Our final game of the day features 2 regulars to Koushien.
Kousei Gakuin surprisingly had no trouble with Suijyou, although it was more of Suijyou looking not sharp at all more than anything else. They did have trouble against their relief pitcher, but they were also up a lot at the time, so they could have just shut things down so as not to overexert themselves.
Chiben Wakayama likewise had little trouble with Sado, winning 8-1. Sado didn't beat themselves in the game, rather they were just overwhelmed by the hitting of the Chiben Wakayama batters.
There's not much to really make a good estimation on, although Chiben's offense looks a lot more potent than Kousei. That combined with the fact that Chiben's pitching is much better than Suijyou's and you have to think the stalwarts from Wakayama are favored to advance.
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
Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Kinki 3rd/4th Place
RF Yamamoto Ryuuta
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
CF Miyagawa Yuuki
1B Hiroaka Yukihiro
3B Shima Naohiro
LF Nakamura Kousei
2B Kawasaki Kousuke
P Aoki Yuuto (#10)
13:35 - Game start!
At the siren, Sawa grounds out to 3rd.
Aoki not looking as sharp to start, walking Enomoto. Nakai-kantoku elects to have Kawakami bunt the runner along for Nakamura.
And although Aoki may have been squeezed at times, he walks Nakamura.
So a small pinch for Aoki to start, but Kanayama strikes out on a high fastball to end the inning.
Akita on the other hand looks solid to start. He strikes out Yamamoto on a slider, then gets Ogasawara to swing on a 2-seamer that tailed back towards the plate.
Michibata's first AB fares only slightly better in that he made contact, but it's right at Enomoto who makes the routine play at first to end the inning.
Ameku starts the inning with a blooper to left. Playing for the run again, Nakai-kantoku has Houjyou bunt.
Aoki though induces Matsumoto into a comebacker. Ameku has to hold at 2nd.
And Akita swings up, and as expected hits a high fly to center to end the inning.
Akita dictating the tempo by throwing strikes, needing only 8 pitches to retire the heart of the Chiben order.
Sawa becomes Aoki's 2nd K victim as he watches a slider hit the outside corner.
Enomoto falls victim to a fastball on the outside corner as well.
And Kawakami pops out to Ogasawara. Neither team is really getting any decent scoring opportunities as both aces are now on their game.
Akita continuing to cruise. Just another 8 pitches retires the side as Nakamura pops out to Tamura in foul territory, Kawasaki grounds to 2nd, and Aoki waves at a fastball up and way away.
Kousei's batters continue to misread the offspeed pitches as evidenced by Tamura swinging on one such pitch away.
Kanayama makes contact, but flies out to right. And Ameku falls to another high fastball.
Akita leaves a fastball in the zone and leadoff batter Yamamoto sends it to right for his team's first hit!
Ogasawara lays down the bunt, but Matsumoto is on it quickly! Throws to 2nd, and pulls Houjyou off the bag! Everyone's safe!
Michibata swinging away!! But he hits a pop fly to right! Sawa under it to make the catch and the runners can't advance!
Hiraoka up, and Takashima-kantoku continues to call for the hit-and-run! Hiraoka works the count while fouling off pitches... and draws a 9 pitch walk!
Manrui for Chiben Wakayama as Shima comes up to bat!
Shima with a shot to the left side! Houjyou dives, but it goes past! Yamamoto scores! They're sending Ogasawara home! Wasa up firing, one bounces to Matsumoto who makes the swipe tag on a sliding Ogasawara for the out! Great play to nail the 2nd runner at home, but Shima's timely hit puts Chiben Wakayama ahead 1-0!!
Houjyou starts off the inning with a base hit that lands in front of Miyakawa. Matsumoto sends him along.
Akita with that uppercut swing pops it up again! Kawasaki going back to field it, and misses!!! Akita reaches 1st, but Houjyou has to stay on 1st as the ball should have been caught.
Aoki being a bit nibbly now as he falls behind leadoff batter Sawa 3-0! He manages to get the count full, but a wild pitch makes it manrui for Enomoto. Kousei must take advantage of the opportunity.
Enomoto showing bunt, but there's no attempt so far as the count goes to 1-1. A slider way outside gets called for a strike. And Enomoto just slumps the bat in resignation as he takes the same pitch for strike 3.
And in perhaps a sense of justice served, Kawakame takes the first pitch and sends it to left center! Houjyou and Akita both come home on the RBI double by Kawakami and Kousei Gakuin takes the lead at 2-1!
Aoki laboring on the mound as the count runs full on cleanup batter Tamura. But he can't check his swing on a high fastball and the side is retired!
With Chiben Wakayama looking for the douten run, Nakamura hits a comebacker back up the middle for a base hit. Kawasaki moves him along for last batter Aoki.
He hits a short fly to left, but Ameku is there for the catch. 2 down.
Yamamoto with a drive to right! Sawa running back to the wall, but it's over his head! Nakamura comes in to score on the RBI triple and Chiben Wakayama has tied the game at 2-2!!
Ogasawara immediately grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but as we head into the break the teams have traded blows, but are deadlocked once again.
After a quick groundout by Kanayama, Aoki's control issues continue as he walks Ameku.
Houjyou not bunting, but flies out to left for the 2nd out.
And with Matsumoto up, Ameku takes off for 2nd! The throw from Michibata looks to be there, but Ogasawara tags nothing but air.
Base hit could give Kousei the lead again, but Matsumoto grounds to short to end the inning.
Chiben batters trying not to attack the pitches early, but to little success.
Instead, 6 pitches are all that's needed to get 3 groundouts from the 3-4-5 batters.
Now both teams are trying to attack early in the count, but Kousei has no luck either. An Akima comebacker to Aoki, a grounder to 1st by Sawa, and a fly to center by Enomoto takes Aoki a grand total of 7 pitches and the teams change sides.
I haven't mentioned this until now, but I think because there is no brass bands allowed, the famous oen-dan "C" seems bigger than ever.
Shima, who got the timely hit to start the scoring, takes a pitch away for a leadoff hit.
Shima takes off for 2nd on the 1-1 pitch to Nakamura! The pitch is up and it allows Matsumoto to make a strong throw, gunning him down!
Kawasaki manages to bloop one to shallow right center, but he's stranded when Aoki flies out to Wasa down the left field line.
Kawakami collects his 2nd hit of the day as he pokes it right between short and 3rd!
Tamura not bunting here.
But doesn't have to! Aoki's 1-1 pitch bounces away from Michibata and Kawakami takes 2nd!
Aoki then issues his 5th walk in Tamura and there's runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!
Kanayama lays down a perfect sac bunt! Michibata fires the ball to 1st and barely gets a hustling Kanayama!
Chance for Ameku, who's 1-2 on the day with a K and a BB.
Ameku hits a fly ball, but it's too short! Shima in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!
Houjyou now Kousei's last chance here in the 8th. Aoki gets ahead 0-2... and Houjyou just fouls off a ball.
He hits it, but it's a weak grounder to 2nd! Kawasaki makes the play at 1st to end the inning and Chiben Wakayama is out of the jam! Will they regret not taking advantage of the opportunity?
It's the top of the order for Chiben... and Yamamoto grounds one up the middle past a running Enomoto for a base hit!
Ogasawara tries to bunt the runner along, but falls behind 0-2.
Ogasawara "three bunts"! The pitch is outside and he's out on strikes!
Michibata up now for Chiben Wakayama.
AND HE DELIVERS!
Akita hands a pitch dead red and Michibata punishes it! It goes to left center all the way to the wall! Yamamoto scores all the way from 1st and Michibata does it again! It's 3-2 Chiben!
Akita manages to get the next two batters to fly out to left, but the damage has been done. Kousei Gakuin has just 3 outs to try and score the douten run!
8-9-1 batters up for Kousei Gakuin.
Matsumoto gets under one and flies out to left for the 1st out.
#15 Kawasaki in to hit for Akita... And he pops it up! Shima in foul territory waits for it and secures it for the 2nd out!
Last chance as #7 Wada hits for Sawa.
SANSHIN!!! Wada gets caught looking on a fastball on the outside corner and the game is over!
Kousei Gakuin did indeed give Chiben Wakayama all they could handle. Ace Akita held the Chiben offense in check the entire game. But one hanging pitch to the most dangerous batter on the team proved to be the difference.
Aoki struggled in this game allowing free passes to several baserunners. However, he managed to get out of most key situations thanks to some timely pitching (and some poor swings). They'll move on to the Best 8 not having used ace Uenoyama at all. One could argue that they're saving him, but with short turnarounds in the next couple of games, unless he's going to be used in relief or for a short number of innings, resting him now won't be of much use.
Akita Noriyoshi - L, CG, 3 ER, 8 H, 6 K, BB
Kawakami Ryouhei - 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI
Houjyou Fumiya - 1-3, R
Aoki Yuto - W. CG. 2 ER. 5 H, 8 K, 5 BB
Yamamoto Ryuuta - 3-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Michibata - 1-4, 2B, RBI
Shima Naohiro - 2-3, RBI