As some people in Japan are heading out to enjoy their Sunday, 2 champions will square off for a spot against surprise 21st century team Jyounan.
Urawa Gakuin flew through the Saitama prefecturals not being challenged in any game save for the final against Kasukabe Kyouei. Even former Koushien participant Seibou Gakuen couldn't slow down their onslaught.
They then cleared Chiba Keizeidai Fuzoku, blew off Yokohama, and said sayonara to Toukaidai Sagami in the bottom of the 9th to win it all.
In the Meiji Jingu Tournament, they handled Tohoku before losing to Nichidai-san.
Kagoshima Shougyou's run was almost a carbon copy of Urawa Gakuin. No one could challenge them in the prefecturals, not even Shounan or Kagoshima Shougyou (which they annihilated 18-4 in the final!).
Then they tried to save their ace pitcher in their first super-regional game against Kumamoto Kokufu, but almost coughed up the game instead allowing them to come back from 11-2 to 11-10.
Noda would be on the mound for the rest of the games, defeating Touin, Kyushu Gakuin and Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku to win the title.
They would travel to the Meiji Jingu Tournament where they would beat Meitoku Gijyuku and Oogaki Nichidai before falling to, yep, Nichidai-san in the finals.
Both teams are certainly solid through and through and could challenge for the title. But they'll have to square off now in the 1st round.
Urawa Gakuin (Saitama) - Kanto Champions
1B Hidaka Fumiya
2B Endou Ikuru
SS Kobayashi Kengou
3B Numata Koutarou
CF Ishibashi Tsukasa
P Satou Takuya
C Mori Kouji
RF Sasagawa Kouhei (#11)
LF Arai Daiki
Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima) - Kyushu Champions
SS Hirayama Taikai
2B Sugiyama Tadashi
RF Toyozumi Kouta
3B Hamada Ryuunosuke
1B Agemura Kyouhei
P Noda Shougo
C Kuroki Kentarou
CF Maruyama Tetsuhiro
LF Sasaki Daisuke
11:24 - Game start!
As the siren blares Hidaka takes the first pitch through the left side for a hit. Endou promptly moves him along.
Kobayashi with a grounder to 2nd, あ！
Sugiyama misses the ball and it goes into center! Hidaka comes around to score! The relay throw is high and Kobayashi advances to 2nd! 1-0 Urawa Gakuin!
Numata with a fly to center, but Maruyama secures it easily. And Ishibashi flies out to left to end the inning. But Urawa immediately strikes first here in the battle of champions!
Hirayama testing the defense with a short grounder to the right side. Endou charging in makes a good throw to 1st for the out.
But Satou hits Sugiyama to give Kajitsu a runner. Toyozumi advances him when he hits another dribbler up the right side. This time it's Hidaka who makes the flip to Satou for the out.
Hamada with a comebacker up the middle! That sneaks through! No throw home and Sugiyama makes it 1-1 just like that!
Agemura with a blooper over Endou! Hamada headed to 3rd and Kajitsu is looking for the lead!
But Noda grounds to the right side! Endou charging in makes another good play to retire the side, but I think one is starting the see the tone of the game!
Noda is a lefty who throws in the mid 130s, a slider in the low 120s and a curve in the 100s.
He gets 2 quick outs but Sasagawa singles to right.
Arai with a grounder up the middle, and Hirayama kicks it! He throws it to 2nd, but too late!
Could be trouble for Kajitsu again, but Hidaka grounds to 2nd to end the inning.
Kuroki with a grounder to 1st. Numata short hops the throw and Hidaka can't secure it! Mori-kantoku immediately has Maruyama bunt, and he's tagged out and takes a bit of a tumble.
あ。 0-2 pitch goes off Mori's glove and Kuroki advances to 3rd!
And Sasaki singles though the left side! Kuroki comes in to score and it's 2-1 Kajitsu!
Hirayama lays down another bunt. Numata charging in checking to see if it'll go foul, but decides not to chance it. Picks it up and makes the play at 1st.
Urawa's ace Satou is a righty who throws in the mid 130s with a slider in the 110s and a slow curve in the 90-100 range.
え？ Sugiyama is hit for the 2nd time this game! Runners at 1st and 2nd.
おいおい！ A ball in the dirt goes away from Mori and now the runners advance to 2nd and 3rd!
Satou gets Toyozumi to swing on a slow curve to end the inning, but for a match between champions this game looks awful.
Endou with a grounder to the left side. Hamada going over snags it on the run, spins and makes a great throw to 1st for the out.
And Noda has to duck for his life as Kobayashi lines one just off of his head into center.
And Numata hits a hanging slider to deep left center! Sasaki running back, but that's off the wall! Kobayashi comes all the way from 1st to score and we're tied at 2-2 again!
Ishibashi grounds back to Noda. He checks the runner than goes to 1st for the 2nd out.
And Satou can't check his swing on a slider outside and is retired, but not before his team levels the score!
One down for Kajitsu and Satou hits his 3rd batter in Agemura.
No bunt from Noda, he hits a grounder to 3rd. Numata goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st is late.
And Satou catches Noda sleeping! He's run down 1-3-6 to end the inning!
After striking out Mori on 3 straight, Noda walks Sasagawa on 4 straight.
Mori-kantoku with one down has Arai bunt the runner along.
Back to the top of the order and Hidaka. He hits a grounder to the left side! Hirayama ranges over and makes the stop, but his throw loops a bit and Hidaka beats the throw! Runners at the corners!
And Endou with another grounder to the left side Hamada and Hirayama dive but both can't get to it! Sasagawa scores and it's 3-2 Urawa Gakuin!
Kobayashi ground to 2nd to end the inning, but we have our 2nd lead change as Urawa retakes the lead!
Kuroki, after working the count full looks like he's headed to first on a low fastball when the umpire calls him out. He takes a look back like he can't believe the call, but walks back to the dugout.
Maruyama has no doubt about his K as he watches a fastball hit the outside corner.
Sasaki with a grounder to 3rd. Numata's throw is high, and Hidaka tries a twirling swipe tag, but the umpire calls him safe.
Then on the 1-1 pitch he takes off for 2nd! Mori's throw is in plenty of time, but the tag seems late and he's called safe! If he scores, he'll definitely be a lucky boy.
But Hirayama's face show the anguish when he waves at a slider outside to end the inning.
Noda working at a good clip now as he gets Numata to ground to short (nice running play by Hirayama), and Ishibashi watches strike 3 on the outside corner.
And although he falls behind Satou, he gets him to ground to 2nd to end the inning.
Satou walks Sugiyama after running the count full and the tying run is on base.
Toyozumi tries to bunt, but is unsuccessful and has to swing away.
And it's a hit-and-run! Ball goes through the left side and now the gyakuten run is on base!
Ikeda does a short pop bunt down the 3rd base side! Satou goes over, but boots it! Everyone's safe!
Agemura hits a hanging curve! Kobayashi dives, but can't get it! Sugiyama scores! Toyozumi comes around and he scores! Kajitsu strikes back and retakes the lead on Agemura's timely hit! It's 4-3!!!
And now Miyashita-kantoku will play add-on now. He has Noda bunt the runners along for Kuroki.
But Kuroki goes down swinging for the 2nd time, and there's 2 outs.
Maruyama with a comebacker! But Satou blocks it with his feet! It stays near his feet and he makes the play at 1st to end the inning!
However, in this struggle the field tilts back to Kajitsu as we head to the break.
Noda's 2nd walk is another 4-pitch variety to Mori to start the inning. Sasagawa moves him along.
Arai continues to have no luck at the plate. He goes down swinging for the 2nd out.
Hidaka looking for his 3rd hit of the day instead works another walk.
Endou though is not as patient as he swings at the first pitch and grounds to 2nd to end the inning.
Sasaki with the safety bunt! Satou with it, bobbles, and his throw to 1st is late!
あ！ The first pitch to Hirayama is wild and Sasaka advances to 2nd! Now his bunt sends him to 3rd with just 1 down!
Sugiyama with the opportunity to get the run in.
But he fouls it off!
In the end, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything different as he walks. Sugiyama has been hit twice and has walked twice!
Toyozumi with a single through the left side! That will score Sasaki and Kajitsu has the biggest lead of the game at 5-3!!
Another wild pitch from Satou and the runners advance! Things are unraveling for Urawa Gakuin here in the 6th!
Hamada with a shot down the 1st base line! Hidaka playing in makes the snag and tags Hamada for the out. 2 down.
The dangerous Agemura is up now, but he gets him to fly out to right to end the inning. Kajitsu though pads their lead and Urawa's bats will have to go on the offensive to get back in it.
After a routine grounder to 1st by Kobayashi, Numata hits another one to short. Except that Hirayama takes his eyes off the ball and it bounces away!
No bunting from Mori-kantoku, but Ishibashi pops up to Hamada in foul territory for the 2nd out!.
Satou, 0-3 on the day, looking somehow to keep the inning going, grounds to 2nd. But the ball takes a bad hop and bounces off of Sugiyama! Everyone's safe!
Mori with a great looking shot to right, but it hangs up and Toyozumi is able to get it in foul territory for the 3rd out.
Satou gets back his footing as he quickly retires the 6-7-8 batters. Urawa Gakuin will be back on the sticks, but they're running out of time against the Kyushu fall champions.
Sasagawa with a grounder to short, and Hirayama can't field another one! That's another E6!
#15 Imae to hit for Arai.
Count runs full and Mori goes for the hit-and-run! Imae with a liner to right for a base hit! Sasagawa advances to 3rd! Better yet, it's back to the top of the order and Hidaka!
Hidaka with a chopper down the 3rd base line! Hamada plays it fair, throws to 1st for the out. 2 runners in scoring position now and a base hit from Endou can tie the game!
But Endou hits another ball to Hamada! This time the runners are taking off and Sasagawa is caught in a rundown! They run him back to 3rd where Imae is tagged out. 2 down.
Last chance in Kobayashi this inning...
Kobayashi goes down swinging on a slider down and away to end the inning! That may have been their best chance to bring the game level!
Imae stays in the game in LF.
Sasaki with a grounder to the left side. Kobayashi with the ball, makes a bit of a wide throw, but Hidaka stretches to make the play!
Hirayama, battling for his first base hit gets it on the 9th pitch of the AB lining one to left.
And Satou is called for a balk! Hirayama advances to 2nd and if that runner scores, it could be curtains for Urawa Gakuin!
And, *drumroll* Sugiyama walks for the 3rd time this game. He STILL doesn't have an official AB.
More importantly, Mori-kantoku calls for a conference. They need a stop here to have any chance in the 9th.
Toyozumi pops it up! Infield fly rule is called as Numata secures it for the 2nd out!
Count goes 2-2 to Hamada... now full.... Runners will be taking off now! Fouls off a curve!
Resets... the pitch... ball 4! Manrui for Kajitsu!
And it's they guy Satou doesn't want to see! Agemura is 3-4 on the day!
He's taking his hacks swinging at the first 2 pitches!
Swings at a high fastball! Liner to left! Imae coming in, diving...
Makes the catch!!! Imae makes the catch to end the inning.
But wait! The TV shows the replay, and Imae trapped the ball! It bounced before going into his glove! It doesn't matter though as it's called a catch and Urawa has a chance in the 9th!
Can Urawa take the momentum (and luck) and turn it into runs?
Numata to start the inning, but he grounds out to short.
#9 Shibasaki comes in to hit for Ishibashi, and drives a ball to center, but right at Maruyama is there to make the catch.
Last chance in ace Satou. He hits a comebacker to Noda who makes the snag. Throws to 1st and Kajitsu wins the game!
Kajitsu wins a tightly contested game. Gaffes on both sides had the teams trading runs early, then afterwards the teams had multiple scoring opportunities as the aces scrambled to play triage. But an error in the 5th by none other than Satou himself would lead to Kajitsu taking the lead for good.
Both teams showed solid offenses with players making good contact all game. Urawa Gakuin certainly will be challenging for the summer title and a spot at Natsu Koushien. For Kajitsu, their senbatsu bid will continue against Jyounan.
Satou Takuya - L, CG, 4 ER, 8 H, 6 K, 4 BB, 3 HBP
Hidaka Fumiya - 2-4 , R, BB
Kobayashi Kengou - 2-5, R, RBI, K
Sasagawa Kouhei - 1-3, R, BB
Noda Shougo - W, CG, 3 R, 9 H, 6 K, 3 BB
Sugiyama Tadashi - 0-0, 3 BB, 2 HBP
Agemura Kyouhei - 2-4, 3 RBI, HBP
Toyozumi Kouta - 2-5, R, RBI