This game features the last summer/spring runner-ups Kousei Gakuin versus Ishikawa's Yuugakukan.
Kousei Gakuin's exploits have been well documented. They reached the finals last year where they lost to Nichidai-san. Meanwhile this past senbatsu, they reached the finals yet again only to use to Osaka Touin.
Being able to reach the finals in 2 different years is quite an accomplishment. This summer though was a bit of a challenge as they almost lost to Misawa and then to Aomori Gakuin in their first 2 games. After that they picked up the pace before being challenged one last time against Seiai.
There isn't much to say about them otherwise, just look at their game logs from the spring (sorry have to get this written up before the game starts). But brief summary, they probably have the talent to win it all, but they just have to get that win against a big team.
Yuugakukan had one of the tougher road a team could in Ishikawa. They had to face Kanazawa, Komatsu and then a resurging Seiryou, and outscored them 13-3. Yet their team batting average for the prefecturals was a paltry 0.293 (though a better 0.329 in the last 3 games).
Still it will be the tandem, much like Kaisei last year, of ace Hirai Shouya and 1B Kurohagi to carry the team.
It will be tough though in my quick opinion for Yuugakukan to win in this matchup - especially with Jyouma on the mound. He may be a better pitcher than Kanazawa.
Kousei Gakuin (Aomori)
2B Kishigawa (#14)
P Kurohagi (#3)
1B Takiguchi (#13)
2B Oota (#16)
CF Hirai Kenta
13:27 - First Pitch
Kurohagi, tasked with starting the game today, is throwing a lot of pitches, but getting the job done early. Ameku grounds to short, Murase goes down swinging.
But then he doesn't get the borderline call on Tamura and winds up walking him.
Houjyou follows that up with a single to center and perhaps there's a 2-out rally?
Nope. Takeda grounds to 1st to end the inning.
Taniguchi with a grounder to the left side. Houjyou makes a great stop and throw to just nail Taniguchi.
Jyouma gets ahead of Onaka, but after a couple of fastballs outside, gets him to swing at a 3rd one for the out.
Kobayashi grounds to 2nd, but Kishigawa throws the ball wide and pulls Takeda off the bag!
No harm done as Kurohagi flies out to left to end the inning.
Kurohagi cruising along as he strikes out Oosugi to start the inning.
Jyouma with a grounder to short, but Taniguchi's throw is short and goes under Takiguchi! Jyouma winds up at 2nd on the error!
Kimura with a grounder to 2nd, that's off Oota and into right center! Jyouman being sent around 3rd and he scores! Back-to-back errors give Kousgei Gakuin the 1-0 lead!
Kishigawa tries the bunt, but pops it up! Kurohagi makes the catch, quickly spins and throws to 1st, but that's over Takiguchi! Oota there to back it up though.
Ameku up and Kimura takes off for 2nd! No throw and he's in safely!
Ameku with the perfect grounder through the left side for a base hit! Kimura holds up at 3rd and now it runners at the corners for Murase.
Now Ameku takes off for 2nd! Throw from Kobayashi is way late!
A lot of pressure building against Yuugakukan as Kurohagi falls behind 3-1...
But he fills up the count and gets Murase to ground to 3rd! Ootaki with the ball, makes the throw to 1st and Yuugakukan is out of the pinch!
Well, that's odd. We're only in the 2nd and #18 Sekiguchi being sent in to replace Murase...
Ootaki leads off the inning with a base hit to left. Takiguchi tries to bunt him along, but instead winds up three bunting his way into an out!
Kitaguchi goes down on a slider down and away for Jyouma's 3rd K.
Oota weakly grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Defensive changes for Yuugakukan. #10 Mizugami comes in for Takiguchi and replaces him at 1B. #4 Fujiguchi comes in for Oota and goes to 2B.
Tamura with a hard liner, but right to 2nd for the first out.
Houjyou gives a Kurohagi pitch a deep ride, but Kenta tracks it down before the wall.
Takeda grounds out to new 2B Fujiguchi and it's a much needed 1-2-3 inning for Kurohagi.
Kenta with a grounder to short. Houjyou makes a great stop and throw to retire Kenta. Jyouma quickly finishes off the inning by getting a comebacker from Taniguchi and a groundout by Onaka.
Oosugi leads off the inning with a single to center. Jyouma bunts him to 2nd, but he's left stranded when both Kimura and Kishigawa ground out to Fujiguchi.
Jyouma cruising along, getting a flyout to right from Kobayashi, and after a somewhat lengthy AB where Kurohagi works the count full, he grounds to 2nd.
Jyouma then doesn't get the call on what he thinks were good pitches and walks Ootaki on 4 straight.
New 1B Mizugami singles back up the middle past Houjyou and there's runner at 1st and 2nd now for Kitaguchi.
Jyouma gets him to hit a grounder to 2nd. Kishigawa with a great charge and throw for the 3rd out.
Sorry for the abbreviated coverage a bit, I had to spend about a half inning figuring out Yuugakukan's defensive changes in the 3rd since ABC was doing a terrible job reporting it and the website wasn't updating for the longest time.
Anyways, top of the order and Ameku. He continues to work the count at the plate, but this time around grounds out to Mizugami.
Sekiguchi in for his first AB and after getting ahead 3-0, Kurohagi puts in 2 strikes to fill the count, yet still loses him on a slider in the dirt.
Kurohagi has a fastball that sits in the low130's, and what seems like 2 off-speed pitches in the 100s and 110s.
Tamura with a comebacker up the middle into center for a base hit!
And it looks like I really didn't need that report on Kurohagi because Yamamoto-kantoku is sending in ace Hirai Shouya.
And there's more mass defensive changes, whee...
- #1 Hirai Shouya comes in Hirai Kenta's spot in the lineup and takes the hill.
- Kurohagi moves from the mound to 1B
- Mizugami moves from 1B to LF
- and Kitaguchi goes from LF to CF.
Houjyou with a grounder to short! Taniguchi with it and the runners were going on contact! Sekiguchi is caught in a rundown for the 2nd out! He stays in it long enough to get Houjyou to 2nd.
But Shouya gets Takeda to ground out to 3rd! Ootaki makes the throw to 1st and Yuugakukan is out of the jam!
Fujiguchi up for his first AB and grounds out to Houjyou. Shouya up for his first AB too and on his first pitch hits a soft liner to Kishigawa.
The order flips over to the top and Taniguchi. He give the ball a good right to center, but Kimura is there for the catch near the wall.
We hit the break with Kousei Gakuin holding a thin 1-0 lead over Yuugakukan.
Oosugi post-break works a long AB against ace Shouya and works a 9 pitch walk.
Shouya uncorks a really wild pitch and Oosugi moves to 2nd.
Jyouma not bunting, but the result is the same with him grounding to 2nd and advacing the runner.
Kimura up and Yuugakukan is expecting a squeeze and the first two pitches are outside expecing one.
But on the 3rd pitch, Kimura doesn't show bunt and laces a ball back up the middle! Oosugi scores to make it 2-0 Kousei!
Kishigawa up and Nakai-kantoku has him bunt Kimura to 2nd for a one-timer from Ameku.
But Ameku goes down swinging on a forkball and the side is retired.
Onaka with another big fly to center, but again the park easily holds it and while Kimura is near the wall, it was rather routine.
Kobayashi up and Jyouma is mixing in quite a few more slow curves. Kobayashi swings on a fastball after one such ball and flies out to left.
Same with Kurohagi, but he holds off on the fastball, then swings on a slider inside in the dirt to end the inning.
One down and Tamura gets his 2nd straight hit as he powers one past Taniguchi into left.
Houjyou gets one near the end of his bat and hits a long fly to center.
Pitch in the dirt by Shouya is lost by Kobayshi! Tamura takes off for 2nd and gets in safely!
However, Takeda chases a fork down in the zone and that's the lucky 7 for Kousei Gakuin.
One down and Mizugami gets his 2nd hit in as many AB as his grounder trickles past Kishigawa and into right.
Jyouma falls behind Kitaguchi 3-0, and after a strike Kitaguchi hits a grounder to almost the same plate! This time Kishigawa is able to run it down and make a great throw to 1st for the out!
Hm... now he's behind Fujiguchi 3-1, but fills up the count. Wonder if he's getting tired?
Fujiguchi with the swing and grounds to short! Houjyou with the throw to 1st and the side is retired!
Oosugi one again gets ahead 3-0, then Shouya throws 2 strikes. This time around, Shouya throws a strike adn Oosugi grounds to short.
Shouya falls behind Jyouma too 3-1, but he gets him to also ground to short. Taniguchi makes a great play on a bad hop.
Shouya by the way for a quick report on him throws in the mid 130s and feature what I think is a forkball and curveball.
Kimura again works the count for the 3rd batter in a row and has his grounder sneak its way past Fujiguchi into right.
Kishigawa falls behind 0-2 and flies out to right to end the inning.
#14 Oohina in to hit for Shouya. His day is done.
Uh oh. Jyouma walks him on 4 straight! Nakai-kantoku calls time as ace Kanazawa goes to warm up.
Taniguchi with a hard liner to left! Sekiguchi moves to his left and makes the catch!
Onaka up and he lays down the bunt! It stays fair as they pick it up, but the umpires call the ball foul as it hits Onaka on his way to 1st!
And now Tamura snap throws to 1st on the next pitch, and Oohina is caught off base! He runs to 2nd but is tagged out! What bad luck for Yuugakukan!
Oonaka flies out to right and Yuugakukan is turned away yet again!
#12 Oozaki now enters for PH Oohina and takes the hill.
Ameku with a grounder to the right side, takes a high bounce, but Fujiguchi makes a great diving grab! Throw to 1st gets a shocked Ameku!
Sekiguchi has Ameku's back though as he slices one down the left field line fair for a double!
That starts to bring up the heart of the order, starting with Tamura. Oozaki falls behind Tamura 2-0, and Yamamoto-kantoku calls a conference.
3-0 count and Tamura drives a ball to deep left! Mizugami is there for the catch and Sekiguchi tags up! Relay throw almost has him but gets away.
That brings up Houjyou. Can he get another insurance run in?
MORE THAN THAT!!!!!!!
Houjyou grooves a ball right down the middle and sends it back to dead center! Kitaguchi running back to the wall, falls on his butt as the ball bounces off the first wall in dead center!
Houjyou with a 2-run HR to make it a 4-0 game and removes almost all doubt as we head into the bottom of the 9th!!
Takeda grounds back to Oozaki, and Nakai-kantoku, Jyouma, and oen-dan can breathe a little easier now.
Kobayashi starts the inning with a solid base hit to right.
But Kurohagi grounds to 2nd! Kishigawa goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... beats out a diving Kurohagi! Double play!
Ootaki grounds to 2nd, and Kishigawa makes the throw to end the game! Kousei Gakuin advances with a 4-0 win!
Well, another possible stumbling block came up in this game against Yuugakukan - their offense. They certainly can score runs, but it's not like in the dominating manner as say an Osaka Touin or Teikyou who are known for their offense. As they are, they can beat the teams that they need to beat - even if it's in clockwork manner. As I said before, it is being able to rise in the moment and win the big game.
Yuugakukan has a hard challenge in the first place drawing haru-natsu runnerups Kousei Gakuin. Sadly, they could only manage 3 hits against Jyouma. But their primary 2 pitchers had limited them to just 2 runs through 8 innings. So on the overall, I think Yuugakukan did a great job representing Ishikawa and should be proud of their efforts.
Jyouma Ryuuhei (Kousei Gakuin) - CG, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 2 BB
Houjyou Fumiya (Kousei Gakuin) - 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI
Kimura Takumi (Kousei Gakuin) - 2-4, RBI
Kurohagi Yukinari (Yuugakukan) - 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 2 BB
Mizugami Yuuto (Yuugakukan) - 2-2