SS Hirose Katsumi
3B Mikami ?
P Yamada Motoki
LF Yamagata Shouichi
1B Sano Yuugo
CF Sano Takuya
RF Saitou Susumu
C Yamamoto Yuuga
2B Teramoto Shunya
CF Morishita Yuuto
3B Ageto Ryouta
SS Nakanishi Akito
RF Yamashita Takuma
LF Ueno Kouki
2B Izumi Hiromu
1B Murata Takumi
P Susami Shouma
C Kenjyou Shuuin
15:40 - First Pitch!
Not a bad start for Susami as he gets Hirose to chase for the first out. Mikami though follows that up with a hard liner that Ueno needs to track down..
Ace Yamada with a drive to left! Ueno running back to the wall..
Must be a day for HR's as Yamada gives Hikawa the 1-0 lead as the ball lands in the netting!
Yamagata flies out to fairly deep right, and I wonder if Susami might be in a bit of trouble today...
Not a good start either for Yamada as he seems to be flying open and his balls are going wide and he walks Morishita after running the count full. Ageto bunts him promptly to 2nd.
Yamada seems the run of the mill ace with a fastball in the high 130s-low 140s and a slider that Nakanishi just chased for the 2nd out in the low 120s.
Yamada's wildness continues as he goes up and in hitting Yamashita. Chance for Minoshima, but Ueno prefers not to wait - swinging on the first pitch and grounding to Hirose who goes the short way to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Outside of the HR, Susami hasn't looked that bad. Fastball in the mid-upper 130s, as Yuugo strikes out swinging... and a slider in the high 110s-low 120s.
Takuya gets frozen on a fastball for the 2nd out, and Saitou pops out to Kenjyou near the back screen for the 3rd out.
On the other hand, Yamada's control still seems a bit off. After inducing a groundout to Izumi, he falls behind Murata before working the count full and getting him to chase a slider down and in for the 2nd out.
Susami is not waiting for Yamada to hang himself, he's swinging away, fouling pitches but not necessarily making good contact. And what happens instead? He's frozen on a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3. Side retired.
Yamamoto starts off the 3rd with a liner back up the middle into center. Ikeya-kantoku calls for the bunt for #9 batter Teramoto, who obliges.
Hikawa meanwhile plays their own version of "Keio Chance" as Hirose steps in.
After a rather patient AB, Hirose singles back up the middle! Morishita fires it home, but way high! Susami backing up play catches it, but the throw allows Hirose to advance to 2nd. Susami in a pinch early...
Mikami up and has been feigning squeeze bunt to put pressure on the Minoshima battery. When he does swing away though he fouls the ball off and thus the count goes to 2-2 and he probably will swing away.
Ikeya-kantoku goes for the squeeze, the pitch is way outside so that Mikami can't get it and it's a strike em out, run em out double play to end the inning. *sighs*
For those wondering why I sigh, it's not because I'm rooting for Hikawa. It's because the squeeze bunt is used way too often for my liking in kokoyakyu. I don't mind it, but it's not a surprise when teams use it. In fact I think it's more expected.
Anywaya, Minoshima not wasting much time against Yamada. If you blinked, you missed the bottom of the 3rd.
Kenjyou flies out to left on the first pitch, Morishita grounds out to 1st and Ageto grounds to 3rd on a nice pick by Mikami. 6 pitches for 3 outs.
Susami cruising along as Yamada pops out to Murata in foul territory.
Yamagata with a blast to left center! Morishita chases it back to the wall.. looks up!
What is with Hikawa and HR's?! Yamada in the 1st and now Yamagata putting up some fireworks with a solid shot to left center and it's 2-0 Hikawa!
Yuugo follows that up with a ball to the left side! Nakanishi can only knock it down in the hole as his recovery and throw is late.
Ikeya-kantoku not going for the bunt this time, but instead goes for the hit-and-run as Takuya fouls it off. It's put on again, and fouled off again, and again.
This time, no hit-and-run, Yuugo takes off and the pitch is outside! Kenjyou has no throw! Now a base hit can possibly score a run!
Instead though Susami gets him to ground to short for the 2nd out. And Saitou flies out to center to end the inning. But Hikawa perhaps knowing if they win they have to play Osaka Touin are showing the bats themselves - though if they had them, perhaps they should have waited to spring it on them instead.
Nakanishi with a hard liner... right at Mikami for the first out. Yamada has a "look what I found" moment when a comebacker from Yamashita ends up in his glove.
Ueno though wants none of it! He hits a ball that goes through the left side for Minoshima's first hit! And a wild pitch from Yamada puts him into scoring position!
Izumi works the count full looking for a timely hit, but all he can do is look back at the umpire as he's called out on a fastball on the outside corner yet again! Yamada has settled down quite a bit since the opening innings.
Hikawa's ouen-dan plays Train-Train as Susami now has trouble finding the zone going behind 3-0 before firing a strike. He does get Yamamoto to ground to Nakanishi to start off the inning.
Teramoto, swinging away for the first time, goes down to hit the ball, and it's a decent liner - but it's right to Yamashita for the 2nd out.
Hirose with a blast to left! No way. Not even possible.
Now leadoff batter Hirose hits a HR into the alley in left and Susami can only shake his head as 3 of the 6 hits he's given up have been HRs. 3-0 Hikawa!
Mikami grounds out to 2nd, but if you can believe it, Hikawa has more HR's than Osaka Touin. Read that again.
So, a bit of work for Minoshima now. Murata with a gapper to left center gives his team a leadoff double! Bitou-kantoku will play for the run as Susami bunts the runner along.
Oh! Kenjyou with a blast to right center! Yakuya sprinting back, goes into a slide and makes the catch! He almost overruns it, but slides to slow down and make the great catch! Murata easily tags up to make it a 3-1 game.
Uh oh! Morishita with a low scorcher to the right side splits the defense and goes all the way to the wall for a triple! Minoshima in business once again!
Yamada uncorks a wild pitch and Morishita comes in from 3rd to make it a 3-2 ballgame! Things are going all wrong for Hikawa here in the 5th!
And perhaps the break is coming at the right time as Ageto lines out to Teramoto to end the inning. But Minoshima has found something here, the question now is - can they continue it?
With new life (of sorts), Susami once again buckles down, jamming Yamada into a 6-3 groundout. Yamagata meanwhile continues his hot hitting with a liner to left.
And with 2 out, Yamagata is caught off 1st, but the throw from Kenjyou is dropped by Murata and he reaches 2nd safely!
AH!! Kenjyou throws it away! Yamagata going for 3rd and the throw goes into left! Yamagata comes home and it's 4-2 Hikawa!
Now Takuya grounds out to end the inning, but this has been a bit of a bizarre game.
Nakanishi with a ball down the right field line.. fair! He hurries into 2nd and Minoshima looks to rally yet again! Yamashita bunts him along to 3rd.
But Ueno, who is swinging away grounds to 3rd! Nakanishi has to hold as Ueno is retired at 1st.
And Izumi goes after the first pitch and flies out to Saitou to end the inning! Yamada gets out of the pinch!
Susami continuing to get routine outs despite the poor defense. Saitou flies out to right, Yamamoto swings and misses on a high changeup, and Teramoto grounds to short. 1-2-3 inning versus the bottom of the order and he gives his team a chance to come back again on the bats.
Perhaps though their chances have already passed. Murata grounds out to 1st where Yuugo takes it himself.
#12 Nakao to hit for Susami, his day is done.
Nakao with a comebacker through to center for a base hit! Bitou-kantoku tries the bust-and-run, but when it fails, he has Kenjyou bunt him to 2nd looking for a one-timer from Morishita.
But Yamada clamps down and gets Morishita to swing and miss on a change outside for the 3rd out! Minoshima running out of time with just 2 innings to go...
#10 Takagawa comes in for PH Nakao and takes the hill. He's not a fireballer by any means, as I'm not sure he even hits 130 and he has a curve in the mid 100s.
In fact he's in the 120s as he walks Hirose to start the inning. But he turns around and gets Mikami to ground into a neat 4-6-3 double play (which included a nice flip from Izumi).
Yamada out in front of a ball, grounds to short and perhaps now the bats are too fast for Takagawa's pitches as they go 1-2-3 once again!
Still, they need 2 runs in the next 2 innings...
And the offense is spinning their wheels.
Ageto with a decent drive to center, but it hangs up and Takuya runs it down. Nakanishi's timing is way off and hits a dribbler back to Yamada.
Yamashita not playing desperate, takes his pitches and earns a 2-out walk. Ueno steps in now to try and continue the inning.
Down two, Bitou-kantoku tries to put pressure with the hit-and-run, but Ueno winds up chasing a high pitch and flies out to left to end the inning. Just one set of ABs left...
Yamagata putting on a clinic with a ball past a diving Ageto into left. Yuugo squaring to bunt, takes a couple and falls behind 1-2. And yet he executes a perfect three-bunt to move Yamagata along.
Back to "Keio Chance" as Takuya feigns a safety bunt, causing Bitou-kantoku to call time.
That gets Ikeya-kantoku to send in #14 Maeda to run for his cleanup batter.
The bunt is off for Takuya, as he gets ahead 3-0. But he doesn't swing as Takagawa fires 2 in there to fill up the count.
Grounder to 3rd! Ageto tags Maeda sprinting to 3rd, throws to 1st... But Murata is off the bag and backs into foul territory allowing Takuya to get into 1st safely! Almost a great DP there!
The inning only goes one pitch longer as Saitou grounds to short.
Last chance for Minoshima! Maeda stays in to play left.
Izumi up, 0-3 on the day. He works the count full... hits a hard liner, but right at Yuugo for the first out!
Murata, 1-3 with that double to left center... He laces one to right! Saitou takes it on the high hop and the douten runner will come to bat! #14 Morikawa comes in to run for Murata.
Takagawa in to bat, watches 2 strikes go by... then swings at a pitch way out and high and knows he messed up... 2 outs!
Last chance in #9 batter Kenjyou. Wild pitch from Yamada allows Morikawa to advance, but the concern should be at home plate.
And Yamada falls behind 3-0. He doesn't want to face Morishita and fires a strike in.
Kenjyou with a drive to right! Saitou heading back... heading back... and it dies in deep right as Saitou makes the catch and Hikawa moves on!
Despite the loss, Susami didn't do that bad of a job. Yes, he gave up 3 HRs, but otherwise kept Hikawa at bay. And the 4th run came on defensive miscues that would have wiped out the runner. Yes, the pictures have him crying, but he really did a great job on the mound.
Offensively, they had their chances too. They didn't hit homeruns, but they did have a span there in the 5th and 6th where they had several extra base hits. So they may have lost, but they played fairly well.
As for Hikawa, perhaps they let the cat out of the bag early with 3 solo HRs to make people think that perhaps they can compete with Osaka Touin.
Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, but still, 3 HRs in one game is rather impressive. The rest of the time though they were pretty much limited to singles and didn't threaten otherwise.
I think they know though that this will be just as much of an uphill battle as it was for Nihon Bunri. They'll have 5 days to plan, which might help.
Yamada Motoki (Hikawa) - CG, 2 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 2 BB, HBP
Yamagata Shouichi (Hikawa) - 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI
Hirose Katsumi (Hikawa) - 2-3, HR, R, RBI
Yamada Motoki (Hikawa) - 1-4, HR, R, RBI
Susami Shouma (Minoshima) - 7 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 K
Murata Takumi (Minoshima) - 2-4, 2B, R
Morishita Yuuto (Minoshima) - 1-3, 3B, R, BB