Day 4Game 1 - Eimei (Kagawa) vs. Itoman (Okinawa)
Eimei has come on in the last two years to represent Kagawa. In fact, these last 2 years have been their only appearances. They're not a new school per se, so I wonder if it's a managerial change or just the personnel they have. I'm beginning to think that to better cover teams/players I'm better off not doing brackets. Too much work for one person.
I was happy in some ways to see Itoman make it. They seemed to be one of the better teams in Okinawa but would get eliminated before the finals - this year they made it and I wondered how they'd fare.
Sadly, not very well. Their performance against Eimei was far from stellar as they managed just 4 hits and the one run they did score was unearned.
Game 2 - Noshiro Shougyou (Akita) vs. Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)
Noshiro Shougyou made it for the 2nd straight year as well, and were facing a Kamimura Gakuen squad that I was happy to see there.
And early on it looked like the squad that defeated a formidable Kagoshima Jitsugyou would have the better hand. A leadoff hit batter and subsequent error in the 3rd led to 2 runs. Another hit batter in the 5th would make it 2 runs again at 3-1. But in the span of 6 batters in the 6th, the game had completely reversed. Instead of leading, they now were trailing 5-3.
Considering their runs up until this point were done thanks to mistakes by Noshiro Shougyou, it followed that all they needed to do was not make any and they'd advance. They didn't and they won.
Game 3 - Shirakaba Gakuen (Kita Hokkaido) vs. Tottori Shougyou (Tottori)
This game was between two teams from prefectures that haven't had much success at Koushien in recent years. So it wasn't a surprise when it was a low-scoring affair between the two teams.
Shirakaba Gakuen held a slim 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th only to see it immediately evaportate when Yasumoto Shinnosuke singles and Yoshida triples to left. Suddenly Shirakaba not only had lost the lead, but had the sayonara run just 90 feet away!
Kawagoe would need to clamp it down and he did inducing an strike out, and fly to shallow left, and a groundout.
The game would go into extras where Shirakaba Gakuen would win in the 11th.
There wasn't anything else really memorable other than the fact that though Tottori Shougyou lost, oh my god, the girls continually went, "kyaaaa!!!!" over the team. You could hear numerous individual "Ganbare!" screams amongst others. You'd think the team was rock stars - which they might be.
Game 4 - Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) vs. Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama)
I had left the stadium to re-enter in the Chiben cheering section to see it first-hand. And since I didn't realize I had no more blank box scores in the book I brought with me, I was just enjoying the game.
Chiben Wakayama did indeed kick the daylights out of Hanasaki Tokuharu, but there were two things to note.
First, the oen-dan up close for some reason isn't the same as seeing it from a distance.
Second, I may have been suffering from exhaustion because there was a foul ball just inside the pole that was headed right at me. I had already run through the scenario of what I would do if this would happen, but suffice it to say I blanked. I reached out my hand like an idiot, and the ball deflects off my upper right arm. It's still bruised.