This weekend signifies the beginning of Natsu Koushien qualifying across the country. Over 20 regions began play yesterday.
So without further ado, to the roundup!
Kita Hokkaido/Minami Hokkaido
Hokkaido did not have any games yesterday, but they did have their draw for the prefecturals.
In Kita Hokkaido, it's interesting to see how few recent Koushien participants are in the round of 16. Shirakaba Gakuen seems to have their own half of the bracket, though I wonder how Bushuukan is this year.
Meanwhile, Asahikawa Kougyou and Komadai Iwamizawa are in the same quadrant, meaning an early quarterfinal matchup for what will seem to be one-half of the Kita Hokkaido final.
Over in Minami Hokkaido, I'm flipping tables. Seriously? Hakodatedai Yuuto, should they win their first match against Toukai Dai-yon will have to face Hokkai? Really??????
On the other half of the draw, Sapporo Dai-ichi has a quadrant to themselves and they'll face in all likelihood the winner of the Hokushou-Komadai Tomakomai winner in the first round.
There's a lot of good matches here, but they're all early.
Perhaps for some of the kids here, Natsu Koushien is a return to normalcy. And the games kicked off today over at Kleenex Stadium.
Natori started things off with a shutout of Shibata Nourin Kawasaki 5-0, while Murata led wire-to-wire against Shiroishi Kougyou 9-3.
4 games today in Gunma with qualifying beginning at Shikishima Stadium. Shiritsu Maebashi shutout Shibukawa 3-0. In the 2nd game, Fujioka Chuo held off a rally by Haruna to win 6-4.
Over at Takasaki Jyounan, we had two closely contested games until late. Up 1-0, Oota Higashi and Tamamura traded leads as each team scored 2 runs in 4 consecutive half-innings. But 3 in the 7th inning for Oota blew the game open for a 8-4 win. The matinee game saw Oota Kougyou hold a 3-1 lead over Maebashi Higashi. Maebashi though scored 3 in their luck 7th to take a 1-run lead. That would be good, if it weren't for the fact that Oota Kougyou had their lucky 7th to go, and in that inning they scored 4. Oota Kougyou goes on to win by the final of 9-4.
Play got started in a thrilling fashion over at Tochigi Municipal. It was a battle of Tochigi as Tochigi Kougyou and Tochigi Shougyou faced off. Tochigi Kougyou was nursing a slim 1-0 lead since the 1st inning, but Tochigi Shougyou found an equalizer in the 7th. The game would go into extras where an error by the 3rd baseman on a ground ball allowed the sayonara run to score for Tochigi Kougyou.
In the 2nd game Ashikaga could only muster a run in the 9th inning, which wasn't enough against Imaichi, as they fell 3-1.
Over at Tochigi Prefectural, Nasu would level things against Utsunomiya with 3 runs in the 5th, but they couldn't hold things off as 2 late runs gave Utsunomiya the 5-3 win. And Oyama Hokuyou had no trouble with Tochigi Nougyou, winning 9-2 in 7.
Only 2 games in Ibaraki today. Mito Dai-ichi has no trouble with Tomobe finishing them off 10-0 in 5. The 2nd game was much more competitive as Chuo's 5-1 lead over Daigo Seiryuu was slowly whittled away until it was 5-4 after 8. However Daigo would be unable to score the douten run as they fell by that score.
Saitama started things off over at Prefectural Omiya with a matchup of Yamamura Gakuen and Ogawa. Each team scored a run early in the game, and it seemed like Yamakawa Gakuen had their changes though they wasted them (one inning a runner was super aggressive rounding 3rd, realized he would be out at home, then was thrown out at 3rd trying to run back).
But if you followed by twitter feed, you'd notice that the game would take a sad turn in the bottom of the 9th. The CF for Yamamura Gakuen cramps up after covering a pickoff throw to 2nd with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 down. They try to stretch it out, but he has to be carried to the dugout.
Instead of replacing him though, he comes back out and running very gingerly. I immediately thought that you cannot have a CF who can't run out on the field. They surely had extra players, so he should be replaced.
Sure enough, the next batter hits a shot to right center. The CF is playing in and has no chance at the ball. The RF furiously scrambles to the ball, dives... but misses. The runner on 2nd scores for the sayonara run as Ogawa wins over Yamakawa Gakuen 2-1.
Chiba began their prefectural tournament over at QVC Marine Stadium as Toukaidai Bouyou and Tohoudai Touhou kicked off.
Toukaidai Bouyou you could say got the benefit of an extra day's rest for having to play an extra game. They had no trouble with the fellow university school, winning 7-0 in 7 innings.
Tokyo began things at Jingu Stadium with a 10-0 win over Hachijyou.
At Hard-Off Eco Stadium, Tokyo Gakkan Niigata and Kashiwazaki played a tightly contested game. Tokyo held a 2-1 lead, but Kashiwazaki would equalize in the 5th, and pull ahead with the go-ahead run in the 8th for the 3-2 win.
A more than serviceable Ueda Nishi had no trouble with Suwa Jitsugyou winning 7-0 in 7 innings. Matsumoto Fukashi held a 5-2 lead over Nagano Minami but Kishikami couldn't hold the lead. Nagano scores 5 times in the 8th and goes on to win 8-5.
Sundai Koufu held a 2-0 lead over Enzan and looked to be dormy though they were going through several pitchers. But the lack of a clear ace finally hurt them as Enzan scored 2 in the 8th to level the score. And when the game went into extras, it seemed to spell the end for them. Sure enough 5 runs in the 10th quickly ended things.
Yamura Kougyou and Teikyou Dai-san too played a tight game with the teams leveled at 4. 2 in the lucky 7th for Teikyou would be the difference in a 6-4 win.
3 games in Gifu to start the tournament, and sadly for those eliminated, all were blowouts. Fuwa, Ibi, and Hida all were eliminated on Day 1.
With so many teams, Aichi had 17 games on Day 1!
Agui Stadium - Block G
Game 1 saw Handa Shougyou defeat Handa 4-3 thanks to a 3-run 6th. In the 2nd game, Oobu Higashi leads wire-to-wire in a 10-4 win over Kikuzato.
Ichinomiya Stadium - Block F
Kisogawa stays in step with Chiryuu for 4.5 innings, but then Chiryuu pulls away with 4 unanswered runs for a 7-3 win. Meanwhile, Okazaki Jyousai shuts out Inuyama Minami 4-0.
Okazaki Municipal - Block G/Block D
Okazaki Municipal was busy on Day 1 with bitth games going extras.
First Okazaki Nishi and Nagoya Shiritsu Kougei were deadlocked at 1 going into extras, before Nagoya scores the sayonara run in the first extra inning.
The 2nd game between Toyota Tousen and Toyohashi Higashi went longer after the teams locked themselves at 3 in the 6th. It wouldn't be until the 12th where Toyohashi Higashi pushed across 2 runs for the win.
Kariya Stadium - Block C/Block A
It was relative easy games for Okazaki Kita and Anjyou Higashi as they win 6-2 and 4-0 over Meinan Kougyou and Kariya Kougyou.
Kasugai Stadium - Block A/Block G
Home cooking wasn't in the cards for Kasugai Shougyou against Miwa as after they went ahead 2-0, they immediately gave it all back in the next 2 innings. 3-2 would be the final margin.
In game 2, Sange Nourin couldn't keep up with Asahigaoka, falling 7-2.
Komaki Undou Sougou Kouen - Block B/Block E
Konan and Taki squared off in the first game here at Komaki. Tied at 1, Konan scored 3 in the 5th. Taki tried to pull closer with 2 in the 6th, but when Konan scored 2 of their own next inning, it was too much.
In the 2nd game Okoshi Kougyou was continuously playing catchup against Seirinkan. Down 4-0 after 1, they score 3. When Seirinkan scores 1 in the 4th, Okoshi scores 2 to tie it up! The game would stay that way as it passed into extras. Okoshi would finally take their first lead scoring 1 in the top of the 10th. But Seirinkan wouldn't let go that easily, especially after their start. They tied it up in their half of the 10th and the game continued. However, the pitching staff for Seirinkan couldn't hold it together and 3 runs in the 11th spelled doom. They'd get 1, but that was it losing 9-7.
Mizuho Kouen - Block D
In the one game at Mizuho, Niwa mercy rules Nanyou 14-5 in 7 innings.
Toyohashi Municipal - Block E/Block H
Miyoshi led the entire game against Atsumi Kougyou, even getting an insurance run in the 8th to lead 2-0. However, just 6 outs away they couldn't hold the lead, giving up 3 runs and falling by that score.
Meanwhile the matinee game saw Nishiharu shutout Kaiyou Gakuen 3-0.
Toyota Stadium - Block F/Block E
And finally, over at Toyota Stadium, we had two called games as Takahama and Tsugeno fall to Toyohashi Kougyou and Toyota Kita.
In the one game in Shizuoka, Shimizu Shougyou and Shimada Shougyou go into extras at Kusanagi Sougou Undou Kouen. This after Shimada scores 2 runs of their own after Shimizu scored 2 to lead 3-1.
The game would be decided in the 11th when Shimizu Shougyou scores the sayonara run.
2 game in Kyoto to start their tournament. At Wakasa Stadium, Kyoto Gakuen easily handles Maidzuru Tousen 11-0 in 5 innings.
In game 2, senbatsu participant Kyoto Seishou, who drew a long road to the finals, struggles with Ritsumeikan only pulling ahead in the 8th inning with 2 runs and holding on for a 3-2 victory. It will not get any easier as they face Kyoto Subaru next.
As mentioned earlier on my Twitter account, because of violence within the club Tenri has withdrawn from the tournament. Well, I guess if anything it prevents me from being disappointed at Koushien.
What this does is give Chiben Gakuen about the clearest road to the title that any team will have in any prefecture in the country.
Meanwhile, everyone else will be trying to find a way to upset them... or hope someone else does.
Day 1 in Nara started off with fireworks as Heijyou, leading Kashihara 3-0, saw that lead evaporate in the 7th as Kashihara scores 5. And yet Heijyou comes right back and scores 5 of their own!! Kashihara would have nothing left as the fall 8-6.
Kashiba and Takatori Kokusai took the field for game 2, and the game was a football score more than a baseball score. Takatori scored the first 5 runs of the game, then Kashiba scored 4. After 5 more by Takatori, Kashiba scored 2. 3 more in the late innings gave them a comfortable 13-6 lead.
Not quite. Kashiba mounts one final rally, pulling within 1. Sadly, relief pitcher Inoue would shut the door and advance his team 13-12.
Kyocera Dome opens up the games here in Osaka as Izuo Kougyou falls to Sekiyou Gakuen 12-0 in 6 innings in Minamichi Block 1.
In Kitachi Block 1, Osaka Touin starts their journey early facing Kansai Daigaku Hokuyou. They win 4-0 and they're throwing their ace out already. I don't think that's a very good sign for them.
In the opening game at Himeji Municipal, Shiritsu Amagasaki has no trouble with Kenritsu Nishinomiya, winning 11-0 in 8 innings.
Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium kicks off the Hiroshima qualifiers. Kamo and Hiro were scoreless for most of the game until the bottom of the 8th when Kamo finally breaks the deadlock. Hiro has no response and they fall 1-0.
In the 2nd game between Hiroshima Koudai and Hiroshima Inokuchi, Inokuchi seemed to dictate the pace the entire game as Koudai was forced to play catchup. But they would tie things up in the 7th and actually pull ahead in the 8th, 6-5. Inokuchi would find a way to tie things up and send it into extras. The momentum seemed to be with Inokuchi now as they scored a run in the 10th. But Koudai would hang in there yet again and tie it up. The game would go further into extras.
But in the 13th, one of Koudai's players would get injured. That wouldn't be a problem except that they had no bench players left. They finished their half of the inning on defense, but now was in trouble. If 2B Yamauchi couldn't come out in the next inning, they'd forfeit.
And when Koudai couldn't score in the bottom of the 13th, and Yamauchi indeed couldn't take the field, Koudai had to forfeit the game despite being tied 7-7 with just 2 innings yet to play. A sad way to end one's summer...
Tokushima is the first prefecture in Shikoku to begin play. Naruto Dai-ichi and Awa began things. Naruto controlled things in the first half of the game building a 4-2 lead. Awa though took control in the latter half, scoring 4 unanswered runs to take a 6-4 lead. However Naruto roared right back with 2 in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game. Momentum was shifting towards Naruto, but Awa would crush it with a run in the top of the 9th. Naruto couldn't mount one final rally and lost 7-6.
In the 2nd game, Kaifu scores 8 in the top of the 1st and cruises to a 10-1 in 7 over Kamijima Shougyou.
Ikutokukan and Kibougaoka were the first of 2 games at Kurume. Ikutokukan advances with a 3-0 win. Meanwhile, Fukuoka Kodai Jyoutou drew the first game in the Minami Regionals and shutout Yame Kougyou 4-0.
The 2 games in Saga on opening day were easily handled by Saga Nishi and Hokuryou as they defeat Ogi and Taku 8-2 and 6-3.
At the Big N, Gotou dispatches Sasebo Kita 13-1 in 6 innings. In the 2nd game, Kami-Tsushima down 2-0 scores 2 in the 4th to tie it up, but Nagasaki Kougyou scores 1 in their half of the 4th and makes it stick for a 3-2 win.
Kamoto Nougou kicked things off at Fujisakidai using a 4-run 6th to win 5-2 over Hikawa. And in the matinee, Oodzu can do nothing against Kumamoto, falling 19-0 in 5 innings.
Oita had 2 games on Day 1, where Taketa shutout Beppu Hamurodai 3-0 while Saiki Kakujyou's 2 insurance runs in the 7th were necessary as Oita Nishi scored 2 which would have tied the game otherwise. Instead, Kakujyou wins 4-2.
It was a busy day for the Miyakonojyou schools on Day 1. Miyakonojyou broke out to a 6-0 lead over Kobayashi Jyouhou. They'd hold on for a 7-4 win.
Miyakonojyou Nishi trailed 1-0, but scored a run in 3 consecutive innings to defeat Miyakonojyou Tousen 3-1.