Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 9, Game 3 - Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi) vs. Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)

Our final matchup in day 9, and the 2nd round is a match of enigmas.

Ryuukokudai Heian was actually involved in a high-scoring affair against Asahikawa Kougyou.  The runs at the beginning of the game made sense - they took advantage of walks issued by Kanno.  But in the 2nd half of the game, in what I have to attribute as pitcher fatigue, they put up 5 runs before winning in 11.

So, would then Heian suffer from a poor offense if Kanno had been able to say consistent all game?  It's hard to say.  Furthermore, ace Tamura couldn't make it through 7 and needed the bullpen to cover the rest.  Even still they gave up 8 runs total.

As for Toukaidai Koufu, I really don't have any new analysis about them.  They won a game in 76 minutes, with ace Kanbara not challenged at all, and the offense could just cruise on the 3 runs it scored.

There's almost nothing I could take from that game that could apply to the next one, because I'm sure they'll not play at the same tempo this time around.

But I won't be able to say necessarily that Kanbara has bad control or low stamina that Ryuukokudai Heian can take advantage of, or if Toukaidai Koufu's offense was taking parts of the game off given the dynamic.

I think Heian will be at a disadvantage in the game, only because I think the offense will struggle more this time around, and if you can't score, you can't win.

Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi)
SS Watnanabe
CF Saitou Keisuke
LF Yamamoto
C Ishii
1B Akiya
3B Aihara
RF Saitou Hiroki
P Kanbara
2B Shinkai

Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
CF Izawa
2B Umeda
1B Kubota
RF Takahashi
LF Arita
3B Shimada
SS Kimura
C Hiraki
P Tamura


13:26 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well it certainly feels like we're not moving a ludicrous speed to start.  But Tamura is retiring the Toukadai batters to start.  Watanabe with a grounder to 3rd.  Keisuke hit a hard liner, but right at Kubota.

Yamamoto denies the clean inning as he drives a fat fastball into the right center field gap for a double.  Ishii is then hit on the next pitch.

Akiya up to try and give Toukaidai the lead here in the top of the 1st.  But he hits a comebacker to Tamura who goes to 1st and ends the inning.  A bit shaky to start, but no damage donw.

Bottom 1st
Izawa with a first pitch fly to Yamamoto.  Umeda is rung up on a slider that seems a bit low.

Kubota with a chopper to Akiya.  He takes it to the bag and it's a clean inning for him to start.

Top 2nd
Aihara takes the pitch away and past a diving Kubota down the right field line!  He's in with a double.

Hiroki tries to bunt, but pops it up.  A charging Tamura catches it for the 1st out.

Kanbara up, and down 1-2, he's fouling everything off, even ones that would be balls.  He then hits a grounder to short, and Kimura fumbles with the ball!  The throw is late and everyone's safe!

Shinkai with a ball to the right side!  Umeda dives, but the umpire calls no catch!  He goes to 2nd then for the force and then Kimura notices Aihara off base and he's run down for the weird 4-6-5 double play!

Bottom 2nd
Though from the replay it looked like he had it in the fly and if so it would be a bad break for Ryuukokudai.

One down after Takahashi's K, and Aihara lines one past the stab of Kanbara into center for a base hit!

Shimada with a grounder right to Watanabe!  He starts the 6-4-3 double play and it's another quick inning for Ryuukokudai!

Top 3rd
Watanabe jumps on a hanging slider and drives that to center!  Izawa runs it down as it lands at the base of the wall., but Watanabe is in with a leadoff double!

After a bunt by Keisuke, that brings up Yamamoto, who quickly swings on the first pitch and hits that to left!  Arita running that down and that lands on the base of the wall!  Watanabe scores on the timely double, and in just 3 pitches Toukaidai Koufu scores a run!  1-0!

Ishii can't advance Yamamoto as he fouls out to Kubota, and Akiya grounds to short.  And while Kimura fumbles a bit with the ball he has time to make the out.

Bottom 3rd
Kimura with a hard hit to left!  That gets by a drawn in Yamamoto and he has to chase it down to the wall!  Leadoff double for Kimura!

Ah!  But Ishii makes a snap throw to 2nd and they get Kimra off base for the 1st out!

After that pickoff, Hiraki grounds out to short and Tamura can only watch a fastball go by him for the 3rd strike and the 3rd out.

Top 4th
The game is going by quickly, but not at a frentic pace.  Toukaidai Koufu's batters are taking pitches, they're just getting retired.  Aihara flies to right, Hiroki grounds to 2nd, and then Kanbara finishes it off with a fly to center.

Bottom 4th
As expected, Ryuukokudai's batters are having trouble finding finding the holes out there.  Though Ishii and Umeda go down via the K to start.

Kubota prevents the 1-2-3 inning with a single back up the middle.

Count goes full on Takahashi, Kubota takes off on the pitch, but Takahashi goes down swinging on a slider for the 3rd out.

Top 5th
Shinkai leads the inning off taking the first pitch to center.  Watanabe tries the safety bunt, and almost beats out the throw from Tamura.

Keisuke flies out to to shallow left, and there's quickly 2 down.

Yamamoto with a ball to shallow center!  Keisuke runs in, and pulls up as it falls in!  Shinkai scores and it's 2-0 Toukdaidai!

Ishii give the ball a drive to deep left center.  Arita ranging in front of the wall, moves towards center, and makes the catch for the 3rd out.

Toukaidai Koufu extends their lead, but I'm puzzled why in that case Keisuke didn't sell out.  It was a fly ball and it wasn't going get by him, and more importantly it would have prevented the run.

Arita with a comebacker to Kanbara.  He runs it himself to the bag for the 1st out.

Shimada able to get his bat around on an inside pitch and hits it right off the bag!  It deflects high into left and Shimada is able to take 2nd!

Kimura with a single to center!  Shimada makes a late break for 3rd as he had to wait on the ball.  Keisuke comes up throwing, the ball is there, SAFE!!

Shimada is safe as the replays show Aihara fielding the ball high on the hop and thus is late on the tag! Runners at the corners for Ryuukokudai!

Hiraki lifts a ball to right!  Hiroki is there with the catch, Shimada breaks for home.  Relay throw home is not in time and Ryuukokudai Heian is on the board!  It's 2-1!

Kanbara strikes out fellow ace Tamura to retire the side, but Ryuukokudai gets the run back and trails by one again heading into the break!  Ryuukokudai Heian's kept the game close, so they still ahve a chance.

Top 6th
Akiya hit by Tamura to start off the 6th.  Aihara feigns the bunt and swings away, but flies out to center.

Hiroki with a grounder to the 2nd.  Umeda quickly flips to Kimura who goes to 1st for the double play!

Bottom 6th
#15 Tanaka comes into the game for Hiroki and takes over in right.

Izawa swings on the first pitch and single to center!  Leadoff runner on for Ryuukokudai!  Umeda bunts him over into scoring position.

But Kubota pops it up!  Shinkai under it and makes the catch for the 2nd out.

And Takahashi hits a chopper up the middle.  Watanabe makes the quick snag and throw to retire the side!

Top 7th
Tamura crusing along, as Kanbara goes down on 3 straight.  Shinkai pops out to Umeda.

Back to the top of the order for Toukaidai.

Watanabe drives a ball from Tamura to left.  Arita running back to the fence?!


Watanabe with a solo homerun to left about 15 rows up and Toukaidai gets an insurance run!  It's 3-1!

Keisuke fouls out to retire the side, but Toukaidai gets some much needed breathing room.

Bottom 7th
Another defensive replacement as #18 Itabashi comes in for Keisuke in CF.

They're going to need it as Arita drives one into the left center field gap for a double!

And now Ishii lets a ball get by him and Arita advances to 3rd!

But Shimada hits a hard grounder to 2nd!  Arita can't score on the play and there's one down!

Kimura up, 2-2 on the day, but he chases a ball in the dirt!  Ishii throws to 1st, and Akiya makes a great pick to retire Kimura for the 2nd out.  Again, Akiya stays at 3rd!

SANSHIN!!  Hiraki can't pull the trigger on a fastball and goes down looking!  Ryuukokudai cannot score with a runner on 3rd and no out!  That might be the nail in the coffin.

Top 8th
Yamamoto leads off the 8th with a single to left.  He's 4-4 on the day!

And with that hit, Harada-kantoku makes a change.  Izawa comes in from center to take the hill while #15 Maemoto comes in for Tamura and goes to center.

Ishii lays down the sac bunt to advance Yamamoto to 2nd.

Pitch from Izawa up at Akiya's head and he hits the deck.  Plate umpire calls dead ball, but I don't think he actually got hit.

But Toukaidai goes along with it and sends in injury runner to 1st.

Aihara with a single through to right!  Yamamoto scores on the single and it's 4-1 Toukaidai!  Still just one down and runners at the corners for Toukaidai!

Tanaka up for his first AB, and can't check his swing on an inside pich and becomes out #2.

Kanbara chops one to 3rd for the 3rd out, but Toukaidai Koufu continues to pull away from Ryuukokudai Heian!

Bottom 8th
Again, almost a 1-2-3 inning for Kanbara, but Umeda singles to right.  A wild pitch to Kubota sends him to 2nd.

But Kanbara jams Kubota and he pops it up!  Yamamoto there for the catch and again Ryuukokudai Heian is denied!

Top 9th
One down and Watanabe gets his 3rd base hit of the day, a comebacker that just misses Izawa and continues to center.

Itabashi hits a hard grounder to 1st.  Kubota blocks the ball, then takes it himlself for the 2nd out.

In steps Yamamoto for his 5th AB.  He has two singles and two doubles.

This time though, he goes down swinging on a slider to end the inning.

Bottom 9th
Last ups for Ryuukokudai Heian.

Takahashi grounds out to short, though he does run it out.  First pitch to Arita, Kanbara plunks him!

Shimada inside-outs one and flares it down the right field line... fair!!  Arita advances to 3rd on the play and Ryuukokudai Heian sends the tying runner to the plate!

Kimura with a harball to the left side!  Aihara dives and makes the stop.  Throws to 2nd... OUT!  They just get Shimada at 2nd!  Arita scores to make it 4-2, but there's 2 down!

Still the tying run comes to the plate in PH #13 Megata who's hitting for Hiraki.

But he grounds one to 2nd!  Shinkai goes to 1st and Toukaidai Koufu holds on for the win!  They're the first team to reach the 3rd round since Nihon Koukuu back in 2005, and the first team from Yamanashi to win 2 games since... Toukaidai Koufu did in 2004!

It was another relatively quick game (90 minutes) with ace Kanbara inducing a lot of contact while the offense did just enough for the win.

For Ryuukokudai Heian, it's another disappointing early exit.  They really didn't do anything wrong in the game, they were just outplayed.  For a team who scores as little as they did, they really kept the games close and did what they could to stay in games.  If they could just find a little more offense, they might have a good team on their hands.  But that will have to wait for the new team.

Toukaidai Koufu will advance to play a very game Ube Koujyou squad for the right to be in the Best 8.

Notable Players
Kanbara Yuu (Toukaidai Koufu) - CG, 2 ER, 8 H, 10 K, HBP
Watanabe Ryou (Toukaidai Koufu) - 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI
Yamamoto Shun (Toukaidai Koufu) - 4-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
Tamura Yoshihide (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 8 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 3 K, 3 HBP
Shimada Yuuki (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 2-4, 2B, R
Kimura Yuuya (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 2-4, 2B, RBI

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