And now our last game to fill out our Best 8. The winner of this game will face last year's Best 4 finisher Sakushin Gakuin 2 days from now.
Wouldn't it be something if one of those teams was a first timer to Natsu Koushien?
Not only have the won their first aggregate (Spring/Summer) game, but they are one win away from reaching the Best 8! They've certainly exceeded my expectations this Koushien.
Toukaidai Koufu has basically breezed through Koushien. And I don't refer to blowout wins. I mean more in that their games have taken 72 and 90 minutes. That's fast.
I'm not sure if this is their pace, but it seems to work, and keep them out of the sun too. Today, they're giving ace Kanbara a rest, though he's thrown the least amount of pitches for any player who's pitched 2 full games. In fact, Muranaka-kantoku's sitting 2 of his normal starting OF too.
OH. He going for an all RH lineup against Sasanaga.
Ube Kougyou (Yamaguchi)
Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi)
RF Tanaka (#15)
P Honda (#10)
CF Itahashi (#18)
15:32 - First Pitch!
Strikeout of Tomonaga is a good way to start if you're spot starter Honda.
But then he goes full and loses Yamaoka.
And then after a quick flyout to left, he goes full again to Kanemaru and walks him.
Oono with a short flyer to right. Itahashi sprinting in from his position, reaches out and makes the stumbling catch! The wind is really blowing in from RF today, so he really had to book it.
Watanabe with a comebacker off Sasanaga's glove! It deflects to Yamaoka who goes to 1st for the out!
Shinkai goes down on a slider and there's 2 out.
Figures that the only lefty left in the lineup - Yamamoto, draws a walk against Sasanaga.
Ishii grounds to 3rd, who goes to 2nd for the force to retire the side.
One down and Nishino registers Ube Koujyou's first hit with a ball clean through the right side.
Yasuda with a grounder to short, Watanabe with the shovel toss to Shinkai and he fires to first for textbook 6-4-3 double play.
Akiya starts off with a single to left. Aihara tries to bunt him over, but Sasagawa goes to 2nd and gets the lead runner!
Tanaka with a comebacker to Sasanaga! He decides to go to 2nd, but Aihara's safe! Throw to 1st, Tanaka's also safe! Toukaidai Koufu with a developing situation!
But Honda grounds to 2nd! Yasuda with the tag of Tanaka, goes to 1st for the double play!
I dunno about that tag, but it's called and the side is retired.
It's finally a quiet inning for Honda. He strikes out Sugita to start the inning, then gets Tomonaga to ground out.
Yamaoka tries the safety bunt, Akiya with the ball flips to Honda who just beats out Yamaoka to the bag.
The game is starting to go at Toukaidai Koufu's pace. They're swinging away early in counts, as Itahashi grounds to short, Watanabe to 3rd, and Shinkai with a pop to Yamaoka in shallow left.
Hinoguchi works the count full, but is jammed and lines out to Watanabe.
Kanemaru swings on the first pitch and hits a can of corn to Watanabe as well.
And Oono gets frozen on a fastball across the plate and the side is retired.
The only theory I have about Toukaidai Koufu's fast play lies in the fact they have no errors. If they can play fast and have no errors, and other teams aren't used to the quick pace, perhaps they can force them into errors if they get them to play fast as well.
Sasanaga gets the call on a fastball on the outside corner for a 3 pitch strikeout. Ishii swings on the first pitch (much like Kanemaru!) and flies out to right.
Akiya with a hard grounder to the left side. Oono makes a great stop! Throws to 1st and Sasanaga is cruising along!
And if they're rushing at the plate too, perhaps they'll swing at pitches they wouldn't.
One down for Ube Koujyou and Nishino hits a ball to right center! The wind knocks it down, but Nishino's still in with a double!
Ace Kanbara is warming up in the bullpen.
Yasuda with a hard hit, past a diving Aihara down the left field line! That'll go for extra bases! Nishino scores on the double by Yasuda! 1-0!
Sugita with a drive to center!! Tanaka running back to the fence, it's over his head and bounces to the wall! Yasuda scores as Sugita hits the 3rd straight double! 2-0 Ube Koujyou!
Back to the top of the order and Tomonaga, but he goes down looking on a fastball.
Yamaoka to try and add one more run, and Honda helps out by throwing a wild pitch! Sugita advances to 3rd!
And now he hits a hard liner! But it's right to Shinkai for the 3rd out. But the 7-8-9 hitters go back-to-back-to-back doubles to give them a 2-0 lead!
One down and Tanaka hits a grounder to the left side. Yamaoka runs it down, tries to throw to 1st, but it's not in time. Good effort though!
#13 Ishiwa to hit for Honda - his day is done as Kanbara continues to warm up.
Ishiwa with a base hit to left! Douten runner is on for Toukaidai! Ozaki-kantoku calls time as #14 Kuriyama comes in to run for Ishiwa.
Itahashi in and showing bunt. But he takes a couple of pitches and falls behind 0-2. Takes one too many as he takes one at the knees for strike 3! 2 down!
Up to Watanabe who's hitless on the day.
Down 1-2, he desparately fighting at the plate.
Watanabe with a drive to right center! Kanemaru and Hinokuchi are chasing back after it! It falls in at the wall Tanaka scores! Kuriyama being sent around 3rd, he scores! Watanabe with a timely triple and we're all square at 2-2!!
Shinkai pops out to short, but an eventful 5th inning here! We hit the break all square at 2-2! And now Toukaidai's ace Kanbara will be entering the game.
We're playing a 4-inning ballgame!
And yes, ace Kanbara comes in for PR Kuriyama and takes the hill.
One down and Kanemaru chops a ball over Kanbara and into center for a leadoff single. Ozaki-kantoku tries to start the hit-and-run, but Oono flies out to right.
Sasanaga turns on a fastball and singles past a diving Shinkai into right.
Small chance for Ube Koujyou though quickly ends when Nishino chases a forkball in the dirt for strike 3.
Grounder back up the middle by Yamamoto gives them the leadoff runner. Ishii shows bunt and lays it down. Sasanaga is there quickly, but falls down! That forces him to go to 1st.
Yamamoto advances another 90 feet when Akiya grouds to 2nd, but now they have to have a base hit or error.
Aihara up, works the count full, then takes a pitch way inside for ball 4! Ozaki-kantoku calls for time.
Tanaka now steps in, he started that 2-run 5th with a single.
But Sasanaga won't let him have one this time! He grounds to short where Yamaoka makes the throw to 1st to retire the side!
Kanbara cruising along at ludicrous speed. This time around he retires both Yasuda and Sugita, and then freezes Tomonaga again on a fastball.
Kanbara with a grounder to short. Yamaoka throws it away, and it goes into the camera well! Kanbara goes to 2nd.
Itahashi lays don the great sac bunt down the 3rd base line and he would ahve been safe had he not dove.
And they basically intentionally walk Watanabe to set up a double play opportunity.
Ozaki-kantoku calls time as Shinkai steps in. He was batting in the 9-spot last game, but now is batting in the 2-spot in the order.
Slow chopper to the left side! Oono can't get to it! Yamaoka gets there, makes the throw to 1st, and gets Shinkai!
But Kanbara scores to make it 3-2 Toukaidai, and Watanabe, alertly seeing that both Oono and Yamaoka were going for the play, advance to 3rd!
Sasanaga though limits the damage to just the one run as he gets Yamamoto to groundout to short.
One down, Hinokuchi singles to left center! He thinks about 2, but scrambles back when Yamamoto gets to the ball and fires it in.
Kanemaru hits a comebacker to Kanbara! Throw to 2nd, almost too high but Watanabe has it! Throw to 1st... double play!
Kanbara turns the inning-ending 1-6-3 double play! Ube Koijyou will be to their final 3 outs!
Ishii starts off the inning with a 7 pitch walk. Muranaka-kantoku tries to send him to 2nd, but Nishino guns him down, erasing the runner.
Furthermore, Akiya goes down swinging on the very next pitch. 2 down.
Aihara keep the inning going with a single through the left side.
Now Sasanaga walks Tanaka on 4 straight and there's a runner in scoring position for Kanbara.
And another baserunning error! Sasanaga picks off Aihara at 2nd and the inning is over. Now it's hang on time if you're Toukaidai Koufu
And if you're Ube Koujyou, you got 3 outs left in your Cinderella run.
Oono with a drive to center! Tanaka back and makes the catch! One down!
Sasanaga with a hard hit to the left side! Watanabe with a great backhanded stop! Throw to 1st, beats out Sasanaga!
One out left! Nishino steps in, swings on the first pitch! Grounder to 2nd! Shinkai charging in, picks it, throws.
OUT! The throw beats out a diving Nishino and Toukaidai Koufu advance to the Best 8 for the 3rd time in school history!
Ube Koujyou had one heck of a run in my opinion. Sure, they didn't beat any of the big names in Toyama Kougyou or Sasebo Jitsugyou, but to win 2 games in your first ever Natsu Koushien I think is impressive. So while they didn't reach the Best 8, they had a great Koushien tournament.
For Toukaidai Koufu, they're onto the Best 8, and surprisingly every time except once they've at least reached the Best 8 at Koushien (Spring or Summer), they've advanced to the semifinals and lost.
They'll look to at least continue that trend with their fast play style against Sakushin Gakuin. It's seemed to work so far.
Kanbara Yuu (Toukaidai Koufu) - W, 4 IP, 3 K, 2 BB
Watanabe Ryou (Toukaidai Koufu) - 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB
Sasanaga Minori (Ube Koujyou) - 8 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 K, 5 BB
Nishino Koutarou (Ube Koujyou) - 2-4, 2B, R
Yasuda Shou (Ube Koujyou) - 1-3, 2B, R, RBI