Well, after that blowout, let's hope this one doesn't end the same way, shall we?
I'm worried about that though. Sakushin looks as strong as they were last year when they reached the best 8. And Nichidai Yamagata, though they defeated Nichidai-san maybe proved Sanko to be a false powerhouse this year.
I actually do worry this game will also get out of hand.
Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi)
CF Suzuki Masashi
3B Soeda Shinkai
1B Nakamura Kouichiro
C Yamashita Yuuto
RF Kobayashi Yuusuke
SS Kawakami Shuugo
LF Takanohashi Hiroki
2B Yamanashi Kouta
P Watanabe Yuuma
Nichidai Yamagata (Yamagata)
CF Aoki Tatsuya
2B Nakano Takumu
LF Mineta Jyunnosuke
SS Okumura Hiromu
1B Yoshioka ?
C Asanuma Takanori
RF Takeda Shouhei
P Shouji Misaki
3B Itasaka Hiroki
16:07 - First Pitch!
Suzuki with a drive down the right field line. Takeda running towards the line, makes the leaping catch as he runs into the padding.
But as expected, Sakushin looking to jump on Nichidai early. Soeda takes a fastball outside and actually drives it to right center. That falls in near the wall and Soeda is off to the races for a triple.
Nakamura to look for the quick timely or even a sac fly.
But Shouji working the upper part of the strike zone gets Nakamura to swing and miss on a slider.
The gig might be up early though as Yamashita booms another fastball on the outer half to almost the same spot. Once again Aoki and Takeda converge, but can't get there in time. He's in with a double. and it's 1-0.
Kobayashi goes down on three straight to end the inning, but already Sakushin Gakuin is on the board.
Aoki looking to launch a quick counter singles back up the middle.
Nakano tries the safety bunt, but it's like a grounder to Soeda instead. He goes to 2nd and they cut down the lead runner.
Mineda takes the outside fastball the other way over Kawakami and into center. Kobari-kantoku calls time as cleanup batter Okumura comes to bat.
Watanabe places a perfect fastball on the inside corner and there's 2 down.
Yoshioka on the first pitch singles back up the middle! Nakano's held up at 3rd as the throw goes high.
Manrui 2 outs for Asanuma...
Singles through the left side! Nakano scores, they're sending Mineta! Throw home... SAFE!!!!
Mineta goes on the fair side of the line and goes around the tag! Nichidai Yamagata takes the 2-1 lead!
Takeda with a ball to the right side, Yamanashi is there, AHHHH!!!
It's just out of his reach and it goes to right! Yoshioka comes around 3rd and he scores, Yamashita sees Asanuma caught in between throws, AHHH!!!
He throws it away allowing both runners to scramble back! It's 3-1 and a mess of an inning for Watanabe! He gets Shouji to fly out to end the inning, but once again Nichidai Yamagata emphatically responds in the 1st.
And it may be that Shouji needs to work out the kinks in the 1st inning as he induces Kawakami to chase a fastball outside for the first out.
But this Sakushin team can hit. Takanohashi puts one in the gap in left center this time for a double.
Yamanashi does advance the runner after he pulls a slider to 1st. 2 down though.
Watanabe up to help his own cause...
But Shouji goes outside with the slider and Watanabe chases it for the 3rd out! No damage done!
Oy, it's not Sakushin that's hitting, but Nichidai! Itasaka goes down and lines the low slider down the left field side for a leadoff double!
Aoki tries to lay down the bunt twice, but fouls off both attempts. When you're hitting, just continue.
Ah, but Itasaka follows the base hit with terrible running. Aoki hits one to the left side, Itasaki breaks for 3rd, but Kawakami has time to go to 3rd. Itasaka is run down and that's a mistake for Nichidai Yamagata.
Nakano then proceeds to get ahead of a slider and pop out to center.
Mineda fouls out and the early threat is dissipated.
Szuki with a hot shot to 1st, Yoshioka makes the spinning pick and goes to the bag for the out.
Shouji, perhaps a little skittish with Soeda up to bat, walks him.
Hit-and-run from Sakushin! But Nakamura waves at a ball way outside! Throw to 2nd from Asanuma is offline and goes off Okumura's glove! Soeda cannot advance to 3rd though.
2 out for Yamashita, and this time Shouji is not squeamish. Put a slow curve and slider in for a strike, then gets the generous call on a ball outside to end the inning!
Watanabe on a slow curve hits Okumura on the back.
Yoshioka swinging away booms one to deep left center! Takanohashi and Suzuki converging, it's Suzuki who stretches out and makes the catch!
But Kobari-kantoku has seen enough. #10 Asayama comes in to relieve Watanabe.
Asanuma goes for the bunt! Asayama fields it goes to 2nd, throws it away!! Okumura advances to 3rd and Sakushin is in another pinch!
Takeda trying to bunt? Takes a couple of pitches, but falls behind 1-2.
SANSHIN! Takeda swings right through that fastball for the 2nd out. Shouji up to help his own cause, but if last AB was an indication, it may not be likely.
Yep, he gives a regretful swing for strike 2, then can't pull the trigger on the fastball and the side is retired.
Kobayashi gives Sakushin a leadoff runner with a single to left.
He then takes off for 2nd! Kawakami swings and misses but the throw to 2nd is late.
Kawakami though can't take advantage. He grounds to short. Okumura loses the ball for a second, but then recovers 180 spins and throws to 1st to get the out.
Working the outside half, Shouji gets Takanohashi to swing on a slider outside and hits it off the end of the bat to left center. Mineda there to catch it for the 2nd out.
Yamanashi hits a comebacker to Shouji who snags and walks it over to Yoshioka for the 3rd out!
Asayama a bit careful with Itasaka runs the count full, does give in with the full count pitch, but Itasaka grounds out to short.
Aoki unable to catch up to the fastball gets a small piece of it and hits a pop out to Kawakami for the 2nd out.
Nakano way out in front of the slider, one-hands it to Nakamura who tosses to Asayama for the 3rd out.
Asayama very patient at the plate, doesn't give into any of the balls outside, fills up count. But Shouji gets the bottom of the zone on the slider and Asanuma turns back to the dugout.
Suzuki attacking early, but grounds to Itasaka for the 2nd out.
Soeda, like Asayama goes behind 1-2, takes 2 pitches to full up the count. He does swing at the strike, but grounds to short for the 3rd out.
Asayama hits his first batter in Mineta to start the 5th. Okumura showing bunt for the first pitch, but back to hitting. After getting ahead 2-0, Asayama levels the count. Tries to go inside, but Okumura just gets a piece of it and fouls it off.
Asayama climbs the latter on the fastball and Okumura swings under it for the 1st out.
Nichidai batters seem less apt to swing it seems. Yoshioka on a 0-1 pitch just watches a fastball down the middle for strike 2.
Yoshikoka hot shot to 1st! It's off Nakamura's glove! He goes to recover, tosses to sprinting Asayama, just beats Yoshioka to the bag for the 2nd out.
Asanuma liner, but right to Soeda for the 3rd out.
So we hit the midgame break with a situation similar to Nichidai Yamagata's first game, where they trailed early, came back immediately to take the lead. Asayama has done really well in relief for his 2nd straight relief outing, while Shouji is confounding the Sakushin batters.
There is still 4 innings left to go and usually if something happens it's then.
Nakamura puts a bal between a diving Itasaka and Okumura for a leadoff hit.
But Yamashita hits into a tailor made 6-4-3 double play. Quickly 2 out.
Kobayashi with a blast to left! Mineta running back, but he gives up!
That DP becomes even more important because with it Nichidai Yamagata still leads by 1!
Shouji comes back to paint the inside corner to Kawakami to end the inning, but that lead for Nichidai Yamagata got that much more tenuous!
One down and Shouji is fighting the heck out of his AB. Where was this the other 2 ABs when there were runners in scoring position!
And he hits one under the glove of a diving Kawakami! Araki-kantoku has Itasaka bunt him over for the top of the lineup.
Aoki with a big swing, but it looks like he got under it. He does and Kobayashi secures it for the 3rd out.
Ahead 3-1 against Shouji, Takanohashi goes after a high fastball for some reason and fouls out to Itasaka near the dugout.
Once again, Shouji goes outside with his slider and Yamanashi swings through it for the 2nd out.
Asayama with a hard hit to the right side! Yoshioka reaches out to his right and makes the snag! Tosses to Shouji and the side is retired!
Defensive changes for Sakushin as #17 Tamagawa comes in for Takanohashi in LF.
Nakano with a hard liner but right to Kawakami for the out.
Mineta goes full on Asayama, but goes after the fastball inside and hits one back to Asayama for the 2nd out.
And Okumura better put someting on him because he's hit for the second time this game.
Yoshioka up and there's another hot liner right to short. Side retired.
Top of the order up for Sakushin Gakuin as time is starting to run out.
Suzuki out in front hits chopper to 3rd, Itasaka gets rid of it quickly and just gets Aoki for the 1st out.
Soeda looking to get on base, works count full...
Soeda leasps back, but can only tilt his head as he's punched out. 2 down.
Nakamura grounder to 2nd, Nakano goes to 1st and once again Shouji puts up a clean frame!
Asanum lines a ball to left center for a lead off single! Plays it safe as the ball bounced off Suzuki's glove and out in front of him.
Takeda with the bunt, but Nakamura charging in throws to 2nd and cuts down Asanuma!
Shouji jumps on the first pitch from Asayama! Drives one to deep right center!! Suzuki back to the wall, plays it on the hop! Takeda being waved around, relay home...
High! Yamashita has to leap up and the tag is late again! It's 4-2 Nichidai Yamagata!
Itasaka hard shot to 3rd, Soeda with a great diving stop holds the runner and goes to 1st for the 2nd out!
But Aoki with a drive to deep center! No one's going to get to that one! It's off the wall and Shouji will score to make it 5-2!!
That prompts Kobari-kantoku to pull Asayama. He's fighting showing his disappointment as he hands the ball over to #11 Fujinuma.
He comes in and strikes out Nakano on 3 straight, but the damage has been done. Their deficit just got more difficult.
Shouji still throwing strikes gets ahead of Nakamura, then puts him away with the slider! One down!
Kobayashi goes on first pitch, lines out to Aoki... 2 down!
#13 Tanaka to hit for Kawakami as their last chance...
Goes down swinging! Asanua completes the play at first and Nichidai Yamagata's done it! For just the 2nd time in the school's history they reach the Best 8 and do so in superb fashion over Sakushin Gakuin!
I'm beginning to wonder if Nichidai Yamagata is the Urawa Gakuin for me this year. I keep on panning them as they face seemingly tough competition, but they keep on winning. It's probably different because I can see how Shouji is successful, while I couldn't with Ojima.
Shouji, much like Kishi worked around the strike zone, but rarely within it, winds up striking out 12, but otherwise shutting down the Sakushin offense. Perhaps a concern is that when Shouji was hit, he was hit hard. Of the 6 hits, he gave up 2 doubles, a triple and a HR. He will have his hands full with Meitoku's offense.
As for Sakushin Gakuin, while there were those hits, they were generally few and far between. So more often than not they were spinning their wheels. They were often behind in counts and wound up having to play more defensive than offensive, which might have hurt.
It's a disappointing loss for sure, but they do have some young players on their roster and may return yet again next year.
Shouji Misaki (Nichidai Yamagata) - CG, 2 ER, 6 H, 12 K, BB
Shouji Misaki (Nichidai Yamagata) - 2-4, 2B, R, RBI
Asanuma Takanori (Nichidai Yamagata) - 2-3, 2 RBI
Kobayashi Yuusuke (Sakushin Gakuin) - 2-4, HR, R, RBI, SB
Soeda Shinkai (Sakushin Gakuin) - 1-3, 3B, R, BB