Oogaki Nichidai was given the unenviable task of facing the white elephant in the room in Tohoku. They were there, but did they really want to be with everything else going on back home? In the end, whether it be rustiness or being distracted or both, Oogaki Nichidai had little trouble defeating Tohoku 7-0.
Toukaidai Sagami easily handled Kanzei 9-1, and ace Kondou never took the mound. Instead, it was an unknown 2nd year who was added to the roster after the fall tournament. It wasn't a dominating performance, but it was effective nonetheless.
Their offense on the other hand was dominating, having not lost a beat from last summer when they reached the finals. Kanzei certainly is a good team, but not necessarily of of the top teams in the country. Oogaki Nichidai and ace Kassai on the other hand will be a better test for the offense.
Again, I think it'll be a battle between offenses. It seems like whoever wins their battle:
- Weaker offense (Oogaki Nichidai) vs. Weaker pitching (Toukaidai Sagami)
- Strong offense (Toukaidai Sagami) vs. Strong pitching (Oogaki Nichidai)
And it's interesting that Kondou is again not on the mound for Toukaidai Sagami. It's #11 Nagata Yuuto, another southpaw. Wonder why Kondou isn't on the mound...
Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
LF Hata Kazuki
RF Gotou Kenta
SS Hoshino Shinichirou
1B Takada Naohiro
C Tokimoto Ryou
P Kassai Yukiya
2B Nonobe Satoshi
3B Ueki Takeharu
CF Andou Yoshirou
Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) - Kanto Runner-up
RF Watanabe Masaru
CF Usuda Tetsuya
2B Tanaka Shunta
C Satou Hirotsugu
LF Sugano Tsuyoshi
3B Morishita Shouhei
1B Isoami Yuuto (#15)
SS Hashimoto Takuma
P Nagata Ryuuto (#11)
14:05 - Game start!
Hata starts the game with a bloop hit to left. Sakaguchi-kantoku pressing the action as Hata takes off for 2nd. And he's in easily as the pitch is low and glances off of Satou's glove.
Kenta though can't advance the runner as he grounds out to short.
Nagata having trouble finding the strike zone as he walks Hoshino on 4 straight. So there's a chance for Oogaki Nichidai early.
But Takada pops it up! Isoami in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out.
Tokimoto with a single to right! Watanabe up with the ball, but Hata scores to put Oogaki Nichidai up 1-0!
Kassai grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but Oogaki strikes first!
Hoshino making a fine play at short with the charging throw to get Watanabe out at 1st.
Usuda goes down and pokes a ball though the infield into left for a base hit.
Kassai having to work hard early, his pitches missing the plate. And he hits Tanaka!
Satou with a hit to center! Yoshirou with the throw home, relay from Hoshino late and just like that Toukaidai Sagami ties the game at 1-1!
Sugano pops up to short and there's 2 outs.
But Morishita continues the hit parade! He drive a ball to deep left center! That takes a hop in front of the wall! Tanaka scores! They're waving Satou home! Throw goes to 3rd, but Morishita slides in safely! A 2-RBI triple makes it 3-1 Toukaidai Sagami!
Isoami with a single to right! That makes it 4-1 Toukaidai Sagami and you can tell Kassai isn't comfortable on the mound. Probably feeling a bit squeezed right now.
Sakaguchi-kantoku perhaps feeling the same thing calls a conference.
But things don't seem to improve as Kassai hits Hashimoto!
Nagata coming to the plate as the 9th batter...
Kassai freezes him to end the inning, but Oogaki Nichidai is in a big hole against an offensive powerhouse.
Nagata with his team scoring a couple of runs for him seems to have settled down. Facing the bottom of the order he squeezes in a K to Ueki between two flyouts to left for a 1-2-3 inning.
Watanabe leading off again here in the 2nd, singles back up the middle.
Usuda then with a single past Ueki and Sagami's offense continues to steam on.
Tanaka bunts the runners into scoring position and Kassai must be under a lot of pressure.
Satou with a grounder to the left side! Hoshino can't field it, it deflects off of what looks like Usuda and then goes all the way to the bullpen! Everyone looks around, and smartly the 3rd base coach sends Usuda home! Oogaki gets the ball in, and time is called.
The umpires confer and their ruling is that the ball hit Hoshino before hitting Usuda, and therefore Usuda is not out. Both runners come in to score making it 6-1 and Satou winds up at 2nd. I can't tell from the replay if the ball does indeed deflect off of Hoshino.
Sugano flies out to center to end the inning, but the Tokai champions are in a bad way right now.
Hata gets his 2nd hit of the day with a single to center.
Sakaguchi-kantoku looks to have abandoned the bunt. Kenta goes down swinging.
Sugano singles back up the middle and Oogaki has a scoring opportunity. Takada hits a grounder to the right side. Tanaka ranges over, makes the stop, spins and throws to 2nd!! Hashimoto is there and they get Sugano! That's a great (if not slightly risky) play!
Tokimoto harmlessly grounds to short to end the inning and Oogaki Nichidai is denied.
Kassai gets two quick outs and is just about to get a clean inning when he hits Hashimoto. And while Hashimoto steals 2nd, and advances to 3rd on the errant throw, Kassai strikes out Nagata looking to end the inning.
Nagata doing a great job of holding the Oogaki Nichidai bats silent.
He gets Kassai to ground out to 1st, and freezes Nonobe on a fastball inside.
Ueki does get a 2-out single to right, but a lined shot by Yoshirou is right at Tanaka to retire the side.
Watanabe up for the 3rd time already this game singles to left. Usuda showing bunt, has to swing away with 2 strikes and hits one almost to the same place.
Things get even worse when Tanaka goes for the safety bunt! Ueki charging in, throws to 1st, but Tanaka beats out the throw! It's manrui with nobody out!
Satou pokes a ball up the middle! The infield, playing in, can't get back to field it and it goes into center! Watanabe scores! Usuda being sent home, and he scores. Tokimoto alertly sees Tanaka off the bag at 2nd and throws him out. But it's 8-0 Toukaidai Sagami.
Sakaguchi-kantoku finally gives in. Kassai is sent to RF as #11 Yanagawa comes in for Kenta and takes over on the mound.
Satou takes off for 2nd, but Tokimoto guns him down too.
And while Yanagawa walks Sugano, he gets Morishita to fly out to left to end the inning.
While it probably doesn't matter this game, starting pitcher Nagata is another lefty pitcher who throws in the high 12o's with a slider and curve and the upper 100s-lower 110s.
Yanagawa gets his first AB, and hit as he hits one to center. Hoshino with a grounder back up the middle glances off of Nagata's glove, and Hashimoto's glove before Tanaka fields it, reaches out his foot and touches the bag for the 2nd out.
Takada flies out to center to end the inning.
Isoami leads off the 5th with a base hit past Nonobe into center.
Hashimoto tries to bunt the runner along, goes for the "three bunt" and fails striking out.
Nagata successfully lays down the bunt as the lineup flips back to the top of the order.
Watanabe up again, with a drive to left center! That will go all the way to the wall as Isoami scores on the triple. It's 9-1 Toukaidai Sagami.
Usuda grounds to short to end the inning, and as we head to the break, it's almost all but a formality now that Toukaidai Sagami will be the last team in the Best 8.
Tokimoto starts off the inning lining one over Tanaka into right.
Kassai follows that up with a drive to left center! That gets past Usuda and goes all the way to the wall! Tokimoto scores on the double and it's 9-2!
#17 Shouji is warming up in the bullpen.
And now Nonobe with a hard liner! That's past a diving Hashimoto into left! Kassai advances to 3rd! That's 3 hard hits by the Oogaki Nichidai bats!
Monma-kantoku not waiting around. He pulls Nagata for #17 Shouji.
But Shouji walks Ueki and the bases are loaded!
Wild pitch from Shouji and the runners move up! Kassai scores and it's 9-3!
Yoshirou looking to keep the momentum going, gets ahead 3-1. Shouji gets the count full and...
Shouji hits the outside corner and Yoshirou goes down looking!
Back to the top of the order and Hata. He too gets ahead 3-1 before Shouji evens the count.
Hata swings on a change down and away and there's 2 outs!
#14 Gotou Ryouta comes in to hit for Yanagawa. Monma-kantoku counters by sending ace Kondou to the mound.
Wild pitch from Kondou this time! The runners advance again as Nonobe scores and it's 9-4!
And Ryouta singles to right! Ueki score and it's 9-5!!!!
Sugano up and it seems like whoever is pitching is all out of sorts! Sugano draws a walk!
Satou comes out to talk to Kondou.
Takada up, hitless on the day. Boy does he need one here. But he falls behind 0-2.
And boy does he lay off a close pitch. Count 1-2 now...
Liner to Kondou! He catches it! Takada can't believe his luck! The side is retired, Oogaki Nichidai does cut the lead in half, but they're still 4 runs down.
Kassai doesn't return to the mound, instead late substitute #12 Imai comes in for PH Ryouta and takes over on the mound. He a righty that throws in the mid 120s with a looping curve in the 90s.
And it's like Sagami hasn't seen a soft tosser. Against the heart of Toukaidai Sagami's order, Tanaka pops out to Nonobe, Satou grounds out to Ueki, and Sugano absolutely freezes on a 106 kph curve!
Tokimoto to lead off the inning again, strikes out swinging.
Kassai gets his 2nd hit of the day, a liner just over Matsumoto. Sugano gets to the ball quickly and he's limited to a single.
The is the first time we've seen ace Kondou in action. He has a righty with a mid 130s fastball with a slider in the mid 110s and a curve in the high 100-low 110s.
Nonobe draws a walk and there's runners on 1st and 2nd.
Another wild pitch from Kondou and the runners advance!
Ueki is given first when a ball comes up and in (although it didn't really hit him)! Manrui for Oogaki Nichidai!
Now #13 Toda comes in to hit for Yoshirou.
He's swinging! WHY ARE YOU SWINGING??????
He falls behind 0-2, and eventually goes down looking on a fastball that hits the inside corner! 2 outs!
Hata up, and he's swinging away! He hits the 2-1 pitch to left and Sugano is there for the catch.
WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU SWING WHEN THE PITCHERS CAN'T FIND THE PLATE??????
One down for Toukaidai Sagami when Isoami singles through the right side, and Hashimoto singles to left. Sagami may be catching up to the pitcher. Sakaguchi-kantoku calls a conference...
Kondou up for his first AB. Gets ahead 3-1.
Kondou with a grounder to short. Hoshino boots it! All safe!!!
And the error compounds on itself! Watanave with a single through the right side and Isoami scores! Toukaidai Sagami hits double digits at 10-5!
Usuda with a hit to right center! Toda running back... and it's off his glove! He was all turned around and couldn't make the catch! Runners advance 90 feet and it 11-5!
Tanaka with a hot shot to 1st! Takada goes home for one, Tokimoto holds it. Manrui still for Toukaidai Sagami.
Sanshin! Satou is frozen on another slow curve! The inning is over, and any momentum Oogaki Nichidai had is gone.
Imai swinging on the first pitch flies out to left.
Hoshino tries to work the count, but when it runs full he grounds out to 2nd.
Takada too works the count full, and earns a walk.
Tokimoto swings away and he singles to center.
Kassai too swinging away and he pops it up. Usuda comes in and makes the catch to end the inning.
One down and Morishita singles past Ueki. Isoami strikes out swinging and there's 2 down.
But Hashimoto hits another single through the left side and there's runners at 1st and 2nd.
Kondou up, and he drives a ball to deep left! Hata sprints back, but it's over his head! Morishita and Hashimoto score making it 13-5.
After a ball to Watanabe, #16 Hiramichi comes in for Imai and takes over on the hill.
He takes over, but walks Watanabe. He does get Usuda to groundout to short to end the inning, and Oogaki will get one more chance at the plate.
Nonobe starts the inning with a hard shot that deflects off Hashimoto into center.
Kondoe wipes the runner off though as Ueki grounds into a 4-6-3 double play.
2 outs and Toda is their last chance. But he hits a routine fly to center. Usuda under it and the game is over!
Toukaidai Sagami looked to be in complete control of the game up 9-1. But a small crack opened up in the 6th. Oogaki Nichidai was chipping away at it bit by bit, and perhaps was on the verge of a breakthrough. But because of poor luck, and perhaps poor discipline/coaching, the door was slammed shut.
Toukaidai Sagami certainly has the offense to challenge for the senbatsu title. The pitching seems more suspect especially after today. We got a look at ace Kondou, and we perhaps see why he hasn't been used. In reality he's more of a soft tosser than a hard throwing ace. Which means that even though Kondou was used in the fall tournament, it appears that Monma-kantoku has Kondou as an ace by number only. And with Shouji's limited use, it's possible that for this tournament Shouji is the true ace. We'll find out two days from now against Kagoshima Jitsugyou.
For Oogaki Nichidai, it appeared that Kassai just never got settle in on the mound. There were times in the first inning when it seemed that he was looking for strike calls that he didn't get. He may have been unable to deal with the squeezed strike zone and as a result led to all the runs he gave up. If that's the case, then he'll have to learn how to make other adjustments to be successful.
Tokimoto Ryou - 3-5, R, RBI
Kassai Yukiya - 2-5, 2B, R, RBI
Nonobe Satoshi - 2-4, R, BB
Watanabe Masaru - 4-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Satou Hirotsugu - 3-5, 2B, R, 4 RBI
Isoami Yuuto - 3-5, 2 R, K