Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 6 - Game 3 - Tenri (Nara) vs. Hokkai (Hokkaido)

Our last game of the day will pit yet 2 more super-regional champions (how did this happen in the early games with a random draw?)

Hokkai got a surprise in Soushi Gakuen. The not even 1-year old baseball team held the Hokkaido champions to just 2 runs on 10 hits, and had runners in 6 of the 9 innings. Hokkai in many ways should feel fortunate to get to the 2nd round.

Tenri had a bit of an easier matchup in Oodate Houmei. Almost all of their scoring was done in the 3rd inning where they sent 11 batters to the plate, and an error sparked a 7-run explosion.

On the mound, 2nd year starter Nakatani Keita did had his hiccups - 2 BB and 3 HBP to go along with the 5 H he gave up, but none of them came in to score. Of more concern though was when ace Nishiguchi came in the game in the 8th. His velocity and his pitches look like they should be pro material, but there was no consistency, no control in his pitches. He didn't give up any runs, but he didn't look like an ace you could depend on to carry a team. It should be interesting who Morikawa-kantoku will send to the mound today.


Tenri (Nara) - Kinki Champions
2B Nishura Jyouji
SS Okabe Ryou
LF Moriguchi Yuuki
1B Hasegawa Shouma
3B Date Shougo
CF Yanagimoto Keisuke
C Yoshida Ryouta
RF Higashida Motohiro
P Nakatani Keita (#11)

Hokkai (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Mori Takahiro
3B Tama Taisuke
2B Kawasaki Kazuya
RF Kawagoe Seiji
1B Zeniya Kouki
C Tamaki Kouta
LF Ujiie Ryou
P Tamakuma Shouichi
CF Isoda Kouyou


13:59 - Game start!

Top 1st
Nishiura with an uppercut swing pops it up. Kawasaki on the outfield grass behind 2nd makes the out.

Okabe reaches out and hits a grounder to 2nd, but Mori's throw to 1st is low and bounces off of Zeniya's glove! E6 and Tenri has a runner on.

Moriguchi shows bunt early in the count, but starts swinging away after the first strike.

And a pitch that bounces off of Tamaki and gets away from him allows Okabe to advance into scoring position!

Tamakuma though gets Moriguchi to swing on a fastball just outside the zone for strike 3!

2 down for Hasegawa, and a change from Tamakuma is ripped down the 1st base line just foul!

After another foul ball, #18 Nishio comes out of the dugout to call a quick conference.

Hasegawa lays off the next two pitches and the count runs full. Another one low and he's on for Date. But he chases a change and grounds to short. Mori takes it to 2nd to get Hokkai out of the early pinch!

Bottom 1st
Mori starts off the inning by looping a ball over Nishiura's head for a single. Hirakawa-kantoku, having been quoted as saying that this will be a low scoring game, has Tama bunt the runner into scoring position.

Kawasaki with a hard shot back up the middle! Okabe ranging over makes a great stop! Pops up and his throw to first beats a sprinting Kawasaki! 2 down, but Mori advances to 3rd!

Kawagoe looking for the timely hit, but Nakatani jams him! It comes back to Nakatani who goes to 1st for the 3rd out!

Top 2nd
Yanagimoto rips one past a diving Tama down the line! Ujiie over quickly and Yanagimoto is limited to a single. Yoshida tries to bunt, but Tamakuma's pitches won't let him lay one down successfully and he has to swing away.

He hits a solid liner, but Ujiie is right there to make the catch.

Now Yanagimoto tries to take off for 2nd, but Tamaki makes a strong throw to gun him down.

The runner is put back on base though when Tamakuma walks Higashida.

Nakatani, with a typical pitchers swing, upper cuts the offering into the air. Tama in foul territory makes the catch to retire the side.

Bottom 2nd
After Nakatani gets two foulouts, Ujiie pops one into center for a base hit.

Tamakuma with a hit back up the middle, and Nishiura makes the diving stop! But his flip to 2nd is short and allows Ujiie to slide in safely!

Isoda with a shot to left! That's in for a base hit! The 3rd base coach is sending Ujiie home! Moriguchi with a rocket throw home and Yoshida makes the catch and blocks Ujiie in front of the plate! An excellent play by the Tenri defense stops the run from scoring!

Top 3rd
One down for Okabe and Okabe hits one past Mori into center.

Moriguchi after making the great throw, hits one past the glove of Kawasaki into right! Runners on 1st and 2nd with one down for cleanup batter Hasegawa.

But he gets under the ball and hits a fly to right. Kawagoe secures it, and Okabe tags up to 3rd.

Date gets under another ball too and hits a deep fly, but the park holds it as Ujiie makes the catch.

Bottom 3rd
One down and Tama with a hard shot down the 3rd base line! Date with the stop, but his throw is way high and allows Tama to advance into scoring position.

Kawasaki hits the ball the other way, and while Nishiura makes the out, the runner advances to 3rd.

So a base hit by Kawagoe certainly scores the run, But Kawagoe grounds to 1st. Hasegawa takes it to the bag for the 3rd out.

Top 4th
Tenri's batters are unable to hit the ball the other way on an outside pitch. They continue to pull almost every ball and as a result they end in outs. Tamakuma retires the side in order and Hokkai is back on offense.

Bottom 4th
Much like Hirakawa-kantoku said, this will be a low scoring game. Nakatani continues to impress as he hits his spots and retires the side in order.

Top 5th
One down for Tenri and Nishiura lifts one to left! Ujiie running back, but it's just out of his reach! Nishiura's in with a double, although he still got under that one a bit.

Okabe trying the safety bunt! Tama charging in makes a strong throw to 1st for the out. Nishiura on 3rd now with Moriguchi trying to break the deadlock...

..but he hits one back to Tamakuma! He tosses it to 1st and ends the inning!

Bottom 5th
One down and Isoda goes for a safety bunt! The fielders aren't ready and Isoda's on safely!

Isoda takes off for 2nd! Yoshida's throw to 2nd is wide and into center! Isoda heads for 3rd! Big pinch for Tenri!

But Mori pops it up! Date in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!

And Tama hits a fly to center! Yanagimoto under it to end the threat!

As we head to the break, both teams have had runners on, but neither team can break through. It may just go down to one run.

Top 6th
Tamakuma's strategy of pitching outside when in the zone and inside when out of the zone is working perfectly. Tenri's batters are not adjusting and are trying to pull the ball when they make contact. Yanagigawa was a bit of an exception, but he still grounded to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Kawasaki with a grounder to short. Okabe with the stop, but his throw to 1st is high! Another error puts a runner in scoring position!

Kawagoe tries to bunt the runner along, but the count goes to 2 strikes! He'll have to swing away...

...except he doesn't! He lays down the bunt! Nakatani and Hasegawa converge on the ball, Nakatani with it, but Nishiura is late covering the bag! He misses first and everyone's safe!

Morikawa with a conference on the mound as Zeniya comes to bat.

Nakatani paying a LOT of attention to Kawagoe at 1st.

Zeniya with a comebacker to Nakatani! Kawasaki going on contact and he's caught up! Yoshida runs him back t0 3rd and tags him out. Now there's runners on 1st and 2nd with one down and a double play can end the threat!

SANSHIN! Tamaki swings on an outside fastball for strike 3! Two down!

And Hirakawa-kantoku will call upon #15 Matsumoto to try and get the runner home.

And he hits a ball to center! They wave Kawagoe home! Throw from Yanagimoto is late and the run scores!

Yoshida catches Zeniya off base and they run him down, but the numerous Tenri errors finally come back to bite them as Hokkai breaks the deadlock! It's 1-0!

Top 7th
#16 Ishikawa comes in for PH Matsumoto and takes over in LF.

Two groundouts to 3rd and Morikawa-kantoku elects to send in #18 Kanata to hit for Nakatani. That means that we'll see Nishiguchi in the next half inning.

And Kanata takes and outside pitch and lines it back to center for a base hit! Nishiura follows with the exact same thing! Are the Tenri batters finally getting it?

Okabe up and he seems to, fouling pitches off away, but he can't hold his swing on a pitch outside and the side is retired!!

Bottom 7th
As expected ace Nishiguchi is coming in to pitch. He takes over in Higashida's spot. PH Kanata takes over at 1B, and Hasegawa goes to RF.

Tamakuma is jammed on a Nishiguchi pitch, but flares it over Okabe's head for a base hit! Isoda bunts the runners along as Hokkai looks for that 2nd run.

But Mori hits it back to Nishiguchi! He looks the runner back and goes to 1st for the 2nd out!

Tama up, but Nishiguchi's offspeed pitch on a full count isn't close and that puts him on base!

Kawasaki looking for the one-timer...

...but he hits a dribbler up the 1st base line! Nishiguchi over to field it, tosses to 1st and ends the inning! No damage done, but Tenri must get the bats going!

Top 8th
The outside pitch continues to be Tenri's weakness. Moriguchi chops one back to Tamakuma to start the inning.

Hasegawa work the count full then takes on *gasp* the opposite way past a diving Mori for a base hit!

Date tries to do the same thing, but he winds up hitting a high fly for Kawagoe.

Yanagimoto may have been robbed there as the umpire calls strike 2 on a curve that seems down and in, and he has to swing away on the next pitch, grounding one to 2nd to end the inning. They're starting to realize what to do, but with 3 outs remaining, there isn't much time.

Bottom 8th
Kawagoe starts off the 8th with a grounder past Nishiguchi's glove and into center! Hokkai will play for the insurance run as Zeniya bunts the runner along.

Tamaki rips a shot, but it's right at Nishiura who goes to 1st. Kawagoe advances to 3rd on the play.

And Nishiguchi hits Ishikawa on the top of the helmet. He's ok, but is taken out for an injury runner in Zeniya.

Sanshin! Tamakuma waves on an outside fastball and the side is retired. But Tenri is still down 1 with just 3 outs to go.

Top 9th
The bottom of the order is up for Tenri. Yoshida will come up to bat first.

After going up 2-0, Tamakuma levels the count, and strikes him out with a slider down!

Nishiguchi up for his first AB, but swings and grounds to 3rd! Tama with the throw to 1st and there's 2 out!

Kanata the last chance.

Swings at the first pitch! Pops it up! Kawasaki in shallow center... makes the catch!

Hokkai defeats the Kinki champions Tenri! On the surface, the numerous Tenri errors wound up costing Tenri as Hokkai was finally able to capitalize on the numerous chances. But you have to give credit to the game plan that Hokkai had on the Tenri batters. Most of the pitches thrown in the zone were outside, while pitches thrown inside were out of the zone - therefore not allowing Tenri to drive the ball. While they adapted late in the game, there just wasn't enough time to put together a rally.

Give Hokkai credit for executing an excellent game and Tenri for failing to adapt (again). Hokkai will advance to the Best 8 and a matchup with Kyushu Kokusdai Fuzoku.

Now if you don't mind, after I finish my writeups, I'm going to find my contact at Tenri HQ.

Notable Players
Nakatani Keita - L, 6 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, K
Nishiguchi Tasuku - 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, K, BB, HBP
Nishiura Jyouji - 2-4, 2B
Hasegawa Shouma - 1-3, BB

Tamakuma Shouichi - W, CG, 0 ER, 7 H, 3 K, 2 BB
Tamakuma Shouichi - 2-4, K
Matsumoto Momotarou - 1-1, RBI
Kawagoe Seiji - 2-4, R

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