Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 7, Game 4 - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) vs. Iidzuka (Fukuoka)

Our final game of the day is our first full matchup of 1st round winners.

Iidzuka scored early against Hiroshima Kougyou and while they gave up their lead, they managed to regain it and hold on for the victory.  However, they had 4 errors in the game which led to 2 of 4 of Hiroshima's runs.

Also, ace Koga was ineffective and was pulled after 3 innings after giving up 3 runs.  Nishi did a much better job on the mound, scattering 3 hits the rest of the way.

Now, Nishi is a righty, and Sendai Ikuei's good hitters are lefties.  But if Koga is ineffective, it doesn't matter if it's R vs R.

Offensively, Iiduzka showed some good hitting, but the bulk of the hitting was done early, and then late when Hiroshima ace Tsujikoma ran out of steam.

Sendai Ikuei had a bit of trouble with Saga Kita in the early going as the middle of the order was the only group having success against ace Suetsugu.  But they pulled away with 5 late runs for the 8-2 win.  The lack of production in the lineup early may be a problem as the level of competition increases.

Meanwhile, ace Watanabe scattered 9 hits and struck out 8 in his complete game effort.

The game tracks for both teams appear to be the same, but Sendai Ikuei may have the better pitcher on the mound.  For that reason, I expect Sendai Ikuei to have the advantage in this matchup.

Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
SS Takahashi Ryuunosuke
2B Kashiwagi
LF Hoshi
CF Uebayashi
RF Hayasaka
P Watanabe
3B Inazawa
1B Itou
C Tanaka

Iidzuka (Fukuoka)
SS Kitano
2B Marumoto
3B Hinoki
CF Ishida
1B Shiraishi
C Hori
LF Kuroiwa
P Nishi (#9)
RF Ezaki (#10)


15:29 - First Pitch

Top 1st
Ryuunosuke first pitch grounds to short.

Kashiwagi though singles to left.  And a passed ball by Hori sends him to 2nd!

Hoshi liner back up the middle into center!  Kashiwagi holds up at 3rd.

Liner to 1st by Uebayashi!  Shiraishi with the catch and Hoshi is doubled off 1st to end the inning!

Bottom 1st
Kitano tries a safety bunt up the first base line.  Itou there to tag Kitano, but fortunately for Kitano, it's foul.

Count goes full, and Kitano walks to first, but is rung up by the home plate umpire on a fastball at the knees.

Marumoto fights off an inside pitch and bloops it over Takahashi into center!

Then he takes off on the 1-1 pitch and Tanaka's throw is high!

Now, Hinoki with a comebacker to Watanabe and he immediately looks to Marumoto who's between bases!  He starts the rundown, but his toss to Takahashi is high!  That allows Marumoto to advance to 3rd!

Sasaki-kantoku calling for time as he needs the team to settle down...

But Ishida with a hot shot to 1st!  Itou blocks it, but can't field it cleanly.  Has to go to 1st for the out allowing Marumoto to score!  It's 1-0 Iidzuka!

Shiraishi with a ball through the left side!  Hinoki's being waved around!  Throw from Hoshi... Tanaka can't field it!  It bounces away as Hinoki scores to make it 2-0!

Hori was a ball deep to center!  Uebayashi running back, but has to play it off the wall!  He's in with an RBI double and it's 3-0 Iidzuka as Sasaki-kantoku has to call time once again.

Kuroiwa flies to left and the inning is over, but Iidzuka jumps out here in the 1st and hits Watanabe for a 3-spot!

Top 2nd
Hayasaka with a ball to left.  Ishida running back, running back?!


Hayasaka with a HR about 15 rows up in the left field bleachers!!  It didn't sound solid off the bat, but it still found its way out of the ballpark!  He puts Sendai Ikuei on the board at 3-1!

One down now and Inazawa hits one to left.  Kuroiwa there, but the ball takes a high hop and off his glove!  Inazawa goes for 2 and reaches on the error.

So a base hit can cut the deficit even further.  But Itou, behind 0-2, hits a slow grounder to short for the 2nd out though he advances the runner.

It's up to last batter Tanaka to drive in the run, or at least keep the inning going.

He hits a fly to right, and the strong wind blowing in (8 m/s) hangs it up for an easy catch from Ezaki for the 3rd out.  Still, Hayasaka is able to chip into the lead.

Bottom 2nd
Watanabe settling down as Nishi goes down on three straight, swinging at an fastball on the outside half.  And then Ezaki does the same.

But then Kitano lays down a safety bunt.  Watanabe running over to field it, throws to 1st, and it's not in time and not where Itou can field it!  It gets past backup Hayasaka and Kitano advances to 2nd.

No matter though, as Marumoto bites on a fork in the dirt for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Ryuunosuke starts off the inning with a single through to right.  Kashiwagi looks to bunt him over.  He lays it down and almost beats the throw from Nishi.

Hoshi with a ball back up the middle for a single!  Ryuunosuke holds at 3rd, so there's runners at the corners as Uebayashi stands in.

Uebayashi gets a hold of one, but it's way foul.  So he takes one and lines it into the left center field gap!  Ryuunosuke scores on the double and Sendai Ikuei trails by just one as Yoshida-kantoku calls for time.

Hayasaka up with a run-scoring opportunity.  He swings and lifts one to right.  Ezaki is there for the catch, but Hoshi scores the douten run easily as we're all level at 3-3!

Watanabe with a drive to right!  He's thinking it's a home run!  He blasted that one!

But it falls at the wall, as the wind blowing in from right knocks it down!  But he's still in with a double and it's 4-3!

Inazawa goes chasing for strike 3, but Sendai Ikuei sees right through Nishi's pitches and surges ahead of Iidzuka!

Bottom 3rd
Hinoki works the count full on Watanabe, but the home plate umpire is calling the low strike and he's rung up.

Ishida with a drive to right, but as he's going to learn, the wind's going to knock that down today as Hayasaka catches that in front of the wall.

Shiraishi becomes Watanabe's 6th K victim as he chases a high outside fastball to end the inning.

Top 4th
Nishi hits Itou up in the shoulders with his first pitch of the 4th. Tanaka showing bunt, pulls it back for a ball.  He lays down the bunt and advances Itou for the top of the order.

The Ikuei batters are really seeing the ball well, as Ryuunosuke is just ahead of a pitch and drives it down the line foul.  After a survival foul, Nishi uncorks a wild pich off Hori's glove to the backstop allowing Itou to reach 3rd.

Another wild pitch!!  Hori can't block it and Itou makes for home!  Throw from Hori is high and Itou scores to make it a 5-3 ballgame!  Itou was rather slow getting home and a better throw would have gotten him, but as it stands the run scores.

Ryuunosuke with a hard single to right!  Nishi is getting battered on the mound!

Hit-and-run!  Kashiwagi connects and hits it to left!  That's over Kuroiwa's head and to the wall!  Ryuunosuke running all the way is sent home to make it 6-3!

And that's it for Nishi.  He's mercifully removed for 2nd year #17 Noda who throws in the mid 130s with a curve, slider and forkball.

But it's the high fastball the Hoshi succumbs to for the second out.

Uebayashi holds up on some close pitches and works a walk... which brings up Hayasaka.

Noda puts in two sliders for strikes and almost gets Hayasaki on a fastball.  He goes back to the slider and Hayasaka gets baited for the 3rd out.  He stops the bleeding, but there's a lot of work to be done.

Bottom 4th
Kuroiwa stays patient at the plate, even taking a low strike that had been getting called and works a walk.  He goes for 2nd on the 0-2 pitch to Noda and steals successfully though Noda strikes out looking.

Wild pitch from Watanabe!  Kuroiwa takes off for 3rd, and Tanaka can't find the ball!  Kuroiwa heads for home, but the ball goes into the dugout!  It's a dead ball, and unfortunately for Iidzuka, Kuroiwa is sent back to 3rd!  Yoshida-kantoku asks for the explanation, and it's that since the ball went into the dugout, the runner is awarded one base from where he was, whis means 3rd.

Ezaki grounds out to 3rd and it's bad luck for Iidzuka as Watanabe get out of the pinch unscathed.

Top 5th
Watanabe with a solid single through the right side.

But Inazawa bunt is right to Hinoki who turns the 5-6-3 double play.  And a pop from Itou gives him a 1-2-3 inning (kinda).

Bottom 5th
Two quick outs for Watanabe as Kitano grounds to 2nd, and Ryuunosuke chases a foul fly down near the bullpen.

Hinoki breaks up the clean inning by sneaking one under Watanabe's glove.

Ishida with one under Itou's dive and into right.  Hinoki headed for 3, Ishida running through 1st for 2nd!  Throw from Hayasaka not in time!

Shiraishi up and Watanabe walks him on 4 straight!  Manrui for Iidzuka as Tanaka comes out to have a brief word with him.

Hori in, takes strike 1.  Swings on a fastball on the outside half and falls behind 0-2.

Goes for the high curve, but no call!

Hori with a ball to right!  but it hangs in the air and Hayasaka is there for the catch.  Watanabe gets out of the pinch and Sendai Ikuei heads into the break doubling up Iidzuka 6-3.

Noda's doing a good job managing the game so far in relief, but they'll need to make progress against Watanabe otherwise the game may run away from them again.

Top 6th
Tanaka goes down on a slider for Noda's 3rd K.  Ryuunosuke tries the safety bunt, but Noda handles that easily.  And Kashiwagi pops out to Kitano for a quick inning for Noda.

Bottom 6th
Watanabe seems to have settled down after the break.  Kuroiwa softly lines to 2nd.  Noda goes fishing on an inside fastball, and Ezaki grounds to 1st.

Top 7th
Hoshi with a fly to deep left.  Kuroiwa taking a bit of a circuitous route there, but makes the catch in front of the wall.

Uebayashi with a long AB against Noda fouling off several pitches before earning his 9 pitch walk.  Hayasaka showing bunt but the first two pitches are way high.  Finally takes one for a strike, and then has the pitch run in on him as he fouls it off.

Another high pitch and the count runs full as ace Koga warms up.

Uebayashi goes for 2nd as Hayasaka takes strike 3.  Hori can't get the ball out his glove and Uebayashi has the base.

Watanabe with another hard hit, but right to Ezaki to end the inning.

Bottom 7th
Iidzuka's Lucky 7 goes out with a whimper as the top of the order is retired.

Top 8th
Ace Koga takes the mound for Iidzuka as Noda's day is done.

Chopper by Inazawa to Marumoto is thrown away for an error.

Itou not bunting goes down swinging on a change for the 1st out.  Tanaka then goes for the sac bunt, and Koga almost throws it away after he bobbles it in his hand.

Ryuunosuke with a single to left!  Inazawa is being sent home, but I can see how this one turns out.  It's a deliberate replay 7-6-2 for the 3rd out.

Bottom 8th
#13 Takahashi Yuuta comes in for Itou and takes over at 1B.

Ishida with a drive to right.  That lands just in front of the wall and he's in with a leadoff double.

Then Watanabe falls behind Shiraishi 3-0 before throwing a strike.  But he walks him anyways, putting the douten run at the plate.  Sasaki-kantoku calls for time.

Watanabe gets ahead of Hori 0-2, then gets him swinging on a 1-2 slider for the 1st out.

Kuroiwa attacks the first pitch, but flies out to center.

Koga trying to help his own cause, but can only show his frustration as he's rung up on an inside fastball to end the inning.

Top 9th
Kashiwagi with a first pitch drive into the right center field gap!  It goes all the way to the wall for a stand-up triple!

Hoshi is unable to drive him in as he grounds out to 1st.  Koga next retires Uebayashi by jamming him into a foulout.

Hayasaka with a grounder to the left side.  Kitano cuts it off, makes the throw to 1st, and Shiraishi makes a great stretch and pick for the 3rd out.

Bottom 9th
#18 Gouko in for Hayasaka in right.

But Iidzuka is down to their final 3 outs.  #13 Yoshida comes in to hit for Ezaki.  He hits a hard grounder to 3rd, but Ryuunosuke is there to make the play and throw for the 1st out.

Kitano does down swinging and they're down to their last out.

Marumoto goes down swining and Sendai Ikuei defeats Iidzuka 6-3!

Iidzuka unfortunately suffered from what Fukui Koudai Fukui did - an ineffective starter.  After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, Nishi gave it all back and then some.  By the time Noda was sent in, it was too late.  They certainly had their chances to try and narrow the margin, but were unable to capitalize and were thus eliminated in the 2nd round.  It was a good showing, just not good enough today.

As for Sendai Ikuei, there were able to recover from a shaky 1st inning from Watanabe and advance.  Even when he was racking up the Ks he wasn't necessarily near the zone and struggled a little bit with his control.  But the continued offensive output is good to see as they are able to punish pitches their opponents leave over the plate.

So Sendai Ikuei advances to the 3rd round and will hope to advance to the Best 8, something they have failed to do the last 2 appearances.

Notable Players
Watanabe Fumiya (Sendai Ikuei) - CG, 3 ER, 7 H, 12 K, 3 BB
Kashiwagi Yuuto (Sendai Ikuei) - 3-4, 2B, 3B, RBI
Takahashi Ryuunosuke (Sendai Ikuei) - 3-3, 2 R
Noda Keisuke (Iidzuka) - 3.2 IP, 0 ER, H, 4 K, 2 BB
Ishida Kenta (Iidzuka) - 2-4, 2 2B, RBI

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