. And Nakamura falls for the same outside pitch from Inoue and Kanazawa is quickly down.
Inoue with a liner past a leaping Tashiro into center gets the inning started. Odashima, who had the double, bunts the runner along.
Satou too is showing bunt, but then on 2-0 swings and fouls one away. Back to showing bunt again, takes strike 2.
Buster swing, grounds to short. Tashiro bobbles it and his throw is high! Ishida goes off the bag and everyone's safe!
Ujihashi tries to lay down the squeeze but pops it back out of play!
He tries it again, but misses! Inoue is off the bag! They run him down again! Throw from Tashiro is there, but Tanbo loses the ball after the tag! Inoue is safe and Kakogawa Kita leads 3-0! Tanbo recovers, catches Satou off the bag at 2nd! He's run down 2-5-4-7 and there's 2 outs.
Ujihashi strikes out swinging to end the inning, but another run scores on a rundown towards home!
Kanazawa still cannot figure out Inoue. Ishida with a comebacker to Inoue. It's off his glove, but he has enough time to recover and make the play.
Kamata golfs one to center, and while Shibata has to head back, he's there to make the catch.
And Inoue freezes Tanbo to end the inning. It's almost like Inoue is getting stronger as the game progresses.
Yamamoto getting in on the hit parade, singling back up the middle. And immediately afterwards takes off for 2nd and reaches with no throw!
Perhaps out of a bit of frustration, Kamata lets a ball get away from him and it hits Shibumura in the arm.
Takeda with the sac bunt, but he pops it up! Tanbo with the catch and Yamamoto is inexplicably off 2nd! Tanbo runs him down for the out and there's 2 outs! That was odd..
And it hurts even more when Shibata singles through the left side!
Tokura with a first pitch single to left! They're sending Shibumura home! He stumbles rounding 3rd, and Tashiro with the throw... not in time!! It's 4-0 Kakogawa Kita!!
And in another baserunning brainfart, Shibata is caught off 2nd! He's run down 2-6-4 and the inning is over! Kakogawa Kita extends the lead, but if not for those baserunning blunders, they could easily have more.
One down for Kanazawa and Tashiro gives Kanazawa just their 2nd hit of the day with a single to right center.
But Inoue continues to control play as he strikes out Sakashita, and induces a weak grounder by Sakurakichi to 1st.
Kamata quickly retires the side in order, but at this point they need offense, and a lot of it.
Yoshida first up for Kanazawa, but he strikes out swinging. The ball gets away from Satou, and the throw is high, but it's still in plenty of time to retire Yoshida for the out.
Inoue gets ahead of Nakamura quickly, and freezes him for yet another K. His 8th!
Last chance in Ishida, but he too falls behind 1-2. Tries to stay alive fouling a couple off. Kamata on deck wanting another chance.
Grounder to 2nd! Shibumura with it! Throws to 1st...
Kakogawa Kita with some heads up baserunning (at times), and with some unfortunate defense from Kanazawa, and a surprisingly strong performance from ace Inoue, advance with a 4-0 win!
Early on, it seemed that it would be Kamata dominating the game, striking out batter after batter after batter. Somewhere along the line though that changed and it was Inoue for Kakogawa Kita that closed the deal. Kanazawa's offense while having opportunities, were mostly via the walk and they never were able to really get to Inoue. Once he cut down the walks and the margin got bigger, his domination increased.
So it'll be Kakogawa Kita who will advance, and not Kanazawa. It's probable that we'll see Kanazawa and Kamata again, but for Kanazawa to advance the offense needs to improve.
Inoue Maito - W, CG, 0 ER, 2 H, 8 K, 4 BB
Shibata Seiji - 2-4, RBI, 2 K
Kamata Yoshinao - L, CG, 4 ER, 8 H, 11K, BB
Koshida Takayuki - 1-3
Tashiro Kento - 1-3