With the draw up and the winner not having to face Kousei Gakuin, it's a fight now for the semifinals with a little more of a breather - though they will have to play tomorrow...
Osaka Touin is next up. Interesting in that the draw had it so that the finals from the spring would have a day off if they both won.
Osaka Touin has pretty much done what they've needed to to advance. They've displayed their offense in both games, they were able to rest Fujinami for the stretch run, and there doesn't seem to be any chinks outside of possible fatigue from Fujinami the deeper they advance.
Tenri too has done what they've need to as well. None of their games have ever been dominating - as evidenced by the fact that Nakatani has struck out just 9 in 24 innings. And against an offense like Osaka Touin, whom they haven't beaten this year, it's asking a lot. And now #11 Yamamoto will start in for Nakatani who pitched yesterday. We'll find out how deep the bullpen is for Tenri today.
Plus add in the fact that Tenri has no rest inbetween games, and it's not a recipe for success. That and the draw now puts Osaka Touin and Kousei Gakuin on opposite sides of the semifinals, and well, it is fate?
Osaka Touin (Osaka)
P Yamamoto (#11)
11:30 - First Pitch!
Oh, not good.
Mori with a drive to center! Higashihara not giving chase...
And the Osaka Touin power shows itself early. 1-0!
Yamamoto retires the next 2 batters via the groundout, but Tabata singles to center. He does limit the damage striking out Yasui to end the inning, but as is with starting your non-ace, you generally risk going down early.
Well, Fujinami on rest is about what you'd expect out of the blocks. Comebacker to Fujinami, and 2 Ks.
Kasamatsu with a liner to left, Yoshimura climbs the ladder for the out (all 187 cm of him).
Yamamoto just about has a 1-2-3 inning, but Mega's grounder to short is flubbed by Yoshimura. Take one, give one.
No harm done though as Fujinami pops out to Watase on the left field line.
Well, Mega returns the favor. Routine grounder to short, he throws it wide and pulls Tabata off the bag!
Bunt from Inabetsu, and it's right to Fujinami! He throws to 2nd... WIDE!
AH! But now Mori catches Furuta off 2nd! Furuta can only run to 3rd in vain as he retired 2-6-5! Inabetsu goes for 2nd and slides in just safe.
Yoshimura grounds out to 2nd, moving Inabetsu to 3rd, but now Tenri needs a base hit.
Kimura can't deliver, and he grounds out to 1st to end the inning.
Against Osaka Touin, you need to take advantage of anything you're given. Blowing that opportunity is not a good sign.
Top of the order and Mori, and I'm not surprised that Yamamoto basicaly didn't pitch to him.
Hit-and-run from Nishiani-kantoku! Ball back up the middle off the mound and high bounds into center! Mori advances to 3rd and Tenri is in trouble!
Mizumoto pops it up! Watase almost doesn't move as he makes the catch.
Tabata with a grounder to 3rd! Furuta goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... SAFE!
Watase's throw just pulls Inabetsu off the bag and prevents the double play! Osaka Touin leads 2-0!
Yasui grounds out to Yoshimura, but all Tenri can to is slow down the Osaka Touin offense.
Yamamoto hits a single through to right on his first pitch!
And now Fujinami walks Funabiki on 4 straight! Another chance for Tenri!
Hayata tries to bunt, but pops it up! Mori makes a dive, and catches it for the first out!
Highashihara grounds to short! Mega goes to 2nd for one, and that's all they'll get.
Two down and runners at the corners for Watase.
But Fujinami strikes him out to get out of the pinch! Tenri wastes another chance as Osaka Touin is poised to continue slowly pulling away!
Kasamatsu with a sharp liner, but right to Hayata for the first out.
Hakusui also with a liner right at Kimura.
Mega walks to bring up Fujinami. And he singles through the left side! Two on now for leadoff batter Mori. Funabiki rightly goes up to talk to Yamamoto.
They're careful again with Mori, but get him to fly out to left to end the inning,
OW OW OW.
One down and Inabetsu is hit on the back by a 148 kph fastball (~92 mph).
Wild pitch from Fujinami sends Inabetsu to 2nd!
Yoshimura with a base hit down the right field line! Inabetsu holds up at 3rd.
Chance again for Tenri, but Kimura goes chasing and hits a comebacker to Fujinami. He goes to 1st for the out.
Yamamoto with a drive to right! But Mizumoto backs up and is there for the catch. 3 out. Another chance wasted against an off Fujinami.
After a long AB with Oonishi, Yamamoto gets him to chase a high fastball for the K.
Mizumoto checks in with a hit as he singles to left.
Oy. A ball goes up and glances off the logo of Tabata's helmet! He immediately says he's fine, but per rules he's lifted for an injury runner.
Yamamoto goes 3-0 to Yasui and the announcers notice that he's got blood on his pants. Perhaps a blister or cut fingernail of some sort. Yet he's still pitching and fills up the count.
He loses Yasui though and it's manrui for Osaka Touin. Hashimoto-kantoku calls for time, but keeps Yamamoto in the game, possible injured hand and all.
I don't like the looks of this.
Kasamatsu with a slow grounder to short! Yoshimura goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st, not in time! The grounder was too slow to turn two and now Osaka Touin leads 3-0!
Hakusui flies out to right, but that's another step Osaka Touin has taken towards the semis!
Hayata with a comebacker, but it's off Fujinami'g glove and trickles to 2nd base! Fujinami chases it down, but the throw isn't in time!
Fujinami though comes back to strike out Higashihara and Watase swinging to end the inning.
We hit the break with Osaka Touin methodically expanding their lead over Tenri, who has had chances, but just cannot capitalize on them.
As expected, ace Nakatani is in to take the mound in relief of Yamamoto.
One down and Fujinami drives a ball to left! Hayata running back to the fence!
Fujinami shows his display of power as he gives Osaka Touin another run! It's 4-0!!
Mori meanwhile gets his 2nd walk of the day. Nishitani-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, and it advances the runner when Oonishi grounds to 2nd.
Mizumoto with a drive to center! Higashihara running back, can only watch at it lands in front of him and into the wall! Mizumoto's in with an RBI double to make it 5-0.
Tabata hits a can of corn that Inabetsu catches for the 3rd out, but 2 more runs almost make this a formality now.
Well, Fujinami, with a comfortable lead has shaken the cobwebs out. Furuta goes down looking a slider, Inabetsu on a fastball.
Yoshimura makes contact, but grounds to 3rd for the 3rd out.
Yasui with a drive to center! Higashihara running back, watches it bounce off the top of the padding and over the fence for a ground rule double!
Kasamatsu advances Yasui to 3rd with a ball to the right side.
Hakusui with his first hit (this Koushien!) as he singles through the right side! Yasui scores to make it 6-0!
#13 Kinden to hit for Mega. Nakatani walks him, and that's it for Nakatani. #13 Urushihara comes in out of the bullpen to take the hill.
Fujinami registers his 2nd base hit through the left side.
So now it's manrui for Mori. Boy this could get ugly quick.
Count goes to 3-1 on Mori. Will Urushihara give in and pitch the fastball?
Yes, but it's a comebacker to Urushihara! He goes home for one, but that's all they get.
Still manrui with 2 down now for Oonishi.
Comebacker, through to center! 2 runs should and 2 score on the play, making it 8-0 Osaka Touin.
Urushihara finally ends the inning getting a comebacker from Mizumoto, but an 8 run lead should be comfortable (I see no Riseisha-type comeback coming).
#17 Kuroda to hit for Kimura, grounds out to 3rd.
Urushihara can only look up after he goes down swinging on an outside fastball.
And Funabiki chases a slider in the dirt for 3 outs. Yep, its pretty much a formality now.
Kuroda stays in the game at RF, while #12 Yamagishi comes in for Funabiki at C.
Tabata with his 2nd hit, a single through the left side. Urushihara next walks Yasui. Kasamatsu tries to lay down the bunt, but goes down 0-2. And takes a curve for strike 3.
Hakusui tries for 2 hits on the day with a line shot, but it's right at Inabetsu.
Mizuya in for his first AB, goes down swinging to end the inning.
Hayata watches a 147 kph fastball go by for yet another K. Higashihara, yep swings on a cutter down and away for strike 3.
And Watase hits a comebacker to Fujinami for the 3rd out.
Two down, and #12 Morishima hits for Oonishi. He's retired 4-3, and while it's Tenri's first 1-2-3 inning, it's come way too late.
#16 Nishi comes in for PH Morishima and takes over at 2B.
Well, last hacks for Tenri.
Kumamoto up, grounds out to 3rd.
#10 Sekiya in to hit for Inabetsu. Ks on the cutter.
Yoshimura last chance for Tenri.
And wouldn't you know it, he drives a ball to deep left center! Hakusui watches it as it hits the netting for a HR! 8-1! Wouldn't you know it, they avoid the shutout.
Kuroda goes down looking to end the game, and there you go.
So as the announcers have been saying all game, Osaka Touin "revenges" their 8-4 loss in the quarterfinals of the fall Kinkis Super-Regionals here at the quarterfinals of Natsu Koushien.
And so their quest to be the 7th haru-natsu renzoku yuushou (春夏連続優勝) continues. That and a kesshou (決勝) matchup with Kousei Gakuin.
It's still hard for the Tenri players to lose to the hands of a rival in Osaka Touin, but if noting else they have a happy disposition about it. Though that in part probably comes from the "Joyous Acceptance" in Tenrikyo teachings. It's why some people might mistake their reactions and smiles for aloofness.
As expected, Tenri really had one hand behind their back playing on no rest. But that's how Koushien goes unfortunately. A Best 8 finish is still good and one they haven't had in years, so at least that is progress. Or one would hope.
Osaka Touin, will get one days rest and face yet another team with no rest. A spot in the finals might well be waiting for them.
Fujinami Shintarou (Osaka Touin) - CG, ER, 4 H, 13 K, BB, HBP
Fujinami Shintarou (Osaka Touin) - 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI
Mori Tomoya (Osaka Touin) - 1-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB
Yamamoto Tatsuya (Tenri) - 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 3 BB, HBP
Yoshimura Kousuke (Tenri) - 2-4, HR, R RBI