Two more weekends of play have completed and we're down to our semifinalists.
But let's see what happened to get there.
The 13th/14th saw the completion of the 2nd round and the whole 3rd round. And some of the big names were involved in wild affairs. At Akishima, Soujitsu (Waseda Jitsugyou) saw Hachiouji add an insurance run in the 9th to take a 3-1 lead. But Hachiouji couldn't close out the game, blew the lead and headed to enchousen... where they lost 4-3 the very next inning.
In Fuchuu, Souka gave up 2 runs in 3 consecutive innings to Toua Gakuen falling behind 6-2. But in the 7th and 8th they would rally for 5 runs to take a 7-6 lead. Once again, Souka would blow that lead, giving up 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th. Somehow, Souka would reply in the top of the 9th with 3 runs and finally complete the comeback 10-9!
And finally, Nichidai Tsurugaoka and Nittai Ebara were tied at 1 until 2 in the 6th and another in the 7th seemed to give Nichidai the runs they needed. But Nittai would respond with 3 of their own, tying the game and sending that game into extras! And without the benefit of an extra base hit, Nittai Ebara upsets Nichidai Tsurugaoka 4-3 in 10 innings!
For the 3rd round, of the teams that played the prior day, most favorites advanced - Seiritsu Gakuen's game was easy while Soujitsu and Souka struggled a bit against Tokyo Sougou Kouka and Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji.
As for the teams that had the week off, Hino continued to look dominant mercy-ruling St. Paul Gakuen. Kokushikan plays catch-up the entire game and loses 4-2 to Yasuda Gakuen. Oberlin scores 4 in the 1st, but gives up5 over next the next 3 innings and goes down 5-4 to Takashima. And in another "what could be semifinal match", Iwakura held a slim 2-0 lead over Nichidai-san, but is outscored thereafter 5-1 and falls.
And oh boy, Nittai Ebara and Kokugakuin Kugayama were in a slugfest. Here's how the game went:
- Kokugakuin Kugayama 3-0 after 2,
- Nittai Ebara 4-3 after 3,
- Kokugakuin Kugayama 5-4 after 4,
- Tied after 5,
- Kokugakuin Kugayama 7-5 after 6,
Here's where things get really wonky. This past weekend, Saturday's set of games had Souka up against the scary Sanko, while Hino would have to deal with the giant killers Nittai Ebara.
Souka took a 1-0 lead in the first, but saw themselves trailing 3-1 with just 3 outs to go. Somehow, they manage to pull a Sanko from last year as they rallied to tie the game and send it to enchousen. Souka couldn't immediately capitalize on the momentum and so perhaps the game would be lost. However, they do push ahead the gyakuten run in the 12th and hold on for the 4-3 win!
Then came Hino and Nittai Ebara. After trading a run in the 1st, Hino would jump out with 3 runs in the 5th. Nittai Ebara would pull within 1 in the 6th. 2 innings later, the game would collapse on Hino as Ebara would score 3 to take a 6-4 lead! Hino wouldn't be able to scramble together a quick rally and thus the Cinderella run continues!
Sunday's slate of games were nowhere near as exciting. Seiritsu Gakuen was boat-raced by Yasuda Gakuen(!) 7-0 in 7 innings, and Soujitsu never trailed defeating Takashima 6-2.
So our semifinals are set - Soujitsu and Souka will square off first, with Nittai Ebara and Yasuda Gakuen playing the matinee game.
For Nittai Ebara-Yasuda Gakuen, they will in all likelihood need to win out. Their names alone will not guarantee them the floating bid if they lose in the finals. On the other hand should they win, it's possible that the committee will look at Souka/Soujitsu as a viable candidate.