Well, with the draw out (see 2 posts prior), Tenri and Urawa Gakuin know what's at stake should they win - a matchup tomorrow against Senbatsu winners Osaka Touin.
But, even though the matchup isn't ideal, you still want to be there because you want that chance.
For both schools, it's a batle of respect.
Saitama has experienced a drought at Koushien for 10 years and Seibou Gakuen. For Urawa Gakuin, it's their first Summer appearance in the 3rd round since their first time in 1986.
For Tenri, they have not reached the 3rd round since 2004. Since then, the team has been mired a bout of medocrity, topped with the fact that Chiben Gakuen had surpassed them.
Both teams have looked good in their 2 games so far. Osaka Touin can wait for later. For now, it's a spot in the Best 8.
Urawa Gakuin (Saitama)
P Yamaguchi (#10)
13:00 - First Pitch!
Nakatani off to a smooth start. Takemura strikes out swinging on an outside fastball. Rinzaki hits an easy comebacker to Nakatani. And Satou flies out to left.
Yamaguchi taking the hill instead of Satou. I don't know if you set your lineups ahead of the draw or not, but this may be trying to rest him should they win.
Hayata, after fouling a couple of balls off, gets hit by a slow curve.
Higashihara not bunting, chops a ball up the 3rd base line. Takada takes it fair and throws to 1st for the out.
Yamaguchi having a bit of trouble finding the zone, going 3-1 to Watase before having him chase a slow curve in the dirt. He then gets under one and pops up to 2nd.
2 down for Furuta and Yamaguchi throws behind him. Oy. If Tenri picks up on this they should focus on the fastball and ignore the curve.
Yamaguchi behind Furuta 3-1 too. Ball inside and that brings up Inabetsu as Rinzaki goes out to talk with Yamaguchi.
And now he hits Inabetsu! Two down, manrui for Yoshimura!
Wild pitch! Curve gets away from Rinzaki and Hayata scores to make it 1-0!
Yoshimura gets under another curve and Akashi is there at the 1st base fence for the catch.
So without a hit, Tenri scores a run. For Urawa Gakuin, they should be happy it wasn't more.
Yamane takes the first pitch from Nakatani and singles to left center. Higashihara cuts it off quickly limiting it to a single.
Now Nakatani hits Sasagawa! Now Urawa Gakuin has a scoring opportunity! Takada bunts the runners into scoring position.
Akashi shows squeeze late, but lays it down! Inabetsu's only play is to 1st, and Urawa has tied the game up at 1-1!
Yamaguchi flies out to left, but Urawa gets Yamaguchi's back this time around and responds quickly to the run from Tenri!
Yamaguchi almost gets a 1-2-3 inning, but after retiring Kimura and Nakatani on 4 pitches, he issues a 4 pitch walk to Funabiki.
That flips the lineup back to Hayata.
He drives a ball to right center! Sasagawa sprinting to his left, dives, but doesn't have it! Nishioka chases it to the walll as Hayata winds up with an RBI triple! 2-1 Tenri!
Higashihara a scorcher down the 3rd base line, it bounces off of Takada and into foul territory! Hayata scores as Higashihara takes 2nd! 3-1 Tenri!
Watase with a hard bounder to the right side. Akashi can't get to it, but Midorikawa has it. Has to wait a bit for Yamaguchi, but they retire Watase for the 3rd out.
But some hard hits from the top of the Tenri order give them back the lead!
Midorikawa with a grounder to the gap on the right side. Watase makes the great diving stop, but loses the ball when getting up to make the throw.
Takemura pops up his bunt! Inabetsu charging in dives to his left, and makes the catch! Wow!
But now Nakatani is called for a balk! Midorikawa in scoring position.
Rinzaki grounds out to 1st, but does advance the runner.
But Satou, anticipating the fastball, is way in front of a slider, and pops it up! Watase out in shallow center makes the catch!
Pitching change for Urawa Gakuin. But it's not what you think.
#14 Kojima comes in for Yamaguchi and takes the hill.
After Furuta can't get around an inside fastball, Inabetsu takes a ball the other way past Midorikawa.
#17 Wakumoto is warming up. I think they're going to throw the kitchen sink of pitchers at Tenri to try and rest Satou.
Yoshimura with a liner up the middle, Midorikawa has a chance at that one, but can't backhand it and it's into center! Inabetsu at 3rd, and it's runners at the corners for Kimura!
Kimura tries the squeeze, but it goes foul!
Instead he swings away and hits a ball to center! Nishoka is there for the catch and Inabetsu tags up! Throw in is cutoff and it's now 4-1 Tenri!
Nakatani inside-outs a fastball and sends it through to left! Yoshimura advances 90 feet.
#9 batter Funabiki up, and now he takes one the other way over Takemura into left! Manrui and the lineup turns back over to Hayata!
But he gets jammed and pops it up! Yamane coming in, catches it on the foul line for the 3rd out. But Tenri adds another run.
Yamane with a soft liner back up the middle, cues away from Yoshimura! Goes into center for a base hit!
Sasagawa with a grounder to the right side! Watase with the sliding pick, turns and throws to 2nd! Yoshikawa with the ball, goes to 1st... double play!
Inabestu with the great pick at first finishes the double play! But it was Watase great pick and throw, all in one motion it seemed, that started it.
Takada just crushed a ball. I mean you don't have to look to know, you just hear the sound and you're like, "That's gone."
Hayata gave it the token run, but I think he knew too. It's now 4-2!
Akashi grounds to 3rd, but Takada no doubt about it HR gets a run back.
Higashihara opens the inning with a fly to center.
Watase cannot buy a base hit right now. Hard hit ball right on the 1st base line it seems is dived for and grabbed by Akashi who tosses to Kojima for the out.
For that part, neither can Furuta. He strikes out on a slider in the dirt and he's 0-2 on the day.
For Kojima, it's Urawa's first 1-2-3 inning this game.
After an excuse me swing that resulted in a comebaker to Nakatani, he freezes Midorikawa on a fastball.
Back to the top of the order and Takemura, he hits a grounds to 1st. Inabetsu tosses to Nakatani who just beats Takemura to the bag.
Inabetsu with a hot shot that just eats up Takada and goes down the line to the wall. He's in with a leadoff double.
Yoshimura with the bunt! Both Kojima and Takada are late getting to the ball. Throw to 1st, not in time! All safe!
Yoshimura takes off for 2nd! Rinzaki with the, WHAT THE??
Rinzaki throws the ball into the ground! Worse it it goes in betwen Takemura and Takada into left! Inabetsu scores and Yoshimura takes 3rd! 5-2 Tenri?!
I have to think he was either not going to throw him out, but then realized he had a chance and released it too late or he just couldn't hold on to it when faking the throw. Either way a run scores.
Kimura looking to extend the lead, but he hits it to short! Takemura looks down Yoshimura then makes the play at 1st. One down.
Nakatani also grounds to 2nd! And again Takemura checks Yoshimura and makes the 2nd out!
But Funabiki will have none of it! He singles past a diving Midorikawa into center! Yoshimura comes in to make it 6-2!
Hayata pops out to Midorikawa to end the inning, but a bizarre play resuls in two more runs for Tenri as we hit the break.
One down and Satou doesn't do too much with the outside fastball, taking it the other way for a base hit.
Nakatani get a little careful with Yamane (he is 2-2 on the day), and winds up walking him on 4 straight. That gets Hashimoto-kantoku to call for a conference.
Sasagawa with a very hard liner to right. Kimura running over makes the catch.
That brings up Takada who hit the HR in his last AB.
Nakatani being a little careful with him too, falling behind 3-1. He walks him and it's manrui. Funabiki goes out to talk to him as the douten run in Akashi steps to the plate.
Akashi swings on the first pitch and pop it up! Furuta in foul territory waits for it, and makes the catch! Big chance for Urawa Gakuin to narrow the margin goes begging here in the 6th!
Okay so it wasn't the kitchen sink. Ace Satou takes the mound here in the 6th while #8 Nishioka takes his position in the lineup (for Kojima) and his position (CF).
Watase with a nubber up the 1st base line. Satou goes to track it down, but misses the pickup with the glove! He finally has his first hit of the day! (Hurrah?)
Cleanup batter Furuta though is still hitless after he flies out to right.
Inabetsu up, but Watase tries to steal 2nd! Throw from Rinzaki though is in time and the side is retired.
Nishoka with a ball to the right side. Watase runs it down at the outfield grass and throws him out.
#12 Morito in to hit for Midorikawa. Grounder to short and Yoshimura loses the ball! Gets it back, but too late!
Takemura with a drive to center! Higashihara running back, makes the catch! 2 down.
Rinzaki with a fly ball to shallow lefr center! The middle infield and Hayata and Higashihara converge, but Highashihara calls all of them off to make the catch.
Morito stays in the game at 2B.
After a quick groundout by Inabetsu, Yoshimura fouls off pitch after pitch, and on the 14th pitch of the AB, draws a walk!
Kimura up, and he's without a hit on the day (him and Furuta are the only ones).
2-1, he almost takes off the head of his 3rd base coach.
Count full now, he grounds one to short. No play on Yoshimura, so he throws out Kimura.
Nakatani goes down on 3 straight, so nothing for Tenri in the lucky 7.
Satou with a comebacker up the middle, snagged by Nakatani for the 1st out.
Yamane with his 3rd hit, a scorcher on the ground past a diving Watase.
Sasagawa with a grounder up the middle past Nakatani! But Yoshimura is there to field it! Takes it to 2nd for one, throw to 1st, double play!
Tenri is retired in order here in the 8th, so they're 3 outs away from closing out the game.
Last chance for Urawa Gakuin.
Takada flies out to right for the 1st out.
#18 Hattori comes in to hit for Akashi. Ground to the left side, Furuta makes a good stop, throws to 1st for the 2nd out!
Last chance in Nishioka. He hits one to left center! That falls in for a base hit! Higashihara is there to get it, but Nishioka has a double!
Morito steps in now.
Count goes to 3-1. Morito swings and pops it up! Watase at the right field line, makes the catch! Tenri advances to the Best 8!! 8 years in coming for a school that had been good in years past.
For Urawa Gakuin, it's unfortunate as they rested Satou to start the game, and the gamble didn't pay off as they found themselves behind by the time he came in the game. As a result, Saitama falls short of reaching the best 4 again. And the realization of the end of the summer comes upon the Urawa Gakuin players and it's very hard - especially for ace Satou. But they represented Saitama well in my opinion.
For Tenri, it's a surprise for me to see them reach the Best 8. Perhaps I had lowered expectations, or the team is better than I think, but they've certainly earned their ticket.
But there's little time to rejoice. Return to the the hotel, get some sleep, and wake up to face Osaka Touin in the quartefinals.
Nakatani Kenta (Tenri) - CG, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 K, BB, 2 HBP
Inabetsu Akira (Tenri) - 2-3, 2B, 2 R, HBP
Yoshimura Kousuke (Tenri) - 2-3, R, BB, SB
Takada Ryouta (Urawa Gakuin) - 1-2, HR, R, RBI, BB
Yamane Yuuta (Urawa Gakuin) - 3-3, R, BB