The final game of the day features a team I actually liked and kind of hoped would return, squaring off against one of the more established teams from a weaker region.
Suijyou came onto the scene last summer when they won their first ever Koshien bid and had to square off against Hifumi Shinta and Toukaidai Sagami. Suijyou was more than respectable in the game creating multiple opportunities, and with the team having a lot of kouhai's, I wondered how a couple month's more seasoning would do.
Well, Suijyou blew through the Ibaraki prefecturals with no issue and with no real competition. After defeating Nihon Koukuu (Yamananashi #2) and Kasukabe Kyouei (Saitama #2), it actually setup a rematch against Toukaidai Sagami. Sadly, with Hifumi gone one could argue that they were a slightly better team. Suijyou fought hard early, but faded late losing 8-1 in 8 innings.
Kousei Gakuin was more of the same. They won their prefectural games by an average of almost 9 runs. Then after two easy games in the super-regional, they handled Sendai Ikuei 8-3 before losing to Tohoku in the finals 5-3.
So the body of work by both teams is inconclusive. Suijyou at best faced average competition before falling again to Toukaidai Sagami, while Kousei Gakuin played 2 Koshien-level teams (although it can be argued that Sendai Ikuei was rebuilding after losing their twin-tandem pitchers). So it should be a good game between these teams.
Suijyou (Ibaraki) - Kanto 3rd/4th Place
RF Tanii Ryouta
LF Tobita Tomoki
2B Onose Daikatsu
CF Hagiya Naoto
1B Ebisawa Yuutarou
C Satou Hajime
3B Koiso Takuya
SS Akutsu Toshiki
P Satou Kenta
Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) - Tohoku Runner-up
RF Sawa Tatsutoshi
2B Enomoto Shin
CF Kawakami Ryuuhei
3B Tamura Tatsuhiro
1B Kanayama Hirotaka
LF Ameku Shouto (#17)
SS Houjyou Fumiya
C Matsumoto Kenshin
P Akita Noriyoshi
14:07 - Game start!
After recording the first two outs, Akita plunks Onose.
But Matsumoto has his back as after the first pitch to Hagiya he throws to 1st and picks off Onose to end the inning!
Kenta for Suijyou looks to have a fastball that is in the mid-130's and supposedly has a two-seamer, slider, curve, and change.
And it looks like he uses a two seamer to get Sawa out looking for out number 1.
Enomoto takes an offspeed pitch and pulls it to right center for a base hit.
Kenta then falls behind Kawakami 3-0 before getting 2 strikes to fill the count. Enomoto takes off, but Kawakami fouls the pitch off. He grounds to 3rd where Koiso makes a nice pick and throw. Enomoto advances to 2nd.
あ！ Pitch from Kenta gets under Hajime and to the backstop! Enomoto advances to 3rd!
And it costs them! Tamura lines a ball to center and Enomoto comes home! Kousei Gakuin strikes first here in the bottom of the 1st! 1-0!
Kenta gets Kanayama to strike out looking to end the inning, but not before a wild pitch and a timely hit put Kousei in front.
One down and Ebisawa gets Suijyou's first hit with a single to center.
No bunt from Hashimoto-kantoku. Then on the 2-1 pitch Hajime tries a push bunt, but it goes foul. 2 strikes and he has to swing away - winds up hitting a routine fly to center.
Koiso with another fly to center. Kawakami stumbles and falls down, but gets up just in time to make the play.
Ameku with a base hit past a diving Koiso starts the inning off for Kousei. Houjyou swings away, but pops out to Onose in foul territory. Kenta's pitch count continues to rise as he walks Matsumoto to put runners at 1st and 2nd.
Akita hits a grounder to 3rd. Koiso goes to 2nd for one, but Onose's throw to 1st is low and Ebisawa can't pick it for the double play. That extends the inning as the lineup turns over to Sawa.
2-1 pitch from Kenta and Akita takes off! Ball is in the dirt and Hajime has no throw!
Then on a full count, Kenta hits Sawa to load the bases! (I don't think he got out of the way, but it would have been ball 4 anyways)
Enomoto with a chance to blow open the game, but a slow curve and fastball late and he's behind 0-2.
Grounder to first, Ebisawa bobbles it! It gets by him and 2 runners come in to score on the error! It's 3-0 now in favor of Kousei!
The flood gates are opening now. Kawakami with a base hit to center. Hagiya there to cut it off but not before 2 more runs score making it 5-0.
Tamura lifts a ball to deep left center. Tobita and Hagiya converge and Tobita is there to make the catch. But Suijyou is in a bit of trouble now.
Now that I have a little time, I can focus on ace Akita a little. He's a 3/4 righty with a fastball that hits the low 140's with a slider in the 130's and a curve in the 110s.
Akita takes care of the 8-9-1 batters with relative ease, striking out Kenta and Tanii to end the inning.
#18 Totsuka comes in for Ebisawa to play 1B.
Kenta's control issues remain as he walks leadoff batter Kanayama on 4 straight. Akutsu moves him along. Houjyou with a grounder to 2nd, but Onose's throw is wide! Kanayama comes home to score and it's now 6-0 Kousei.
Matsumoto with a single to center. Houjyou score to make it 7-0, but Kenta makes a good cutoff and throws to 1st to pick off Matsumoto who was off the bag.
Akita flies out to center to end the inning, but it's clear the young squad still needs some seasoning.
The Suijyou batters try to work the count, but to no avail. Tobita has to swing away down 1-2 and flies out to center. Onose works the count full, but grounds to 1st. Hagiya does the same, but lines to short.
Kenta records two quick flyouts to center, and had the inning all but wrapped up, but on Kawakami's grounder to 3rd, Koiso one hops the ball to Ebisawa who can't secure the ball. So the inning continues on.
Tamura takes advantage, singles to right. Kawakami comes around to make it 8-0.
Kanayama grounds out to short to end the inning.
Koiso collects the 2nd hit for Suijyou on a 2-out single to center, but Akutsu flies out to center to end the inning.
#15 Ogawa comes in for Onose as a defensive replacement at 2B.
Kenta collects 2 flyouts, and almost has a 1-2-3 inning, but then he walks Matsumoto on 4 straight.
Then Akita hits a pop to shallow right. new 2B Ogawa runs out to get it, but when he dives it goes off his glove. Houjyou advances to 3rd.
Sawa up and Akita takes off for 2nd! Throw from Hajime is short and goes under Akutsu's legs into center! Matsumoto walks home to make it 9-0. Sawa then singles up the middle, and Akita heads home to make it a 10-0 lead.
Enomoto grounds to 2nd to end the inning, and Suijyou should be happy to have a break right now.
#13 Suzuki to hit for Kenta. His day is done. And on the first pitch, he singles up the middle!
Tanii works the count full and manages a walk. After Tobita falls behind 0-2, he works the count full. But Akita jams him and he fouls out to Tamura.
Ogawa gets hit by Akita. Manrui for Suijyou. Can Hagiya get Suijyou on the board?
Liner to center! But Kawakami is playing in and makes the catch. 2 down.
Totsuka grounds out to 2nd, and Suijyou is left begging for runs.
#11 Asano comes in for PH Suzuki and takes the hill.
Asano records Suijyou's first 1-2-3 inning with 3 groundouts, capped with a great diving stop by Koiso to rob Kanayama of a base hit!
#7 Wada comes in for Ameku to play LF.
One down and Koiso records his 2nd hit of the day, smoothly hitting one over Enomoto into center.
But Akutsu has his knees broken on a slider (much like Hajime for the 1st out), and Asano grounds back to Akita to retire the side.
Asano is a lefty who doesn't seem to generate a whole lot of leverage on his pitches, with fastballs in the low 120s, a slider in the 110s and a curve in the low 100s.
But it gets the job done. He retires the side in order for the 2nd straight inning!
#14 Kishimoto in the game now for Houjyou and takes over at SS.
Tanii with a grounder to 2nd. Enomoto kicks the ball and his throw is late.
Tobita with a grounder to 1st. Kanayama throws to 2nd for one, but the throw from Kishimoto is a bit high and would have been late anyways.
But Ogawa goes down on three straight and Hagiya flies out to center to end the inning.
The beat goes on for Asano! He records his first K in Enomoto in yet another 1-2-3 inning! But it'll be the last ups for Suijyou now...
Totsuka collects his first hit as his grounder is blocked by Kanayama, but squirts away from him.
#10 Nakamaura hits for Hajime, but pops out to Kishimoto.
#14 Kikuchi hits for Koiso, and grounds back to Akita.
#17 Nagashima, hitting for Akutsu, represents the last chance for Suijyou. But he goes down swinging and the game is over.
Sadly for me Suijyou failed to repeat that performance against Toukaidai Sagami back in the summer. The team definitely wasn't as sharp as back then, and they'll have to work hard to make a run in the summer.
Kousei Gakuin certainly took advantage of Satou Kenta, but was surprisingly shut down by Asano. Can't really gauge how Kousei will do going forward as they may have just shut it down after leading by 10. But if they'll face Chiben Wakayama in the next round, they'll need to bring their A game.
Koiso Takuya - 2-4
Asano Yuusuke - 3 IP, 0 H, K
Akita Noriyoshi - W, CG, 0 ER, 5 H, 7 K, BB, 2 HBP
Kawakami Ryouhei - 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Matsumoto Kenshin - 1-2, R, RBI, 2 BB