Day 6 is where I think my body started to hit a wall. I hadn't been getting much sleep each night (about 4-5 hours) and the extra walking plus being outside took it's toll to the point that (a) I got sick partially thanks to the A/C, and (b) I started nodding off at games.
Game 1 - Kaisei (Nagasaki) vs. Touyoudai Himeji (Hyogo)
So the other Kaisei got to play today against no pushover in Touyoudai Himeji. Last time ther were at Koushien was when I was there last.
They actually did keep up with them for 3 innings before giving up their first run, but their offense never really did get started and as a result went down quietly 4-0. If not for the 3-run HR given up in the 8th it would probably more reflect thier performance as ace Makise and reliever Nagae (who had to come in because of an injury in the 4th) held the Himeji offense in check.
Game 2 - Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) vs. Senshuudai Tamana (Kumamoto)
I was actually excited to see Senshuudai Tamana. It seemed like there were competing year after year, but never making it. So to seem them here was great.
And then the game started...
It was innocent at first, with both teams being held scoreless. But then in the 3rd, after the first 3 peopel reach, Ameku singled to right, then Kawakami hit a grand slam homerun and the game was blown wide open. The final damage would be 16-1 in favor of Kousei.
Game 3 - Fujishiro (Ibaraki) vs. Tokushima Shougyou (Tokushima)
Fujishiro was one of those "cardiac kid" teams that won their bid by coming back to beat Kasumigaura 6-5. They drew Tokushima Shougyou who isn't a bad team for being where they're from.
In the game itself, it was Fujishiro who opened the scoring with a run in the first. And perhaps I thought that there was more to this team. However Tokusho was able to string some hits together for a pair of runs in the 4th, and add another in the 5th to give them a 3-1 lead. Tatsuta did the rest, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits for the win.
Game 4 - Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) vs. Kanzei (Okayama)
As much as I irrationally like Kanzei, I am a realist for the most part and I realized that drawing Kyukoku was probably one of the worst 1st round draws to have.
Early on though, while Miyoshi was having little problem with the Kanzei batters, Kanzei ace Mizuhara was actually standing up well to the Kyukoku hitters.
But when Mizuhara walked in a run in the 4th I thought this was where Kanzei was going to break down.
On the contrary, in the bottom half cleanup batter Watanabe hits a ball deep to left and to my surprise leaves the yard for a solo shot tying the game at 1!
Even more surprising was that as I checked my scorebook in the 8th I had to do a double take. Not only had Mizuhra held his own, he had limited Kyukoku to just 4 hits! 4!!
And when an error leads to a run for Kanzei in the bottom of the 8th I thought to myself, "Surely I can't be seeing what I'm seeing, right?"
Well going to top 9 and the last 3 outs for Kyukoku, they had their 3-4-5 batters coming up.
And naturally Miyoshi hits a ball that deflects off a diving 3B for a double.
"It's never easy with Kanzei", I said to myself.
And after a K, Ryuu lines a double to right and just like that we were tied back up at 2. Mizuhara would shut it down from there, but into enchousen we would go.
Looking at the scorebook, I noticed that not only did Kanzei was the home team, but that they had their middle of the lineup coming first before Kyukoku.
But after Mizuhara sits down the 8-9-1 batters with little trouble and a nice play from the defense, Kanzei too would go down in order as their 3-4-5 batters were retired in relatively quick succession.
So while the game continued, the advanage at this point was back in Kyukoku"s favor.
But once again, Mizuhara works the count a bit high, but gets the job done.
Kanzei in the bottom half of the 11th gave themselves their own sayonara opportuniy with a 1-out double by Mizuhara himself. After Seki Takanori K's it'd be down to #9 batter Fujii.
And he singles to right! Mizuhara is being waved in but...
Well, let's just say they were a little too ambitious... and we went to the 12th.
There Mizuhara continued to dominated the Kyukoku offense to my surprise while opportunites abounded for Kanzei.
Bottom 12, leadoff walk to Ogura. Successfully sacrificed over, he advances to 3rd on a wild patch on ball 4 to Satou.
So the sayonara run is 90 feet away with cleanup batter Watanabe up.
He hits a hard ball to the right side where Hirabaru takes it and fires home...
but Ogura is called safe! Kanzei wins! Kanzei wins!
Needless to say I was shocked, along with the majority of people at the stadium (except for the homers from Okayama of course).
So one of the favorites went down, and to one of my irrational favorites to boot.
And it wouldn't be the last one.