Well, that was unexpected. Maebashi Ikuei certainly looking like a strong team, but everyone realizing now that this half of the bracket could be had! And this winner doesn't have to face Maebashi Ikuei (yet).
Toyama Dai-ichi had a rather easy 5-0 win over Akita Shougyou, relentlessly bunching hits together to score their runs. Meanwhile ace Miyamoto scattering 7 hits while striking out 10 in a shutout effort. But Akita Shougyou easily looked like the weakest of the Tohoku teams this year and for most of the game you had the feeling that they were never quite in it.
For Kisaradzu Sougou they are now without ace Chiba having suffered an injury in the prefecturals, and could only pitch to one batter versus Nishiwaki Kougyou.
Fortunately for Gojima-kantoku, he has 4 pitchers left at his disposal. #10 Oikawa who relieved Chiba, #11 Aoki Kenta, #12 Nasu Yuuta and #13 Taguchi Kouichirou. He may need to call on all of them before time is up.
Another concern is the offense, 7 runs in one inning against Ueda Nishi, and then 3 runs early against Nishiwaki Kougyou and a decent ace in Outa.
Hopefully this will be a close game unlike the other ones so far.
Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama)
CF Hirata Masazumi
RF Nishida Yuuki
3B Kuroda Masataka
LF Kouyama Kazuhiro
SS Nakamura Jyunka
1B Fujii Shintarou
2B Terasaki Hikaru
C Takamori Hiroyuki
P Miyamoto Kouji
Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)
CF Azuma Tatsuya
3B Okada Yuuhei
LF Saruta Mizuki
RF Tanida Ryou
SS Himura Atsushi
C Akiba Kouta
2B Sakasai Shou
1B Sagae Kaito
P Oikawa Shouta (#10)
15:45 - First Pitch!
So I didn't notice this but Oikawa throws predominantly sliders! Almost 70%!!
Hirata late on a fastball after being fed diet of said sliders and grounds to 3rd.
Nishida waiting for Oikawa to put pitches in the strike zone, draws a full count walk.
Kuroda trying to pull an outside slider, has it get caught up in the hamakaze, Tanida has to charge in but makes sliding catch.
Kouyama also is patient at the plate, works the count full too. But he goes full extension to reach a slider outside and weakly flies out to right. It'll be interesting to see how throwing a lot of sliders will go on 1 day's rest.
Azuma slicer down the left field line, fair! Goes to the wall for a leadoff double. Chance for Kisaradzu early!
Ball gets away from Takamori a little, fires to 2nd??!
Azuma is caught off the bag looking at the play and is thrown out diving back to the bag! Oh, that's a brain fart in the opening frame...
Miyamoto taking full advantage getting Okada to chase a slider.
Saruta grounds to short on the first pitch and the side is retired!
Tamura drawing already Oikawa's 2nd walk as Oikawa missing high with his sliders
Fujii showing bunt, but takes two more high sliders. Will he try to work a walk with Oikawa missing early?
Takes a slider down and in, bit of a delayed strike call. And another slider Oikawa puts in for a strike.
But he still winds up walking Fujii! 2 on, no down!
Takamori lays down the bunt this time and moves the runners along for Terazaki.
And now to Terazaki, Oikawa throws fastballs.
But Terazaki lines it right to a charging Sagae! He goes to 2nd and the inning is over!
Miyamoto getting assists from the opposition. Tanida swings on first pitch, grounds to 1st.
Himura watches 3 pitches, gets behind 1-2, then swings at slider out of zone for K.
Akiba with a 2-out hit back up the middle, but Sakasai after also watching himself go down 0-2, chases fastball out of zone for the 3rd out.
Looks like Oikawa is mixing in more fastballs to keep the opposition honest.
However, Miyamoto finds the gap through the right side and the lineup turns over to Hirata.
Hirata lays down the bunt, but a charging Okada elects to go to 2nd and he gets Miyamoto for the out!
Mixing the fastballs in for strikes in is helping as Nishida now chases the slider having 2 strikes on him.
Kuroda-kantoku pressing action, sends Hirata. But Akiba with strong arm guns him down and the inning is over. I think Toyama Dai-ichi perhaps missed their best chance to get to Kisaradzu Sougou until perhaps Oikawa tires.
Sagae with a slow grounder up the 3rd base side, Kuroda charging, fires to 1st, but it's offline! Fujii has to go off the bag to secure it and has no tag on Sagae! E5.
Oikawa with the bunt, but Miyamoto fires to 2nd and gets lead runner Sagae!
Miyamoto flying open a little, walks Okada! Chance building for Kisaradzu!
But Saruta hits a grounder to 3rd, AH!!!!
For the 2nd time this inning, Kuroda makes an error! He can't field the hop and his throw to 1st is late! Manrui for Kisaradzu with only 1 out!
Miyamoto bearing down, gets ahead of Saruta on 2 sliders, but Saruta hanging in there..
Saruta chases another slider and there 2 out!
Now facing cleanup hitter Tanida, Miyamoto turning up the heat, hitting 145 on the gun! Gets ahead 1-2...
147! Tanida grounds to 3rd! Kuroda with it, goes to 1st....
3 out! Kuroda does not make a 3rd error and he recovers to get his ace out of the jam!
Yes, Oikawa settling down nicely after the shaky start. Kuroda can only pull a high fastball in to 2nd for the first out.
Kouyama becomes another victim of the slider becomes Oikawa's 2nd K.
And Nakamura tries to drive a high slider, but gets under it and flies to left.
Himura chopper back up the middle, off Miyamoto's glove! Deflects to short, but Nakamura makes the adjustment and gets the out.
Gojima-kantoku seeing a low-scoring game (and perhaps a slightly skittish 3B) lays down the bunt in his direction. Kuroda makes the play and there's 2 down.
Sagae goes after a fastball outside, and it goes off the end of the bat to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Fujii with a sickly sounding hit, but it goes back up the middle past Oikawa and into center for a base hit. Takamori moves him over to 2nd.
After a lot of posturing by Oikawa, he gets Terazaki to foul out to Sagae.
And Miyamoto attacks the next pitch, but grounds out to Sakasai, 3 out!
Oikawa draws a 4-pitch walk from Miyamoto.
But no bunt, he takes for 2nd! Takamori fires to 2nd, it's on the 3B side of the bag, but Nakamura goes down and makes the tag for the out!.
Azuma soon thereafter swings on a fastball high and away for 2 outs.
Okada winds up getting hit by Miyamoto, but Miyamoto gets ahead of Saruta 0-2.
Delayed steal from Okada! Takamori throws, but this time they don't get him!
Now a base hit can score 1, and Saruta works count full.
Saruta chases the down and in slider and the side is retired!
After 3 blowout games, we finally hit the break in a true pitcher's duel with no team really getting any traction against the opposing ace!
Hirata flares one the other way into left and Toyama has a leadoff runner for the 2nd straight inning.
Nishida with a grounder to short, takes a high bounce and gets by Himura!
Hirata going for 3??!!
Throw cutoff at short and he's in! Oh, that is some aggressive baserunning on a shallow hit.
Kuroda up, and so far no squeeze as count goes to 1-1.
He awfully patient at the plate with their first real scoring opportunity. He gets ahead 3-1, but the home plate umpire gives an awfully high strike to fill up the count.
Kuroda has to emergency swing on a fastball to stay alive!
Slider.. Check swing, the home plate umpire makes a late swing call! 1 down. Boy, that last AB does not inspire confidence in the home plate umpire...
Kouyama with a drive to left! Saruta going back, going back...
Makes the catch at the wall! Hirata can walk home and Toyama Dai-ichi leads 1-0!
Hit-and-run! Nakamura shoots through the right side and Nishida takes 3rd!
Wild pitch from Oikawa and Nakamura takes 2nd!
Fujii doesn't chase a slider and the count goes full.
Just makes contact, rolls it to the right side... just out of the reach of Sakasai! Nishida scores and it's 2-0 Toyama Dai-ichi!
That'll be it for Oikawa as #12 Nasu comes in.
Takamori with a hard single through to right! Nakamura scores! Fujii going to 3rd, throw from Tanida, not in time and now Takamori takes 2nd!
Is this going to be it for Kisaradzu?
Maybe not yet, Terazaki with a popup to shallow left center, Himura makes the sliding catch as Azuma charges past him for the 3rd out. It's 3-0, but not impossible.
One down for Kisaradzu and Himura gets Miyamoto's 5th walk.
Akiba with a hard hit to Kuroda, he makes the stop! Throws to 2nd... just gets Himura for the out!!
#14 Motoyoshi to hit for Sakasai
But he chases a fastball away and goes down swinging!
Miyamoto with a single to the left side. Himura makes a great stop in the gap, but forces the throw to 1st and it gets by everyone into foul territory! Miyamoto takes 2nd!
Hirata showing bunt, but gets ahead 3-0. After a strike, he tries the bunt anyways and now the count is full.
Winds up bailing on the slider and flying out to center.
Nishida flies out to right, and Kuroda goes down swinging on a fastball for the 3rd out.
Sagae leads off the lucky 7 with a single to right. Gojima-kantoku sends in #18 Hirasawa to hit for Nasu (his day's done).
However, Hirasawa succumbs to the slider and there's 1 down.
Azuma with the safety bunt to 3rd. Kuroda fields, throws it to 1st, Fujji makes the pick on the hop for the 2nd out.
Okada chopper up the 3rd base line, Kuroda with a great stop, throw to 1st, another pick by Fujii and the side is retired!
#11 Aoki takes the hill for Kisaradzu now.
Aoki gets 2 quick groundouts before a walk spoils a good inning. Followed by Takamori compounding it with a single past Okada.
But Aoki gets the donut as Terazaki hits it right to Okada who tags Fujii for the 3rd out.
It's a clean frame for Miyamoto as he retires the side in order thanks in part to an assist by Hirata on a dying ball by Himura.
One down, Hirata collects 2nd hit with grounder to left.
Hit-and-run and Nishida follows that up with his own single back up the middle! Runner at the corners for Toyama.
Kuroda liner back up the middle and Hirata coming home makes it 4-0!
Kouyama lines to left, easily over Saruta and one bounces to the wall. Kuroda holds at 3rd and it's 5-0.
That knocks Aoki out of the game as #13 Taguchi comes in.
Nakamura with a swinging bunt, Taguchi takes it ahead of Akiba, throws to 1st...
...but throws it away. Both Kuroda and Kouyama score to make it 7-0.
Fujii goes down swinging on a hit-and-run, but no throw to 3rd from Chiba.
Takamori hard grounder to Okada, deflects off of him for a base hit. Nakamura scores to make it 8-0. He then takes off for and steals 2nd for good measure.
Terazaki Ks to end the inning, and we finally head to the 9th
Kisaradzu Sougou goes quietly in 9th and we have our 2nd first-timers to reach the best 8!
Well, looks like we have 4 final blowouts, though at least in this one it only ran amok in the 9th.
The offensive woes did plague Kisaradzu Sougou after all against ace Miyamoto, and while the pitching held up for a while, the loss of Chiba wound up being fatal for the team. Yeah, they lost, but in the end you probably can just shrug your shoulders and say "しょうがないな。。。"
Toyama Dai-ichi had more scoring opportunities than just the 6th and 9th, but it could have accelerated things had they gotten to Oikawa early on.
We will see tomorrow how (a) Miyamoto goes on no rest, and (b) how the offense will perhaps tighten up their scoring chances.
Miyamoto Kouji (Toyama Dai-ichi) - CG, SHO, 3 H, 10 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP
Takamori Hiroyuki (Toyama Dai-ichi) - 3-3, 2 RBI, SB
Fujii Shintarou (Toyama Dai-ichi) - 2-3, RBI, 2 BB
Azuma Tatsuya (Kisaradzu Sougou) - 1-2, 2B, BB
Akiba Kouta (Kisaradzu Sougou) - 1-3, HBP