Our final quarterfinal matchup may or may not be an exciting matchup. It's all because it depends on the battery for Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou. The battery of Fujita and Kouyama each suffered injuries that jeopardized their participation going forward.
Now, with just 1 day of rest their team takes the field once again, and perhaps as no surprise, both are out on the field to start the game. It still begs the question though as to what their actual health is coming in. Kouyama because of the offense he brings, and Fujita because he's the ace.
If they're not 100% (especially Fujita), Kengifushou will probably be in a heap of trouble against Saibi.
And that's because Saibi has ace Anraku - who has completely taken the Haru Koushien by storm by the performance he had against Kouryou. 3 days later, he comes back to limit Seiseikou to just 1 run on 7 hits.
Now, he comes back on 1 day's rest to try and send his team to the semifinals.
This for him and his team is where fatigue will start to set in. Anraku was fortunate enough to have that 232 pitch performance in the first game - but that's not to say that it depleted him so much that his stamina is much shorter.
Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
LF Kawamura Renji
SS Noda Gento
3B Azuma Taito (#4)
1B Takenaka Hiroki
C Kouyama Takurou
CF Aoki Shouya
RF Hayashi Tomonori
2B Okimoto Takuya (#14)
P Fujita Ryouji
Saibi (Ehime) - Shikoku 3 seed
CF Ueda Kyousuke
RF Yamashita Takuma
SS Usagawa Riku
P Anraku Tomohiro
3B Oota Yuuya
1B Morita Shouhei (#15)
LF Goudouji Shin
C Kaneko Kouhei
2B Machida Takahiro
13:46 - First pitch!
Kawamura right off the bat swings on the first pitch and hits a fly ball down the right field line. Yamashita sprinting into foul territory, makes the catch against the fence for the 1st out! Nice defensive play to start the game!
Anraku goes away on Noda and retires him on three straight, looking at a slider for the out.
And Anraku works Azuma in and out, striking him out on a fastball outside, and it looks to be business as usual for the Saibi ace.
Oy, the battery is already battered and Ueda starts Saibi off with a zinger past Fujita into center for a base hit.
After the sac bunt by Yamashita, a pitch from Fujita gets away from Kouyama and he loses track of it! Ueda advances to 3rd, and Saibi already threatening here in the 1st.
Liner from Usagawa! Azuma leaps, and it's off the end of his glove and into right field! Ueda scores and Saibi quickly takes the 1-0 lead!
Fujita not going to buckle down early, gives cleanup batter Anraku no fastballs to hit and gets him to chase on a slider away for the 2nd out.
And then he turns around, pitches away exclusively to Oota before freezing him on a fastball inside for the 3rd out. And if not for another inch of vertical from Azuma, it would still be a scoreless game.
Takenaka hits a comebacker off of Anraku! It deflects towards 3rd, but Oota can't get there to field it in time. Wasn't a hard hit ball though, so Anraku is fine.
Kouyama trying to bunt Takenaka along, can't and falls behind 1-2. Still shows bunt though.
It's a bust-and-run! Kouyama tries to put it through the right side, but it's right to Morita! He goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... wide!! It gets away from Machida and into foul territory! Kouyama takes off for 2nd, but the ball bounces off the wall and right to Kaneko! He goes to 2nd and Kouyama is out by a mile for your run of the mill 3-6, E6, 2-6 DP.
Aoki with a fly to center. Ueda going back, going back, backpedals... and makes the catch on the warning track for the 3rd out.
Saibi continues to put the pressure on Kengifushou as Morita hits a 3-1 single just past a diving Noda into left. Goudouji squares to bunt, but continues to take pitches, eventually falling behind 2-2. Forced to swing away, he waves on a changeup away for the first out.
Kaneko also trying to bunt, this time what looks like a safety bunt, but for the 2nd straight batter they can't put one down.
Instead it's a hit-and-run! But Kaneko can't make contact on a slider away and Kouyama throws out Morita for the strike 'em out-throw 'em out double play to end the inning!
Bottom of the order attacking early as Hayashi takes the first pitch and grounds to 1st.
Okiyama with a shot past a diving Oota down the left field line for a double! Anraku left that one over the plate.
Fujita up to help his own cause now and tie the game with a base hit.
And it's a grounder to the right side, through for a base hit! But Okiyama is held up at 3rd! Runners at the corners as the lineup turns over to Kawamura.
Grounder to short! Usagawa has it, looks to start the 6-4-3 double play. But Machida is a touch late to 2nd causing Usagawa to delay for a split second. Throw to 1st is not in time and Okimoto scores to tie the game at 1-1!
Fujita-kantoku pressing with the hit-and-run! Noda with a liner back up the middle, caught by a diving Machida! Great catch to end the inning by the 2nd baseman! But Kengifushou manages to put together a run from the bottom of the order and we're back to level!
Machida turns around to start the 3rd, but unlike the sports highlight shows he does not come back to hit a home run or some key hit, instead he fouls out to Takenaka to start the inning.
It's back to the top of the order for Saibi, and Fujita immediately goes to the off-speed pitches. Ueda is given absolutely nothing in the zone and yet he still chases a change down in the zone for the 2nd out.
Yamashita though with a drive to left center!! Kawamura and Aoki converge on the ball, but it falls in front of the wall! Yamashita on his wheels slides into 3rd safely with a 2-out triple!
Usagawa with another chance to drive in a run and gets ahead 2-0. But he chases a ball wide and pops it up! Noda ranging towards the left field line makes the catch and Fujita is out of the jam!
Anraku trying to get back on track gets Azuma to pop out to Usagawa.
But Takenaka turns on a fastball inside and drives it to right! Yamashita back to the wall, but can't get there in time and he's in with a double!
Kouyama up now perhaps to give Kengifushou the lead, falls behind 1-2 but manages to work the count full... and the Anraku offering isn't even close! Anraku once again in trouble here in the 4th as Kaneko goes out to talk to his ace.
Aoki stands in and once again Anraku gets ahead 1-2. But again he tries to get Aoki to chase to no avail and the count runs full!
And Anraku walks him too! It's manrui for Kengifushou!
Hayashi with a swinging dribbler to the right side! It's off Anraku's glove and to the right side! Machida picks it up and can only go to 1st for the out. Takenaka scores and Kengifushou takes the 2-1 lead!
2 down and Okimoto steps in looking for another base hit.
But Anraku ramps up the fastball and gets him to chase one up and in for the 3rd out. Still, he doesn't look sharp at all as Kengifushou gets the upper hand.
Anraku up to start the 4th and perhaps he's pressing because of his pitching because he waves on two straight sliders away and he's down on 3 pitches.
Oota comes back though and shoots one past a diving Azuma into left.
Morita up now, and Fujita can't find the zone at all. He walks him on 5 pitches and now it's Fujita who looks a bit shaky.
Goudouji with the bunt up the 3rd base side. Fujita takes it ahead of Kouyama, fires to 1st, but it's not in time! Everyone's safe and now Fujita in a manrui pinch!
Kaneko stepping in, struck out in his last AB - how well is he?
Fujita quickly gets ahead of him 0-2, and Kaneko sends one to left center! But it's shallow, and Oota can't advance as Aoki takes it for the 2nd out.
Machida the last chance here to extend the inning for Saibi and Fujita is giving him nothing in the zone and no fastballs.
Machida chases a 2-2 pitch in the dirt! Kouyama coolly steps on home for the force and Fujita holds on to the slim 1 run lead!
After a quick comebacker by Fujita for the 1st out, it's back to the top and Kawamura.
Anraku hangs one and Kawamura drives it to deep center! Ueda sprinting back to the fence, slides, but it falls right in front of the fence! The ball is fired back in quickly, but Kawamura just slides in with a 1-out triple! Anraku is back in the fire once again!
Noda looking to bring the run in and extend the lead.
Grounder to short! Usagawa fires it home, but it short hops Kaneko and he can't field it cleanly! It bounces away as Kawamura scores to give Kengifushou the 3-1 lead!!
Azuma up looking to put more pressure on Anraku. But he lines one right to Morita! Morita then walks over to 1st doubling off Noda for the 3-unassisted double play to end the inning.
Anraku and Saibi though look to be in a bit of trouble...
Top batter Ueda to lead off the 5th, and Fujita goes and plunks him on the first pitch.
Yamashita lays down the bunt, but it's right to Azuma. He fires to Noda at 2nd, but the throw is down the 2nd base side! Noda fields it, but Ueda runs full speed into him and they collide! Both players are down as Ueda is called out. Man, that looked hard.
Ueda is the first to get up and walk back to the dugout, but Noda stays down. He gets looked at, but says he's fine and stays in the game.
Usagawa takes advantage of the break and drives the first pitch from Fujita to deep right! Hayashi running back to the fence, slides, and it too falls in front of the fence! Yamashita flying around the bases, scores all the way from 1st on the RBI triple by Usagawa! Saibi pulls within 1 at 3-2 and threatens to tie the game with Anraku stepping in!
But once again Fujita goes slider away on Anraku. And while he lays off the first two sliders, both are called for strikes. Down 1-2, Anraku swings and misses on the 3rd slider and goes down swinging for the 3rd time today.
That leaves it up to Oota, who's 1-3 with 2 K's, to get the timely hit.
Fujita again not giving in, throwing a bunch of off-speed pitches down in the zone to Oota. Down 1-2, Oota manages to hold off on a couple to fill up the count.
But Fujita wins the battle yet again! Oota, on appeal, cannot check his swing and Fujita strands the douten run at 3rd!
We head to the break with Kengifushou, injured battery and all, leading a rather mortal-looking Anraku who does not appear to have his best stuff today. Has the pitch count finally taken it's toll?
Takenaka off the break with a grounder to short. Usagawa double clutches then throws it short to 1st getting by Morita for an E6. Kouyama bunts him to 2nd as Kengifushou looks to add on as many runs as possible.
Aoki with a liner to right, over a leaping Machida! Yamashita quickly gets it back in as Takenaka has to hold at 3rd. Once again though Anraku in trouble...
Hayashi up and Fujita-kantoku tries the hit-and-run! But the pitch is outside and Hayashi can only defensively foul it off!
2 strikes and again Fujita-kantoku sends Aoki! Hayashi swings and misses, but the ball is in the dirt and Kaneko has no throw to 2nd. A base hit here could put Saibi in a world of trouble.
Anraku buckles down though and gets Okimoto to chase a slider away for out #3! His team trails by just 1.
Possible injury change for Kengifushou (as if things weren't bad enough). #15 Nagao comes in for SS Noda who probably was hurt in the collision earlier.
And Fujita is all over the place to Morita. Pitches are slow and not even close as he walks him to put the douten runner on. That gets Fujita-kantoku's attention as he sends Touyama out to calm his team (especially his son) down.
Meanwhile, the gears are turning for Jyoukou-kantoku as he sends in #3 Fujiwara to hit for Goudouji.
And he comes in to sac the runner along. Interesting.
Fujita continues to struggle and the velocity stays down to Kaneko. And Kaneko lines one... past a diving Nagao into center! But Morita had to hold to wait for the ball to clear the infield and thus couldn't advance! So runners on 1st and 2nd only for Saibi!
Machida steps in and swings on the first pitch and pops it up! Okimoto under it as the infield fly rule is called and that's 2 outs now for Saibi.
And Fujita gets out of the inning! Ueda pops it up! Nagao goes out to shallow left and secures the ball for the 3rd out! He's certainly laboring more now but he hangs up another bagel on Saibi!
Fujiwara comes in the game to play 1B. Morita shifts to 3B and Oota goes out to LF.
Fujita quickly out on a first pitch fly to center. Anraku then comes back to shut down Kawamura and Nagao for just his 2nd 1-2-3 inning this game.
Fujita's day is done now. His dad has seen enough and will rely on the bullpen to finish out the last 3 innings. Coming in is #10 Kuzuya.
Yamashita rudely greets him with a liner to left to start the lucky 7.
After an Usagawa flyout to center, that brings up cleanup batter Anraku - who has been held in check to the tune of 0-3 with 3 K's.
And this is worse!! Anraku hits one back to Kuzuya who goes to 2nd for one, relay from Nagao to 1st... beats Anraku for the inning-ending double play!!!
Anraku back to struggling here in the 8th. He falls behind Azuma 3-1 before getting him to ground to 3rd. Takenaka and Kouyama run the count deep against him as well, but Anraku somehow manages to slide off the hook once again.
However, time is running out for his team. Just 6 outs to go else their run is over.
That's interesting. Despite not looking all that bad, Fujita-kantoku relieves Kuzuya and sends in #5 Gotou Masato. Masato has had just 2 innings of work last fall, even less than Kuzuya.
Oota welcomes him as well with a liner to left. Jyoukou-kantoku playing for the douten run as Morita bunts him along.
Uh oh. Masato going to the slider repeatedly trying to get Fujiwara to chase, but he can't get him to bite and he can't find the zone! He walks him and that gets Fujita-kantoku to send out #18 Hashimoto to calm down Masato.
And it's doing the opposite! Masato was throwing his fastball up in the low-mid 130's but now is sitting in the high 120's as he's still not hitting the strike zone!! He's definitely rattled as he walks Kaneko to load the bases!!
Fujita-kantoku in full scramble mode as #11 Touyama (who earlier went to the mound during a timeout), now takes the hill...
Jyoukou-kantoku, sensing a ripe opportunity, sends in #14 Hayashi Kanya in to hit for Machida as Kengifushou plays the infield in for a play at the plate.
First pitch Kanya hits it to 3rd! It's off the glove of Azuma! Everyone's safe and Kanya with the timely hit has tied the game at 3-3!!
Back to the top of the order and Ueda as Kengifushou looks to be reeling.
Ueda tries the squeeze, but fouls it off!
But he does one better! He singles through the drawn in infield and Fujiwara scores to give Saibi their first lead since the 2nd inning! It's 4-3 Saibi!!!!!
Yamashita to try and extend the lead, but he pops it up! Takenaka settles under it as the infield fly is called for the 2nd out. Touyama almost out of the jam.
But Touyama struggles against the lefty Usagawa! He walks him and walks in a run to make it 5-3!
That brings up the always dangerous, though not today, Usagawa.
And now Touyama is ramping it up. Fastballs in the mid-upper 130's, but he's all over the place. He somehow manages to get 2 strikes as Anraku continues to flail. But then he suddenly becomes more patient and works the count full....
And Touyama walks him! He throws his first slider and it's high as he walks in another run to make it 6-3 Saibi!
That's it for Touyama. Hayashi comes in from RF to pitch as #16 Niwa comes in for Touyama to take over in right.
Hayashi gets Oota to swing on the first pitch and fly to left. The inning is mercifully over for Kengifushou, but not before a complete collapse here in the 8th...
So despite Anraku struggling all game, it's Kengifushou's bullpen that has collapsed.
Hayashi will stay in the game at 2nd as Anraku looks to close it out.
Aoki though will not make it that easy. He hits one past a diving Morita into left for a base hit.
But Aoki presses too far when he tries to take 2nd on a ball that gets away from Kaneko! He throws to 2nd and is thrown out! Not a smart move considering his run doesn't matter (it does, but really it doesnt).
And now with no one on base Anraku has the clear position of advantage as Hayashi chases a slider for the 2nd out!
Last chance for Kengifushou as #12 Banno comes in to hit for Okimoto. Anraku gets ahead 0-2, but then tries to get him to chase with no luck - filling up the count.
Banno then singles to left! There's still a faint light for Kengifushou! #13 Iwata comes in to run for Banno.
Niwa up for his first AB, and what a time to have it...
And Kaneko loses track of another ball! This time he can't find it and Iwata takes 2nd!
Anraku comes back to get ahead 1-2 as Niwa fouls one off...
Niwa with a ball to the right side... that gets past a diving Hayashi!! Iwata holds at 3rd and Kengifuhsou is able to send the douten runner to the plate!
Moreover, the lineup for Kengifushou flips back to the top and Kawamura.
Fujita-kantoku sends Niwa on the first pitch! Throw from Kaneko... not in time!! That was a very risky call by Fujita-kantoku there. His run still doesn't matter - only Kawamura.
Despite Kawamura representing the douten run, with 1st open Anraku can afford to pitch defensively to Kawamura as he falls behind 3-1. Yet he goes inside with a fastball for strike 2!
Payoff pitch... grounder to 3rd!! Morita with it, goes to 1st... Beats a diving Kawamura and Saibi comes from behind to defeat Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou 6-3!!
So despite Anraku looking rather shaky on the mound, they are bailed out by an obviously shorthanded Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou and advance to the semifinals!
But really you have to wonder what might have been for Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou. If Fujita wasn't injured from last game, would Fujita have gone longer and held the lead? Because up until the 6th, he had done a superb job on the mound. We'll never know, but it certainly is a shame that we'll never really know - because they really looked like a contender in that Osaka Toin game, and even with the injuries looked good outside the bullpen.
Alas, that isn't the case. Instead Saibi is the team that manages to survive and advance into an all-Shikoku matchup with rival Kochi! Interestingly, Kochi and Saibi didn't play in the super-regionals so it should be interesting.
Anraku Tomohiro (Saibi) - W, CG, 3 ER, 9 H, 8 K, 2 BB
Yamashita Takuma (Saibi) - 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI, BB
Oota Yuuya (Saibi) - 2-5, R, 2 K
Fujita Ryouji (Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou) - ND, 6 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 8 K, 2 BB, HBP
Takenaka Hiroki (Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou) - 2-4, 2B, R
Aoki Shouya (Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou) - 2-3, BB