Ok, we're at the point now where I can throw out the dates and just cover the games.
As much as Komadai Tomakomai dominated the early-mid 2000's as of late they've struggled to get back there since 2007 - the year after Tanaka Masahiro left.
Yet here they are in 2011, just one game away from returning to Koushien.
Just one problem.
Hokkai and their 34 appearances stood in their way.
So off we went in the championship game. While Komadai Tomakomai scored the opening run in the bottom of the 1st, Hokkai would score one in the next half inning. Then proceed to score 2 in the 5th and one in the 9th for a 4-2 lead. But Komadai would find a way against ace Tamakuma to score 2 and extend the game!
Except that in the next half inning Hokkai would put the pressure once again on Komadai. They'd score a run in the 10th.
Tamakuma would not let Komadai Tomakomai extend the game. He shut them down to give Hokkai their 35th appearance and 1st in 3 years.
In the final 2 quarterfinals, Kidzukuri pulls off their 2nd upset in as many games by defeating Top 4 seed Towada Kougyou 8-4!
And in a surprising twist, the game between Kousei Gakuin and Aomori Yamada is not a low scoring affair, but a high scoring one! After Aomori Yamada scores 2 in the bottom of the 1st, Kousei scores 9(!) in the 2nd and 6 more in the 4th! That's a 15-2 lead after 4!
Aomori Yamada isn't a team to give up, and facing the mercy rule go into action. 3 runs in the 4th cut the deficit to 10, which still isn't enough. So they score 5 more in the 5th to make it 15-10 and thus avoid both mercy rules (10 after 5 or 6 innings, 7 from the 7th to 9th).
But just as surprising, no further scoring is done! The final score is 15-10 in favor of Kousei Gakuin!
Onto the semifinals. Kousei Gakuin Noheji Nishi and Seiai battled in the first one. It seemed like Noheji Nishi had the game in control after 2 runs in the 7th gave them a 8-2 lead. But ace Kobayashi Taisei couldn't hold the lead. 3 runs in the 7th and 3 in the bottom of the 9th meant that they'd have to played extras. The game would remain at 8 until the 14th inning where Noheji Nishi would score 3 for the 11-8 win.
The question then would be, would they face their parent school Kousei Gakuin?
The short answer is, yes.
Kidzukuri's run was impressive, but when facing prefectural stalwart Kousei Gakuin, it ran into a wall.
Kousei Gakuin wins 10-0 in 6 innings setting up a sibling rivalry of sorts for the title.
The championship game was all that was left between Morioka Dai-san and Hanamaki Higashi. And while Morioka Dai-san kept up early with Hanamaki Higashi, they would give up 3 runs in the 5th and 2 in the 6th. 5 runs would be all that ace Ohara(?) would need as he shuts out Morioka's offense. Hanamaki Higashi earns their 6th appearance and 1st in 2 years.
Yamagata had their 2nd set of quarterfinals. 4 seed Yamagata Chuo was barely able to get by Shinjyou Kita 2-1. And my Haguro squad mercy ruled Toukaidai Yamagata 8-0 in 7!
I wasn't expecting this.
In the semifinals of Miyagi, top seed Tohoku... lost! 4 seed Furukawa Kougyou and their tandem of Uemura and Katagai limit Tohoku to just 1 run! And combined with 3 runs scored against Tohoku ace Yamada, and Furukawa Kougyou advances to the finals, not Tohoku!
Their opponent, not surprisingly will be Rifu after all. 6 runs in the 1st means they were able to cruise to a 7-2 win.
Both teams will be playing for their first Natsu Koushien appearance.
Fukushima had their quarterfinal action. On one end, Seikou Gakuin easily handles Shirakawa 7-1. They'll play Iwaki Kouyou who defeated Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei 3-2.
The other semifinal will have Sukagawa, who upset #2 seed Shouin Gakuin Fukushima 4-3, versus Odaka Kougyou who too pulled off an upset against #3 seed Nichidai Tohoku 6-3!
That means that only Seikou Gakuin, the top seed, is the only seeded team left in the tournament!