Sorry Toba, but that's kinda what you are. I believe they basically qualified by process of elimination. of the 4 quarter-finalists that lost Osaka Touin was almost guaranteed a bid. Naradai Fuzoku would lose out because they would be the 3rd team from Nara. And Mizoguchi eliminated themselves with a 15-3 loss to Riseisha.
So Toba, sorry but you were by default the last team from the Kinki region invited. Though for what it's worth, you did beat Fukuchiyama Seibi.
Seikou Gakuin made the Tohoku super-regional finals by defeating Hanamaki Higashi. But that's the only notable win on their schedule. They did limit Kousei Gakuin to 3 runs though, so that has to mean something. Problem is, we just don't know what - especially considering the below-average performance Hanamaki Higashi put up compared to prior years.
Seikou Gakuin, by their performance and schedule should be the favorite in this game. Though with little else to go on, it's just a paper David vs. Goliath.
Toba (Kyoto)1B Eda Yuuki
2B Kanzaki Tomoki
RF Isaka Tomonori
P Gomi Takuya
CF Hanada Keisuke
SS Arai Kouji
LF Matsuzawa Kazuki
3B Matsumiya Yoshiki
C Kitagawa Rukiya
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)CF Saitou Yuuki
SS Hirano Yuuma
C Nagai Ryou
1B Sonobe Satoshi
RF Anzai Satoshi
LF Sekine Ryou
3B Kyouda Seiki
2B Minowa Masato
P Okano Yuuichirou
11:20 - First pitch!
I'd be interested to see how Okano carried a sub-1.00 ERA this past fall. I wonder if part of it is because teams lost players or lost teams altogether due to last year's disaster...
After Okano assists on the first two outs, he walks Isaka in front of cleanup batter Gomi.
But Gomi looks at strike 3 and that's the inning for Okano.
Saitou with a comebacker that is about to go under Gomi, but he deflects it with the glove! It goes to his SS, but Arai has no play at 1st.
Hirano tries laying down the bunt, but can't and the count goes to 0-2.
Hit-and-run is put on and Hirano singles through the left side! Saitou holds at 2nd, but a chance developing for Seikou.
Bunt is put on and the runners advance.
Sonobe walks and now it's manrui for Anzai as Yamada-kantoku calls for time.
Gomi gets Anzai to swing at a garbage pitch (sorry, had to put that pun in there) and the infield fly is called.
Sekine flies out to center, and Toba's out of the jam!
So apparently the KSMS on their left sleeve, and the ones that some of the older folk at the top of oen-dan represents "Kyoto Secondary Middle School", which was the original name of the school.
And in the time it took me to write that, Toba goes 1-2-3
And in the time it took me to fix parts of this entry, Seikou Gakuin goes down 1-2-3. Boy, that was a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Ok, so about Okano. Stuff-wise, it's about the same as most others. Fastball in the mid 130s with a slider & shuuto. But he exhibits good control, which is more than what others could say.
But Eda gives Toba their first hit, a single under the diving Hirano for a 2-out single.
Yamada-kantoku tries the hit-and-run, but Kanzaki again hits a comebacker to Okano, ending the inning.
So from what I can see, Gomi has a fastball in the high 120s occasionally hitting 130-131 and a slider in the 110s and a change of some sort in the 100s.
Hirano collects his second hit on another single to left.
Nagai hits a grounder to short. Arai starts the 6-4-3 double play, but Kanzaki's throw is high and wide and Eda can't get the sweep tag. 2 down.
Sonobe with a base hit just past the dive of Arai and will that failed DP cost them?
No! Anzai can't check his swing on a slider in the dirt and the inning is over!
2 quick outs for Toba, and Hanada with a hard liner to left! Sekine running back, leaps...
and makes the catch! WOW! Otherwise that's a double (it was getting close to the wall, but still)
This game is going about as fast as the first one. 4 innings in the books, and were averaging 10 minutes per inning!
Gomi is showing good control and mix of pitches. Seikou's batters are unable to make good contact right now as Sekine-Kyouda-Minowa go down in order.
In an interesting play, Okano's pitch hits the bottom of Arai's bat and stays in fair territory. He's thrown out 2-3.
Toba still cannot put any pressure on Okano and go down in order yet again.
We finally get a baserunner when Saitou collects his second hit, this one to center.
Hirano isn't called on to bunt like so many other times, but the hit-and-run does the same thing as he grounds out to 2nd.
And Nagai grimaces as he hits a fly ball to center. Hanada camps under it for the out, and we hit the break with a scoreless draw so far and just 5 hits between both teams!
Eda with a blast to center! Saitou running back, but it's over his head! Eda settles in with a 1-out double!
No bunt from Kanzaki yet. Instead he grounds out to 2nd, but does advance the runner. Up to Isaka to deliver a one-timer to take the lead.
He takes a good hack, but misses on the 3-1. But on the full count pitch he flies out to left. The best scoring opportunity on both sides since the 3rd, and it goes begging.
Now it's Seikou's turn for a chance! Anzai lines a hanging fastball into left center! It goes all the way to the wall for a one-out double!
Sekine with a comebacker to Gomi. But he sees Anzai caught in between and starts the rundown! Gomi to Matsumiya to Arai to Gomi to Kanzaki...
But Sekine's slide tangled himself with Kanzaki and he's called out and Anzai goes back to 2nd! Gomi needs one more out.
Kyouda with a ball of the end of his bat back up the middle! It gets past Gomi and goes into center! Anzai's being sent home! The throw from Hanada isn't in time and Seikou Gakuin finally score the first run of the ball game! It's 1-0!
Minowa flies out to left, but Toba needs to find enough offense for one run with just 3 innings left to go.
And who better than their cleanup batter (and ace) Gomi to start the inning!
Gomi's hit to SS is bobbled by Hirano and Gomi dives in with a single (he really didn't have to do that, but yes, showing one's guts etc.)
Hanada up and he's swinging away. Wouldn't this be one of those times bunting would be a good idea?
Instead, Hanada grounds into the 6-4-3 double play...
And Arai can't check his swing on a high full count fastball, and Toba is turned away.
Gomi may be leaving pitches in the zone now as Okano hits a solid single past a diving Eda.
But Saitou-kantoku has Saitou swing away, and he twirls himself into a K on a slider in the dirt.
Now they try the bust-and-run, but Hirano fouls it off. He then lays down the bunt successfully as Saitou-kantoku looks for the insurance run.
Huh, I didn't notice until now, but there's a guy wearing a Toba uniform in the first row behind home just 2 seats away for Laga-san.
Whoops. Didn't pay attention there. Gomi loses Nagai after getting ahead 1-2.
Sonobe with a ball back up the middle. Just like Kyouda's it goes through to center! Okano is sent home, and the throw is again late! Seikou gets the insurance run to make it 2-0!
Anzai flies out to right to end the inning, but they get that all important run.
Yamada-kantoku goes to the bench early here in the 8th calling #12 Kuramuro to PH for Matsuzawa.
He's lucky a pitch was called a ball when he called time, but didn't notice. He ends up hitting a soft liner back to Okano.
Okano's pace is speeding up now as Matsumiya looks at a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3.
Kitagawa flies out to right, and time is running short for Toba.
#18 Oooka comes in for PH Kuramuro and takes over in LF.
Sekine with a grounder to 1st, but Eda can't field it cleanly. Sekine hustles down the line and they have no play. Kyouda plays a game of chicken after bunting down the 1st base line, but no further advancement than 2nd for Sekine.
Gomi though retires the next two batters, and if this is his final line, it's not bad at all. It's just bad that the offense is unable to do anything.
Though I suppose it's one of the reasons why Okano carried that sub-1.00 ERA.
Well, it's the top of the order and Eda, who's 2-3 on the day. Swings on the first pitch, but gets under it and pops out to center.
#17 Uchida comes in for Kanzaki, and flies out to left on the first pitch.
And Iisaka pops up to short, and Okano shuts out Toba!
It's a great performance by Okano has he lives up to his fall rep. And if not for some timely hits, Toba could have had a chance for the upset.
Gomi did a great job on the mound, just left a couple of pitches too fat and gave up 2 runs. But 2 over 8 is nothing to be ashamed of. It was a good game, just not good enough.
Gomi Takuya (Toba) - CG, 2 ER, 8 H, 3 K, 2 BB
Eda Yuuki (Toba) - 2-4, 2B
Okano Yuuichirou (Seikou Gakuin) - CG, 0 ER, 2 H, 5 K, BB
Saitou Yuuki (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-4, 2 K
Sonobe Satoshi (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-3, RBI, BB