Game 2, and the first of our 3 first-timers will battle for a spot in the Best 8.
Seiai like Jyousou Gakuin, dominated Tamano Kounan in the first game, with ace Ono pitched a 4-hit shutout. In their next game against fall Kyushu champ Okinawa Shougaku, Ono went 6 strong, then had to hold on for dear life as Okinawa mounted a late-game rally.
It's possible, that with on just 1 days rest we may see 1B Ichinohe come onto the mound in relief of Ono or to start as certainly he will not be able to be effective for a full game.
Seiai's offense seemingly knows how to hit bad pitching, as they knocked around the 3 pitchers all over the place, despite not scoring a lot of runs. But in their first game against Tamano Kounan, it was really all captain Ichinohe and Narita with the majority of the hitting - which might raise some red flags if not for it being their first ever game at Koushien.
For Nobeoka Gakuen, they opened the 2nd round with a solid 4-2 victory over Jiyuugaoka. The two pitcher strategy for Shigemoto-kantoku working perfectly with relief starter Nasu giving 3 inning of mostly nothing, 2 hits, 1 K, 1 BB and 1 ER to show for it. It's like he's out there as a block for their opponents so that when ace Yokose comes in, its like the opposition did nothing statistically at all.
Now, Shigemoto-kantoku also knows that because Nasu doesn't do anything really, that he has the quick hook to pull him at the first sign of trouble - something most kantoku fail to do.
Offsensively, the team is patient and puts a lot of stress on opposing pitchers. In each of the first 7 innings of their game, they had a runner in scoring position (yes, I realize an opening hit and a bunt puts a runner there, but still), and most batters were at least in some way productive.
I think a lot of the game may depend on the relief staff in some form or another but both put the pressure on Seiai. They need to get to Nasu before ace Yokose comes into the game, and they will probably need to rely on Ichinohe or someone else to give them innings.
LF Sotokawa Kazumi (#11)
2B Fujimoto Ren
P Ichinohe Shou (#3)
CF Narita Takuya
1B Yamazaki Shouta (#13)
C Wajima Koutarou
3B Moriyama Hiroto
SS Sasaki Shimon (#15)
RF Kitabatake Kanto (#16)
Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki)
2B Kajiwara Shouto
SS Matsumoto Masaya
CF Sakamoto Ryougo
RF Iwashige Akihito
LF Hamada Shintarou
1B Nozaki Kouji (#13)
3B Watarai Akihiro
C Yanase Naoya
P Nasu Ryouto (#10)
10:45 - First Pitch!
A good first inning for Nasu, 7 pitches and the side is retired with a lazy fly to center and 2 groundouts.
As expeted, Harada-kantoku will start with Ichinohe on the mound
Not bad, but the Nobeoka Gakuen batters will take a good look at him apparently.
Kajiwara goes full before pulling an outside slider to 2nd. Matsumoto goes after a slow curve and grounds to short.
And just to flash some control, he pounds a fastball in to Sakamoto for the 3rd out.
Narita late on a high fastball and grounds to short.
Yamazaki spoiling a couple of pitches at 2-2 works count full.
9th pitch lines up the slow curve and lines one down the left field line for a single.
Harada-kantoku calls hit-and-run! Ah, but Wajima pulls the ball foul.
Wajima going on slow cuve as well, but lifts it to center for the 2nd out.
Moriyama grounds to short, Matsumoto goes the short way for the 3rd out.
Nothing special about Ichinohe on the mound, low-mid 130s fastball with a slider and slow curve.
Iwashige lifts fly to center for 1st out.
Control though is hit and miss though, as he walks Hamada.
Hm, that's another skied fly, this time from Nozaki. Sotokawa has it in left center for the 2nd out.
And Watarai chases a slider in the opposing batter's box. 3 down.
Sasaki fouls of several of Nasu's pitches, but again, nothing to show for it as he pops out to Matsumoto.
There's a solid base hit from Kitabatake. Just out of the reach of Nasu into center.
But I think Seiai is just leaning into balls and generating upswing, because Sotogawa hits yet another high popup that Nozaki takes while running into Yanase. Fujimoto grounds to short and the side is retired.
Yanase chopper back up middle! It's off Ichinohe's glove! Sasaki redirects to the ball, but can't field it! 1st base hit for Nobeoka! Nasu lays down bunt, Wajima looks at 2, but thinks again, goes to 1st.
Kajiwara single to left! Sotogawa goes home even though Yanase held at 3rd and now Kajiwara takes 2nd! Defensive mistake by Seiai!
Ichinohe goes to 2nd, but he throws it away! Yanase scores on error by Ichinohe! 1-0 Nobeoka Gakuen!
Now Masumoto bunts Kajiwara along for Sakamoto.
Sakamoto flies to center to end the inning, but a costly run for Seiai!
Ichinohe fighting at the plate to try and start getting that run back.
But while Sakamoto stumbles and falls, Ichinohe lifted the ball high enough that he had time to recover.
Narita inside jammed pops out to short.
Yamazaki catches one at the end of the bat and its a popup to Kajiwara for the 3rd out.
Iwashige drive to deep cener! Narita going back and to his left, makes the catch near the wall for the out.
Hamada watches the fastball catch the bottom edge of the zone, 2 down.
Allows just his 3rd runner in Nozaki after a 4-pitch walk.
Wild pitch from Ichinohe moves the runner to 2nd, but Watarai chases the slider for his 2nd K to end the inning.
One down for Seiai and Moriyama draws a walk, just their 3rd baserunner.
あら？ Nasu falls behind Sasaki 3-1. Yokose is scrambled out of the dugout.
Hit-and-run! Ah, but Sasaki flies out to left. 2 out.
Grounder the 2nd base side by Kitabatake, Kajiwara comes in but can't field the ball! Tries to snap throw to 2nd to catch Moriyama off, but he throws it away! Runners hold as Sakamoto backs up.
Shigemoto-kantoku calling time.
Back to the top of the order and Sotogawa.
After a first pitch strike, Harada-kantoku passes a message to Sotokawa.
1-1, pitch way outside and the umpire deems Sotokawa to have swung. Can't make Harada-kantoku happy.
Goes after yet another slider outside, just gets a piece of it, grounds to short for the 3rd out.
Yanase drive to deep center! Narita back to the wall, but it's over his head! Yanase in with a double, and looks like Harada-kantoku has the hook. Ace Ono comes in for Yamazaki and takes the hill, Ichinohe goes to 1st.
Ichinohe was pretty much in the same boat Nasu is in on the mound.
Nasu puts the bunt down to move him to 3rd.
Ah, but Kajiwara hits a fly to shallow center! Narita charging in... makes the catch! Yanase can't come home and there's 2 down!
Matsumoto tries safety bunt, then feigns one, but now falls behind 1-2.
Drive to right! Kitabatake running back, leaps! No chance! Matsumoto in at 3rd and Nobeoka Gakuen leads 2-0!
Ah... it looks like Ono is NG out of the pen as he hits Sakamoto...
And now Iwashige singles through short and Matsumoto can walk home, 3-0 Nobeoka Gakuen!
Oh dear. Hamada drive to deep left center, that's off the wall. Sakamoto and Iwashige all the way from 1st score to make it 5-0.
Ono hits his 2nd batter of the inning and Harada-kantoku calls time.
Watarai flies out to center to end the inning, but as we head to the break it all goes horribly wrong for Seiai as Ono off the bench is completely ineffective. A 5-0 deficit may be too much to overcome considering ace Yanase is a couple of warmup pitches from the mound at any point in time.
Fujimoto trying anything to get on base, tries safety bunt. Then short-circuits own effort by head-sliding into 1st and is called out (just).
Narita gets a two out single to right.
Ono though quickly flies out to center, inning over.
#7 Uniwa comes in for Sotogawa to play LF.
Yanase chops one over out of the reach of Sasaki for a base hit. Nasu bunts him over.
Kajiwara singles to left..
And Harada-kantoku admits making a mistake as Ono and Ichinohe switch places.
Bunt up the 1st base line from Matsumoto. Ono waits, waits, goes for the tag... SAFE! He waited too long! Yanase scores and it's 6-0.
Sakamoto scoots one past the feet of Ichinohe to center. Kajiwara scores and it's 7-0.
Iwashige grounder to short, Sasaki going home, throw is high and Matsumoto slides around swipe tag, 8-0.
Hamada single through right side, Sakamoto scores, Iwashige run down 9-5-6 for 2nd out.
Nozaki strikes out to end inning, but the collapse continues for Seiai.
#3 Tanaka comes in for Nozaki to play 1B.
Wajima ball to the left side, takes high hop over Matsumoto for a base hit.
Nasu hits Moriyama, and Seiai finally has a decent scoring chance, though a bit late.
Sasaki though hits a foul fly to new 1B Tanaka for the 1st out.
Kitabatake grounder to 1st, Tanaka goes to 2nd for 1, but that's it.
Uniwa flies out to right, and Seiai remains shutout.
#6 Ishizawa now in for Sasaki at SS.
Now the game is well in hand, Ichinohe strikes out the side.
#14 Usuda in for Watarai at 3B.
Narita breaks the 1-2-3 inning with a single to right, but otherwise we're just moving towards the end.
Kajiwara practing bunt, Wajima stumbles when spinning around and he's safe. Matsumoto bunts him along to 2nd.
Sakamoto walks on 4 straight and Harada-kantoku switches Ono and Hachinohe back.
Iwashige back up the middle for a base hit, Kajiwara scores to make it 10-0, throw goes to 3rd then 2nd and they get Iwashige trying to take 2nd.
Nasu finally pulled, #11 Ide comes in to pitch.
Wajima and Moriyama down, #14 Kimura (moodmaker for the team) comes in to hit for Ishizawa.
He's certainly fighting at the plate... and just lines a pitch foul down the line.
He's milked the AB to 9 pitches now, and checks a swing to make it full.
Sadly on pitch 10, he fouls out to Usuda for the final out.
This game at least the flow of the game went as expected. Score not necessarily as much.
But man, while they lost badly here, they still won 2 games, including Okinawa Shougaku - all in their first effort! Can't take that away from them.
Nobeoka Gakuen meanwhile breaks into the Best 8 for the first time in their history!
Nasu Ryouto (Nobeoka Gakuen) - 8 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, K, BB, HBP
Iwashige Akihito (Nobeoka Gakuen) - 3-5, R, 2 RBI
Matsumoto Masaya (Nobeoka Gakuen) - 2-3, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Yanase Naoya (Nobeoka Gakuen) - 3-4, 2B, 3 R
Narita Takuya (Seiai) - 2-4
Kitabatake Kanto (Seiai) - 2-3