Our final game of the long day sees the Tokyo Champion and first-time participant at Koushien facing a team who has been to Koushien, but has yet to win a game in 9 appearance (spring + summer).
Moriokadai Fuzoku did just enough to advance in each step of the way up until their loss in the semifinal against Seikou Gakuin. And again, it's not ace Oikawa Gou who Sekiguchi-kantoku relied on, it was CF Matsumoto Yuuki. He throws in the high 130s-low 140s, with a slider, slow curve and forkball. His numbers are more towards an average ace pitcher, with a ~1 K/IP and a WHIP under 1. Southpaw Oikawa Gou isn't that bad either, posting slightly worse peripherals, but still effective. It's clear though that Matsumoto is the go-to guy.
Matsumoto though isn't just good on the mound, but he's the cleanup batter and the center of the Moriokadai offense. He, along with Sariishi Haruki hold down the majority of the power for the team.
The team consistently puts up runs, it's just a matter of how the pitching holds up. The 5-4 loss to Seikou Gakuin though is not necessarily a good indicator.
Yasuda Gakuen won the highly competitive Tokyo super-regionals, and looking at their numbers it's a wonder how they did it. Their final 4 games in the super-regional were Kokushikan, Kousei Gakuen, Nittai Ebara and Waseda Jitsugyou.
And they did it with an ace that averaged just over 4 K/9. Oogane Shintarou doesn't throw particularly hard (high 120s-low 130s), has the normal slider/curve/change, and appears to have average control (3.47 BB/9).
However, he did hold Kanzei to just 3 runs in their narrow loss in the Meiji Jingu fall taikai. And that's nothing to sneeze at.
The only question is whether the offense can help Oogane out. Against both Waseda Jitsugyou and Kanzei, they managed to score just 2 runs apiece. Furthermore, only leadoff batter Shibuya and last batter Oogane have averages over 0.300. Cleanup batter Fukami drives in the runs, but hit a pedestrian 0.282 in the fall. The rest of the team will need to step up if they want to make a deep run this year.
One of these teams will get their first win at Koushien. Will it finally be Moriokadai's time, or will the newcomers find another way to advance?
Yasuda Gakuen (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champion
2B Shibuya Daisuke
LF Momose Fumiya
CF Terasawa Jyun
1B Fukami Shunsuke
C Koyama Shinjirou
SS Koyama Takuya
RF Motomiya Keita
3B Miyahara Kazuki
P Oogane Shintarou
Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate) - Tohoku 3 seed
CF Nabana Hiroki (#15)
LF Yoshida Arashi (#14)
SS Mochidzuki Naoya
1B Fukuoka Kippei
2B Miura Chisato
P Matsumoto Yuuki (#8)
3B Sariishi Haruki
RF Toyota Yoshiyuki (#13)
C Nabekawa Kazuki
15:45 - First pitch!
Ace Matsumoto wastes no time here in the 1st. As I get settled in, Shibuya grounds to 1st, Momose tries a safety bunt up the first base line that fails, and Terasawa goes down swinging!
Not a good start. What should have been a routine grounder to 1st, Fukami throws it away tossing it to Oogane and Moriokadai has a leadoff runnner.
Yoshida can't lay down the bunt however, and ends up flying out to center unable to advance the runner.
Nabana does get to move to 2nd though as Shinjirou let a ball get behind him.
Mochidzuki advances the runner too, but only by swinging at a 57 foot pitch that gets away from Shinjirou. It'll be up to Fukuoka now.
Instead, Oogane gets him to chase a ball down in the zone and foul out to Fukami to end the inning. A bit of a rocky start, but no harm done.
Shinjirou with a grounder that gets by a sliding Fukuoka down the 1st base line for a double!
Takuya lays down the bunt, but Shinjirou alertly notices Matsumoto retrieving the ball quickly and doubles back to 2nd! Takuya is retired, but the runner stays in scoring position.
Motomiya shows bunt despite there being 2 outs and works the count to his favor. However, Matsumoto gets him to fly out to center, and the inning is over.
Miura gets Moriokadai's offense going again with a single to left.
But there seems to be a failure this game to lay down bunts. Matsumoto can't lay it down normally and has to three bunt. He does manage to lay it down though.
Sariishi can't improve the position though as he pulls the ball to 3rd. Miura has to hold.
Tomita hits a high foul ball, Miyahara is there, but again for the new teams the wind wreaks havoc and Miyahara can't get it!
Toyota with a base hit to right! Motomiya quickly to the ball and fires a one bounder home forcing Miura to hold at 3rd!
Nabeoka shows bunt, but with 2 down, that's not possible. If it was to be a decoy, it doesn't work as Oogane gets ahead 0-2.
Sekiguchi-kantoku sends Toyota and the throw is cut off in case Miura breaks for home (he doesn't).
Oogane gets Nabekawa to ground to short. Takuya's throw is picked by Fukami for the 3rd out!
Miyahara tries for a bunt base hit, but it's up the first base line and Fukuoka makes the tag as he passes by.
Oogane quickly goes down on 3 pitches, sheepishly swinging at a slider away.
Shibuya becomes Matsumoto's 3rd K victim on a slider over the plate.
It's back to the top of the order and Nabana. He rolls over one right to Fukami again and this time he takes it himelf to 1st for the out.
Yoshida hits a sharp liner, but right at Motomiya for the 2nd out.
Mochidzuki hits a ball off the end of his bat, and that also goes to Motomiya for the 3rd out.
Momose with a comebacker that goes through the 5-hole of Matsumoto for a leadoff single.
Moriizumi-kantoku asks Terasawa to bunt, but he can't lay it down. On his three bunt, he bunts it foul and once again execution becomes an issue.
Fukami whips around a ball from Matsumoto! Yoshida runs towards the foul pole!
Boy I was not expecting that! Fukami's hit screams around the foul pole and just like that Yasuda Gakuen leads 2-0!
Matsumoto settles down afterwards, getting the Koyama brothers to strike out, but a HR by cleanup batter Fukami gives the Tokyo champs the early lead!
One down and Miura gets his 2nd hit, a grounder past a diving Miyahara.
Matsumoto follows that up with a ball the other way hard into the left-center field gap! Miura advances to 3rd and Moriokadai is close to tying up the game!
But Sariishi can't bring them home! He swings on a ball that actually hits him and he goes down for the 2nd out!
That leaves it up to Toyota. 1-1 count, Toyota cheats on an outside pitch, but only manages to foul it off. Toyota hits a foul fly, but Fukami also loses the ball!
And it costs him!
Toyota lines a letter high pitch into center! Miura and Matsumoto both score and Toyota has his douten 2-run single! It's 2-2!
Nabekawa grounds out to short, but fielding issues at Koushien cost Yasuda gakuen their newly obtained lead!
Odd, Motomiya showed bunt during his AB, and the same with Miyahara. Is the bottom of the lineup tha weak?
Perhaps so as both hit routine grounders to short.
And last batter Oogane grounds to 2nd. Miura flips to Matsumoto for the 3rd out.
One down for Moriokadai and Yoshida hits a comebacker through to center for a base hit. There's no bunt this time, but Mochidzuki goes down swinging for the 2nd out.
Fukuoka smashes a ball down the right field line, but it goes foul. Fortunate for Oogane as he gest him to ground out to short to end the inning.
As we hit the break, the HR by Fukami gets negated by the inexperience of fielding at Koushien. Neither pitcher has been that bad, but there's also nothing too spectacular about them either.
Post-break, the top of the lineup continues to struggle. After Shibuya flies out to center, Momose tries a bunt hit, but that fails.
Terasawa finally makes contact with the ball and singles to center. But he makes a baserunning error and is caught off the bag by Matsumoto to end the inning!
Miura doesn't collect his 3rd hit, but he does get on base via a walk.
Sekiguchi-kantoku asks Matsumoto to bunt the runner along, and he obliges. Sariishi this time does move the runner over with a fly to right.
Moriizumi-kantoku calls time as the other batter to have 2 hits steps in.
But Toyota swings on the first pitch and flies out to left! Oogane gets out of the jam!
Fukami steps in again, but with the bases empty. Matsumoto gets him to chase a ball and roll it over to 2nd.
But then he turns around and walks Shinjirou. Takuya shows bunt, falls behind 0-2, then gets caught looking at a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3!
And anothe base running mistake! Shinjirou is caught off 1st by Nabekawa and the inning is over!
Moriokadai Fuzoku's lucky 7 comes and goes without much fanfare. Nabekawa is still left hitless, Nabana hits a can of corn to Miyahara and Yoshida lines out to center.
The offenses continue to scuffle. The bottom of Yasuda's lineup remain hitless as Motomiya strikes out, and Miyahara and Oogane can't hit the ball out of the infield...
Crunch time for both clubs. This was where Naruto scored the decisive run. Will we see something here?
Mochidzuki hammers a ball to deep left center! Momose chases it to the wall, but...
Indeed we do have another decisive strike here in the bottom of the 8th! Mochidzuki hits a ball 10 rows up in left center giving Moriokadai Fuzoku the 3-2 lead!!
And with one down Miura collects his 3rd hit and has reached safely in all his plate appearances! He's given thanks for his hard work as #18 Tomori comes in to run for him.
Matsumoto with a swinging bunt moves Tomori to 2nd, leaving it up to Sariishi once again.
But Sariishi goes 0-4 in with runners in scoring position as he flies out to right.
However, Mochidzuki breaks the deadlock here with just 3 outs to go!
Tomori stays in the game and goes to center. Nabana goes to right. #7 Saitou comes in for Toyota and takes over at 2B.
Last chance for Yasuda Gakuen, and it's back to the top of the order.
Shibuya gets his first hit and at a timely point! He singles past Fukuoka into right! Sekiguchi-kantoku calls for time.
Momose successfully bunts Shibuya along. So they'll have 2 chances to tie the game.
Terasawa shows bunt? Takes strike 1, then swings on a fastball away for strike 2...
SANSHIN! Terasawa chases a ball outside and Yasuda Gakuen is down to their last batter, and it's Fukami no less!!
With so much at stake, Sekiguchi-kantoku calls time once more.
Fukami with a scorcher down the 1st base line! It's by Fukuoka! Shibuya comes around 3rd, he scores! Fukami delivers again with the douten RBI! It's 3-3!!
Now Fukami stands at 2nd representing the gyakuten run as Shinjirou steps in!
And now Matsumoto walks Shinjirou! Are the nerves getting to the team?
Sekiguchi-kantoku won't wait. Oikawa comes in for Tomori and takes the hill. Matsumoto goes to his numbered position.
And on one pitch, Oikawa solves it all! Takuta grounds out to 3rd and the inning is over! But not before Yasuda Gakuen ties the game at 3!
Saitou with a base hit to right to start the 9th! Moriokadai will try and end it in regulation!
Nabekawa successfully lays down the bunt this time and the sayonara run is in scoring position!
The action is going fast as Nabana hits a seeing-eye single past a diving Shibuya into center! Tersawa comes up firing home and Saitou has to hold!
Runners at the corners and Moriizumi-kantoku calls time.
Can Yoshida bring the run home?
Will Oogane let him? The count runs to 3-1.
Grounder to the left side! Miyahara can't field it, Takuya backing up the play gets to it, but can't get a grip on the ball! Saitou sprints home, and he scores!!
Moriokadai Fuzoku gets their first ever Koushien win! But sadly it comes at a heartbreaking loss for Yasuda Gakuen. It shows too as Oogane as well as others on the team show emotion in the loss. They certainly had their opportunities, and continued to fight even when they had just 3 outs remaining. But in the end it wasn't enough.
Still, despite how much it hurts to go home after one game, the team can be proud of how they performed. It's not the ending they wanted, but it was a great game for all those who got to watch it. It'll be hard to come back in the fall, but maybe they can put one more run together.
Matsumoto Yuuki (Moriokadai Fukozu) - ND, 8.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 9 K, 2 BB
Miura Chisato (Moriokadai Fukozu) - 3-3, R, BB
Toyota Yoshiyuki (Moriokadai Fukozu) - 2-3, 2 RBI
Oogane Shiintarou (Yasuda Gakuen) - CG, L, 4 ER, 10 H, 3 K, BB
Fukami Shunsuke (Yasuda Gakuen) - 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI