Today winds up the 2nd round of games and finish the field of the Best 8.
Opening today's slate of games are two well-known teams in Riseisha and Kyushu Gakuin.
Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu faced an uphill battle against Riseisha after giving up 2 runs in the first via an error. While southpaw Watanabe sat down the Hiroshima batters, Riseisha's batters fared no better - a bit surprising for a runner-up from Kinki.
Kyushu Gakuin jumped ahead of Kokugakin Kugayama when they looked all of out of sorts in the first 2 innings. Kyushu ace Ootsuka was not able to hold off Kokugakuin as they made an incredible comeback to tie the game in the 8th. But much like how the game started, a ball off a sprinting outfielder and a wild pitch end the game and give Kyushu Gakuin the victory.
It almost appears that we are headed into yet another low scoring battle as both teams appear to be offensively starved with good pitching. Iidzuka should take the mound this time around as Riseisha doesn not have a left-heavy lineup. So it should be a rather fast-paced game with the first team to blink possibly going home.
Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto) - Kyushu 3rd/4th Place
SS Mizowaki Hayato
RF Shimoda Yuuto
CF Yamashita Tsubasa
3B Hagiwara Hideyuki
1B Okayama Shirou
C Sakai Soushirou
LF Tamura Takuya
P Ootsuka Takahito
2B Arima Ryousuke (#12)
Riseisha (Osaka) - Kinki Runner-up
CF Kaifu Hiroto
2B Masaki Kentarou
SS Ishii Gen
1B Masui Shouta
LF Oonishi Kouhei
C Sakamoto Seishirou
3B Kumamoto Hayato (#16)
RF Hirada Ryouhei
P Iidzuka Takafumi
9:00 - Game start!
Mizowaki leads off the game with walk against ace Iidzuka. Sakai bunts him along for the heart of the lineup.
However, Yamashita grounds out to 2nd for the 2nd out
And Hagiwara hits a liner, but right to Masui to end the inning!
Ootsuka off to a good start as he strikes out Kaifu on a slider outside.
Masaki watches a fastball hit the outside corner for strike 3, and there's quickly 2 down.
Sanshin! Ishii swings and misses on a fastball and Ootsuka strikes out the side!
Iidzuka strikes out Okayama on a change inside that he can't get around on.
Sakai fares no batter swinging on a fastball high and away for the 2nd out!
Tamura gets the first hit for Kyushu Gakuin, taking a pitch back up the middle for a single.
Ootsuka lines the first offering for Iidzuka, but it's right at Kumamoto to end the inning.
Masui with a foul ball to the right side. Okayama ranging near the camera well, makes the catch and tumbles in! He shows the ball to record the 1st out of the inning! Nice play!
Ootsuka continuing to pick apart the Riseisha batters! Oonishi watches a slider hit the outside corner for Ootsuka's 4th K!
Sakamoto with a grounder to 3rd. Hagiwara in front of the ball, but he loses it and it goes behind him. E5 and Kyushu Gakuin has another runner.
Temporarily at least. Kumamoto pops it up. Hagiwara in foul territory makes the catch to retire the side.
This being the first time we see Iidzuka, he's a right that features a mid 130's fastball, a slider in the upper 110s-lower 120s, and a change in the low-mid 110s.
Arima for Kyushu is proving to be a stubborn last batter. He has a 9 pitch AB which is rewarded in a leadoff walk.
Mizowaki immediately bunts the first pitch sending him to 2nd.
Shimoda with a grounder to short, and Arima has taken off for 3rd! Ishii goes to Kumamoto who tags him for the 2nd out!
So runner on 1st for Yamashita, and he hits a sharp liner to short. Ishii can't handle the ball and it bounces away! Everyone's safe!
But Hagiwara strikes out on a slider away to end the inning!
Hirada breaks through for Riseisha as he singles past a diving Arima! Iidzuka bunts him along for the top of the lineup.
And Kaifu hits a hanging slider to left center! Yamashita tries to chase it down, but it falls in! Hirada scores from 2nd and Riseisha gets on the board first at 1-0!
Masaki follows that up taking a pitch to left for single! Kaifu holds at 3rd.
あ！ Ootsuka hits Ishii on the first pitch and now it's manrui for Riseisha! Sakai-kantoku calls for a conference. A double play can still get you out of the inning with minimal damage.
Masui pops it up! Okayama in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!
It's not a double play though and Oonishi will get a chance to drive the runners in.
It's a hard grounder, but right at Okayama! He takes it to the bag to end the inning! However, Riseisha breaks though here with a run in the 3rd!
Iidzuka gets Okayama swinging for the 2nd time on a fork inside.
Sakai swings away on the first pitch and pops out to short.
Tamura though reaches base for the 2nd time today as he walks after falling behind in the count.
Ootsuka grounds out to 1st. Masui takes it to the bag himself and the side is retired.
Riseisha's batters may be figuring out Ootsuka. Sakamoto singles to left to start the inning.
Kumamoto tries to bunt, but accidentally pops it up when it looks like he was trying to pull it back! Ootsuka easily catches it for the 1st out.
Hirada hits a high fastball to right! That's down for a base hit as Sakamoto heads to 3rd! Runners at the corners for Iidzuka!
This looks odd though. Iidzuka was showing bunt, laid it down, but the corner fielders weren't crashing the plate. So it looked like a regular bunt attempt instead of a squeeze.
That means that Sakamoto scored easily and Riseisha leads 2-0!
Kaifu then with a liner past Mizowaki into left! Hirada being sent home, but the throw is offline and Kyushu Gakuin now leads 3-0!!!
Ishii hits a deep, but high fly to left. Tamura under it for the out, but Riseisha extends their lead over the boys from Kumamoto!
One down and Mizowaki earns a walk. However, that is quickly wiped away as Shimoda bats a ball back to Iidzuka who turns the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Masui gets Riseisha their 2nd leadoff runner with a single to right.
After a sac bunt, and a fly to right, there's 2 outs for Riseisha.
Kumamoto with a single to right! Masui comes around to 3rd and scores easily! It's 4-0 Kyushu Gakuin!
Ootsuka is careful around Hirada, who already has 2 hits, but I'm not sure walking him was part of the plan.
Now ace Iidzuka is getting in on the act! He lines one just into the center outfield grass, and Kumamoto comes in to score! Riseisha now up 5-0!
Kaifu flies out to center to end the inning, but Kyushu Gakuin is in a bad way heading into the break.
Mizowaki muffs a grounder from Yamashita giving Kyushu Gakuin a leadoff runner.
Hagiwara lines out to Kumamoto and Yamashita scrambles back to 1st.
Okayama with a comebacker to Iidzuka. He goes to 2nd! Yamashita dives back to the bag and everyone's safe!
Sakai takes the ball the other way to left! Oonishi up with it and Yamashita's being sent home! Throw from Oonishi is ahead of the runner, but Sakamoto can't hold onto the ball making the tag! Kyushu Gakuin is on the board here in the 6th! It's 5-1!
Okayama advances to 3rd, and there's runners at the corners.
Now there's runners on 2nd and 3rd! The 1-1 pitch gets away from Sakamoto and Sakai takes the base!
Manrui! Tamura lays off a 3-2 fastball that is just low and Kyushu Gakuin has a great oppotunity!
Ootsuka steps to the plate. Falls behind 1-2.
Liner to left! Oonishi charges in, makes the catch! Sakai was taking off on the pitch and isn't looking! Oonishi runs to the bag at 2nd for the easy double play to end the inning.
Okamoto was tagging up from 3rd! He scored before Oonishi tagged 2nd for the 3rd out, so the run counts! 3 outs thanks to the bad baserunning from Sakai, but Okamoto reaches home and the score is now 5-2!
After a bit of time for the head umpire to explain what happened, Riseisha is up to bat.
But Masaki hits a grounder back to Ootsuka. No one's covering first and he has to outrun Masaki to the bag.
Ishii with a big fly, but the park holds it and Yamshita makes the catch.
Masui strikes out on a fastball inside and the side is retired!
#15 Miyazaki in to hit for Arima, but he goes down swinging on an outside slider.
Back to the top of the order and Mizowaki tries to say alive after falling behind 1-2. 8th pitch he hits a grounder to Masaki, and he can't field it!
E4, and Sakai-kantoku will elect to go for the one-timer as he has Shimoda bunt the runner for Yamashita.
He hits a soft liner up the middle! Mizowaki scrambling back, reaches his glove out and makes the backhanded catch! Side retired and Kyushu Gakuin is running out of time!
#16 Numata comes in for PH Miyazaki and takes over at 2B.
One down for Riseisha and Sakamoto hits a ball that bounces off a diving Hagiwara into foul territory! They scramble to get it but Sakamoto is in with a double!
Kumamoto with a hard shot to short! Mizowaki with it, looks the runner back and throws to 1st! But the throw is into the ground! It takes several bounces before reaching Okayama, and he can't cleanly pick it! All safe!
Hirada connects on a ball to deep right center! Shimoda on a dead sprint goes back.. and makes the catch! Sakamoto tags up on the play and goes to 3rd! 2 down!
Iidzuka with a hard liner, but right at Numata who makes the catch!
Hagiwara's struggles at the plate continue. He works the count full, but grounds out to short.
Okayama fares no better, flying out to center and is also 0-4.
Sakai hits a fly down the left field line. Oonishi seems to be there in time, but then the ball lands in front of him! Sakai on with a gift single!
That gift though is short lived. Tamura grounds to Ishii who takes it to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Kaifu with a routine grounder to 2nd, but Numata can't seem to pick up the ball! Eventually he gives up as Kaifu reaches base!
Masaki looking to bunt and it's off Sakai and he's down. And he's on all fours in quite a bit of pain.
That only means one thing. The ball went off the jewels.
Sakai eventually gets up, jumps a couple of times to get the feeling back and he's ready to go.
Masaki eventually lays down the bunt to advance the runner.
Ishii with a grounder to the left side. Mizowaki over to field it and he overruns it! I can't tell if the ball took an irregular bounce, but it goes behind Mizowaki into left! Tamura takes a bit of time getting the ball in and Riseisha takes advantage sending Kaifu home! He scores and its 6-2!
Masui with a drive down the left field line, and that gets by Tamura to the wall! He chases it down as it hugs the wall! Masui's in with a triple and it's 7-2.
Oonishi up and the 1-1 pitch gets away from Sakai! Masui comes in to score and it's 8-2.
Oonishi and Sakamoto both fly out to center to end the inning. Riseisha clear now to advance
#4 Kimura in to hit for Ootsuka, pops out to 2nd.
#14 Koyama in to hit for Numata and flies out to center.
Mizowaki hits a grounder to 1st. Masui takes it to the bag and that's the game.
What seemed like an even matchup early on turned into a one-sided affair as the Riseisha batters started peppering the field with base hits. Kyushu Gakuin just coundn't get base hits off ace Iidzuka as he induced his fair share of groundouts.
Kyushu Gakuin played a solid game, but was just outmatched today. They're perennially a good team from Kumamoto, so it wouldn't surprise me to see them in the summer.
Saaki Soushirou - 2-4, RBI
Tamura Takuya - 1-2 , 2 BB
Iidzuka Takafumi - W, CG, 0 ER, 3 H, 5 K, 5 BB
Masui Shouta - 2-5, 3B, 2 R, RBI, K
Kaifu Hiroto - 2-5, R, 2 RBI, K
Sakamoto Seishirou - 2-5, R
Hirada Ryouhei - 2-3, 2 R, BB