Yokohama and ace Yanagi completely made Kochi look like a normal ordinary team in a 4-0 win. Of course, it could also be Shikoku in general (though looking at Naruto yesterday it may not be the case).
Even still, Yokohama's offense may be of some concern as the bottom of the lineup failed to do a whole lot against Sakamoto/Tagashira. That'll probably mean that Yanagi will need to shoulder a bit more of the load for them to make a championship type run.
Seikou Gakuin meanwhile got a good challenge from Toba in that they were limited to 2 runs. However, ace Okano at the same time limited Toba to just 2 hits.
Now, Okano's not really that much different from other pitchers other than perhaps having better control than others. I don't think I can really say that he's the pitcher the statistics bear him out to be, so it'll be interesting how he will do against Yokohama.
But in terms of pressure, I think the onus will be more on Okano than Yanagi to carry their respective teams. Seikou's offense appears to be a bit weaker than Yokohama.
Yokohama (Kanagawa)CF Haizaki Ryou
LF Shishikura Kazuma
RF Tahara Keigo (#11)
1B Yamauchi Tatsuya
2B Higuchi Ryuunosuke
SS Aoki Rikito (#16)
C Ozeki Ikki
3B Takahashi Ryouken (#6)
P Yanagi Yuuya
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)CF Saitou Yuuki
SS Hirano Yuuma
C Nagai Ryou
1B Sonobe Satoshi
RF Anzai Satoshi
LF Kawai Shoutarou (#17)
3B Kyouda Seiki
2B Minowa Masato
P Okano Yuuichirou
12:00 - First Pitch
One down for Yokohama and Shishikura singles to left.
Shishikura tries to steal 2nd, but Nagai calls for the pitchout and they get him easily. Too bad as Tahara singles past a diving Sonobe.
Yamauchi also singles to right and is Yokohama's rare hit parade going to start?
Saitou-kantoku calls for time.
Higuchi with a liner to right! Anzai running back, leaps! It's off his glove! He gathers it in, but Tahara scores to give Yokohama the early 1-0 lead!
Aoki follows that up with a liner to left! Kawai sprinting to his right dives, and makes the catch! He faceplants as his body bends uncomfortably above him, but he makes the catch save 2 more runs!
Hirano with a comebacker, off Yanagi's glove and into center for a one-out single!
And he goes for 2nd! Throw is short and he's in safely! Nagai follows that up with a single through the left side and Seikou Gakuin looks to strike back!
But when Sonobe grounds back to Yanagi, Hirano is caught off 3rd! He's run down but then there's no one covering 3rd so he's back safely! But Nagai didn't notice and head back to 2nd, so now he's caught! He goes to 3rd, but then Hirano vacates 3rd. Eventaully Hirano is run down as orginally done and the trailing runners advance as far as they can go.
Anzai hits a comebacker to Yanagi, and while he doesn't field it cleanly, he has plenty of time to make the out to end the inning.
Ozeki with a hard grounder to short that bounces off Hirano. But his throw beats out a diving Ozeki for the out. Because diving at first for outs is the cool thing to do. (No, no snark to see here, move along.)
Takahashi with a liner to left. Kawai leaps and has it, no he doesn't! He scurries back to get it and Takahashi's on with a 2-base error!
Yanagi follows that on the next pitch with a single to left! Runners at the corners!
Haizaki with a liner to center! Saitou makes th catch, and Takahashi holds! Saitou's throw hits home on the fly! 2 down!
Shishikura up and gets locked into a battle with Okano going the full count and pulling some hard hit balls foul. 9th pitch of the AB he hits one to short. Hirano double clutches and his throw short hops 1st! Sonobe can't make the pick and Shishikura is safe! Takahashi scores to make it a 2-0 Yokohama lead!
Tahara grounds to short, but Yokohama tallies another run on the board.
Kyouda gives Seikou another one-out baserunner when he works a walk on Yanagi. But Minowa grounds into the 4-6-3 double play.
It would appear that Yanagi does not necessarily have his off speed pitches going for strikes unless the batter swings. May want to key in on the straight.
Higuchi connects for his 2nd hit, a liner to left.
Aoki with a short fly to center. Saitou charges in, slides, but can't make the catch! Higuchi advances to 2nd on the play.
Ozeki pops it up in the infield, but no one's calling for it! Okano makes the catch though finally and there's 2 down.
Takahashi with a grounder to 1st, and it gets by Sonobe! How did he miss that?! Higuchi scores on the error and it's 3-0 with runners at the corners.
Yanagi grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but while Yokohama earned their 1st run, Seikou has given them the next 2, digging themselves a bigger hole to get out of.
Okano with a grounder to Aoki. He has to hurry his throw a bit to get the hustling Okano out.
Saitou connects on a fastball and singles to right. It does look like if you're looking for a pitch to hit, hit the fastball. His changes are connecting.
And Saitou is picked off 1st! Yanagi catches him in between hops and throws him out! He's definitely not happy. Even more so probably when Hirano singles to right.
Hirano takes off on a slow curve and he takes 2nd! 2nd stolen base of the game!
Nagai though grounds to short, no, make that 3B as Hasegawa cuts in front to make the play at 1st.
Shishikura makes a bid for his 3rd hit, but Minowa makes a great stop and throw to just beat out a diving Shishikura!
Kawai secures a foul fly from Tahara to give Okano his first 1-2-3 inning and more importanly, keep Yokohama off the board.
Sonobe leads the 4th taking a slow curve through the left side. Let's see if the can't get one back here. Anzai tries the safety bunt, but it becomes a regular one.
But Kawai can't even advance the runner as he grounds to short.
Kyouda works the count full and takes a change high to put runners on 1st and 2nd. That prompts Watanabe-kantoku to call for time.
It'll be up to Minowa again to try and score the runs or extend the inning.
However, Minowa doesn't listen to my advice to look for only a fastball, and strikes out on a slider. Two more runners left on base.
#7 Sekine in for Kawai in LF.
Yamauchi connects on a ball left up in the zone by Okano! Sekine to the wall, and it bounces off the top of the wall! He's in with a double! Higuchi bunts him to 3rd and Yokohama is threatening again.
Aoki tries for the squeeze, but pops it up! Okano running to the 3rd base line dives, and makes the backhanded catch! Yamauchi's meat at 3rd and Okano calmly tosses to Kyouda for the inning-ending double play!
Can Seikou capitalize on this momentum?
Okano starts it off taking a hanging curve back up the middle! Man on and the top of the order up!
Saitou up and he gets ahead 3-0. Will he try for the walk? Takes a fastball just high enough for a strike. Swings at the next one, and Yokohama gets the leading runner.
Hirano tries for the safety bunt, but that goes foul! So he hits a single past a diving Higuchi to right!
Nagai with a scorcher! But Hasegawa makes the lunging catch! Saitou is meat at 2nd and the inning is over! We head to the break with Yokohama leading by 3, but most of that was of Seikou's own doing.
Two quick outs for Okano, but he hangs one to Yanagi! He connects and sends one to left! Sekine back to the wall...
Yanagi helps his own cause with a homerun! It's 4-0 Yokohama!
Haizaki with a ball up the middle. Hirano over to field it, but can't cleanly get it! He eats it as Haizaki reaches first.
Shishikura chops one back to Okano for the 3rd out, but Yokohama adds to their lead.
Seikou is trying to get runners on any way possible. Sonobe works the count full, but strikes out swinging. Anzai gets plunked, but it's called a ball because he didn't make an effort to get out of the way (not that people have gotten on for less).
And Sekine grounds back to Yanagi to end the inning.
Tahara does something the Seikou batters were unable to do last half-inning... walk.
Yamauchi is swinging away instead of bunting and drives one deep to center! Saitou runs back to his right, then back to his left... and makes the catch!
Higuchi and Aoki are also retired via fly balls to Anzai and their lucky 7 comes and goes.
Minowa finally gives them a baserunner with a liner past Aoki to center. Saitou-kantoku calls for Okano to bunt looking for a one timer.
But even though he's successful, Saitou swings on the first pitch and flies out to 1st to end the inning.
Ozeki connects on a slider and it one-hops to the wall for a leadoff double.
Takahashi pulls back the bunt, reaches out and stabs one over the infield to right for a single! Runners at the corners for ace Yanagi!
Yanagi singles to right! That sends home Ozeki. 5-0 and runners at the corners again for Haizaki.
Saitou-kantoku calls time, but it probably won't help anymore.
He hits a fly to right. That'll get Takahashi home to make it 6-0.
Shishikura with a liner to center to put runners at the corners.
Saitou-kantoku mercifully pulls Okano out for #11 Iitaka.
But Tahara lines one to right to the wall! Watanabe-kantoku seemingly puts the brakes on and only Yanagi scores to make it a 7-0 game.
Iitaka retires the next 2 batters, and the game seems well in hand.
Hirano up and he drives a ball deep to right! Tahara chases the ball down near the foul pole as Hirano has a leadoff triple!
Nagai singles to center and Seikou avoids the shutout, making it 7-1.
However the struggles in the middle of the order continue. Sonobe is caught looking on a fastball, and Anzai grounds into a 5-4-3 double play.
#12 Nomoto in for Sonobe at 1B.
And while Nomoto yields a single to Takahashi, he strikes out Yanagi looking to end the inning.
#9 Nakase in at RF for Yokohama.
Sekine and PH Nakata (#18) are retired before PH Sakatani (#16) singles back up the middle.
Captain Ujiie (#15) comes in to PH next. And he works a walk.
Still a long ways to go for Seikou as Watanabe-kantoku calls time.
And indeed, Saitou looking for a hit instead of trying to get on base, grounds into the fielder's choice at 3rd to end the game.
Seikou Gakuin was under pressure from Yokohama's bats the entire game and with timely hitting and some errors from the defense scored 7 runs. However, they had their own opportunities and were unable to convert on them until it was far too late.
No scare this time around for Yokohama as they advance to the best 8 to face the winners of our final game of the day. However, Yanagi didn't look particularly sharp today, and he may need to be if they want to win senbatsu this year.
As for Seikou Gakuin, Okano's stellar ERA was a bit deflated due to perhaps the region and the like, and while he wasn't terrible, he wasn't as good as perhaps the statistics showed. They'll pack up and work on improving for the summer.