Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Haru Taikai - Shikoku Taikai

The draws aren't out for the Shikoku Taikai yet, but the prefecturals are done.

In Shikoku, any teams that qualified for Senbatsu automatically advance to a challenge match against the winner of the prefecturals. That challenge match determines seeding. So that also means that if you were in a prefecture with a Senbatsu participant, you had to win the tournament to make it to the Shikoku Taikai.

If there ever was more of a predictable field of seeded teams, I'd like to see it. Outside of Kagawa Nishi who automatically advances to the challenge game, there was Sangawa, Takamatsu Shougyou, Kanonji Chuo, Jinsei Gakuen, Marugame Jyousai, Takamatsu Kita, and Eimei.

Sangawa and Takamatsu Shougyou made it to the quarterfinals where they faced off with Sangawa winning 4-1. Takamatsu Kougei upset Jinsei Gakuen and took their place to face Kanonji Chuo, gave them a good fight, but lost 10-8. Shido upset Takamatsu Kita to face Marugame Jyousai, but too would lose 3-1. And Eimei, supposedly with the easier bracket with no other seeded team, wound up being upset in the first round to Sakaide who reached the semifinals.

Kanonji Chuo gave Sangawa a good battle, but a 2-run HR by Yamagoe would be the difference in the game giving Sangawa a 4-2 win. Meanwhile, Sakaide actually got in front of Marugame Jyousai 1-0 in the top of the 2nd, but that was short-lived. Marugame would crush Sakaide right there with 6 runs to win 6-1.

Now the finals mattered as only the winner would advance to the Shikoku Taikai. Marugame would get ahead quickly with a run in the top of the 1st, this time only to see Sangawa score 2 in the bottom of the 1st. Marugame would strike back in the 3rd to take the lead 3-2. It would stay that way for a long time until Sangawa found the equalizer in the bottom of the 8th. The game would continue into extras where Sangawa would get to ace Kawai in the 12th to score the sayonara run.

That game however would take its toll on Sangawa though, and while starter Yoshida had been rested in the "championship" game, Kagawa Nishi would score 6 in the first to apparently remove all suspense from the game. But Sangawa would score 2 in the 3rd to try and start the offense. However, they could just muster a run in the 8th and 9th innings to lose 6-4.

Because of the challenge match, the awards are a bit fuzzy. Sangawa is the prefectural champion which is their 3rd consecutive. I'm not sure what Kagawa Nishi's top seed represents.

With Jyounan advancing to the challenge game, the seeds (in order) not surprisingly went to Tokushima Shougyou, Komatsushima, Tokushima Kita and Kawashima.

Kawashima was the first seeded team to fall, losing in the 2nd round 10-9 to Tomioka Nishi. That paved the way for unseeded Naruto to clear to the Best 4 with an 11-1 win over Tomioka Nishi.

Komatsushima and Tokushima Kita would be the next to go, Komatsushima getting shutout by Seikou Gakuen 4-0 while Jyoutou slipped by Tokushima Kita 5-4.

So only Tokushima Shougyou was able to advance to the semifinals. And against Naruto they scored 5 in the top of the 3rd and seemed poised to advance. Quickly Naruto struck back with a run in the 3rd and 3 in the 4th to cut the deficit to just 1. Tokushou added an insurance run in the 6th, but the 7th was indeed lucky for Naruto as they scored 4 to take an 8-6 lead and that would be the final margin.

In the other semifinal, Jyoutou, who is more known for being a strong academic school than a strong baseball school went toe-to-toe with Seikou Gakuen finally separating themselves with a 3-run 8th inning to win 6-2.

That made then for a Naruto-Jyoutou final where certainly the advantage was with Naruto. And indeed ace Kouura gave up runs early and often, putting his team in a 0-5 hole after 5 innings.

But then suddenly Jyoutou's offense came alive. A run in the 6th, and 3 more in the lucky 7th would pull them within 1. However Naruto would get a run in their half of the 7th and Jyoutou was down 2 with just 2 innings left.

Somehow Jyoutou mounted one last rally in the 9th, and scored 3 to take a 7-6 lead! Kouura would make that slim lead stick in the bottom of the 9th giving Jyoutou a spot in the Shikoku Taikai!

The last matter of business to take care of would be to find the seeding for the Shikoku Taikai. So Jyounan (城南) and Jyoutou (城東) would square off. By the way, their uniforms look very similar and would be very confusing to follow (at least in my opinion).

On a somewhat related thought, there's a Jyousei (城西) and Jyouhoku (城北) and I wonder if all the uniforms look alike.

Anyways, onto to the challenge game. Jyoutou, drawing the visiting team struck first with a run right from the outset. Jyounan would then come and take the lead right back with a 2-run bottom 1st.

Jyoutou would keep the deficit at 1 after trading runs in the 4th/5th inning and then find the equalizer one inning later. But it was right at that time that Jyounan would turn on the after burners scoring a total of 6 runs in the next 2 innings and taking a commanding 9-3 lead. Jyoutou would manage to get 2 in the 9th, but that would be far from enough.

Tokushima's awards follow Kagawa's lead, so Jyoutou is actually the official prefectural winner - which is their first ever.

Fun fact for the day - Did you know that the best winning percentage for a prefecture in the Natsu Koushien belongs to Ehime (114-59-1 for a 0.659 percentage!).

Ehime has a 2-tiered system for the spring taikai with small blocks in regions determining the field of 16. Regional powerhouse Imabari Nishi didn't even make it out of the 1st level of play, losing 11-9 to Mishima in the block final.

Even without Imabari Nishi, there were still some good schools that advanced including Saijyou, Teikyou Dai-go and Saibi.

Saijyou though struggled out of the gate against Matsuyama Kita 1-0, and would eventually fall hard against Mishima losing 14-3. Teikyou Dai-go and Saibi would meet in the quarterfinals with Teikyou prevailing 8-6.

On the other side, it was fairly open. Yawatahama had little trouble with their first two games, while Kawanoe had the same experience defeating last year's Natsu participant Uwajima Highashi 5-1.

Teikyou Dai-go looked to finally have broken the curse of good, but not good enough as they worked their way to a 2-0 lead early. However Mishima would strike hard in the 3rd, scoring 3 to take the lead. Undaunted, Teikyou managed to score the equalizer in the 7th, and the game would go into extras where sadly they would fall yet again 4-3.

In the other semifinal, Kawanoe jumped out in front with a 1-0 lead in the first. Yawatahama would then tie then take the lead in the 5th 3-1. Kawanoe countered with 3 in the bottom of the frame retaking the lead at 4-3. An insurance run in the 8th made it a 2-run ballgame and perhaps made it out of reach.

Of course, no one told Yawatahama that as they proceeded to tie the game. This game would also go into extras, and once again the home team would bid their opponents sayonara in the 10th inning as Kawanoe pushed in the winning run.

Kawanoe started off building a 2-0 lead over Mishima. Mishima would struggle to score runs until the latter stages, but tied the game in the 7th with a pair of runs, then took the lead 3-2 the next inning. But ace Okusada for Mishima couldn't hold that lead. In fact Kawanoe scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th to take a commanding 7-3 lead and would win by that margin.

Surprisingly, despite the numerous times Kawanoe has been to Koushien, this is their 1st ever spring prefectural title.

With Meitoku Gijyuku in the challenge game, it left the other two schools, Kochi and Kochi Shougyou would fight for the right to be in the challenge game.

No, really. You'd have to go back to 1994 to find a team not any of the aforementioned schools that went to Natsu Koushien. And in that same time period, only Muroto in 2007 was a different school other than those 3 to go to Senbatsu.

Funny thing was that Kochi and Kochi Shougyou would have to meet in the semis. And with Kochi winning 5-3, we pretty much had the challenge match set.

Tosa, who had performed well last year, couldn't keep up with Kochi, getting mercy ruled 10-0 in 8 innings.

On the other side, the aforementioned Muroto made it to the semis to face unknown Ootemae. The game ended up being rather exciting as the teams would stay tied throughout most of the game with the teams trading a run in the 3rd. In the end, Ootemae actually prevailed in the top of the 9th to win 2-1.

The championship game started off a shocker as Ootemae scored 2 in the 1st, and then a run in the 5th and 6th to take a 4-0 lead on Kochi! But then either they got nervous or Kochi woke up because 1 run in the 6th and 3 in the 7th quickly tied the game up! Ootemae managed to stop the bleeding and kept the score level, but having lost the lead it would only be a matter of time before Kochi would prevail. And sure enough in the 10th they did to make things all right in the world (joking) winning 5-4 for their 3rd consecutive title and 22nd overall.

As for the challenge match, it would be a predicable low scoring affair. Kochi would break the deadlock in the 7th with 2 runs. Meitoku Gijyuku would mount a last minute rally in the 9th, but fall just short losing 2-1.

2011 Haru Taikai - Kyushu Taikai Update 2

So the final 2 prefectures have been completed and we have the brackets for the Kyushu Taikai.

In semifinal action, Kaisei would jump out early against Sasebo Kougyou 1-0, but Sasebo would equalize in the 5th, then again in the 6th. Then in the bottom of the 8th they would get to ace Nagae scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th.

After going scoreless in the first 5 innings, Obama would have to play catchup against Oomura Kougyou. They did it, scoring 2 in the bottom of the 8th tying the game at 3.

But in the top of the 9th, Obama ace Tanemura couldn't keep the momentum going. Oomura Kougyou would score the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th to win also by the score of 4-3.

The final would see another scoreless battle early until Oomura Kougyou scored 1 in the top of the 5th, then saw Sasebo Kougyou strike right back with 4 in the bottom of the inning. Oomura scuffled trying to find a way to come back. And in the top of the 9th, they finally did. But they could only pull within 1, and lost... yep 4-3.

This is Sasebo Kougyou's 11th title, but their first in 52 years!

When we last left Kumamoto, they were finishing up quarterfinal play. Toukai Dai-ni continues the strong performances of the group of schools, edging Kumamoto Kita 4-3.

Amakusa Kougyou meanwhile couldn't keep up with Chiharadai, falling 10-3 setting up a matchup with Toukai Dai-ni. In that matchup Chiharadai would advance to the finals with a 4-2 win.

On the other side Senshuudai Tamana falls just short yet again losing a close one 4-3 (that score must be popular) to Kumamoto Kokufu.

In the finals, Kumamoto Kokufu would get to starter Nema early scoring 5 runs in the first 3 innings. Chiharadai scuffled to get 2 runs back, but still trailed 5-2.

And then things suddenly fell apart for Kumamoto Kokufu...

Starter Sonoda was replaced on the mound by Asakuno. After getting the first 2 outs, Asakuno walks 2 batters, then gives up a single to center to Hayashi loading the bases.

Sidearmer Fukushima would then come in the game to try and get the team out of the jam.

Chiharadai countered with #9 Moriuchi who had been benched for this game despite doing well in the prior games.

And wouldn't you know it, he gets a hold of a 3-2 pitch and drives it to left center for a triple tying the game at 5-5! That would be the deathknell for Kumamoto Kokufu as they would give up 2 more runs to fall 7-5 giving Chiharadai only their 3rd title, and 1st in 22 years!

Kyushu Taikai
The draw has occurred for the Kyushu Taikai and the pairings are as follows.

Quadrant 1
Hasami (Nagasaki Senbatsu) vs. Jiyuugaoka (Fukuoka 3)-Kanoya Chuo (Kagoshima 4) winner
Oita Shougyou (Oita) vs. Iidzuka (Fukuoka 2)

I will be interested to see what Hasami does here. Their upset of Yokohama was impressive, but will things change now that the bullseye is on them now? Jiyuugaoka, Oita Shougyou and Iiduzka are no pushovers.

Quadrant 2
Chiharadai (Kumamoto) vs. Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima 1)
Kanoya (Kagoshima 3) vs. Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka Senbatsu)

Chiharadai may have made it to the taikais, but looming in this section is both Kamimura Gakuen and Kyukoku...

Quadrant 3
Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima Senbatsu) vs. Itoman (Okinawa)
Shiota Kougyou (Saga) vs. Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki)

Kajitsu should have a tough opening game against Itoman, and then a probable matchup against Nobeoka Gakuen.

Quadrant 4
Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou (Fukuoka 1) vs. Kagoshima Jyousai (Kagoshima 2)
Sasebo Kougyou (Nagasaki) vs. Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto Senbatsu)

Kyushu Gakuin has done well as of late, but I wonder how Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou is now?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2011 Haru Taikai - Kyushu Taikai

Most of Kyushu had already started their haru taikai's while Senbatsu was going on. As a result, most places did not include their representatives if they sent one.

What I didn't realize was that the haru taikais actually go to the super-regional level. So those senbatsu teams actually get a free pass to the super-regionals having missed the prefecturals. All prefectures receive one invite except for Fukuoka who gets 3 and Kagoshima who is hosting this year (they get 4).

Right now, all but Nagasaki and Kumamoto had actually completed their tournaments.

With Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku out of the picture, the tournament was up for grabs.

Well, kinda...

Turns out the major players in the prefecture were separated in the brackets.

The first main casualty of the tournament was Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku who lost in the 4th round on the Nanbu regionals to Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou 9-1.

In fact, Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou didn't have any trouble save for a 3-1 win over Fukuoka Kougyou in the following round. Even Yanagawa didn't pose too much trouble losing 8-2.

In the Nanbu finals, they faced off against Higashi-Fukuoka where they shut them out 5-0. Higashi-Fukuoka by the way had a 5-3 game against Toukai Dai-go who is certainly above average, but not quite top tier.

In the Hokubu regionals, seeded Touchiku was the first to fall, tying Kita-Kyushu Shiritsu 0-0 in 15 before losing 4-0 the next game. At the finals though, we had two familiar friends in Iidzuka and Jiyuugaoka. Iidzuka would win going away 7-2.

So in the format Fukuoka uses, the champions and runner ups would play for respective placing. Jiyuugaoka led 1-0, then rallied for 3 runs in the 3rd when Higashi-Fukuoka scored 3 of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. Jiyuugaoka would win 5-3 to get the last spot.

The championship game had the teams scoring a run back and forth until the bottom of the 3rd. There, Iidzuka stopped the flow of runs and it would stay that way as the game progressed. However Motomura couldn't hold off Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou as they would score 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 6-2.

With no Koushien teams the established guard remained to challenge for the title.

Saga Kita and Saga Shougyou faced off in Round 3, where Saga Kita would win 3-2.

However, Saga Kita and Imari Nourin would both fall to Karatsu Shougyou, 7-1 and 1-0 respectively in the quarterfinals and 3rd rounds.

Their opponent in the semifinals was Saga Gakuen, who had eked out several games prior. They wouldn't have the same luck though as they lost 3-0.

Saga Kougyou made it to the semis, although their performance was a bit uneven, easily handling Takeo and Tosu Kougyou, but having trouble against Imari in between.

Their opponent would be the surprising Shiota Kougyou, who had the benefit of seeing seeded Ryuukoku losing to Imari Shougyou in the 3rd round. Shiota Kougyou throughout the entire tournament had 1-run ballgames. Against Saga Kougyou, they would have their 2nd consecutive 2-1 win to send them against Karatsu Shougyou.

And in those finals, Shiota Kougyou would actually win in a blowout, 3-1. Hey, it's a blowout considering they won 4-3, 4-3, 2-1 and 2-1! This is just their 2nd ever title, their first being in 1933!

Nagasaki is in their Best 4 right now. Hasami was gone at Koushien, so they couldn't participate.

Former senbatsu winner Seihou was a seeded team, but was actually upset in the semifinals against fellow seed Kaisei.

Nagasaki Nanzan and Sasebo Kougyou faced off in another quarterfinal with Sasebo Kougyou winning 6-1. Sasebo will play Kaisei for a spot in the finals.

On the other side sat Nagasaki Nichidai, the team that has represented Nagasaki in recent years, and pushed Kikuchi Yuusei a couple of years ago.

Something funny happened on the way to the finals though...

Obama (please don't insert joke here, although the Obama in Fukui appears to have somewhat embraced it), in the 2nd round had surprised seeded Keihou 6-4. Then after handling Nagasaki Kougyou, squared off against Nagasaki Nichidai...

...and WON 2-1!

They should have faced Souseikan, but they too were upset by Seiryou 5-4. Instead, they'll play Oomura Kougyou who defeated Seiryou 3-1.

Oita recently has been notable when it was represented by Meihou and adorable SS/P Imamiya Kenta.

Of course, he's since moved on to the hometown Softbank Hawks, but Meihou is still going. They were a #2 seed along with Tsurusaki Kougyou. Tsurusaki Kougyou was shocked by Oita Shougyou 12-2. Meihou and Oita Shougyou both made it to the semifinals with relative ease.

If all went as planned, they'd face top seeds Touin and Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku. Of course things rarely go as planned. Touin got involved in a slugfest against Oita Toumei, and lost. Oita Toumei then met fellow surprise Oita Houfu, and lost that game 3-0. So it would be Meihou and Oita Houfu in one semi.

Meanwhile, Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku had a slight bump against Kunisaki, but then beat former 21st century invite Oita Uenogaoka to land a spot in the semis against Oita Shougyou.

Meihou's experience was too much for Oita Houfu as they fell down early 3-0 and never recovered, falling 9-3. Meanwhile Oita Shougyou surprised top seed Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku, jumping to a 2-1 lead in the 1st - which would be the closest Bunri would ever get, losing 7-5.

So Meihou and Oita Shougyou met in the finals...

And Oita Shougyou won 2-1! And although this is their 19th title, it was their first in 24 years.

Entering into the Haru Taikais, the 4 teams given seeding were Nobeoka Gakuen and Miyazaki Kita on one side, and Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka and Saitou Shougyou on the other.

That left other well known teams to fight through the brackets such as Nichinan Gakuen, St. Ursula, Miyazaki Shougyou and Miyazaki Nichidai.

Nichinan Gakuen and St. Ursula would lose right off the bat. Surprisingly, Saitou Shougyou had to face Miyazaki Shougyou in the 1st round! And they got annihilated 13-0! So much for being seeded...

If that matchup that early was unexpected, Miyazaki Shougyou then had to face Miyazaki Nichidai! Nichidai would win that one 5-4.

Meanwhile Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka imposed their offensive will winning their first 3 games 35-13 setting up an interesting semifinal. Miyazaki Nichidai would actually put up a good fight against Miyakonojyou, but when they took a 1-0 lead in the 5th Miyakonojyou would strike back with 2 runs of their own and eventually win 3-1.

Nobeoka Gakuen had a couple of slow games to start the tournament, but then had to pick it up against Miyazaki Gakuen. They held on to win 11-10 to meet Nobeoka Seiun who earlier had upset Miyazaki Kita 2-1.

Sadly for Seiun, a 5-run 5th did them in as they were mercy ruled 8-1 in the semis.

In the end then, two favorites would meet in the finals. And as expected, the teams were at a standoff for the first 6 innings. But Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka would finally break through with runs in the 7th and 8th innings giving Nobeoka Gakuen their 2nd consecutive haru taikai title. Let's see if that translates into their 2nd consecutive Natsu Koushien appearance too.

Kumamoto is the only other prefecture who has not completed play - but is about to determine the Best 4. Kyushu Gakuin is absent because they were at senbatsu.

On one quadrant, seeded Senshuudai Tamana and Yashiro Higashi made it to the quarterfinals without any issue, and in yet another strong run by Senshuudai they make it to the Best 4 with a 3-1 win.

In the other quadrant, Hitsuyuukan was upended by Kumamoto Kougyou who surprisingly didn't get a seed. They couldn't make it 2 "upsets" as Kumamoto Kokufu dispatched them 8-2.

The other side has seeded Kumamoto Kita facing Toukai Dai-ni in one quarterfinal, and Chiharadai who has blown through their game so far versus Amakusa Kougyou who earlier upset Shuugakukan 7-6.

Even with super-regional champ Kagoshima Jitsugyou receiving an automatic bid, there still remained many good teams that received seeds such as Kagoshima Shougyou, Kagoshima Kougyou, Shounan and Kamimura Gakuen.

But of those 4 teams, only Kamimura Gakuen advanced out of the 4th round.
  • Kagoshima Shougyou lost in their 1st game to Kanoya 5-3. In fact Kanoya actually made it to the semifinals before losing to Kamimura Gakuen 7-1 with most of those runs coming in the 6th inning.
  • Kagoshima Kougyou managed just one round better, but losing to Reimei 8-5.
  • And Shounan, who made it to the 4th round, was surprised by Takeodai 3-1.
Both Reimei and Takeodai would eventually lose to the other semifinalists - Kagoshima Jyousai and Kagoshima Chuo respectively. In that semi, seeded Kagoshima Jyousai controlled the game from start to finish, taking a 5-0 lead before winning 5-2.

Of course, with 4 teams qualifying, Kanoya and Kagoshima Chuo already qualified for the super-regional. But bragging rights are still important. Kanoya would win in the 3rd place game 2-1.

And in the championship, Kamimura Gakuen dispatched Kagoshima Jyousai 10-0 to take their 5th title.

As is the case in Okinawa, the torch is being passed again now that Kounan has won it all and their ace has moved on to Chuo Daigaku. It isn't more evident than losing in the 3rd round to fellow top tier team Maebara.

So who would rise to fill in the void left by Kounan?

Kadena who played 2nd fiddle to Kounan? Maybe. They beat powerhouse Okinawa Shokagu 6-2 in the 3rd round and advanced all the way to the finals.

Okinawa Suisan? Not this year. They lost 6-5 to Naha Kokusai in the 2nd round.

Urasoe Shougyou and Miyako both have good teams, but also both lost to Itoman, who advanced to the finals.

In that final, Itoman took a 1-0 lead early, only to have Kadena tie the game in the top of the 8th. However, Itoman would have the last laugh, scoring a sayonara run in the bottom of the 9th to win their 2nd consecutive spring title.

Monday, April 4, 2011

No rest for the weary!

So, senbatsu is over and things have died down, right?


While these teams have been battling for the title, prefectural spring tournaments have started in some areas.

Now, these spring tournaments don't actually count towards anything.

That I know of anyways.

But, they are a way for teams to get a dry run in before the real thing begins a couple of months later.

So, while I may not be able to do full brackets, I can at least cover which teams are doing well. Keep in mind though that because some teams were at senbatsu, they may not actually compete in the spring tournaments...

...which is odd.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 12 - Championship - Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) vs. Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)

So we are finally here at the championship game, and the final participants are truly worthy of being here today.

Toukaidai Sagami probably had the entire fall/winter season to stew about their Natsu Koushien loss. And having lost their ace pitcher to the NPB, one wondered if they had missed their chance.

But instead of thinking that they lost out, the instead moved forward. Using a battery of pitchers led by Kondou Masataka, they used their overwhelming offense to force their way back to 2nd place in the Kanto super-regionals, then through the first couple of rounds here at Senbatsu led by captain Satou Hirotsugu.

To win a title though, a team must still be able to show that their pitchers can hold the line. And against Kagoshima Jitsugyou they did just that, shutting them out 2-0.

For Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, since coming onto the scene in the 2009 Natsu Koushien led by Wakou-kantoku, it was just a matter of time before the team would be a powerhouse in baseball.

Well, it seems to have taken just 2 years.

We saw then an team with offensive potential, but with pitching that still lagged behind. Now, they have a battery in Miyoshi and Takajyou than can rival any in the nation. They seem to have the whole package, offense along with dominant pitching.

It appears that Wakou-kantoku is everything advertised and more. Kyukoku is here, and is here to stay.

(I had the team total stats calculated, but then it got overwritten somehow, so I'm a bit pissed about that. All I have now are game stats. Bah.)

It appears that Nagata will take the hill for Toukaidai Sagami. Certainly in some ways it will be to rest Kondou a bit should they need him. In another way, we've seen that Monma-kantoku isn't afraid to start any pitcher and perhaps this is the matchup he wants.


Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) - Kanto Runner-up
RF Watanabe Masaru
CF Usuda Tetsuya
2B Tanaka Shunta
C Satou Hirotsugu
LF Sugano Tsuyoshi
1B Morishita Shouhei (#5)
3B Isoami Yuuto (#15)
SS Hashimoto Takuma
P Nagata Ryuuto (#11)

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) - Kyushu Runner-up
2B Hirabaru Yuuta
CF Andou Akito
P Miyoshi Takumi
C Takajyou Shuuto
RF Ryuu Kounosuke
1B Hanada Shun
LF Katou Ryou
3B Tokiyoshi Seiya
SS Ishisako Yuuma


12:34 - Game start!

Before the game, Toukaidai Sagami's players were eager to start, lining up outside the dugout. Kyukoku on the other hand waited for the umpires to come out before they exited the dugout...

Top 1st
Miyoshi looking okay out of the gate. The offspeed pitches are missing, but not by much.

Toukaidai Sagami though appears to be looking in the air for their offense.

Watanabe hits a fairly deep fly to center that Andou handles. Usuda pops it up to Ishisako in shallow left.

Tanaka hits a grounder up the middle. Ishisako makes a great snag, but the distance he had to travel was just too long and the throw is late.

Satou though flies out to right, and there's no harm.

Bottom 1st
Hirabaru starts off a games with a single through the right side for a base hit. Wakou will play for the sensei (first) run.

Miyoshi with a sharp liner, but it's right at Hashimoto! Hirabaru scrambles back to the bag.

Takajyou with a grounder to 2nd! Tanaka dives and makes the stop! Looks at 1st, then home! Hirabaru is being sent home!

But despite some confusion, Tanaka makes a good throw home and Satou makes the easy tag for the 3rd out. Doesn't seem like that was the right thing to do in that situation despite the apparent feeling that getting the 1st run is important in the battle.

Top 2nd
Sugano gives Toukai a lead runner with a single to right. Morishita immediately showing bunt, but whiffs on a 1-2 pitch and what will he do?

Morishita successfully lays down the bunt, and now it's Toukai with a scoring chance.

Hit-and-run! Sugano takes off on the 1-1 pitch, but Isoami must play defensively on a low pitch and foul it off!

Sugano takes off for 3rd! Throw from Takajyou is a bit off and Tokiyoshi had no chance at a tag.

Isoami walks now, and there's runners at the corners. Wakou-kantoku sends someone out to talk with Miyoshi.

Hashimoto with a comebacker to Miyoshi! He immediately looks to 3rd and Sugano is caught off the bag! He's run down and there's 2 outs!

But one wonders if he could have started the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning instead. Now, there's 2 outs, but runners at 2nd and 3rd.

Doesn't matter! Nagata hits an easy comebacker to Miyoshi! He tosses to 1st and gets out of the jam!

Bottom 2nd
Ryuu gets fooled on a slider outside for Nagata's first K.

Hanada does the same on a slider down for out number 2.

But Katou is not easily fooled and takes the 1st pitch strike to right. That's past Watanabe and to the wall. Katou settles in with a double.

However Nagata gets Tokiyoshi to groundout to Hashimoto to end the inning. The longer this game lasts with both teams scoreless, I think the game will favor Toukaidai Sagami as Miyoshi may start to tire.

Top 3rd
Watanabe with a hit to deep left center! That bounces and goes to the wall! Watanabe in with a double.

But the throw from Andou bounces in front of Ishisako and gets away from him! Watanabe alertly sees this and takes 3rd! Big pinch for Kyukoku!

Usuda swinging away, hits a grounder down the first base line! Hanada gets it, looks the runner at 3rd back, then goes to the bag for the out! One down!

Miyoshi can't hold off the middle of the lineup! Tanaka with a ball to right center! That's past Ryuu to the wall! Watanabe scores on the RBI double and Toukaidai Sagami scores the opening run! It's 1-0!

Satou with a single to left! The throw in is cutoff and Toukaidai Sagami now leads 2-0!

Morishita grounds out to 2nd to retire the side, but the first cracks in Kyukoku's armor begin to show.

Bottom 3rd
Ishisako earns a leadoff walk to get the counter going for Kyukoku. Hirabaru bunts him along for Andou.

Andou hits a grounder to the left side. Hashimoto cuts it off and makes a quick throw to 1st for the 2nd out.

Miyoshi up again with a scoring opportunity. Nagata pitching Miyoshi away looking to take away his power zone.

But Miyoshi takes an outside pitch the other way! Watanabe running back towards the foul pole... and makes the catch in front of the wall! Monma taking advantage of the fact that because of the winds, the ball doesn't travel to right! 3 down and 2 opportunities have been lost for Kyukoku!

Top 4th
Miyoshi trying to keep his team in it now.

Isoami with a flyout to right, but Ryuu almost loses the catch! He recovers for the out.

Nagata with a sac bunt. And Hanada throws to 3rd! Hashimoto never stopped running around 2nd as the bunt was towards 3rd and Tokiyoshi came in for the play! Miyoshi, covering 3rd, can't make the tag! Some impressive running by Toukaidai Sagami gives them an extra base!

And Watanabe pays it off! He drives a ball to the right center gap! That'll be down for extra bases as Hashimoto scores on the triple by Watanabe! It's 3-0!

Usuda with a grounder down the 3rd base line! Tokiyoshi bobbles it a bit! Throws to 1st... just in time to get Usuda and end the inning!

But more alert baserunning by Toukaidai Sagami extends their lead!

Bottom 4th
Nagata meanwhile has completely shutdown Kyukoku's offense. Takajyou grounds out to 3rd, Ryuu makes good contact but flies to center, and Hanada is fooled on yet another slider to retire the side.

Top 5th
Tanaka starts off the inning with his 3rd hit of the game, a single through the right side.

Satou connects on a ball and sends it to deep left center! Katou and Andou converge at the wall...


Satou with his first homerun at Koushien gives Toukaidai Sagami a commanding 5-0 lead!

Miyoshi gets 2 quick outs but then Isoami singles to center.

The inning finally ends when Hashimoto grounds out to 3rd. But Miyoshi is unable to stop the Toukaidai Sagami offense now.

Bottom 5th
Katou with a groundball back up the middle gets things started for Kyukoku.

Wakou-kantoku still asking for the bunt even down 5. Although if they score a run an inning they could tie the game up (assuming Toukaidai Sagami doesn't score).

Tokiyoshi does lay it down. But the struggles with runners in scoring position continue. Ishisako grounds to short for the 2nd out, and Hirabaru hits a deep drive to right but the ballpark once again holds it as Watanabe makes the catch against the wall for the 3rd out.

Nagata allowing some deep balls, but to the "deepest" part of the ballpark where most fly balls go to die.

Toukaidai Sagami in full control of the game now as we head to the break.

Top 6th
Monma-kantoku decides that Nagata has done enough for his team. #3 Mitsui comes in to pinch hit for him as ace Kondou warms up in the bullpen.

Mitsui first pitch flies out to center.

Miyoshi retires Watanabe on a grounder to short for the 2nd out, but Usuda breaks up the 1-2-3 inning by hitting a scorcher past a diving Tokiyoshi down the line for a double.

Tanaka pops out to Takajyou to end the inning, and Kondou comes in from the bullpen to close things out against Kyukoku.

Bottom 6th
Kondou will come in with the middle of the lineup on the horizon.

Good start as Andou grounds out to 2nd.

Miyoshi finally collects his 1st hit with a single to center. Takajyou coming to bat, and I can't imagine him bunting now.

Takajyou with a high chopper back to Kondou. He throws to 1st and Mitsui makes the tag for the 2nd out.

Ryuu hits a sharp liner, but right at Tanaka and the side is retired.

Top 7th
Quick out for Miyoshi as Satou flies out to right.

Sugano reaches down and drives one to right! Ryuu running back to the wall...


Wow, I was not expecting that especially after he reached down to get that ball. Sugano collects a home run to make it 6-0!

Isoami laying down a safety bunt! Catches Kyukoku napping! Tokiyoshi comes in but the throw is way too late! However, he gets too greedy and tries to steal 2nd. Takajyou guns him down to end the inning.

Bottom 7th
Hanada leads off the inning with a base hit back up the middle.

Katou though wipes it off as he grounds into the 6-3 double play.

And perhaps in a sign of resignation, #12 Ayukawa comes in to hit for Tokiyoshi. He goes down looking on a fastball inside to end the inning.

Top 8th
#16 Kitagawa comes in for PH Ayukawa and takes over at 3B.

Miyoshi retires the first two batters, but back to the top of the order and Watanabe collects his 3rd hit, a grounder that sneaks past Hirabaru into right.

Usuda flies out to right and the side is retired.

Bottom 8th
Hirabaru draws a one out walk, but once again Kyukoku cannot do anything with it. Andou flies out to left, and Miyoshi strikes out end the inning.

Top 9th
Miyoshi retires the heart of the Toukaidai Sagami order in order, and they'll have one last chance to mount a rally.

Bottom 9th
Takajyou to lead off the inning for Kyukoku, but he is jammed and hits a soft liner to Tanaka for the first out.

Ryuu with a hard lined shot, but right at Watanabe. Toukaidai Sagami just one out out away from the senbatsu title!

Hanada won't let it go that easily in the 9th! He drives a ball to deep center that goes off the wall for a double!

#18 Yamasoto comes in to run as Katou comes to the plate.

Count goes to 2-2 and they're down to their last strike.

He hits a high fastball up the middle! That's in for a base hit! Usuda with the throw home, but Yamasoto scores to break up the shut out! 6-1!

#13 Uchikawa in to hit for Kitagawa.

He's quickly down 0-2...


Uchikawa strikes out and the game is over! No big celebration from the players and they just converge on the mound just as if it was a regular victory instead of the senbatsu title. Just another day at the office - which in reality it was.

Toukaidai Sagami outscored their opponents here at Koushien 46-11 utilizing all 4 pitchers on their staff. Outside of their 2-0 game against Kagoshima Jitsugyou, the games were never in doubt. The offense continued to deliver game after game making life for that staff easy.

The reaction of that team after the game was over I think gives a sense of what this Koushien was all about to Toukaidai Sagami. That this was their goal all along this year. That after that loss to Kounan, the team just picked up their Koushien dirt, went home, and looked at it as a reminder that there was unfinished business left to attend to. Captain Satou, along with Tanaka, Usuda, Watanabe, and Sugano led the team on a mission, perhaps one much like Kounan walked last year, that no team was going to stop them this time, not this year.

Give Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku credit. Their program has gone from on the cusp of being a contender to a full contender in just 4 years. They will in all likelihood join the ranks of new teams that may very well be mentioned with teams such as Osaka Touin, Chiben Wakayama and Yokohama.

But this Koushien, this year - Toukaidai Sagami has made it clear that they will be the team that the Natsu Koushien title will run through. If they can conduct their business much like they did here, we may very well see back-to-back haru-natsu renzoku-yuushou.

Notable Players
Toukaidai Sagami
Nagata Ryuuto - W, 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
Kondou Masataka - 4 IP, ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
Satou Hirotsugu - 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI
Watanabe Masaru - 2-5, 2B, 3B, R, RBI
Tanaka Shunta - 3-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Sugano Tsuyoshi - 2-5, HR, R, RBI, SB

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku
Miyoshi Takumi - L, CG, 6 ER, 14 H, 0 K, BB
Hanada Shun - 2-4, 2B, R, 2 K
Katou Ryou - 3-4, 2B, RBI

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 11 - Semifinal 2 - Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) vs. Riseisha (Osaka)

The second matchup is much like the first - a new powerhouse establishing themselves versus a team that has a long history in the tournament. Riseisha reaches the semifinals having shocked Chiben Wakayama (although it probably was more of an implosion than anything else). And outside of the 5th inning, the team did not get many hits off of the Chiben Wakayama pitchers.

Iidzuka for Riseisha gave up just 3 runs to Chiben Wakayama despite allowing 13 baserunners. Pitching on back-to-back days against a strong offense such as Toukaidai Sagami may be too much for him. They may start Watanabe in a pitching tandem system or have Watanabe ready in the bullpen to take over.

I am sure to be called a flip-flopper on Toukaidai Sagami. But to be honest I never really liked them, and never really thought they were a contender with Hifuma Shinta as their ace. So when he graduated and the team made it to the super-regional finals, I figured that they made it because the offense stayed and they improved their pitching.

It was then strange that they not going to their ace after the 1st game (LHP vs. LHB made sense). And then when I did see him, he didn't look sharp at all.

But after yesterday's game I can see why he was the ace. He's not the average pitcher I thought he was. Now, he is dependent on his defense to be successful, but that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.

Having pitched yesterday's game though, I wonder if he'll take the mound again, given that Monma-kantoku has not shied away from using other pitchers - specifically #17 Shouji Takaya.

Both teams do have a backup option on the mound should their aces falter, so it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. The game though I think will come down to the quality of the bullpens.

Looks like Watanabe is starting after all for Riseisha.

Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) - Kanto Runner-up
RF Watanabe Masaru
CF Usuda Tetsuya
2B Tanaka Shunta
C Satou Hirotsugu
LF Sugano Tsuyoshi
1B Morishita Shouhei (#5)
3B Isoami Yuuto (#15)
P Kondou Masataka
SS Hashimoto Takuma

Riseisha (Osaka) - Kinki Runner-up
CF Kaifu Hiroto
2B Masaki Kentarou
SS Ishii Gen
1B Masui Shouta
LF Oonishi Kouhei
C Sakamoto Seishirou
3B Kumamoto Hayato (#16)
RF Hirada Ryouhei
P Watanabe Masaya (#18)


13:34 - Game start!

Top 1st
After a routine grounder by Watanabe, Usuda lines one past Kumamoto down the left field line! Oonishi gets the ball right at the foul pole.

Tanaka with a ball up the middle! Usuda coming around and he scores to make it 1-0 Toukaidai Sagami!

Satou fouls out to Masui, but it's far enough away that Tanaka can advance to 3rd.

And Sugano with a cueshot past Ishii into center! Tanaka scores and it's quickly 2-0!

Morishita flies out to right to end the inning, but Toukaidai Sagami taking advantage of the relief start for Watanabe here in the 1st!

Bottom 1st
Kaifu with a deep drive to left! Sugano running back to the wall, twists and makes the catch for the first out.

Masaki hits a one-out single to left.

Ishii follows that up with a single through the left side! Runners on 1st and 2nd!


Masui with a ball to right center! That falls in front of Usuda and Watanabe! Masaki, thinking it might be caught only advances to 3rd, but it's a douten/gyakuten chance for Riseisha!

And Oonishi with a grounder that sneaks by Tanaka and into left! Masaki scores! Ishii coming around, he scores! Just like that Riseisha scores the 同点 run! It's 2-2!

Sakamoto with a hard liner! But it's right at Hashimoto! He catches it and steps on 2nd for the double play! Kondou gets out of the inning, but not before Riseisha strikes back!

Top 2nd
One down for Kondou and he drives one to deep left!! Oonishi back to the wall, and it bounces off the wall! Kondou in with a double!

Masaya certainly trying to hang in there against the Sagami offense. #10 Hara is warming up just in case.

He gets Hashimoto to pop it up! Masui in foul territory again makes the catch for the 2nd out!

But now it's back to the top of the order and Masaru.

And Masaya hangs a change to Masaru! He drives it to right center! That gets by the outfielders! Kondou comes home on the RBI triple and Sagami is back in front at 3-2!!

Usuda then walks on 4 straight and it could be a developing situation for Riseisha.

Usuda gets greedy though and tries to steal 2nd, but Sakamoto throws him out to end the inning! However, it does appear that we're in a barnburner this afternoon!

Bottom 2nd
Kondou facing the bottom of the order gets a respite from the offensive assault. Kumamoto K's on a slider away, Hirada flies out to left, and Hashimoto makes a fine play at 2nd base to throw out Masaya to end the inning.

Top 3rd
One down for Sagami when Satou hits a ball to right! Hirada there to get it, but Satou goes for 2nd and reaches!

Oh! And now Watanabe hits Sugano! Runners on 1st and 2nd with just one down!

And it appears that Okada-kantoku will be nursing his pitching staff through the game. #10 Hara comes in for Watanabe and takes the hill.

With disastrous results!

Morishita with a drive to right center! That goes all the way to the wall! Both runners will easily score on Morishita's triple, making it 5-2!

And now Isoami lines one to right for a hit! It's 6-2 Toukaidai Sagami and Riseisha's bullpen can't stop the barrage!

Monma-kantoku slows the pace with a sac bunt from Kondou (perhaps as a way to rest him).

Hashimoto goes down swinging to end the inning, but it's clear that the Riseisha bullpen is in over their heads against the Toukaidai Sagami offense!

Bottom 3rd
Kondou collects two quick outs, with Morishita making a nice diving stop and throw to get Masaki. Ishii rips a single to left, but Masui grounds to Morishita ending the inning.

Top 4th
Watanabe with a grounder to short. Ishii makes a fine pick and throw to 1st to beat the runner.

But then the offense comes alive again...

Usuda singles to right... Tanaka singles to left...

After Hara gets Satou to flyout, Sugano gets plunked for the 2nd time! Manrui for Sagami!


Morishita hits a towering drive to left. Oonishi going back to the wall...

...and it's gone!

Morishita with a manrui homerun makes this game a formality now!! It's 10-2 Toukaidai Sagami!

#11 Hoshida comes in for Hara, and with the game all but over might as well get your P's some experience.

Isoami goes for a "bunt hit" but I think it's more trying to get practice in. No need to extend the game any longer than you have to.

Bottom 4th
One down for Riseisha and Sakamoto earns a 4-pitch free pass.

Kumamoto then singles through the left side.

But Hirada flies to right, and #17 Hamaishi who hits for Hoshida grounds to 2nd.

Top 5th
Ace Iidzuka in the game now, but way too late.

Kondou singles to left to start things off. But on a hit-and-run by Sagami, Hashimoto hits it back to Iidzuka. He quickly fires to 2nd for one and Ishii throws to first to finish the double play!

Watanabe pops up to Sakamoto behind the plate to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Kaifu with a hard hit liner, but Hashimoto times his jump perfectly and makes the snag!

Masaki goes down swinging and there's 2 down.

He can't get a 1-2-3 inning though as he walks Ishii, followed by a base hit to left by Masui.

Oonishi pops out to Hashimoto to end the inning, and as we head into the break it's clear that Riseisha should have started Iidzuka first, then gone to the bullpen if he was too tired.

As for Toukaidai Sagami, with their spot in the finals almost set, it would behoove them to move Kondou off the mound to rest him. And if they wanted to keep him in the game, send him to RF or something.

Top 6th
Usuda comes off the break and singles down the left field line. It goes to the wall for a leadoff double.

Tanaka with a fly down the right field line that just falls in fair. He doubles to score Usuda to make it 11-2.

Satou follows that up with a sharp hit up the middle. Ishii is there, but the ball bounces off his glove, high into the air and into center. Tanaka scores to make it 12-2.

Monma-kantoku tries for the hit and run, but Sugano swings at a high fastball and strikes out. Throw to 2nd by Sakamoto in plenty of time for the double play.

Morishita grounds to 3rd to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
A quick 1-2-3 inning from Kondou keeps the game moving towards it's ultimate end...

Top 7th
Iidzuka racks up 2 K's but can't get a clean inning as Hashimoto singles back up the middle.

Then Watanabe singles to left, and Usuda to center. Manrui again for Toukaidai Sagami.

Tanaka goes down and rockets a ball to right. Hirada's body language tells it all as Toukaidai Sagami has hit their 2nd grand slam home run in as many innings. It's now 16-2.

Satou strikes out to end the inning, but the game if it wasn't a blowout then, is one now.

But buyer beware for those teams that rack up the runs...

Bottom 7th
Riseisha ready to ride off into the sunset now as they go down in order.

Top 8th
Sugano starts the inning with a rip single to right. Morishita swings away, grounds to 2nd beats double play attempt.

Morishita steals 2nd on the 1st pitch to Isoami, then advance to 3rd when Masaki fumbles a grounder.

Kondou walks and the bases are loaded again.

Thankfully for Riseisha, Hashimoto grounds into the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
One down and Masui hits a grounder that goes off Tanaka's glove and takes a high bounce into right.

Oonishi then singles to right.

After a fly by Sakamoto, Okada-kantoku sends #15 Matsuyama to run for Masui as #5Kobone comes in to hit for Kumamoto. He flies out to right and that's the end of the inning.

Top 9th
Matsuyama stays in and goes to 1B, #13 Nomura comes in for PH Kobone and goes to 3B.

Toukaidai Sagami's batters go quickly in order, and we're down to the final half inning.

Bottom 9th
#10 Kasama comes in to pitch the final inning.

#14 Kishimoto comes in for Hirata and flies to left. So does Iidzuka.

Kaifu draws a walk and the last bench player, #12 Nagata comes in to hit for Masaki.

Nagata draws a 4 pitch walk.

Ishii hits a drive to deep center, but much like their game today, the park holds it as Usuda makes the catch to end the game.

Oddly enough, the games today turned out to be nothing like what we were expecting from these teams. Instead of 2 close games, it was 2 blowouts.

Even if Iiduzka had started, it seems unlikely that they would have stopped the Toukaidai Sagami Express train from reaching the finals.

Riseisha, even with the blowout loss, should be proud of their run this Haru Koushien. They should be proud to reach the Best 4 among some of the strongest teams in the country.

Toukaidai Sagami todays flexes its offensive might here in the semifinals. But while it may have intimidated the opposition, the team should be forewarned...

When a team scores a blowout such as this one when they scores more then 15 runs...

...the next game, the team's offense short circuits...

Notable Players
Toukaidai Sagami
Kondou Masataka - W, 8 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 2 BB
Tanaka Shunta - 4-6, 2B, GS HR, 4 R, 6 RBI
Morishita Shouhei - 2-5, 3B, GS HR, 2 R, 6 RBI
Usuda Tetsuya - 4-5, 2 2B, 4 R, BB

Ishii Gen - 2-4, R, BB
Masui Shouta - 3-4
Oonishi Kouhei - 2-4, 2 RBI

Day 11 - Semifinal 1 - Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) vs. Nichidai-san (Tokyo)

We're in the homestretch now, and all teams left can see the finish line up ahead. But to win the race, there's just a little more work to be done.

Semifinal number 1 not only features 2 outstanding pitchers, but 2 very very hot hitters right now.

Takajyou Shuuto (Kyukoku) and Azegami Shou (Nichidai-san) went 5-5 and 6-6 respectively in their quarterfinal games completely getting the attention of the fans and probably the scouts as well. Their lines now look that much more impressive:
  • Takajyou - 9-13, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K - 0.692/0.692/1.000
  • Azegami - 9-12, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, HBP - 0.750/0.786/1.000
But of course, one person a team does not make - although in kokoyakyu, one person can sure affect how a team does.

And it's not those guys above, it's the staff ace(s).

Once you get to this point, it's all about the stamina of the pitchers. You can have the best ace in the country, but if they can't pitch on 1 or 2 days rest and you don't have a backup, you might as
well just mail it in.

Miyoshi against Hokkai two days ago gave up more runs (4) than in the first 2 games combined (3). He gave up more hits and walked more batters, while striking out less batters. That was all in just 2 days rest. Now he'll go on 1 days rest against a Nichidai offense that continues to hit from top to bottom. There will be no easy innings for him today.

Nichidai-san had probably the easiest matchup of the Best 8 matches, which allowed Yoshinaga to pitch "only" 7 innings giving up just 4 hits. He'll be a bit more rested than Miyoshi, which in these stages is extremely important. That isn't to say that Yoshinaga is any less closer to hitting the wall, we just know he's thrown less innings.

Personally, (and I've tried to be as objective as possible) I'd like Kyukoku to reach the finals. But combine the factors together, and I can't see how Nichidai-san isn't favored in this matchup.


Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) - Kyushu Runner-up
2B Hirabaru Yuuta
CF Andou Akito
P Miyoshi Takumi
C Takajyou Shuuto
RF Ryuu Kounosuke
1B Hanada Shun
LF Katou Ryou
3B Tokiyoshi Seiya
SS Ishisako Yuuma

Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
RF Takayama Shun
LF Taniguchi Yuuta (#4)
CF Azegami Shou
3B Yokoo Toshitake
SS Shimizu Kouki
2B Suganuma Kenichi (#7)
1B Kaneko Ryouya
P Yoshinaga Kentarou
C Suzuki Takahiro


11:01 - Game start!

Top 1st
Yoshinaga walks Hirabaru on 4 straight to lead off the game.

Andou tries to bunt the runner along, but is called out on batter's interference!

So now 1 down with Miyoshi coming to bat.

He falls behind 0-2, but works the count full.


Miyoshi with a drive to deep left center!


Miyoshi absolutely crushes the ball in a no-doubt about it 2-run HR! He gives Kyukoku the early 2-0 lead!

Takajyou with a grounderback to Yoshinaga, and he boots it! Yokoo backing up the play can't double back to field it! That's Takajyou's 6th consecuctive hit and Yoshinaga looking shaky early.

Full count to Ryuu, and he gets him looking on a fastball! Takajyou was taking off for 2nd, but Suzuki nails him to end the inning!

Bottom 1st
Takayama with a drive of his own down the right field line! Ryuu towards the wall, fair! It falls in fair in front of the foul pole! Ryuu gets it in, but not before Takayama is in with a leadoff stand-up triple!

Taniguchi looking for at least a sac fly to cut the deficit in half.

But instead, Miyoshi gets him swinging on a slider down and away! One down!

Azegami up in perfect spot to drive in a run.

And he does!!!!!

He gets his 7th single in a row with a base hit to left! Katou charges in, but it just falls in front! Takayama comes home and the throw is cut off! Another hit by Azegami makes it a 2-1 ballgame!

Cleanup batter Yokoo up, and he's caught looking on a slider on the outside part of the plate.

Shimizu grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but Azegami gets a run back for Nichidai-san!

Top 2nd
Hanada goes down swinging on a sinker in the dirt for out number 1.

お! Katou with a line shot that almost takes off Yoshinaga's head! He gets out of the way as it goes into center for a base hit. Wakou-kantoku elects to have Tokiyoshi bunt the runner along for a one-timer from Ishisako.

Ishisako with a grounder to 2nd. Suganuma bobbles the ball, but has plenty of time to recover and throw out Ishisako to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Suganuma with a grounder to short, and Ishisako loses the handle on the ball! E6, and the douten run is on base. Kaneko bunts him along to 2nd.

Yoshinaga grounds to short, but it still allows Suganuma to advance to 3rd.

Dangerous Suzuki at bat to tie the game...

Hits a fly to deep left center! Katou comes over and makes the catch to retire the side! Ishisako's error almost costs him, but they keep the runner stranded!

Top 3rd
Yoshinaga not letting Hirabaru get on base easily again, strikes him own swinging on a curve in the dirt.

Andou with a short liner up the middle, Suganuma to his right dives, but it's by him into center!

Miyoshi up again. Can he deliver again?

SANSHIN! Miysohi swings and misses on a fastball outside! Andou taking off on the pitch slides in in front of the throw!

2 down for Takajyou, and Yoshinaga not taking any chances with him. He throws nothing close to the plate and walks him.

There might be a lot of that as Nichidai-san might make Ryuu do all the hard work,


Ryuu rips one down the right field side as Takayama has to chase it back up to the wall! Andou comes around to score! Takajyou being sent home! Relay home... not in time! Ryuu makes Nichidai pay for the walk as he makes it a 4-1 ball game!

Hanada with a drive to center! That's over Azegami's head! Ryuu scores to make it 5-1!

Hanada is picked off 2nd to end the inning, but Kyukoku is ripping the cover off the ball against Yoshinaga.

Bottom 3rd
Nichidai-san back on its heels early. Miyoshi getting help as the batters are trying to attack early in the count - but to no avail.

Takayama grounds out to 1st, Taniguchi tries a safety bunt but Miyoshi fields his position superbly and throws out a diving Taniguchi.

And Miyoshi gets Azegami! He flies out to center to end the inning!

Top 4th
Katou leads off with a single through the left side. He's bunted to 2nd by Tokiyoshi, then advanced to 3rd on a groundout by Ishisako.

Back to the top of the order and Hirabaru.


Pitch from Yoshinaga goes under the glove of Suzuki and gets away! Katou scores to make it 6-1 Kyukoku!

Hirabaru flies out to left to end the inning, but Nichidai-san is slowly losing control of the game!

Bottom 4th
Yokoo is hit by Miyoshi and Nichidai-san has another leadoff runner.

Shimizu with a liner back at Miyoshi! It hits him and deflects to 2nd! Hirabaru is in the right place and starts the 4-6-3 double play! But is Miyoshi okay?

He appears to be as the replays showed it hit his wrist on the glove hand.

He takes a couple of throws and is ready to go.

And he gets Suganuma to ground to 2nd to end the inning.

Top 5th
Yoshinaga issues his 3rd walk to Andou to start the 5th.

Miyoshi up, but while he makes good contact, it's right to Takayama.

Takajyou with a grounder past a diving Yokoo to left! He's now reached base safely in his last 8 AB's!

Ryuu pops it up behind home, Suzuki makes the catch for the 2nd out.

Hanada swings and misses on a sinker to end the inning and Yoshinaga finally gets a scoreless inning. But it still wasn't easy.

Bottom 5th
Kaneko fouls out to Tokiyoshi to start off the inning.

Yoshinaga with a grounder to 3rd, Tokiyoshi charging in throws to first, Hanada stretching out makes the great pick as he falls on his back!

And Suzuki flies to to right for a 1-2-3 inning!

Miyoshi easily looking like the better of the 2 pitchers today as Yoshinaga was hit hard in the first couple of innings. That has costed him dearly so far as his team finds itself down 6-1 heading into the break

Top 6th
Katou with another base hit! He hits another grounder through the left side! And again Tokiyoshi lays down his 3rd sac bunt.

Ishisako with a single past a diving Shimizu! Katou holds up at 3rd, but Kyukoku is threatening again as the lineup flip to the top of the order!

Hirabaru though is 0-2 on the day.

Make that 0-3. He is jammed and hits a foul fly to Yokoo for the 2nd out.

And Yoshinaga gets Andou to hit a weak grounder to 3rd! Yokoo makes the play at 1st and Nichidai-san is out of the jam!

Bottom 6th
Takayama with a hard shot at Tokiyoshi and it bounces off of him. He's on with a leadoff single.

No bunting for Taniguchi, but he hits a grounder to 2nd. It's slow enough though that Hirabaru can only go to 2nd.

Azegami with a hard chopper into the ground, Kaneko can only watch as it goes over his head and down the line! Double for Azegami puts 2 runners in scoring position for Yokoo with just 1 down!

Yokoo tries to foul a ball off, but reaches down and pops it up instead! Hanada in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out.

Shimizu is hit by Miyoshi and it's manrui for Nichidai-san!

Count goes to 2-0 and Takajyou goes out to talk to Miyoshi.

Another ball high and it's 3-0!

Pumps one in for a strike, then another... finally called by the umpire! Full count, runners will take off!

Fouls it off!

Slider! Suganuma starts his swing and barely fouls it off! Another foul!

Pops it up! Hanada in foul territory, makes the catch! Manrui for Nichidai-san and Miyoshi slams the door shut!

Top 7th
Miyoshi with a 4 pitch walk to start the inning.

Takajyou up, showing bunt? And he lays it down to advance Miyoshi! Miyoshi then advances to 3rd on a groundout to 1st by Ryuu.

Hanada pops out to short though to retire the side.

Bottom 7th
Kaneko first pitch flies out to left. Yoshinaga pops out to Ishisako and there's quickly 2 down.

Suzuki finally gets a hold of one and drives one to center! Andou running back, leaps and it's just over his glove! Takes a bounce to the wall and he's in with a 2 out double!

Takayama with a grounder into the gap at short! Katou coming in as Suzuki is being sent home! Throw is cutoff and Nichidai-san scores their 2nd run of the game! It's now 6-2.

Takayama then takes off for 2nd! Throw is late and he's in scoring position!

Taniguchi with a fly to left! Katou goes back, then comes in to make the catch! 3 outs!

Nichidai-san can only get one run in the lucky 7th. Still a lot of work to go.

Top 8th
Katou with his 4th hit of the day! This time he hits a grounder the opposite way!

Tokiyoshi is, yes, bunting again. At least we know he can lay it down.

Ishisako can't advance the runner as he grounds out to short.

Hirabaru up, still hitless on the day.

Grounder to 2nd, and he's still...


The throw to first by Suganuma is low and Kaneko can't field it! Hirabaru is safe! Snap throw home is wild and Katou scores! Nichidai-san struggling in all aspects as the score is now 7-2! (Hirabaru is still hitless though.)

Andou grounds out to 2nd to end the inning, but Nichidai-san is in that much bigger of a hole.

Bottom 8th
Two quick outs by Miyoshi and he's about to get a 1-2-3 inning when Shimizu singles to left.

No matter though as he gets ahead of Suganuma1-2 and induces a flyout to left to end the inning.

Top 9th
Miyoshi with his 2nd straight walk. And Wakou-kantoku has Takajyou bunting. He lays it down.

Ryuu with a drive to right! Takayama going back to the wall, and it's over his head! It falls in just short of the wall! Ryuu with an RBI double makes it 8-2!

Hanada with a blooper to shallow center! Shimizu, Suganuma and Azegami all converge, but it falls in between all of them! Ryuu taking off early scores on the play and it's 9-2 Kyukoku!

Ogura-kantoku calls a conference, but it's far too late now.

Hit-and-run! Katou goes down swinging, but Hanada takes 2nd safely (though just). Katou is retired for the first time today.

Tokiyoshi, not knowing what to do now that he has to swing away (kidding), strikes out swinging to end the inning. But 2 more runs make it all but a formality now.

Bottom 9th
Last ups for Nichidai-san. Kaneko flies out to center for out #1.

#18 Hirata, hitting for Yoshinaga, goes down swinging on a fastball outside.

Suzuki flies out to center and that's the ballgame!

Yoshinaga got into trouble early as Miyoshi shocks the Tokyo squad with a homerun to take a quick lead. He would continue to pitch in high-stress situations early and Kyukoku would get timely extra base hits to bring all the runners home.

Meanwhile, Miyoshi was a cool customer on the mound despite giving up leadoff runners early. The Nichidai batters just could never make good contact on the ball the entire game. A surprise given how well the team had hit in the game prior.

So Wakao-kantoku brings a 2nd team to the championship game as just 2 years after taking the team to Natsu Koushien!

Notable Players
Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku
Miyoshi Takumi - W, CG, 2 ER, 7 H, 3 K, BB, HBP
Miyoshi Takumi - 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Takajyou Shuuto - 2-2, R, BB
Ryuu Kounosuke - 2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, K
Katou Ryou - 4-5, 2 R, K

Yoshinaga Kentarou - L, CG, 8 ER, 13 H, 7 K, 5 BB
Takayama Shun - 3-4, 3B, R, RBI
Azegami Shou - 2-4, 2B, RBI

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 10 - Best 8 Game 4 - Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) vs. Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima)

The last Best 8 game will pit cross-country powerhouses in what should be a great matchup.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou opened with a tough matchup against Kanto champions Urawa Gakuin. They exchanged runs early before Kajitsu scored 3 runs in the 5th and 6th innings and Noda shut the door. Then against 21st century team Jyounan, the offense was relentless putting runners on every inning in a 7-2 win.

Ace Noda Shougo has seemed to have a "bend but not break" mentality that has allowed him to be effective despite allowing baserunners:

18 IP, 4 ER, 16 H, 19 K, 10 BB for a 2.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 5 BB/9

The team has supported him by hitting 0.369 in the first 2 games, led by the following:

Toyozumi Kouta - 0.444/0.500/0.444
Agemura Kyouhei - 0.555/0.600/0.777
Sasaki Daisuke - 0.571/0.625/0.571

They get another Kanto team in runner up Toukaidai Sagami who has been nothing but exactly what people expected out of them - an offensive explosion.

Against the Chuugoku champion Kanzei and Tokai Champion Oogaki Nichidai, the team has won by a total of 22-6 with a slash line of 0.411/0.476/0.589 with Usuda Tetsuya (0.636/0.636/0.909) and Satou Hirotsugu (0.555/0.555/0.778) leading the way.

At first I had thought that Toukaidai Sagami hadn't skipped a beat losing Hifumi Shinta, and that perhaps they were better.


After seeing the 2nd game, I'm not so sure anymore. Ace Kondou Masataka seems to be an ace in number only, even though he was the pitcher used in the super-regionals. He's a pitchers who will depend heavily on the defense to support him.

Now, looking at all the pitchers used, none really stands out as a true ace, but out of the three the real ace appears to be #17 Shouji Takuya who didn't pitch for them at all in the fall tournament and was added to the Koushien roster. But while he has given up just 1 run on 6 hits in his 9.2 innings of work, he has K just 5 batters and walked the same number.

So there does appear to be a bigger void than I originally thought at the ace position, but having faced the teams they have, it may not be as big as others think it might be.

So... I expect this to be a very good, offensive, high-scoring ballgame. I realize it could be a blowout as well, but it should be interesting nonetheless.


Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) - Kanto Runner-up
RF Watanabe Masaru
CF Usuda Tetsuya
2B Tanaka Shunta
C Satou Hirotsugu
LF Sugano Tsuyoshi
1B Morishita Shouhei (#3)
3B Isoami Yuuto (#15)
P Kondou Masataka
SS Hashimoto Takuma

Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima) - Kyushu Champions
SS Hirayama Taikai
2B Sugiyama Tadashi
RF Toyozumi Kouta
3B Hamada Ryuunosuke
1B Agemura Kyouhei
P Noda Shougo
C Kuroki Kentarou
CF Maruyama Tetsuhiro
LF Sasaki Daisuke


14:04 - Game start!

Top 1st
Noda already issues his first walk to Usuda with one down.

Tanaka hits a ball to 3rd! Hamada goes to 2nd for one, relay to 1st, double play! Just like that Noda and Kajitsu will be on the sticks!

Bottom 1st
Hirayama with a grounder past a diving Morishita into center! Sugiyama bunts the runner along to 2nd.

Toyozumi hits a fly to right Watanabe with the catch as Hirayama tags up to 3rd.

But Kondou, who gets the start today, gets Hirayama to hit a grounder to 1st. Morishita takes it to the bag for the out to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Grounder from Satou to 3rd. It takes a higher bounce and goes off Hamada's chest! He has no play and Toukaidai Sagami has the lead batter on. Sugano three-bunts, and successfully lays it down.

Morishita reaches down and hits a blooper into center! Satou holds at 3rd, but Toukaidai Sagami threatens to take the early lead!

おっと! Noda almost tumbles over and is called for a balk! The runners advance, and Satou scores to make it 1-0 Toukaidai Sagami!

Isoami with a hit to the right side! Sugiyama ranges over and makes a good play to 1st for the out, but Morishita advances to 3rd.

Now Noda walks Kondou on 4 straight to put runners at the corners!

Hashimoto swings at an outside pitch for strike 3, but it's a balk that opens the scoring!

Bottom 2nd
Kuroki gets a two-out hit back up the middle on a curve. Hirayama follows that up with a single to left.

Sasaki hits a grounder up the middle! Hashimoto dives and makes the grab! Goes to 2nd for the out and he prevents the tying run from scoring!

Top 3rd
Outside of that untimely balk, Noda looks strong. Watanabe strikes out on a slider away for the first out. Usuda flies out to center for the 2nd out, and Tanaka K's looking on a curve to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd
Hirayama reaches base for the 2nd time today drawing a leadoff walk. Sugiyama once again lays down the bunt. Another chance for Kajitsu.

Except that Toyozumi swings on the first pitch and pops it up! Hashimoto behind the mound makes the catch for the 2nd out.

Hamada runs the count full but swings on a high change flying out to right to end the inning!

Top 4th
Noda continuing to breeze along. Satou hits a dribbler in front of home that Kuroki handles, Sugano grounds out to 1st, and Morishita flies out to 1st.

Bottom 4th
Kondou also surprisingly breezing along. Agemura goes down swinging, Noda flies out to right, and Kuroki lines out to 3rd.

Where was this pitching last game?

Top 5th
Noda running up the pitch count a little this inning. Isoami grounds out to 3rd and Kondou goes down swinging for 2 outs, but it takes 11 pitches.

Hashimoto goes down 1-2 quickly after some questionable calls, but counters when he takes an outside pitch to left! Sasaki going back, suddenly sprints back! He misjudges the ball and it goes over his head! Hashimoto in with a double, except Sasaki's throw in gets away from Hirayama! Hamada has to go retrieve it as Hashimoto advances to 3rd!

Chance for Sagami to pad their lead, but Watanabe grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Kondou really impressive on the mound. He gets Maruyama to ground out to 3rd, gets Sasaki looking at a fastball on the inside corner, and induces Hirayama to weakly groundout to 2nd.

Kondou is really surprising me right now. Didn't think he would be stopping an offense like Kajitsu in this manner.

Top 6th
Noda gets 2 quick outs before yielding a base hit to Satou. But Sugano grounds up the first line. Agemura with the tag to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
One down, Toyozumi hits a slow roller to short. Hashimoto charges in, throws to 1st, but Toyozumi beats it out! Great hustle from Toyozumi!

But Hamada hits a ball to 3rd! Morishita goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... double play! Just when they were able to get a runner on, it's wiped out!

Top 7th
Morishita with a grounder past Sugiyama into left! Leadoff batter on for Toukaidai Sagami!

And Monma-kantoku pushes for the 2nd run! Morishita takes off for 2nd! Throw from Kuroki is late!

Now Isoami singles through the right side! Toyozumi up throwing and Morishita stops at 3rd. Big chance for Toukaidai Sagami.

But Kondou hits it to 3rd! Morishita was running on contact and Hamada easily throws him out at home! One down, runners at 1st and 2nd for Hashimoto.

He hits a blooper to left! That falls in front of Sasaki and it's manrui for the top of the order! 大ピンチ!

Watanabe with a fly to left! Sasaki has to back up to catch the ball and has no chance at the runner going home! Isoami scores to make it 2-0 Toukaidai Sagami!

Usuda hits a high fastball to center! Maruyama charging in, makes the catch to retire the side! Noda should feel fortunate that he only gave up one run, but at the same time his team is now down 2 runs with 3 innings to go.

Bottom 7th
Kondou showing good command of his pitches, being able to throw any of them for a strike.

Agemura pops it up behind home as Satou catches it for the 1st out.

Noda with a grounder to 2nd, Tanaka ranging over, but whiffs on the play!

Kuroki not bunting here, but goes down swinging on a fastball up! 2 outs!

And Sasaki pops it up! Watanabe under it for the 3rd out, and the side is retired!

Top 8th
Tanaka with a chopper up the middle, Sugiyama grabs the ball behind 2nd, makes what looks like a blind throw to 1st, and almost gets him!

After a popout by Satou to Sugiyama, Sugano tries his luck with him. Sugiyama takes the slow grounder, goes to 2nd for one, but the throw to 1st is late.

Sugano takes off for 2nd, but stops when he realizes he's going to be thrown out tries to get back, but is rundown to end the inning. (I need to rewatch that part to figure out who was involved).

Bottom 8th
One down for Kajitsu and top batter Hirayama gets his 3rd hit on a single through the left side!

And Miyashita-kantoku has Sugiyama bunt again? That doesn't make sense down 2.

Toyozumi grounds out to 2nd and Kajitsu's condition becomes critical.

Top 9th
Morishita with a liner behind Noda for a base hit! Isoami lays down the bunt, but Kuroki misses the handle! His throw to 1st is late and now there's runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!

Kondou though is hitting! But he flies out to shallow left and the runners can't advance!

Hashimoto up, and it's a hit-and-run! Hashimoto reaches down and lines one to center! But Maruyama is there for the catch! It's an easy toss to 2nd for the double play to end the inning!

Bottom 9th
Hamada looking to get the offense started pops it up! Tanaka with it for the first out!

Agemura swings on the first pitch and pops it up! Isoami with with catch in foul territory, and Kajitsu is down to their last out!

It's up to Noda to continue the game...

But he is jammed by Kondou! Tanaka just in the infield grass, catches it and that's the game!

Ace Kondou Masataka skillfully pitches a shutout against the Meiji Jingu runner-ups. I must admit, I am surprised at his performance considering how he did when coming in relief last game. He threw both his offspeed and fastballs for strikes and rarely fell behind.

Noda for Kagoshima Jitsugyou wasn't that bad himself as he only gave up 2 runs. It just so happened that the Toukaidai Sagami batters were able to get timely hits to bring the runs in. It also appeared that Noda began to tire near the end - understandable considering that he had pitched 2 days prior.

Even though Kagoshima Jitsugyou was eliminated today, like many of the teams I have mentioned, it would not be surprising to see them come back in the summer to make another run.

For Toukaidai Sagami, they're one game away from reaching the finals, and a chance to claim a championship!

Notable Players
Toukaidai Sagami
Kondou Masataka - W, CG, 0 ER, 6 H, 3 K, BB
Morishita Shouhei - 3-4, SB
Hashimoto Takuma - 2-4, 2B, K
Satou Hirotsugu - 2-4, R

Kagoshima Jitsugyou
Noda Shougo - L, CG, 2 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 2 BB
Hirayama Taikai - 2-3, BB

Day 10 - Best 8 Game 3 - Riseisha (Osaka) vs. Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)

So one semifinal matchup has been set, and today we'll determine our other matchup.

The first game will be an all regional affair as Chiben Wakayama and Riseisha square off. The teams were on different sides of the fall super-regionals, so these particular squads have not meet in competitive play.

Chiben Wakayama makes it to the Best 8 for the 4th time in the past decade. However, in all those prior appearances that was as far as they were able to go.

This year though, the team appears to have both the pitching and hitting to break through.

Interestingly, the team has not yet used their ace pitcher Uenoyama. Instead they have used #10 Aoki Yuuto for all but 1 inning. Against Sado and Kousei Gakuin, he has put up the following numbers:

17 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 20 K, 6 BB for a 1.59 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 10.588 K/9, 3.17 BB/9

Offensively, the team is hitting 0.328, which is impressive considering that Chiben's offense has been a bit starved as of late. Shima Naohiro leads the team hitting 0.714/0.750/0.714. The team seems to have gotten the majority of their hits in the latter stages of the game, which possibly means that either they finally hone in on a pitcher after a couple of ABs or they take advantage when the starter begins to tire. If it's the latter, then that could prove to be an issue as they face tougher competition (although at the same time they could be more fatigued because they have less rest time between games).

Riseisha has been a bit more of a mixed bag. An error in the first by Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu helped them win 4-0, then turned the offensive switch on against Kyushu Gakuin winning 8-2.

After positing just a 0.167 against Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutusu, they then hit 0.361 against Kyushu Gakuin for a combined team average of 0.283. It's even odder consider that Kyushu Gakuin was probably the better team and they hit better against them. Possibly could be a matter of playing to one's level, but you can't say for sure.

Their most consistent hitter is leadoff hitter Kaifu Hiroto who is 0.500/0.555/0.625 so far.

Riseisha has used 2 different pitchers so far in #18 Watanabe Masaya (9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 8 K, 2 BB) and ace Iidzuka Takafumi (9 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 5 BB). Not sure who they'll use today, but whomever takes the mound will have their hands full (perhaps they'll use a tandem).

I don't know who would be favored in this matchup, but it should be a great game (much like the first game yesterday!).


Riseisha (Osaka) - Kinki Runner-up
CF Kaifu Hiroto
2B Masaki Kentarou
SS Ishii Gen
1B Masui Shouta
LF Oonishi Kouhei
C Sakamoto Seishirou
3B Kumamoto Hayato (#16)
RF Hirada Ryouhei
P Iidzuka Takafumi

Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Kinki 3rd/4th Place
RF Yamamoto Ryuuta
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
CF Miyagawa Yuuki
1B Hiroaka Yukihiro
3B Shima Naohiro
LF Nakamura Kousei
2B Kawasaki Kousuke
P Aoki Yuuto (#10)


11:00 - Game start!

Top 1st
Kaifu leads off the game with a single to left! Masaki bunts the runner along for the heart of the lineup.

Ishii falls behind though, and grounds out to 2nd. It'll have to be up to Masui.

Wild pitch from Aoki! It goes behind Masui and off Michibata's glove! But Kaifu doesn't go! Michibata recovers quickly and the run doesn't score!

And Aoki gets a foul fly from Masui! Nakamura and Yamamoto converge, and it's Yamamoto who catches it for the 3rd out! Riseisha unable to take advantage of the leadoff hit!

Bottom 1st
Yamamoto starts off their 1st inning with a basehit through the right side! Ogasawara bunts him along and Chiben Wakayama hash their own scoring opportunity!

2-2 to Michibata and he hits a fly down the right field side! Masui and Hirada converge in foul territory, but neither can make the catch and they almost collide!

Now it's a show down the 3rd base line foul!

Iidzuka, considering the thought "discretion is the better part of valor" throws a 3-2 slider outside for ball 4.

That only works though if you can get the next batter out. He falls behind Miyakawa 2-0.

Miyakawa with a shot back at Iidzuka! He fields it, goes to 2nd for one, throw out first.... double play!

Masui had trouble securing the ball, but got it just in time to get Miyakawa to end the inning!

Top 2nd
One down, Aoki issues his first walk to Sakamoto.

Kumamoto drives a ball down the left field line... just foul! Wow, that had HR distance there I think.

But Aoki gets him to reach down on a slider and hit a fly to deep left for the 2nd out.

Hirada, very patient at the plate, works the count full. He makes good contact, but it's a liner at Ogasawara to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Hiraoka hits a hard grounder to short. Ishii gets in front, but doesn't pick it cleanly! He doubles back, but it's too late.

Shima tries to lay down the bunt, but he pops it up! Sakamoto gets out of his crouch and makes the catch!

Nakamaura with a grounder to short. Ishii can't field that one cleanly either! He does get the lead runner at 2nd though.

Iidzuka gets Kawasaki to pop out to 2nd to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Both pitchers entrenching themselves in a pitcher's battle now.

Iidzuka is caught looking on a fastball on the outside corner, and both Kaifu and Masaki ground out to 2nd for a 1-2-3- inning.

Bottom 3rd
Iidzuka hangs a slider to Aoki and he drives it to right! That's over Kaifu's head! Aoki in at 2nd with a double!

Yamamoto bunts him along for Ogasawara.

But he swings at the first pitch and grounds it to 3rd! Kumamoto with the ball, goes to 1st and the runner has to hold!

Michibata up in another key situation, and again Iidzuka does not directly challenge him. Tries a 3-1 pitch inside, but misses for ball 4.

Runners at the corners with 2 down for Miyakawa.

Grounder to short! Ishii up with this one, flips to 2nd for the out! Chiben Wakayama can't score on the leadoff double by Aoki!

Top 4th
Ishii rips a slicer down the left field line... foul!

三振! Aoki gets Ishii to swing at a fastball down and away for strike 3!

まだ三振!! Masui with an excuse-me swing on a high fastball goes down on strikes!

Oonishi refuses to be the 3rd K victim this inning and lines one over Shima down the left field line! Nakamura gets the ball in, and Oonishi is in with a 2-out double!

Sakamoto with a grounder to the left side. Ogasawara ranging to his right, but the ball takes a high bounce and goes past him!

They're sending Oonishi home! Nakamura double clutches with his throw, and it comes in late! Sakamoto with the timely single makes it 1-0 Riseisha!

Kumamoto goes down swinging and that's 3 K's for Aoki this inning, but 2 base hits in the middle give Riseisha the lead!

Bottom 4th
Iidzuka continuing to show good command of the zone. A nice snag by Ishii of a Shima liner highlights Iidzuka's 1-2-3 inning.

Top 5th
Hirada grounds one back at Aoki! He has his glove there, but can't find the ball! It's into center for a leadoff hit!

Iidzuka bunts him along for the top of the lineup.

Odd... At 1-0, Takashima-kantoku pulls Nakamura from LF and puts in #14 Numakura. I seem to remember him doing this before, but couldn't figure out why then either.

And Kaifu walks on 4 straight to put runners on 1st and 2nd.

Tamaki with a shot to 1st! Hiraoka fields it and goes to the bag for out #2. Runners advance into scoring position.

Ishii up now for Riseisha, 0-2 on the day.


Pitch from Aoki goes off Michibata's glove, bounces off his mask and goes away! Hirada comes in to score on the battery miss and Riseisha leads 2-0! It looks like the signs were mixed up and Michibata was late to react!

Now Ishii walks on 4 straight! What is happening here in the 5th?? #12 Furuta warms up in the bullpen.


Aoki hits Masui to load the bases! Takashima-kantoku calls for a conference as Oonishi comes to the plate.

Aoki still can't find the zone falling behind 2-0 before throwing a strike. But a change down and away makes it 3-1.

Grounder to the left side! Ogasawara running to his right... can't get to it! Kaifu scores! Ishii is being sent home! Throw from Numakura not in time! Oonishi with a 2-out RBI single makes 4-0 Riseisha!!

Sakamoto with a shot to center! Miyakawa running back, and it's over his head! It takes a bounce to the wall! Oonishi and Masui scores and it's now 6-0!!

Takashima-kantoku has seen enough and has called in #11 Oojino to replace Aoki on the mound.

But Oojino can't stop the bleeding! Kumamoto with a single through the left side and there's runners at the corners!

Hirada up again this inning! He singles through the right side! That scores Sakamoto! 7-0!!!

Iidzuka with a ball that sneaks through to right! Kumamoto scores and it's 8-0 Riseisha!!!!!!!

Kaifu lines out to left to end the inning, but what the heck happened??!! Chiben Wakayama implodes for 7 runs this inning and find themselves down 8-0!!

Bottom 5th
Two quick outs for Iidzuka this inning, but then the lineup turns over and Yamamoto singles to right! Ogasawara follows that up with his own hit to right!

And now Michibata walks for the 3rd time giving Chiben Wakayama a manrui situation!

Miyakawa with a fly to right! The outfield was in a no-doubles situation and the ball falls in! 2 runners score to make it 8-2.

Hiraoka with a hard shot at 1st, but Masui is there for the stop. He takes it to the bag to retire the side.

Chiben Wakayama manages to get a couple of runs back, but as we head into the break a complete meltdown by Chiben in the 5th finds them behind by 6 runs with 4 innings to go!

Top 6th
I get a good laugh as someone on the #koshien feed says that it's okay, and recalls the Chiben Wakayama-Teikyou comeback in 2006 (which I was there in person for).

Oojino gets 2 quick outs. And while Masui gets his first base hit of the game, Oonishi pops up to Ogasawara to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Iidzuka, who had been cruising right along until the 5th, seems to be laboring a bit more as his pitches aren't finding the plate as much. While he retires the side in order, each batter takes at least 5 pitches in their AB.

Top 7th
A few words on Oojino. He's a 2nd-year righty with a fastball that is in the 130s, and a slider in the low 120s, and a curve in the 110s.

With one down Kumamoto hits one to left center! That takes a bounce in front of the wall and Kumamoto is in at 2nd.

Takashima-kantoku makes another pitching change, sending in Uenoyama for Oojino.

As noted in the preview, Uenoyama is a sidearm pitcher who can hit the mid 130s.

His pitches to start are a bit low, and he winds up walking Hirada.

Uenoyama falls behind Ootsuka too 3-0, but Okada has Ootsuka bunt the runners along.

Back to the top of the order and Kaifu, and Uenoyama manages to even the count at 2-2. Uenoyama finally goes up on Kaifu and he goes down swinging.

Bottom 7th
Uenoyama holds on as long as he can at the plate, but grounds to short on the 9th pitch of the AB.

Iidzuka looks to be hitting his spots again now though, and that's a good sign for Riseisha.

Yamamoto goes down looking on what looks like a two-seamer on the inside part of the plate.

Iidzuka with another sharp two-seamer on the outside part of the plate gets Ogasawara looking to end the inning! He looks in full control now!

Top 8th
One down for Risei and Uenoyama hits Ishii. Masui bunts the runner along to 2nd for Oonishi who is 2-4 on the day.

But Oonishi hits a dribbler in front of the plate. Uenoyama fields it and throws to 1st for the out.

Bottom 8th
Michibata, perhaps irked he's been walked 3 times, goes down and takes a slider from Iidzuka to deep left! Kaifu has to run it down at the wall, and Michibata is in with a leadoff double.

Miyakawa with a single to left! Michibata's being waved home! Throw from Oonishi is just late! It's 8-3 on the RBI single by Miyakawa.

Hiroka with a fly to right, and Hirada is there for the 1st out.

With Shima at the plate, Okada-kantoku sends #18 Watanabe to the bullpen.

Shima now with a ball though to right puts runners at the corners.


Iidzuka with a shuuto on the outside corner strikes out Numakura for the 2nd out!

#15 Takagaki comes in to hit for Kawasaki.


Iidzuka freezes Takagai on a shuuto that catches the inside part for strike 3!

Top 9th
#13 Nishitani comes in for PH Takagaki and takes over at 2B.

Sakamoto is hit to start the inning. Kumamoto three-bunts, but goes down on strikes.

Uenoyama walks Hirada for the 2nd time today putting 2 runners on.

Iidzuka squaring to bunt, even at 2 strikes. Successfully lays it down.

Kaifu with a high chopper down the 3rd base line. Shima makes a play at it and then realizes he doesn't have one! Everyone's safe as Sakamoto scores to make it 9-3.

Masaki with a single to right, and Hirada scores to make it 10-3.

Ishii goes down swinging to end the inning, and Riseisha is just 3 outs away from the Best 4!

Bottom 9th
Uenoyama puts a charge into the ball, but Oonishi in front of the wall makes the catch.

Yamamoto singles to right.

Ogasawara with a liner right at Oonishi for the 2nd out.

Iidzuka with the rare pitch inside to Michibata, and it jams him! He pops out to Iidzuka for the 2nd out.

On a side note, I had completely forgotten about Chiben Wakayama's "Jock Rock" since they couldn't have a band!

That as Miyakawa flies out to center to end the game!

Riseisha, already further then they had gone before, now reaches the Best 4!

Early on, the teams were locked in an expected pitchers battle. Riseisha managed to break the deadlock in the 4th, but it was the 5th inning where things just went awry. I seemed to remember a mid-AB defensive substitution made before, but I can't recall if it was Takashima-kantoku who had done it.

But the odd substitution of #14 Numakura for team captain Nakamura seemed to throw the entire team off. 6 of the next 7 runners would reach base safely and it seemed like game over after that. Come to think of it, I didn't realize that the substitution had been for their captain until just now.

Pulling your captain mid-game is rather unusual as it would seem doing so would indicate loss of face for Nakamura. So I wonder what happened there.

So Chiben Wakayama is denied a spot in the Best 4 yet again. Meanwhile Riseisha, already with the deepest run in school history, advances to the Best 4 with a chance to reach the title game!

Notable Players
Iidzuka Takafumi - W, CG, 3 ER, 10 H, 4 K, 3 BB
Oonishi Kouhei - 2-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Sakamoto, Seishirou - 2-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, BB, HBP
Hirada Ryouhei - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB

Chiben Wakayama
Aoki Yuuto - L, 7.1 IP, 8 ER, 11 H, 6 K, 2 BB, HBP
Michibata Shunsuke - 1-2, 2B, R, 3 BB
Yamamoto Ryuuta - 3-5, R, K
Miyakawa Yuuki - 2-5, 3 RBI