Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 10 - Quarterfinal #3 - Aikoudai Meiden (Aichi) vs. Kousei Gakuin (Aomori)

Our second half of quarterfinal action begins with a bang.  It's a rematch of the Meiji Jingu final as Tohoku champion Kousei Gakuin squares off with Tokai champion Aikoudai Meiden.

In that prior game, Aikoudai Meiden had built a 5-2 lead before Kousei tied it up in the 7th, and scored the go-ahead run in the 8th.  Furthermore, the game may have had a Yokohama moment as a strikeout in the dirt ended the game, but it was apparently possible for the batter to have run around the bases had he and the runners been aware of it.

So fast forward 4 months and the two teams square off again, though this time for a spot in the semifinals.

Kousei Gakuin dominated Hokushou in a 3-0 win in the first game, then blitzed Oumi 13-1.

Aikoudei Meiden has had equal success, shutting out Miyazaki Nishi 8-0, and then Riseisha 9-2.

So both teams have shown themselves to be true title contenders, and yet here they are again, fighting for a spot in the Best 4.

Aikoudai Meiden (Aichi)
2B  Kimura Toshiki
LF  Araki Yuuto
3B  Nakano Yoshiki
SS  Satou Daisuke
RF  Matsuoka Daisuke
1B  Torii Tatsunori
C  Nakamura Yuutarou
P  Hamada Tatsurou
CF  Matsubara Fumiya

Kousei Gakuin (Aomori)
RF  Ameku Shouto
LF  Murase Daijyu
C  Tamura Tatsuhiro
SS  Houjyou Fumiya
1B  Takeda Toshiki
3B  Oosugi Akinobu
P  Jyouma Ryuuhei
CF  Kimura Takumi
2B  Kishigawa Kenta


11:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
One down and Araki gets plunked by starter Jyouma.  Nakano up, and he tries the safety bunt!  Jyouma can't field it and Kishigawa is out of position!  All safe!

Early trouble for Kousei early, but then Satou can't lay down the bunt, and he has to swing away!  Jyouma strikes him out for the 2nd out!


And Matsuoka also goes down swinging as Jyouma gets out of an early pinch!

Bottom 1st
Two quick outs for Hamada to start the game, but then Tamura blasts a ball to center!  Matsubara back, watches it take a bounce to the wall!  Tamura in with a double.

Houjyou up, and he hits a ball to left!  Araki running in, has it... loses it!!!

He can't hold onto the ball after he stretches down to get it!  Tamura, running on 2 outs, scores easily and Kousei strikes first!  1-0!

And Nakai-kantoku starts the running game, sending Houjyou to 2nd, with no challenge from Nakamura!  Adding to problems, after an 8 pitch AB, Hamada walks Takeda adding to his pitch count!

And while he goes full on Oosugi, he gets him to chase to end the inning.  But a stressful inning for ace Hamada as Kousei takes the early lead!

Top 2nd
A really quick inning for Jyouma after the 1st.  10 pitches to record a 1-2-3 inning, and 6 of those were for Nakamura!

Bottom 2nd
Kousei gets a leadoff runner as Jyouma is hit by Hamada.  But Takumi can't advance the runner and is caught looking on a fastball at the knees!

Nakai-kantoku then looks for the one-timer with a sac bunt from Kishigawa.

But Ameku strikes out looking as well on a fastball on the outside corner!

Top 3rd
Jyouma doing a great job of neutralizing the Meiden lineup first time through.

Matsubara's struggles continue after being demoted to the bottom of the lineup.  Heswings over a slider.  Toshiki and Araki groundout and it's a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 3rd
Murase with a grounder to short.  Takes an irregular hop, but Satou adjusts in time before it hits his face!  Tamura works the count full, but Hamada gets him to fly out to left.  Houjyou becomes Hamada's 4th K as he watches a fastball go by him for the 3rd out.

It's a 1-2-3 inning, but none of his innings have been stress-free.

Top 4th
Nakano gets his 2nd base hit, a rope to right.

Bunt-and-run is on, but Nakano gets caught between 1st and 2nd!  Tamura throws for 2nd, instead of closing the gap and that allows Nakano to return to 1st!

Satou in effect bunts, as he hits a high chopper to 2nd.  Douten runner in scoring position.

Matsuoka hits a scorcher to 1st, but Takeda is there for the putout.  Nakano advances to 3rd.

Torii goes down on a slider and slices it to right center!  That's through the gap and to the wall!  Nakano scores as Torii has a stand-up triple!  1-1!

Eh??  Switch-hitting Nakamura bunts on the first pitch??  It's right to Jyouma who makes the play at 1st for the 3rd out.

Not sure about that call, but Meiden equalizes here in the 4th!

Bottom 4th
I don't know if Kousei's batters are seeing the ball well, because Takeda becomes Hamada's 6th K, and 5th looking as he watches a fastball hit the corner for the strikeout.

And Oosugi goes down swinging on a fastball outside!

Jyouma manages to make contact, but all he can do is hit a fly to left for the 3rd out.

Top 5th
One down, and Matsubara tries for a safety bunt.  And while he looked dead to rights, the ball is late getting to 1st and Matsubara dives in safely!  Not sure how that happened!

Hit-and-run!  Kurano-kantoku puts it on and Toshiki grounds it right where Houjyou was!  Matsubara stops at 2nd.

Araki up and... he's bunting??!

But he can't lay it down and he winds up looking at strike 3 inside!


Nakai-kantoku calls for a pitching change!  With the heart of the Meiden order up, he sends in Kanazawa for Kishigawa and Jyouma goes back to 2nd!

And a slight rain comes down at Koushien...

Nakano bunting?  Must be feigning it to get balls?  And now at 1-1, Kurano-kantoku sends out #13 Itou to give instructions to Nakano?

Nakano with a hard grounder to 3rd, but Oosugi is up with it and makes the play at 1st for the out!

Bottom 5th
Hamada finally gets his easy inning.  Takuma quickly flies to right for the first out, Kanazawa hits a routine grounder to 2nd, and Ameku - though he got the count full, strikes out swinging to end the inning.

We hit the break tied at 1 with the pitchers dominating the action.  As to be expected in this matchup.

Top 6th
Satou starts off the 2nd half with a grounder past a diving Oosugi!  Leadoff single for Satou as Matsuoka bunts him along.

Nakamura with a slow chopper up the 3rd base side!  Kanazawa there to field it, and AHHHHHH!!!!!

Kanazawa throws it away!!  It goes up the right field foul territory as Satou comes in to score!  Meiden takes the lead on the error, 2-1!!

And now Nakamura is caught off 1st!  Tamura throws to 1st, but Nakamura avoids the tag!!

But he pushes his luck and tries to steal 2nd, and is caught to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Hamada looking stronger as the game has continued, getting two quick outs and then freezing Houjyou on 3 straight to end the inning!

Top 7th
Kanazawa settling down retiring the first two batters before Toshiki singles to left.

Araki puts a charge on the ball, but Houjyou picks it before it hits the dirt for the 3rd out.

Bottom 7th
Takeda with Kousei's first hit since the 1st!  He lines one into the gap in right-center!  He doesn't stop heading for 2nd and he's in easily!

Douten chance for Kousei as Oosugi looks to bunt.  He lays it down and Kousei is a sacrifice away from tying the game!

Jyouma does one better, hitting one through a drawn in infield to right as Takeda scores! Douten!!  2-2!!!

Kurano-kantoku calls for time.

Takumi with another single through the right side!  Runners on first and second for Kousei!!  Still 1 down!

Kanazawa bunting!  Nakamura makes the play at 1st, but a base hit could score 2 now!  The lineup turns over for Ameku.

The Meiden battery is being careful with Ameku, apparently unintentionally intentionally walking him.  That is until he swings at a 3-1 pitch outside and fouls it off?  Now what will they do?

They go after him!  He hits one up the middle!  Satou with it, throws to 1st... just in time to beat Ameku!

But Kousei comes back in the lucky 7th to tie the game at 2!

Top 8th
Nakano is badly fooled on a ball in the dirt and goes down for the 1st out.

And after a flyout to center, Matsuoka manages to draw a walk on the 7th pitch of the AB.  That gets Nakai-kantoku to call times as Torii steps in.

Kanazawa gets ahead of Torii 1-2.  Torii fighting, fouling one off.  And another.  At this point any hit or walk is crucial.

Ball down and away.  Hit-and-run, and Torii is about to foul it off.  Holds off on another ball down and away!

Down the first base line, foul!  10th pitch of the AB, wild pitch!  Torii walks, but Matsuoka can't advance past 2nd.

Now a base hit could score 1!

Bunt?!  Wild pitch!!  Nakamura just freezes there as Tamura fires to 3rd.. SAFE!!    Now runners at the corners for Meiden as Nakai-kantoku calls time once again.

Can Nakamura get a hit now?  And will he be showing bunt still?

He's still showing bunt?  Why??

And now Kurano-kantoku sends out Itou to talk to him again!  What's going on???!

Bunt again, and it's down for a ball.  2-1.  There's no way he'd be bunting.

But he shows it again and takes it for a strike?!

Nakamura finally swings away and hits one down the right field line!  But it hangs up enough that Ameku is there to run it down for the 3rd out!  Kanazawa out of the jam!

Bottom 8th
Murase with a ball down the right field line.. fair!!  Matsuoka runs it down, but Murase continues going all the way for a leadoff double!

Tamura, not bunting as he fouls one off!  Camera goes to the over field view and the outfield is playing slightly in.

Oh?  Nakai-kantoku sends in #17 Sekiguchi now to run for Murase!

Ball inside for strike 2.  But Takura hits a deep fly to center!  Matsubara goes back for the catch, but Sekiguchi is able to tag up to 3rd!

Now Houjyou with the opportunity to get the gyakuten runner home!

But it looks like Hamada and Nakamura aren't going to touch Houjyou as they fall behind 3-0.

Check that Hamada does throw a strike, and Houjyou lines it foul.  And they still go after him as he fouls off another one.  Guess it wasn't an intentional walk after all.

Houjyou now fighting at the plate as he fouls one off.  He goes for the squeeze and it hits him!  The Meiden battery is arguing for a strikeout, but the umpire calls a dead ball!

That puts runners at the corners for Takeda.  He fouls one off!  Nakamura running towards the back screen, leaps to try and beat the ball to the fence, but can't!

And after a pitchout, Takeda swings and fouls it off!  No squeeze here!  (I think...)

Another foul!  Hamada needs the K or a double play.  Gotta keep the ball on the ground.  Fastball outside, misses wide.


Hamada hits the outside corner with the fastball and Takeda is retired!  2 down! It'll be up to Oosugi, 0-2 so far today.

Houjyou takes off for 2nd, and gets no throw!  Hamada falls behind Oosugi 3-0.

He hits a ball to center!  Matsubara running over, makes a desperate dive...


The ball goes all the way to the wall!  Sekiguchi and Houjyou easily score.  And Oosugi is being waved around!  The throw in is not in time and Oosugi has an inside-the-park homerun!  Kousei leads 5-2!!!!

And now Jyouma walks.  Have they given up?

Takumi strikes out to end the inning, but Kousei seems to have taken an insurmountable lead here with just 3 outs to go!

Top 9th
Has Kousei once again struck late against Meiden?  It'll be 8-9-1 batters up for Meiden.

Hamada leading off, no hits on the day.  He hits a comebacker to Kanazawa and goes down for the 1st out!

#16 Matsui coming in to hits for Matsubara.  Can he somehow start something?

No!  He grounds out to short!  Houjyou makes the play for the 2nd out!

It's up to Toshiki to keep the game going for Meiden...

But he hits one to 2nd!  Jyouma opens and ends the game as he throws to Takeda to end the game!

Aomori's Kousei Gakuin has made the semifinals by defeating Meiden for a second time!  And the game almost was a complete copy of the Meiji Jingu final as Meiden held the lead early, Kousei tied the game in the 7th and took the lead in the 8th!

To defeat a team in such a manner twice, you have to give credit to Nakai-kantoku for going with what works instead of trying a new strategy.  As a result, his team moves one step closer to the championship.

Meiden finally made a good run this year, but falls short yet again.  Kurano-kantoku will have to find something more for their pitching staff if they are to compete for the title.

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