We're now into the round of 16, and first up is a battle between Naruto and Seikou Gakuin.
Naruto if you remember was deadlocked with Utsunomiya Shougyou before scoring in the 8th to pull out the victory. But they only managed just 5 hits off of the tandem of Iioka-Arai, which is not promising. Even the in-play outs were not really solid hits, so despite the win the offense looks to be a weakness.
For Seikou Gakuin, they had no problems with Masuda Shouyou, pulling away early and extending the lead for an 8-0 win. However, Masuda's defense was full of miscues that weren't necessarily errors that helped Seikou in their victory. In fact, I believe a Masuda miscue of some sort happened in every inning that Seikou scored in - if not more.
I'm sure Naruto won't be that shaky defensively, so I would expect Seikou's offense to be put in check. In addition, 7 of the 11 hits were done by their 3-4-5 hitters, so
they'll probably need the rest of the lineup to step up going forward as well.
As for Ishii he struck out 9, but Masuda's offense is not very strong compared to others so that should be taken with a grain of salt.
I do expect this to be a close game, but I also expect Seikou Gakuin to have an advantage as well because they have a stronger middle of the lineup.
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima) - Tohoku Runner-up
SS Ishigaki Mitsuhiro (#16)
2B Ishino Yuuta
LF Yaoita Hyuuma
1B Sonobe Satoshi
RF Satou Shouhei
CF Isagi Jyun (#18)
3B Nishimura Daiki (#6)
C Hirose Kazumi
P Ishii Naru
Naruto (Tokushima) - Shikoku Runner-up
SS Kawano Yuuto
2B Nakano Yuuki
RF Inaoka Kenta
1B Ise Hayato
C Kusaka Hiroki
CF Koumoto Yuujirou
3B Matsumoto Takanori
P Bandou Yuugo
LF Narukawa Shuuji
11:37 - First pitch!
It's wet as we start the 2nd game, but not terrible conditions.
Ishigaki with a blooper down the right field line! Nakano and Inaoka converge on it, but neither calls the other off! It falls in and then they collide! It's not serious, but it takes time for them to retrieve the ball. As a result Ishigaki is in with a triple!
And now Bandou walks Ishino, getting Moriwaki-kantoku up to call time.
Yaoita with a fly to center, that's deep enough to get Ishigaki in to give Seikou Gakuin the quick 1-0 lead!
Sonobe is a bit bemused when he gets called looking on a slider that looks rather low.
Satou picks him up though! He reaches down and laces a liner over a leaping Nakano and splits the outfield defense! It goes all the way to the wall for a triple and Seikou leads 2-0!
Isagi goes down trying to protect the bottom of the zone, but goes down swinging to end the inning. But they pick up a quick 2 run!
One down, Nakano with a solid single to left.
Inaoka up, gets hit on the hand! He's in quite a bit of pain, but after some "itai spray", he's back in the box (It was called a swing and thus a foul).
To add insult to injury, he's called out on a ball on the outside corner.
Ise with a single back up the middle! Nakano rounds 2nd and reaches 3rd and Naruto looks to take back a run.
But Kusaka can't do it! Ishii gets him to flyout to right and the threat is over!
There's a delay as Inaoka receives treatment for the injured hand.
It looks like #18 Kitao is warming up on the mound while #16 Maekawa is throwing in case Inaoka can't continue.
But, after about a couple of minutes, he emerges and we're back playing again!
Nishimura laces a ball to left for a leadoff single! Hirose bunts the runner along for Ishii.
He has the buster style of swinging and hits a ball to deep center! Koumoto is there for the catch and a good throw means Nishimura can't advance!
And Bandou gets Ishigaki to chase a ball outside and groundout to Nakano to end the inning.
Ishii still struggling with his command as he walks Koumoto to lead off the inning.
Matsumoto not bunting and grounds to 3rd! Nishimura goes to 2nd for 1, but Ishino's throw to 1st is wild! That allows Matsumoto to advance to 2nd!
Ah! Now Ishii hits Bandou right on the knee! That has to hurt! As he works his way to first, Naruto has a great chance with 1 down!
But Narukawa gets under one and flies out to center! 2 down as we go back to the top of the order and Kawano!
Ishii freezes him on a fastball down the middle and the side is retired!
Seikou batters are attacking Bandou's pitches early in the count. Ishino flies out to right on a 0-1 count, Yaoita on a 1-0 count singles down the right field line.
Sonobe pops out to Kawano on a 1-1 count.
And Satou almost screws himself into the ground on that first swing. Bandou finally gets him on a slider in the dirt to end the inning.
Bandou is keeping his team in the game, and with Ishii rather wild so far, it would behoove Naruto to take advantage of this opportunity to catch up.
Well, I guess Ishii is effectively wild. He pitches in to quite a few batters, perhaps too close, and so it proabably surprises them when the rifles one in where he wants it - as Nakano turns to walk back to the dugout.
Ishii goes high on Bandou, who winds up hitting a fly to center for the 2nd out.
And then on Ise he goes high and in and he defensive swings a grounder to 1st for the 3rd out.
Isagi with a comebacker to Bandou's glove side, but he must have miscalculated on the bounce as it dips under his glove and past Nakano into center. Nishimura bunts him to 2nd.
Hirose with a half swing on a ball way outside, and the momentum of the ball seems to carry over Matsumoto into left! Runners at the corners with 1 out!
Ishii shows squeeze at first, but then tries to swing and fouls it off!
He fouls off another one, but right at Ishigaki on the on-deck circle! He's ok though.
And Ishii goes down and singles to left! Isagi scores to make it 3-0!
Ishigaki with a grounder to short! Kawano goes to 2nd for 1, but Nakano stops as he won't make it to first in time.
Ishino flies out to center and the runners are left stranded, but Seikou extends their lead.
Kusaka with a grounder to the left side. Ishigaki runs it down in the gap, turns and throws to 1st! Sonome makes a great pick on the short throw and gets the out!
And I guess the deep counts work for Ishii today. He goes full on Koumoto who strikes out on a slider in the dirt, then goes full on Matsumoto as well who grounds to 2nd.
Yaoita drives a ball down and away deep to left! Narukawa to the wall, jumps, and misses it! It deflects off the wall and he's in with a double!
Sonobe with a drive to center! Koumoto back to the wall! Jumps! Makes the catch! Nice play from Koumoto!
Satou with a fly to right, that's caught by Inaoka for the 2nd out, and right after Isagi flies out t Narukawa in shallow center and as quickly as Yaoita got to 2nd, the inning is over and he's stranded there!
Grounder to short from Bandou, goes 5-hole on Ishigaki! He lifts his glove up before securing the ball! E6 and leadoff runner on for Naruto! Narukawa bunts him along for the top of the lineup.
But Kawano is 0-2 so far.
AH!! He heard me. He crushes an Ishii offering deep to left! Yaoita running back, but it's off the wall for a double! Bandou scores to make it a 3-1 ballgame!
Nakano can't drive in the run as he flies out to left.
Inaoka with a slow roller up the right side, everyone charges for the ball, but no one is covering 1st! Ishino takes it and makes the only play, which is to check the runner at 3rd to see if they overran.
Kawano hasn't so everyone's safe!
AH!! And now Ishii hits Ise! Manrui for Naruto with Kusaka up!
Saitou-kantoku calls for time.
A strike and a foul ball puts Kusaka behind 0-2!
But Kusaka takes a ball away though the right side for a base hit! Kawano scores! Inaoka rounds 3rd he scores! Satou misses gripping the ball off the ground and that allows Ise to head to 3rd! 同点！
Koumoto up and Ishii can't believe he doesn't get the call on a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner! He does though get him to chase and hit a soft liner to Ishigaki for the 3rd out.
But Naruto strikes for 3 here in the 5th and we have a 4-inning ballgame left to play!
One down for Seikou and Hirose with a fly to right center, falls in for a base hit! Saitou-kantoku has Ishii bunt for a one-timer from Ishigaki.
But Ishigaki gets fooled on a curve and flies out to right to end the inning!
Matsuki with a slow grounder up the 3rd base line. Nishimura charging in, makes he quick throw and just beats out Matsuki for the out! Nice play by the hot corner!
And he freezes him on a fastball inside right at (or somewhat below) the knees!
But before Ishii can get a 1-2-3 inning, Narukawa spoils it with a grounder past Ishii's feet and into center!
Kawano battling at the plate fouls a couple off, but Ishii fires one inside one more time and gets Kawano out to end the inning!
Bandou hasn't done that bad of a job after the first. His control is much better and he is limiting runners on base.
Ishino pops out to shallow left, Yaoita chases a changeup down for the 2nd out.
Sonobe with a drive to center! Koumoto back to the fence, looks up!
Sonobe delivers with a fly to almost dead center! And he slipped after his swing! Either way it's 4-3!!
Satou hits a hard liner right to Matsumoto to end the inning, but cleanup batter Sonobe breaks the draw!
Nakano with a quick fly to center for the first out.
Inaoka works the count full, but chases a buried slider for the 2nd out!
And once again Ishii goes full on his 7th batter, and this time the batter wins! Ise singles to left!
But Ishii gets Kusaka to swing on a slider away and flies out to center for the 3rd out!
Bandou working quickly trying to get his team back on the bats again. And he does just that retiring the side in order to keep the deficit at 1/
Defensive change, #5 Ihara comes in for Ishino and takes over at 2B
Koumoto swings down and lifts one to right center. Sakatani and Satou race over and it's Satou who makes the catch.
And after that it's back-to-back harmless flies to center to end the inning.
After retiring Ishii with relative ease, Ishigaki and Ihara go back to back full counts on Bandou. Ishigaki pops out to short, while in his first AB, Ihara earns a walk.
Yaoita grounds to short to end the inning, and it's now hang-on time for Seikou Gakuin!
9-1-2 due up for Naruto.
Narukawa quickly behind 1-2 and has to defend. Fouls one off, but he grounds to short! Ishigaki's throw is short, but Sonobe picks it for the 1st out!
One again Ishii gets ahead of Kawano 0-2 and he's on the defensive!
Fastball in side freezes him and there's 2 down! It's all up to Nakano!
He's behind now 1-2! Grounder to the right side, it's through! Nakano keeps the game alive for Inaoka!
Grounder up the 1st base line... foul!! 1st base umpire calls foul, though just! He's behind 1-2!
Pitch outside, doesn't swing, doesn't get call! 2-2!
Fouls one down the left field line! Yaoita chasing it down, dives.. just misses it! Inaoka is still alive!
Grounder to 2nd! Ihara with it! Goes to 2nd and game set! Sonobe's HR in the 7th proves to be the difference as Seikou Gakuin is the first to advance to the Best 8 with a 4-3 win over Naruto!
It was a valiant effort by Naruto to rally and tie the game in the 5th, but outside of that inning, they just couldn't figure out Ishii. At times he was inconsistent, even to the point of hitting a couple of batters. But when he needed the pitches he got them and so Seikou Gakuin moves on!
Seikou Gakuin has Sonobe to thank for pulling through for the team. Even outside of the actual scoring they had other chances to score, but just couldn't convert. If not for the HR, it's possible Naruto would have gained momentum with Bandou continuing to shut down the Seikou offense.
Ishii Naru (Seikou Gakuin) - W, CG, 0 ER, 8 H, 8 K, BB, 2 HBP
Sonobe Satoshi (Seikou Gakuin) - 1-4, HR, R, RBI, K
Hirose Kazumi (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-3
Bandou Yuugo (Naruto) - L, CG, 4 ER, 10 H, 5 K, 2 BB
Kusaka Hiroki (Naruto) - 1-4, 2 RBI
Kawano Yuuto (Naruto) - 1-4, 2B, R, 3 K