Our first matinee game feature another 21st century team squaring off against the starwart of Fukushima prefecture.
Seikou Gakuin has been rather successful in Fukushima, representing the prefecture at Natsu Koushien more times than not. Their MO at Koushien is pretty much the same as their run in the fall - strong against the teams they should beat, but struggle as the competition reaches Koushien-level teams.
Ishii Naru is the ace of the staff, and will be relied upon to carry the team. He doesn't throw particularly hard, and manages to strike out a shade above 7 per 9. However, he did struggle against Moriokadai Fuzoku and Sendai Ikuei.
Offensively, the team manages to score runs in each game, but the offense overall isn't that strong just managing a meager 0.258 BA. LF Yaoita Hyuuma occupies the #3 position and is the main driver for the team.
Masuda Shouyou is their opening opponent, a 21st century entry. The school had done well in prefecture, but was eliminated in the opening round of the super-regional, shutout by Iwakuni 3-0.
The team doesn't use their bench, outside of reliever Terado Masahiko who is used equally with ace Yanai Yuuto. But man, neither pitcher really instills confidence in their team. Yanai had peripherals of 4.55 K/9, 1.48 WHIP and Terado doesn't fare much better at 2.08 K/9 (!) and 1.29 WHIP.
Offensively, the team only relies on the 3-4-5 batters to drive in their runs, because the rest of the lineup is very ineffective. The batters do make contact, but are retired more often than not.
With a punchless lineup and a shallow, if not non-existent bench, it is hard to see Masuda Shouyou emerging with a win.
Masuda Shouyou (Shimane) - 21st Century Team
RF Suenaga Shou
2B Miyano Hiroki
SS Ishida Youhei
3B Nakamoto Kouta
C Horita Yuuma
CF Saitou Arashi
1B Morishita Seiya (#15)
P Terado Masahiko (#10)
LF Mineo Tsuyoshi
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima) - Tohoku Runner-up
SS Ishigaki Mitsuhiro
2B Ishino Yuuta
CF Yaoita Hyuuma (#7)
1B Sonobe Satoshi
RF Satou Shouhei
LF Sakatani Ryou (#8)
3B Nishimura Daiki
C Hirota Yuuta (#12)
P Ishii Naru
13:15 - First pitch!
First pitch is a slider for a strike. Ishii works fast and before you know it Suenaga swings and misses on an outside slider for strike 3.
Ishii had a slider, curve, and change, and the Masuda batters are flailing away. Miyano swings and misses on a changeup away. And Ishida hits a lazy fly to center and the side is retired.
Right off the bat Terado throws a slider and slow curve for two strikes, and Ishigaki can't check his swing for strike 3!
Ishino gets around on a fastball inside, but is under it and flies out to right.
And Yaoita is fooled on a changeup and pops out to Ishida to retire the side.
2nd year Ishii tops out at around the low 130s. So he's pretty much speed-wise like most pitchers.
His control though is pretty good. He's spotting his locations most of the time, and not missing in the wrong places.
As a result, this half-inning he induces 3 groundouts to retire the side in order. But there is some willingness to work the count by the Masuda batters,
Sonobe reaches down on a slide away and pulls it into left for a base hit. Mineo boots the ball in front of him allowing Sonobe to reach 2nd. Satou successfully bunts the runner along despite Terado getting to the ball quickly.
Sakatani gets the job done as he hits a slow grounder to short. Ishida's only play is to 1st and Seikou Gakuin leads 1-0.
Nishimura can't check his swing and goes down to end the inning, but a base hit with the help of an error leads to the opening run.
Morishita makes a bid for a base hit up the middle, but it's slow enought that Nishimura can run it down, twirl and make a throw to beat a diving Morishita (*insert rant*).
Terado takes a half-swing on a ball down in the zone and flies out to left.
Mineo makes contact, but it's off the end of the bat and a routine grounder to Ishino for the 3rd out.
Hirota with a ball to the right side. Miyano is there, but double clutches! That allows Hirota to reach safely!
Ishii tries to lay down the bunt, but cannot, even on 2 strikes and thus strikes out.
Back to the top of the order and Ishigaki, and he can't advance the runner! He hits a towering fly that Ishida fields in shallow center.
Ishino with a blooper to center falls in! Runners at the corners with 2 down.
Yaoita though reaches down and swings on the first pitch. Mineo is there for the out.
I think what I've been seeing from the home plate umpires is the tendency to call the low strike. As a result, the Masuda batters are swinging on low pitches. Suenaga goes down on such a pitch despite the claim he fouled it off.
Miyano with a ball back up the middle past a diving Ishino for Masuda's first base hit!
Aw.. but he's promptly picked off 1st.
Ishida gives the ball a ride to left, but not far enough. Sakatani camps a couple of steps in front of the fence to make the catch.
Sonobe gets on top of a high slider and singles back up the middle. Satou once again lays down the sac bunt.
Sakatani though can't move the runner along as he's jammed into a popup back to Terado.
Terado has a routine grounder from Nishimura, but Ishida misses it! It glances off his glove into left! Sonobe stops at 3rd, but Masuda Shouyou is in trouble!
Hirota smases a letter high pitch from Terado! Mineo runs back, but it's over his head! Both runners score on the 2-RBI double! It's 3-0 Seikou!
Terado finally gets out of the inning on a comebacker from Ishii, but the error proves costly. And while Seikou Gakuin isn't top-tier, you cannot afford mistakes to them.
While Saitou tries to make it interesting by running the count full, Masuda Shouyou goes down in order. It doesn't appear that their offense is capable of getting on base, much less mounting a 3-run rally. In fact, Ishii has faced the minimum so far despite giving up a base hit.
Ishigaki up for the 3rd time already and he collects his first hit - a comebacker through to center. Saitou-tries the hit-and-run, but Ishino has to swing on a pitch down and in and pops out to Hirota.
Yaoita hits a grounder to 1st and Morishita is there quickly. But the SS tells him to go to first. By that time though it's too late and Yaoita is in safely! From the replay, I think the 3rd base umpire was actually in the line of sight to 2nd and thus forced Morishita to go to 1st.
Terado gets Sonobe to pop one up! Nakamoto in foul territory camps under it, but then quickly shuffles back towards fair territory and misses the ball! It still falls foul, but they can't secure the out!
And that allows Sonbe to make a productive out, grounding out to 3rd and advancing the runners.
It doesn't matter! Satou, finally free to swing away, gets a hold of a hanging curve and blasts it to center! Saitou runs back, but that one bounds in front of the fence for a 2-RBI triple! The rout is on at 5-0.
Sakatani pops out to end the inning, but as we head to the break it has taken a while, but Seikou Gakuin is exerting their dominance in the game.
Defensive change for Seikou as Yaoita and Sakatani return to their numbered positions.
One down for Masuda and Terado collects their 2nd hit, a liner to shallow left.
Mineo tries to bunt the runner over, but three bunts on a pitch way outside and fouls out, much to the displeasure of Hayato-kantoku.
Suenaga pops out to Ishida and the side is retired
One down for Seikou and Terado isn't getting the low strike and thus walks Hirota. Ishii bunts him along for the top of the order.
Ishigaki flies out to center though, and finally Terado gets to post a 0.
After two pop outs, cleanup batter Nakamoto lines a ball to left for a solid base hit. But he's left stranded when Horita flies out to right.
One down and Yaoita gets a base hit thanks to an irregular hop that goes off of Miyano's glove.
Ahead of Sonobe 1-2, Terado goes back-to-back curveballs with Sonobe lining the 2nd back into right-center.
With runners at the corners Saitou-kantoku does the ol' steal 2nd, stall and steal home trick. And it works to make it 6-0.
Satou then takes a Terado offering over Saitou's head and to the wall for a triple. 7-0.
That's the end of Terado's day. Ace Yanai comes in, while #17 Itou comes in to hit for Sakatani. He hits a grounder to short, but Ishida bobbles it and another run scores to make it 8-0.
Hirota flies out to end the inning, but Seikou tacks on a couple more runs.
#18 Isagi comes on for PH Itou and takes over in CF.
It's another uneventful inning for Masuda as the batters go quickly in order.
Yanai almost gets a quick 1-2-3 inning, but Ishino breaks it up with a single to center.
But Yaoita flies out to right, and it's just three more outs before Seikou Gakuin advances to the next round.
Last chance for Masuda Shouyou. #3 Terado Takuto comes in to hit for Mineo... and promptly goes down swinging.
Suenaga and Miyano follow suit and Seikou Gakuin advances by the final score of 8-0.
Unfortunately for Masuda Shouyou, errors and poor hitting ultimately led to their loss today. They should still be happy to have reached Koushien, and while they were outmatched, it was to be expected.
Meanwhile Seikou Gakuin pretty much did what they needed to do in the game today. They'll get a couple of days off before regrouping to face Naruto.
Ishii Naru (Seikou Gakuin) - CG, W, 0 R, 3 H, 8 K, 0 BB
Sonobe Satoshi (Seikou Gakuin) - 3-4, 3 R
Satou Shouhei (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-3, 2 3B, R, 3 RBI
Hirota Yuuta (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-3, 2B, 2 R, BB
Yanai Yuuto (Masuda Shouyou) - 1.2 IP, 0 R, H, K
Nakamoto Kouta (Masuda Shouyou) - 1-3