At least that's what 21st century invitee Memanbetsu hopes for anyways as Kyushu Super-Regional runner-up Kyushu Gakuin sets them in their sights.
Saying that Memanbetsu is a bit of an underdog is quite the understatement. Hokkaido has not generally been known for good baseball teams, and throw in the fact that Memanbetsu only made the 2nd round of the super-regional, and it really suggests a weak team. Add in that they're batting statistics mirror that of Hanamaki Higashi, and it's not really good at all. Ace Nikaidou Seiji is the only pitcher they have, so he'll have to keep them in the game.
Kyushu Gakuin were the Kyushu runner-ups, but looking at their road, there isn't any waypoint we could use other than the 8-1 loss to Kamimura Gakuen to determine their real strength. And even then all 9 runs in that game were scored in the first inning!
So it's really hard to gauge how good Kyushu Gakuin really is. Offensively, their numbers look better than Memanbetsu's and against what probably would be a higher level of competition (even if slightly), means that Kyushu Gakuin should be favored to advance in this matchup.
Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto)SS Mizowaki Hayato
2B Yamashita Yuuma
CF Hagiwara Hideyuki
3B Oota Kouhei
1B Okayama Shirou
LF Yonei Kenta
C Asakawa Ryou
RF Shimada Kairi
P Ootsuka Takahito
Memanbetsu (Hokkaido)C Hirata Yuuto
2B Andou Satoshi
1B Kondou Rui
CF Toshino Jyunya
RF Sugawara Kento
SS Maeda Kento
3B Sakiyama Michiya
P Nikaidou Seiji
LF Yasumura Shouto
9:00 - First pitch!
Not a good start for Nikaidou as he walks leadoff batter Mizowaki. But Yamashita can't lay the bunt down and bunts foul for the strikeout!
Hagiwara though continues the attack with a single through the left side!
I'm surprised though. Nikaidou is still going after batters and gets strikes out Oota for the 2nd out! He's almost out of the jam!
Okayama is a stubborn batter though and he works a 7-pitch walk to load the bases.
And before the atmosphere could get tense, Yonei lines a single to right! Mizowaki scores! Hagiwara is being sent home! The throw is late and it's 2-0 Kyushu Gakuin!
Asakawa continues the barrage! He hits a ball just fair down the right field line! Sugawara runs it down, but not before both runners score making it 4-0! Just like that Memanbetsu risks letting the game slip away here in the 1st!
Nikaidou stops the bleeding for now though as he strikes out Shimada to end the inning.
Nikaidou continues to have inconsistent results as Mizowaki hits a one-out double down the left field line. After yet another K to Yamashita, Hagiwara takes the first pitch to right for a single, scoring Mizowaki and making it 5-0. Oota strikes out yet again to end the inning.
Sugawara goes way down on a pitch and shoots it past Oota for a base hit! However, Maeda's bunt attempt is too hard and it goes back to Ootsuka. His throw to 2nd is just in time to get the lead runner.
Sakiyama strikes out on 3 straight, and it'll be up to Nikaidou to keep the inning running. But he flies out to right to end the inning.
Nikaidou looks to finally have a clean 1-2-3 inning, but Asakawa ruins that with a soft liner to left. Two pitches later, though and Shimada grounds into a fielder's choice at short and Nikaidou finally puts up a 0!
However, the Memanbetsu offense continues to put up 0's of their own. Yasumura, Hirata and Andou go down in order and Nikaidou has to hurry back onto the mound.
Ootsuka with a slow roller up the 1st base side, Kondou charges in, but his toss is behind Nikaidou!
But after a sac bunt, the next two batters are retired quickly and we're quickly into the bottom of the 4th!
Toshino records Memanbetsu's 3rd hit with a solid one-out single past a diving Okayama!
But Sugawara goes down swinging, and while Maeda makes good contact, it's a liner right to Shimada for the 3rd out.
It looks like the nerves that perhaps plagued Nikaidou are gone, as he retires the side in order really quickly, but they're still facing a 5 run deficit.
I was about to write another 1-2-3 inning before the break, but Yasumura swings at a high fastball for strike 3, but reaches when it gets by Asakawa. Then Hirata hits a liner to short center, and when Hagiwara's throw deflects off of Mizowaki, Hirata takes 2nd!
So runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 down and perhaps Memanbetsu can get something back before the break!
But Ootsuka gets Andou to hit a grounder to 3rd. Oota makes the throw to 1st and they're denied.
Asakawa hits a hard ball back up the middle. Maeda makes the stop, but the throw is late. After a sac bunt, Ootsuka steps in and hits a ball softly to left! Yasumura comes up throwing, but the ball is cut off and the run scores! 6-0 now for Kyushu Gakuin.
Oy. A errant throw to 1st advances the runner and the 6th might end up like the 1st.
But Nikaidou gets Mizowaki strikes out and Ootsuka is caught off 2nd to end the inning,
The news break encompasses the entire bottom of the 6th.
Toshino gets a one out single up the middle, but Sugawara grounds into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Finally I can get around to the pitchers, Nikaidou is indeed what he is, throws a fastball that can get to the low 140's. He has a shuuto and slider in the 120's and a forkball in the 110's, but...
Oops. Yamashita hits a soft single down the right field line. Then steals 2nd on a not so good throw.
Hagiwara walks and Nikaidou is in another pinch.
Oota with a single to right! Yamashita holds at 3rd and it's manrui!
Okayama though grounds to 1st. Kondou goes home for the force for one.
Nikaidou then gets Yonei to strike out, and he's one out away from getting out of the jam!
And he does! Asakawa hits a popup to 2nd! Andou settles under it and Kyushu doesn't score!
Now, can Memanbetsu score in their lucky 7?
Maeda give the ball a good run, but Hagiwara settles under it for the first out. Sakiyama also gets a good charge on the ball, but Yonei is there for the out.
Nikaidou strikes out and the inning is over.
Nikaidou settles down again, recording 2 K's in a 1-2-3 inning. He has recorded a fair amount of K's despite the score.
Kazama comes in for Yasumura but strikes out. Another 1-2-3 inning and Kyushu Gakuin is one inning away from wrapping it up/
#13 Nomiya comes in to play LF.
Nikaidou was about to record a 1-2-3 inning, but Sugawara misjudged the ball. #16 Tsutsumiuchi comes in to run for Sugawara.
No matter though. Okayama flies out to center to end the inning
#17 Masuda comes in for Tsutsumiuchi and plays LF. #13 Tanaka goes to 1B.
Kondou starts off the inning with a single back up the middle!
But when Toshino lines out to right, Kondou is caught running ahead and is doubled off.
Sugawara strikes out looking, and the game is over.
The game went pretty much as expected with Memanbetsu unable to do anything against Kyushu Gakuin. They did get a couple of good hits in, and Nikaidou wasn't bad on the mound, just probably a case of nerves and good competition did them in.