Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 8, Game 4 - Tottori Jyouhoku (Tottori) vs. Tenri (Nara)

This is one of those games that makes me nervous in that I saw promising things from a team that I liked, but frustrated me to no end - but feel like I need to see another game to prove I believed what I saw.

Tenri, facing a Miyazaki Kougyou team that hadn't been to Koushien in 52 years, was in a dogfight for the first 5 innings.  Down 1-0 in the 6th, Tenri used a pair of effors to get ahead 2-1.

The knock I developed on Tenri was that they were too predictable.  You could bet that in a close game with a runner on 3rd, they'd squeeze bunt without fail.  That combined with other questionable managerial decisions made them a team that I thought wouldn't be good.  (Side note, I think much like the dormitories for the Tenrikyo church where the residence managers change every couple of years, apparently the manager does too as I believe they've had a different manager every year they've been to Koushien since I've been following it - which obviously hurts continuity).

But in this game, the errors were caused because they weren't predictable.  In that 6th inning, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Miyazaki infield was playing in expecting a squeeze bunt from Watase.  Heck, I was expecting it too.

He didn't.

Instead he swung away, hit a ball up the right field side.  Both the 1B and 2B went to the ball, then the 1B retreated back towards the bag.  When the 2B went to toss the ball towards 1st, both the P and the 1B watched it go right in-between them allowing the 2nd run to score.

That seemed to setup the 7th when after a leadoff double and sac bunt, they then decided to pull off the suicide squeeze which worked.

Sure, I may be looking into it more than I should be but it does seem like they're learning.  I hope.

It doesn't hide the fact though that Tenri managed just 5 hits in their game, which doesn't bode well for future games at all considering who they were playing.

On the mound, Nakatani was serviceable for his 6 innings of work, and while Hashimoto-kantoku probably made the right decision to relieve him, Yamamoto still made things interesting in the final 3 frames.  So even with a lead, unless it's a large one, it'll still be nail-biting time until the last out.

Tottori Jyouhoku took advantage of an error which would have ended an inning, and scored all their runs for a 3-1 win over Kagawa Nishi.  But 4 of their 8 hits came right after the error, and ace Hirata allowed several run-scoring opportunities in the final 3 innings not to mention that he went from 5 Ks the first time through the order to 2, 1 and 0 in the subsequent iterations.

This game may come down to late game pitching as both sides appear to be shaky in endgame play.  Whichever side falters first may the the one to go home.

Tottori Jyouhoku (Tottori)
SS Taniguchi
3B Abe
CF Kimura Tetsuya
RF Satou
1B Kawano
C Kinoshita
LF Kobayashi
P Hirata
2B Komai

Tenri (Nara)
LF Hayata
CF Higashihara
2B Watase
3B Furuta
1B Inabetsu
RF Kimura Hide
SS Yoshimura
P Nakatani
C Funabiki


15:44 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Field temperature just a shade over 104F.  Oy.

After a 8 pitch at bat, Nakatani gets Taniguchi to roll one to Inabetsu for the out.

Abe hits a shallow pop to center, Watase running out makes the catch.

Kimura with a comebacker that Nakatani fields and tosses to 1st for a 1-2-3 inning.  But it took him 18 pitches to retire the side.

Bottom 1st
Hayata with good contact but flies out to left. Higashihara whiffs on a slider for Hirata's first K.

Hirata has a unique delivery in that he holds the ball directly behind him in the windup before going forward.

Watase with a hit though the right side for a base hit.

Hashimoto puts on the hit-and-run, but Furuta grounds to Taniguchi.  He beats Watase to the bag for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
Satou with a quick liner to left which Hayata catches.  Kawano watches a fastball go by for strike 3 for the 2nd out and Kinoshita fouls out to Inabetsu to end the inning.  Much more efficient inning for Nakatani this time around.

Bottom 2nd
Inabetsu with a grounder to the gap in left.  Taniguchi with it, but has to hurry his throw and it goes wide.

Kimura with the bunt, Hirata grabs and fires to 2nd, but it's way wide and into center.  Fortunately, it's right to Tetsuya.

Yoshimura lays down the bunt.  Kawano charges in but passes it with no play at 3rd, allowing Hirata to go to 1st for the out.

Nakatani up and he's not showing bunt, but the infield is playing in. In fact he does swing away and falls behind 1-2.

Hot liner foul down the 1st base line!  Hirata goes inside and Nakatani fouls it off.

Hirata goes outside with the fastball and Nakatani is rung up for the 2nd out!

It's up to last batter Funabiki...  He goes down 1-2.  Waste pitch levels the count as Funabiki fouls off another inside pitch.  Next one high and in for a full count.

High and in again and it's manrui for Tenri with the top of the order and Hayata up.

Kinoshita goes out to talk with Hirata.

Hayata with a grounder throught left side!  Inabetsu scores!  Kimura being waved home as the throw is cutoff!  Hayata with a timely 2-out 2-RBI single gives Tenri the 2-0 lead!

Higashihara up for Tenri.  He calmly takes a ball to right!  Runners taking off on contact and Funabiki scores to make it 3-0!

Runners at the corners, still with 2 down for Watase. as Yamaki-kantoku calls time.

Watase turns on another one and singles through to right!  Hayata scores as Satou throws for 3rd!  The throw is offline and Watase thakes the opportunity to take 2nd!

Furuta the 9th man to come to the plate.  Hirata falls behind 3-1 and walks Furuta to load the bases.  That brings up Inabetsu again for the 2nd time this inning.

Hirata gets ahead on two sliders down and away that Inabetsu swings at.  He holds off on the 3rd one just outside.

But he can't resist swinging and strikes out to end the inning.  Tenri with a big inning early sending 10 batters and putting a 4-spot on the board.

Top 3rd
Kobayashi swings on the first pitch, but gets under it and flies out to center.

Hirata with a pop fly down the right field line (where the ABC graphic shows a high level headwind of 10 m/s coming in from RF), Hide, Watase and Inabetsu all converge on it and Hide makes the catch as Inabetsu dives out of the way!  Oy, watch out there.

And Komai goes down swinging on an outside fastball to retire the side.

Bottom 3rd
Kimura lays the safety bunt down!  Abe charging in, but his throw is too late!

Yoshimura up, but he's not bunting.

Kimura takes off for 2nd, but his jump isn't that great and Kinoshita had him dead to rights for out number 1.

Hirata hits Yoshimura, putting the runner back on base.

Natakani with a foul fly, Abe goes over the mound and stumbles into the fence as it falls in.  He's ok.

Taniguchi lifts another ball up, this time in fair territory.  Taniguchi drifts to the 1st base side of 2nd and makes the catch.

Down 0-2, Funabiki waits on two borderline pitches and fills up the count.

Hirata just misses with the 3-2 pitch and there's runners on 1st and 2nd for Hayata.  He falls behind quickly waving at two fastballs.  He's finally able to paint the corner with the fastball, retiring Hayata to end the inning.

Top 4th
Taniguchi leading off for Tottori Jyouhoku and he hits a high fly to left for the 1st out.

Abe with a ball past Nakatani, and past a diving Yoshimura into center for Tottori's first base hit!

Nakatani comes back and strikes out Tetsuya on a high fastball for the 2nd out.

Satou takes a Nakatani pitch the other way.  Hayata turns around and sprints back, but it's over his head!  He tracks it down at the wall, but by the time they get it in Abe scores all the way from 1st!  Satou puts Tottori Jyouhoku on the board at 4-1!

Kawano grounds out to short to end the inning, but Satou gives Tottori progess in cutting into Tenri's lead!

Bottom 4th
Highashihara with a ball to deep left-center!  Kobayashi running back to the wall, stumbles as it fall just in front of the wall. Higashihara running all the way, slides into 3rd with no throw!

Hayata having trouble with his control as he falls behind Watase before getting 2 strikes to fill the count.

Watase with a fly to shallow right.  Satou with it and Higashihara takes off for home!  The relay home is, way offline!  Higashihara scores easily getting back the run they lost. It's 5-1!

Cleanup batter Furuta can't seem to figure out Hayata as he swings on a high fastball for strike 3.

Inabetsu hit on the 3-1 pitch and goes to 1st (even if he wasn't awarded the HBP, it'd stil be ball 4.

First pitch ball to Hide sends Kinoshita out to talk with Hirata again.

After falling behind 2-0, Hirata puts two in the zone that Hide fouls off.  2-2 now and Hide swings and misses on the slider for the 3rd out.

Top 5th
Kinoshita reaches out and pokes one the other way, but Hide is there for the catch.

Kobayashi with a grounder down the 3rd base line.  Furuta makes a great stop, but the throw is up the right field line and past everyone!  Kobayashi takes 2nd on the error.

Hirata with a grounder to 3rd.  He looks Kobayashi back, except that Watase came in behind Kobayashi and he's suddenly caught in a rundown!  He goes down 5-4-6 and Hirata can't advance to 2nd!

Komai gets under one and it's an easy fly to center.  Higashihara there to field it for the 3rd out.

Bottom 5th
Yoshimura up to start for Tenri, and he falls victim to the slider for the first out.

Nakatani gets under one yet again and hits a can of corn to Taniguchi.

Funabiki work the count full for the 3rd straight AB, and again watches a ball just low for his 3rd walk of the game.

Back to the top of the order and Hayata.  He grounds out to 2nd and the side is retired.

Tenri heads into the break with the 4-run 2nd inning being the difference in the game.  Still, the second half will be the more important part as the pitchers go deeper into their pitch counts.

Top 6th
Taniguchi first pitch short chopper.  Nakatani runs it down and throws to 1st for the out.

Abe goes down on 3 straight, waving at an outside fastball for the K.

Kimura with a grounder to short, but Yoshimura short hops Inabetsu and he can't field it.  E6 and the inning continues.

Satou takes off on the 1-1 pitch, it's outide but Funabiki can't get a good hold of the ball and lets Satou take the base.

No harm done outside of more pitches as Satou grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Unlike Nakatani who was at 60 pitches at the break, Hirata sits at 112.

Defensive changes for Tottori Jyouhoku:
  • #15 Hirayama comes in for Taniguchi and goes to 3rd.
  • Abe goes from 3B to 2B
  • Komai goes from 2B to SS
One down for Tenri and Watase hits a ground ball past Kawano fair down the 1st base line!

Watase running through 1st reaches 2nd.

Furuta's struggles at the plate continue.  He goes down swinging on 3 straight for the 2nd out.

And now #13 Urushihara hits for Inabetsu, but hits the first pitch to 2nd for the 3rd out.

Top 7th
Urushihara stays in the game at 1B.

Kawano with a good swing on the ball, but Hayata doesn't have to move to get the out.

Kinoshita with a hot grounder, but right at Yoshimura who goes to 1st for the 2nd out.

Kobayashi with a 2-out baserunner with a single past Furuta into left.

But Hirata hits one to Yoshimura.  He slides a little more than he'd like to field it, but is still able to flick it to Watase for the 3rd out.

Bottom 7th
Hirata finally gets a 1-2-3 inning as he just needs 7 pitches to retire the side.

Top 8th
Komai hits a chopper right in front of home.  Funabiki takes it and throws it to 1st for the out.

Hirayama with a grounder to Urushihara for the 2nd out.

And Nakatani catches the outside corner to strike out Abe to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
Funabiki wants to get in on the hits and hits one hard right between Hirata's legs and into center for a base hit.

Funabiki takes off for 2nd, Hayata with a single to center!  Funabiki rounds 3rd, but holds up as the throw comes in. Hayata though takes 2nd on the throw.

Higashihara not squeezing here it appears.  But he does go after two balls out of the zone... well, make that 3 now as he goes down swinging.

Watase lifts one to left center.  Tetsuya calls off Kobayashi to make the catch, but Funabiki still is able to come in to score making it 6-1.

Furuta looking for the base hit, gets hit instead.

Yamaki-kantoku decides now to send in #10 Nishisaka to relieve Hirata for the last out of the inning.

Urushihara goes down swinging and that's 3 outs.

Top 9th
Last ups for Tottori Jyouhoku.

Kimura with a base hit through the left side to leadoff the inning.

Satou with a liner right at Yoshimura!  He goes to 1st for the double play, but misses everyone and bounced off the camera well!  Kimura is awarded 3rd base!

Kawano with a single to right!  Kimura scores to make it a 6-2 ballgame!

Kinoshita to try and keep the momentum going, but he pops it up!  Funabiki against the backscreen, makes the catch!  2 down!

Kobayashi the last chance for Tottori.  Grounder to 2nd!  Watase flips to Yoshimura and that's the ball game!

Tenri uses a big inning early to get ahead of Tottori Jyouhoku while Nishitani got ahead of the Tottori batters and had relatively stressless innings to help advance his team tot he 3rd round.

For Tottori Jyouhoku it was an uphill battle from the start.  And with their batters continuously off-balance, it was just impossible to overcome.  But it was a good tournament as they earned their school's first win at Koushien, and it can be something they can build on for the future.

Notable Players
Nakatani Keita (Tenri) - CG, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 0 BB
Higashihara Masashi (Tenri) - 2-5, 3B, R, RBI, 2 K
Watase Yuuya (Tenri) - 3-3, 2B, 3 RBI
Funabiki Kakeru (Tenri) - 1-1, 3 BB, 2 R
Satou Kouji (Tottori Jyouhoku) - 1-4, 2B, RBI

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