Our second Best 8 game features a team that may be a surprise versus one that was expected to be here.
Kakogawa Kita was the beneficiary of circumstance. Earlier on, the favorite to advance, Yokohama was upset by Hasami. With the powerhouse gone, it suddenly became a free-for-all. Kakogawa Kita struggled early against Kanazawa but outlasted them 4-0. Then against Hasami, an error right off the bat eventually put them in front, and Inoue's skillful pitching made sure that that run was the only one they needed.
Kakogawa Kita's Inoue Maito has been really steady through these 2 games:
18 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 10 K, 5 BB, HBP for a 0.00(!) ERA, 0.89 WHIp, 5 K/9, and 3 BB(+HBP)/9
Not bad. But it's absolutely necessary because the team as a while can't hit - just 0.216. Which means that Inoue's going to have to carry them the entire way.
Their opponent will be Nichidai-san, whose probably the odds on favorite to win it all. But, they had to rally against Meitoku Gijyuku, then had another tenuous game against Seisei winning 3-1.
Yoshinaga has put up some strong K numbers, but he has also been hittable:
18 IP, 5 ER, 17 H, 16 K, 7 BB for a 2.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9
That's okay though because the team is hitting 0.339. The thing is, there is no big hitter on the team - everyone's just hitting well.
With such a well rounded offense as that one, you can't game plan against one person, you have to game plan against the entire team.
Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) - Kinki 5th-8th place
2B Shibumura Ryousuke
SS Takeda Yuuki
CF Shibata Seiji
P Inoue Maito
RF Tokura Kenshi
LF Odashima Suguru (#10)
C Satou Hiroki
3B Ujihashi Yuuto
1B Yamamoto Takaki
Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
RF Takayama Shun
LF Taniguchi Yuuta (#4)
CF Azegami Shou
3B Yokoo Toshitake
SS Shimizu Kouki
2B Suganuma Kenichi (#7)
1B Kaneko Ryouya
P Yoshinaga Kentarou
C Suzuki Takahiro
13:30 - Game start!
Yoshinaga starts off the game by getting Shibumura to ground out to 2nd.
Takeda, seeing the ball fairly well early, lines one to left for a base hit.
Shibata though hits a grounder to short. Shimizu starts the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning! Of course Shibata dives into 1st and you can see him stop for a split second as he dives.
After a pop out, Taniguchi singles to right.
Taniguchi takes off on the 1-1 pitch to Azegami! Throw to 2nd not in time!
Azegami with a grounder up the middle! Inoue knees down to try and field it, but it goes to center! Shibata throws home, and that allows Azegami to take 2nd!
まずいですね。。。 Yokoo walks on 4 straight.
Manrui for Nichidai-san and Fukumura-kantoku calls time.
With nowhere to put Shimizu, Inoue has to go after him. Getting ahead 1-2, he just misses on the outside with a change.
Shimizu with a grounder to short! Takeda can't field the ball cleanly! He quickly gets the ball to 2nd for one, relay by Shibumura is high! No double play and Taniguchi scores to make it 1-0 Nichidai-san!
Suganuma with a hard shot at 3rd! Ujihashi makes a great stop and throws to 1st to end the inning!
But for an offensively starved team, giving up a run already is not the start they wer envisioning.
Ahead in the count 3-1 Inoue swings away and pops out to Kaneko.
Inoue first pitch swings and flies out to center.
And Odashima swings and misses on a fastball outside for strike 3 to retire the side.
Inoue trying to survive on offspeed pitches falls behind 3-1. After a foul, he catches Kaneko looking on a fastball on the insider part of the plate.
He falls behind Yoshinaga 3-1, and walks him. Suzuki lays down the bunt, and Yoshinaga moves into scoring position for the top of the order.
Takayama with a grounder up the middle! Takeda diving to his left can't reach it! Yoshinaga comes in to score making it 2-0!
Inoue hits Taniguchi, and Kakogawa is not in a good way at all.
Azegami singles to left! Takayama being sent home as Takeda throws home! It's not in time and Azegami takes 2nd.
Conference from Fukumura-kantoku is to no avail. Yokoo blows a ball by Ujihashi into left! Both runners score on the single by Yokoo and it's 5-0 Nichidai-san.
Shimizu follows that with a single up the middle. Suganuma will represent the 9th batter to come to the plate this inning. He grounds out to 2nd to end the inning, but the game already looks over for
Satou draws a walk to start the inning, but is erased when Ujihashi grounds into the 5-4-3 double play. Yamamoto pops out to Yokoo behind the mound to end the inning.
Kaneko leads off the 3rd with a base hit through the left side. Ogura-kantoku has Yoshinaga bunt the runner along.
Wild pitch from Inoue advances the runner to 3rd, and Sanko is on the verge of scoring their 6th run.
Suzuki hits a chopper back to Inoue. He looks back the runner and makes the play at 1st. 2 down.
Inoue can't put the 0 on the board! Takayama drives a ball to deep right center! Kaneko scores as Takayama gets around the throw and is in 3rd safely! It's 6-0 Sanko.
Taniguchi battles against Inoue, but pops out on the 11th pitch. Nichidai-san adds another run to their totals. It'll be a question now of whether Kakogawa Kita can avoid the shutout.
Yoshinaga takes care of the top of the order, and Kakogawa Kita has to head back out on defense.
Azegami gets his 3rd hit of the day as he hits a fly to left center than sneaks in. It hangs in the air long enough that he takes 2nd!
Inoue though gets Yokoo to swing at a pitch at his eyes for strike 3.
Shimizu strikes out swinging on a fastball away for the 2nd out.
Suganuma drives a ball away and almost hits a home run, but it goes foul. He hacks at a high fastball and does the exact same thing down the left field line.
On the 9th pitch, Inoue gets him to ground out to 2nd to end the inning and finally puts up a donut hole.
Inoue with a ball back up the middle gets Kakogawa Kita their first hit!
Looking to break the shutout, Tokura bunts him along.
Odashima though pops it up! Shimizu in front of 2nd catches it for the 2nd out.
Up to Satou now, but Inoue is caught off base! Suzuki throws to 2nd, but Inoue breaks for 3rd! Throw from Shimizu is late, and the run is just 90 feet away!
But Satou hits a fly to center! Azegami ranges to his left and makes the catch to retire the side.
Kaneko with a grounder to short. Takeda dives to his left, but can't make the snag. Leadoff single for Sanko.
Yoshinaga getting in on the hit parade driving one to deep center. He's in with an RBI double to make it 7-0.
Suzuki flies out to center for the 1st out of the inning.
Takayama grounds out to 2nd for the 2nd out, and Yoshinaga advances to 3rd.
Taniguchi walks and there's runners at the corners.
Azegami with a grounder up the middle. Shibumura slides but can't get to it. Yoshinaga scores, and as they get the ball in, Taniguchi keeps on running home! Takeda tries to fire the relay in, but it's too late and it's now 9-0. Nichidai-san taking advantage of an asleep defense and another run scores.
Yokoo grounds to short to end the inning, but Nichidai-san has been in full control of the game.
Kakogawa Kita putting up little resistance as they go down in order here in the 6th
#18 Nishijima comes in for Odashima and takes over on the hill. Inoue goes to left.
Shimizu with a shot to 3rd that eats up Ujihashi. It goes to the wall for a leadoff double. He advances to 3rd on a groundout to 2nd from Suganuma.
Kaneko hits it to 2nd as well, but with the infield in, Shibumura is able to hold the runner.
Not for long though. Yoshinaga drives another ball to left. That's to the wall for a double and it's 10-0.
Suzuki follows that up with a single past Ujihashi into left. Yoshinaga holds at 3rd.
Takayama with a grounder to short. And he beats out the throw from Takeda! Yoshinaga scores to make it 11-0.
Taniguchi grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.
Takeda starts off the inning with a grounder to the left side for a base hit. But a 4-6-3 double play means there's quickly two outs.
Inoue then collects his 2nd hit of the day as he hits a ball down the left field line for a double. He then takes things into his own hands by stealing 3rd!
But Tokura swings at a slider away for strike 3 to end the threat.
Azegami makes it 2 batters today with 5 hits as he singles to right center. After a flyout by Yokoo, Shimizu singles to left, and Suganuma singles to center. Manrui for Kaneko.
With that single from Suganuma, every starting member now has a base hit.
Kaneko hits it back to Nishijima! He goes home for the force, and Satou goes to 1st for the 1-2-3 double play!
Nichidai-san will pull their pitcher now. #11 Nakano comes in for Suganuma and take the hill. Yoshinaga goes to left and Taniguchi goes to 2nd.
#7 Tashiro comes in to hit for Nishijima. That means that Inoue will probably take the mound one last time. Tashiro strikes out as Nakano priceeds to retire next two batters for a 1-2-3 inning.
Inoue does indeed take the hill as #17 Hagiwara comes in for PH Tashiro and takes over in LF.
Inoue almost gets a 1-2-3 inning, but then Takayama blasts one to center. Shibata can't run it down and Takayama is in with a triple.
Taniguchi with a shallow fly to left center, Hagiwara charging in slides, but can't make the catch. Takayama scores to make it 12-0.
Azegami with a fly to deep left. Hagiwara running back, midjudges the wind! He reaches back over himself, and the ball drops in. It's 13-0 as Azegami beats the throw into 3rd with his 6th hit of the day.
And a first pitch dead ball to Yokoo gest Fukumura-kantoku to call a conference.
Shimizu flies out to left to end the inning, and Kakogawa Kita will get more one chance to prevent the shutout.
#17 Seki comes in for Yoshinaga and so his day is officially done.
Yamamoto starts off the inning with a single up the middle. He takes off for 2nd and just beats the throw. They may yet prevent the shutout.
Shibumura hits a hanging slider to right! That's in for a base hit! Throw goes to the cutoff man as Yamamoto scores, breaking the shutout! Its 13-1!
Takeda with a ball that sneaks through the infield to left and that's 3 straight hits for Kakogawa.
Shibata looks to get in on the act, but swings at a slider out of the zone for the first out.
Inoue with a single to center, and that scores Shibumura to make it 13-2. Runners at the corners for Tokura. He though is fooled by the slider away again, and there's 2 outs.
Hagiwara hits a grounder to 2nd. Taniguchi tosses it to 2nd to end the game.
Unfortunately for the boys from Hyogo, their run comes to an abrupt end here against Nichidai-san. Inoue was just no match for the Nichidai-san lineup, while Yoshinaga held the Kakogawa Kita batters in check.
Nonetheless, it was a good run by Kakogawa Kita to make it to the Best 8, and they'll still provide a good challenge to the other teams in the summer.
Nichidai-san now is on a collision course with Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku. That should be an entertaining can't miss game.
Takeda Yuuki - 3-4
Inoue Maito - 3-4, 2B, RBI, SB
Yoshinaga Kentarou - W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
Azegami Shou - 6-6, 2B, 3B, R, 3 RBI
Taniguchi Yuuta - 2-4, 2B, 4 R, W, HBP, SB
Takayama Shun - 4-6, 2 3B, 2 R, RBI
Shimizu Kouki - 3-6, 2B, R, RBI, K
Yoshinaga Kentarou - 2-3, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
Kaneko Ryouya - 2-5, 2 R, K