Wow, well did not expect those two results. What else do we have in store?
Tokoha Kikugwa had their first game against first timers Arita Kougyou. It was the bottom of the Tokoha lineup that provided the production for the team while Hotta toed the line with contact and being knocked out.
For Naruto, Bandou started fading in the middle to late innings allowing Shuutoku back in the game. Will stamina be an issue on just 1 days' rest?
Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
CF Toji Keisuke
1B Sakakibara Takato
SS Endou Kouhei
C Matsuki Daisuke
3B Oonishi Yuuki
2B Kuwahara Tatsuki
RF Kaneko Hisashi
P Watanabe Ryuusei (#10)
LF Maekawa Naoya
2B Nakano Yuuki
CF Koumoto Yuujirou
SS Kawano Yuuto
1B Ise Hayato
RF Hashikawa Ryousuke (#11)
C Kusaka Hiroki
3B Matsumoto Takanori
P Bandou Yuugo
LF Narukawa Shuuji
13:20 - First Pitch!
Well, good start for Bandou as he makes quick work of Tokoha. Finishes the frame with a fastball that Endou can only stare at for strike 3.
Nakano quick out with fly to center.
Koumoto gets one off end of bat to Kawano. But he loses the handle and by the time he regroups, it's too late! E6.
Kawano hitting! Right to Sakakibara! Goes to 2nd.. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He throws it away behind Endou! 2 errors, 2 men on base!
Ise looking for the timely...
Watanabe gets the 2nd out as Ise swings under a high forkball! He's almost out of the jam!
Hashikawa with the single through the left side! Koumoto holds at 3rd and it's manrui for Naruto!
Kusaka attacks early! Single to center! Koumoto in, Kawano being sent in! Throw for Toji...
It's high! Matsuki has to jump to get it and it costs the tag at home! 2-0 Naruto!
Oh, the hits are coming in for Naruto early! Matsumoto lines one over Oonishi's head and down the line! Hashimoto scores, 3-0 and there's runners at 2nd and 3rd!
Watanabe finally gets out of the inning when Bandou grounds to 2nd, but it's a terrible start for the Tokoha spot starter as he's not helped at all by his defense.
Bandou once again sharp early on. Matsuki chases an outside forkball, while Oonishi looks at a fastball on the outside corner on a 3-2 pitch.
Kuwahara has a much better outcome on his 3-2 pitch as he draws a walk.
Morishita-kantoku sends him! Throw from Kusaka... High! And Kawano's arm hits Kuwahara and the ball goes to shallow left! Kuwahara goes to 3rd and Tokoha might get one back!
Kaneko also working the count, spoils pitch after pitch in the zone and works the count full...
But Bandou comes right back with a fastball inside and tie up Kaneko for the K!
Narukawa getting his hits off of Watanabe as he singles to left. Nakano tries to bunt, but pops it up as Matsuki gets it for the 1st out.
Moriwaki-kantoku will play for the one-timer still as he will have Koumoto bunt as well. Despite falling behind 0-2 trying, he three-bunts and lays it down.
Watanabe gets his donut finally as Kawano hits it hard but right at Kuwahara for the 3rd out.
Tokoha Kikugawa apparently is committing to the waiting game on Bandou as Watanabe draws the walk.
Of course I say that and Maekawa swings on the first pitch...
And the second....
And on a slider at the letters, he swings again, 1 down.
If you're going to play the patience game, the entire team has to be on board... *sighs*
But apparently, neither leadoff batter Toji or last batter Maekawa got the memo.
Toji uppercuts a ball, Nakano lets a kettle of water boil and makes the catch.
Sakakibara gets ahead 3-1, but at last minute decides to swing. Drives a ball deep to right...
...but Hashikawa is there right against the corner for the 3rd out.
I think waiting is the right thing to do, but all batters have to commit to drawing a walk until the last possible pitch.
Watanabe has been doing well all things considered if not for the errors in the 1st.
Much more relaxed apparently, he gets Ise under a high fastball and flies to center.
He then gets the high strike to Hashikawa for the 2nd out..
And gets his 1-2-3 inning as Kusaka hits a silo HR to Sakakibara for the 3rd out.
Looks like they've abandoned the waiting game...
Endou falling behind 1-2 hits a comebacker to Bandou.
Matsuki gets hit by Bandou to put a runner on, but when Morishita-kantoku puts on the hit-and-run, Oonishi swings and misses leaving Matsuki to be meat at 2nd.
Which is a shame because Bandou then walks Oonishi...
But Kuwahara is jammed on a cut ball inside and grounds to 3rd to end the inning.
Matsumoto checks in with his 2nd hit of the day, a ball back up the middle. Bandou bunts him along.
But Watanabe can't find the plate on #9 batter Narukawa and walks him. Morishita-kantoku figures that's enough for Watanabe and in comes #11 Hodzumi.
But so far no relief! Nakano with a single through the right side fills up the bases for Koumoto!
Koumoto with a drive to left! Maekawa running to the line... but it falls in! 2 runs will score on the double and it's 5-0 Naruto!
Hodzumi's stint on the mound is short as ace Hotta enters the game.
The barrage continues though. Kawano singles to center and the runners move a station, 6-0.
Ise attacks the next pitch and singles through the left side, another station, 7-0.
Hashikawa grounder to 2nd... Kuwahara whiffs on the pick. Kawano scores to make it 8-0.
A visibly exasperated Morishita-kantoku calls another conference.
And a walk to Kusaka puts manrui for Matsumoto who's up for the 2nd time this inning.
Matsumoto grounder to 3rd. Oonishi goes home for one, Matsuki goes to 1st and just gets Matsumoto for the the 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.
But this inning and the desperation to find a pitcher means this game is probably over
It's a rather easy inning for Bandou yet again. Maekawa makes a bid for a hit with a sharp ball to short, but its right to Kawano who smothers it and goes to 1st for the 3rd out..
Hotta continues to have streaks on the mound. Foul out to Bandou, walks Narukawa. pop fly (admittedly with a basket catch by Kuwahara)from Nakano, walk to Koumoto.
But then it's all downhill. Ise singles under Oonishi's glove down the 3rd base line for an RBI. Hashikawa singles to right center, brings in one more...
Kusaka singles through the right side, scoring Ise. Kaneko throws out Hashikawa at 3rd to end the inning, but it's more damage to a surely derelict Tokoha Kikugawa ship. 11-0 Naruto as we hit the break.
One thing Tokoha's done right is get Bandou to 90 pitches through 5 innings.
One down for Tokoha and they finally collect their first hit. Sakakibara singles back up the middle past a diving Nakano.
Endou makes better contact, but flies out to Hashikawa in deep right.
And on a hit-and-run Matsuki flies out to center.
Kusaka with his 2nd hit a single to center. No bunt from Matsumoto, drives one to deep left... Maekawa makes the catch in front of the wall.
Bandou perhaps getting practice in bunts Kusaka to 2nd.
Narukawa meanwhile gets his 3rd walk of the game.
Nakano ball back up the middle, Nakano being sent home, gets around the tag of Matsuki and it's 12-0.
Koumoto liner laced back up middle, Narukawa holds at 3rd, manrui for Kawano.
He flies out to Toji to end the inning.
As I said in a tweet, it would behoove Naruto to (1) Pull Bandou. You can put him in a position, just not on the mound, (2) stop scoring. Generally teams that score a lot of runs fall a little flat in their next game. And considering they're either playing Hanamaki Higashi or Meitoku Gijyuku, this is a problem.
Case in point, Oonishi singles back up the middle. Kuwahara follows that up with another one to center this time on the fly.
Kaneko scoots one through the right side scoring Oonishi and Tokoha prevents the shutout.
Bandou goes back to retire the next 3 batters, but that small burst alone shows that Bandou might be fatiguing
With #15 Imasaka hitting for Hotta, #12 Watanabe Naoki comes in to pitch.
Ise welcomes him with what else, a base hit.
But he comes back to retire the next 3 batters and the game gets one half inning closer to its conclusion.
#10 Maegawa comes in for Hashikawa and takes over in RF.
With the shutout prevented, Tokoha Kikugawa goes back to doing a lot of nothing. Nothing to see here folks, carry on.
One down and Narukawa gets his 4th walk. His day ends as #15 Tanaka comes in to run for him.
Hit-and-run is put on and Nakano singles to right.
Koumoto singles through short, Tanaka scores, 13-1 and runners at corners.
Koumoto takes off for 2nd and gets there safely. Tokoha walks Kawano to create the force I guess.
Ise singles through the left side, scoring 2, 15-1.
Maegawa grounder up the 3rd base side, Oonishi can't get the glove on it and it's to left. to score 1, 16-1.
Kusaka hits one off the top of the padded wall, scoring 1 more. 17-1.
Naoki is pulled for #14 Amuro, though if I heard the positions earlier, he's a catcher. Well, it's junk time anyways.
Bandou in for his 2nd AB, pop up to Endou for the 2nd out.
PR Tanaka gets to bat and flies out so shallow left to end the inning.
Tanaka stays in the game at LF.
Oonishi, Kuwahara and #17 PH Hanadou go down in order and the game is mercifully over.
Naruto with the "impressive" win, but risk losing the war in the next game.
I'm sure it hurts for Tokoha Kikugawa losing by such a margin - you can see some players crying probably because of the score, but at some point you just have to shrug your shoulders and say that it really wasn't your day. They can at least say that they got to Koushien and had a victory (they can skip this part of the story).
Bandou Yuugo (Naruto) - CG, ER, 4 H, 8 K, 3 BB, HBP
Narukawa Shuuji (Naruto) - 1-1, 2 R, 4 BB
Ise Hayato (Naruto) - 4-6, R, 4 RBI
Kusaka Hiroki (Naruto) - 3-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI
Kaneko Hisashi (Tokoha Kikugawa) - 1-3, RBI
Oonishi Yuuki (Tokoha Kikugawa) - 1-3, R, BB