Yeah, the lack of sleep really got to me. I wound up oversleeping on Day 7 and arriving at Koushien late. By the time I had gotten there, the first two innings of the first game had completed.
Game 1 - Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri (Nagano) vs. Meihou (Oita)
Well, to say that Meihou would have been a favorite in this game probably would have been right, but then again a lot of Meihou's success before was with Imamiya, and of course he's not there anymore, so it's really up to the next group to pick up the flag as it were. And if nothing else, they did get back here.
And after quickly settling in, it was apparent that Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri was struggling on offense, while Meihou was putting pressure on ace Sagamihara.
The flood gates finally opened in the 6th. After back-to-back triples, Satou is called out on strikes. However, C Furuya goes to the home plate umpire and has the K recalled back as a foul ball. Mind you, this was on a 3-2 count. With new life, he actually earns a walk and continues what would be a 6-run inning.
Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri made a late run and actually cut the deficit in half, but Okamoto who had come in to relieve Takao closed the job.
Game 2 - Tsuruoka Higashi (Yamagata) vs. Chiben Gakuen (Nara)
So Chiben Gakuen should have just been defaulted in as the Nara representative when Tenri withdrew. It's almost like clockwork how those two teams qualify.
But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that generally without competition it's hard to take the team to the next level.
While Nara has 2 teams, Yamagata is a bit jumbled with several teams that are above the prefectural average, but no one that really stands out.
Neither team really gained any traction in the game until the 4th when the first 3 batters for Chiben Gakuen reached safely eventually resulting in 2 runs. Tsuruoka came back and manufactured a run in the 5th but never really challenged with any scoring chances thereafter. Chiben Gakuen wins rather pedestrianly 2-1.
Game 3 - Takasaki Kenkoudai Fukushi (Gunma) vs. Yokohama (Kanagawa)
So Takasaki Kenkoudai's day of reckoning with Yokohama finally came. As much as I was down on Yokohama, I didn't think this would be the game they would trip up in.
And after quickly building a 5-0 lead, it seemed like it was all by the book.
Then in the post-break inning for Takasaki Kenkoudai Fukuishi, the unthinkable started happening.
Yanagi who had given up some hits here and there, started giving them up in bunches. Outside of a sac bunt, 5 batters reached safely with a double from Uno making it 5-3 that would knock him out. Souma was one out away from getting out of the jam when top batter Koike tripled to right tying the game at 5!
I mean, I knew Yokohama was beatable, but not like this!
Worse yet, Yokohama's offense had stalled against ace Katagai! Now all Takasaki had to do was to score a run and the upset may be theirs!
The problem was they couldn't get anything going either.
So the game went into enchousen where Nagasaka had a 2-out single and stole 2nd. Uno put a ball through the left side, but when Nagasaka was rounding for home, it was obvious that he'd be out. I think it was a matter of desperation as they need a run soon because I don't think they could have lasted much longer.
And sure enough in the bottom of the 10th, the game ended when Takasaki singled in Date.
Game 4 - Kanazawa (Ishikawa) vs. Seikou Gakuin (Aomori)
If there was one thing that I could tell about Kanazawa is that ace Kamata had learned to dial it down a bit to gain control.
And it was showing against Seikou Gakuin. He was limiting the offense quite a bit but still gave up the opening run.
That lasted for 2 inning when errors by Seikou Gakuin led to Kanazawa taking the lead 2-1. They extended the lead to 3 thanks to some errors and the lead seemed to be dormy.
Seikou Gakuin though started making some runs when they manufactured one in the 8th to cut the lead to 2, and then in the 9th worked the bases loaded with 2 outs. However Nakamura would not be able to get the timely hit and Kaanzawa would advance.