Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 6 - Game 1 - Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo) vs. Beppu Aoyama (Oita)

Our first game of the day will be the final one of the first round and features another first timer facing a regional champion.

つまり、another possible one-sided affair.

Kanto Dai-ichi won the Tokyo super-regional and is the only team from Tokyo represented at senbatsu this year.  Their only close matchups were against Nichidai Buzan, and then Teikyou in the finals.

Kanto's numbers look not super-impressive, but definitely above average.  The team as a whole bats 0.322, which isn't bad, but is concentrated among several people.  However, everyone in the starting 9 has an extra base hit, so there is something there.  Also they aren't afraid of the walk, which I think is crucial considering the need for baserunners at times.

ON the mound, It looks like a small split between ace Nakamura and reliever Daigo.  Both strikeout about a batter an inning and on average allow one baserunner per inning.  Context for Kanto Dai-ichi means that this is favorable, though to what extent is unknown.

But it's going to be a challenge either way for newcomer Beppu Aoyama.

Looking at their fall tournament, they wound up as the 3/4 place in Oita after losing to Oita Jyouhou Kagaku, but then defeated Luther Gakuin (Kumamoto), Miyakonojyou Shougyou (Miyazaki) and Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou (Fukuoka) before losing 6-2 to Kamimura Gakuen.

It's not a knock-your-socks off resume, but it's not necessarily pedestrian either.

The team is by no means an offensive juggernaut, though they do take some walks as well.  So the majority of work will fall to ace Nakamura and to some extent reliever An Yuuta.  Their numbers are similar to that of Kanto Dai-ichi, but again put in context it probably is a bit overstated.

The onus of proof will be on Beppu Aoyama that they can hang with the big boys, and that will probably be the expectation of everyone in the stands - except for perhaps Beppu Aoyama and their fans.

Beppu Aoyama (Oita)
SS  An Shouta
1B  Shiraishi Natsuki
CF  Maki Daisuke
C  Kawano Keisuke
2B  Uehara Daijyu3B  Kikuchi Yasushi
P  Nakamura Daisuke
LF  Enomoto Daiki
RF  Shindou Hiroaki (#15)

Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo)
3B  Isobe Yuuta (#9)
RF  Kishi Naoya (#16)
SS  Yoshie Masakazu (#5)
CF  Akiyama Shouta
2B  Kiuchi Jyunshou
LF  Itou Hiroki
1B  Anzai Kouyou
P  Nakamura Yuuta
C  Matsutani Tsubasa


09:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
I have to differentiate between the two ace Nakamura's, but he clean through the first inning.  Maki does put a good charge on the ball, but Akiyama is there for the catch.

Bottom 1st
After a strikeout to lead the game, Kishi takes a Taisuke offering and chops it back up the middle.  Shouta ranges over to get it but takes too much time and Kishi slides in safely!

Hit-and-run is put on, and while Yoshie strikes out, Kishi takes 2nd.

And a wild pitch moves the runner to 3rd!

A 4 pitch walk to Akiyama has Itou-kantoku calling time.

But Kiuchi chops one back to Taisuke and he's out of the jam!

Top 2nd
Nakamura Yuuta has a fastball in the upper 130s with a curve, slider and changeup.

So far the control looks good as he gets cleanup batter Kawano looking, and Kikuchi unable to check his swing on a high fastball.  3 K's so far in the first 2 for Yuuta.

Bottom 2nd
Itou takes the first pitch back up the middle for a leadoff single.  Anzai bunts him over for the last two batters in the lineup.

First up to try and get the runner in is ace Yuuta. He gets the green light at 3-0, but flies out to center.

And Taisuke K's Matsutani on a low fastball and the threat is neutralized.

Top 3rd
Taisuke whiffs at a up and away fastball by Yuuta for the first out.  Enomoto can't catch a fastball letter high and too strikes out.

Shindou looks to be the first baserunner as he gets ahead 3-0, but after letting 2 balls go by, he swings and misses on a fastball on the outside corner.  That's 6 K's so far for Yuuta.

Bottom 3rd
Isobe with a ball to short, and Shouta's throw is just a tad late!  They're going to have to speed it up if they want to get the leadoff runners!

Kishi puts the bunt down, but Taisuke takes too much time with the throw and Kishi is safe!  Like I said, they have to play a bit faster.

And Taisuke does when Yoshie puts the bunt down.

But the initial mistake by Taisuke costs him as Akiyama hits a first ball fly to right.  Shindou is there for the catch, but the throw and relay is not in time.  Kanto Dai-ichi goes up 1-0.

Kiuchi grounds out to 2nd, but the inability to react to the speed at the top of the lineup costs Beppu Aoyama early.

Top 4th
Shouta becomes the 5th straight strikeout victim on a fastball away.

Shirashi finally puts the ball in play, but it's a routine grounder to 2nd.

Maki strikes out swinging on a slider in the dirt, and it's pretty ugly for Beppu Aoyama's offense through 4.

Bottom 4th
As for the other Nakamura.  Taisuke has a fastball in the high 120s-low 130s with a change in the high 100s-low 110s.  But so far, he's having trouble locating his off-speed pitches.

Itou shoots one past a diving Kikuchi for a leadoff hit.  A passed ball by Kawano allows Itou to take 2nd. Now Anzai can hit, but instead walks.

Yuuta up, but not bunting.  He flies out to center, and he runners are unable to advance.

Matsutani grounds into a fielder's choice at short.  And Isobe first pitch swings and grounds to 2nd.  Taisuke is out of the jam and Beppu's deficit stays at 1.

Top 5th
Beppu Aoyama's batters are making contact, but still no base hits to show for it.  Kikuchi makes good contact, but Kishi runs it down on the right field line.

Bottom 5th
Kishi hits a grounder to third, and Kikuchi makes sure to get the out at 1st.

After that Itou-kantoku makes a pitching change.  #10 An Yuuta comes in for Shindou and takes over on the hill.  Taisuke goes to 1B and Shiraishi goes to RF.

Yuuta is a LHP to Taisuke's RHP.  Perhaps a way to change things up.

He gets Yoshie to strike out swinging and it's a good start.

Akiyama grounds out to 3rd, and at the break a mental lapse leads to a 1-0 lead for Kanto Dai-ichi.  Meanwhile Taisuke is doing very well on the mound.
Top 6th
Right after the break, Beppu Aoyama gets their first hit!  Taisuke takes a ball the other way form Yuuta and deposits it in right!

Enomoto showing bunt, but is unable to lay it down and is behind 0-2.  He free bunts and lays it down!

Now it's up to new P Yuuta to try and get the runner in.

Yuuta with a dying liner to left, but Itou runs in and makes the sliding catch!  2 down as the lineup turns over.  Yonezawa-kantoku calls time.

Shouta steps in, 0-2 with 2 K's.

He first pitch swings, but flies out to left.  Beppu Aoyama stops the no-hitter, but is still off the board.

Bottom 6th
Kiuchi goes down on a foul tip for Yuuta's 2nd K!

Yuuta appears to have a fastball in the low 130s with a slider in the upper 120s and a change in the 100s.

He finally yields his first hit when Anzai singles to center.  A wild pitch immediately there after sends him to 2nd.

Nakamura grounds out to 3rd, and Beppu continues to trail by just 1.

Top 7th
Lucky 7 for Beppu Aoyama as the 2-3-4 hitters are due up.

Yuuta finally records his first K since the 4th.

Two more foul flys and Beppu's 7th ends with no fanfare.  They'll need to muster something in the last two innings, but with only one hit, it'll be hard.

Bottom 7th
Yuuta continues to do a great job on the mound.  He retires the side in order, and records his 3rd K in the process.

Top 8th
6 outs left for Beppu if they want to continue their season.

Uehara with a ball down the 1st base line... fair!  Anzai can't get to it and it goes to right!  Uehara turns for 2nd and makes it in easily!

Kikuchi to look to lay down the bunt.  He lays it down.  Yuuta goes to 3rd... and Uehara is safe!  The throw appears to have beaten him, but the tag is late!  Runners at the corners!

Yonezawa-kantoku calls time.

Nakamura trying for the squeeze, but Uehara is caught off the bag!  He's run down for the 1st out!  Kikuchi salvages it somewhat by taking 2nd.


Nakamura takes a terrible swing on a pitch way outside and there's 2 down.

It'll be up to Enomoto now to salvage the inning.

Sanshin!  Enomoto strikes out swinging to end the inning.  Their best chance at tying the game is wasted!

Bottom 8th
Yuuta issues his first walk as Yoshie takes 1st.  Akiyama bunts him to 2nd.

Yuuta comes back to freeze Kiuchi, but then Itou-kantoku pulls Yuuta for #11 Migita!

Migita is a righty who seems to throw in the mid 120s with a curve in the 100s.

He starts off though by walking Itou.  That gets Itou-kantoku to call time.

And Anzai walks too, which puts it at manrui for Nakamura.

But Migita is bailed out!  Yuuta swings on the first pitch and flies out to RF to end the inning.

Top 9th
#14 Hanashiro PH for Migita to start the inning.

But Yuuta finds the outside corner at the knees for his 12th K.

Shouta makes good contact, but flies out to center.  2 down.

#13 Tokumrau comes in for Maki as their last chance.

But he goes down swinging and the game is over!

Kanto Dai-ichi survives a 1-0 battle with Beppu Aoyama!  They surprised me with their effort today, and if not for a misstep in the 3rd, they could still be playing.  I'll give them their credit, they did a great job and the team, classmates and fans should not be ashamed of their efforts.

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