Onto our afternoon games under the blazing sun and we have a matchup that for most Japanese will probably get glossed over since they're not regular schools.
Tamano Kounan just did win the title with narrow wins over Koujyoukan in the semis and Kanzei in the finals (see, all my major teams fell short this year). Their offense was inconsistent and pitching faded down the stretch, but it was good enough to win their 3rd title.
Ace Hoshi Kei had been given some rest by relievers Nakagawa and Hitomi in the semifinals before facing Kanzei. He's your average ace, mid 130s stuff with a slider and change.
Seiai, much like Ueda Nishi has been close many times but until this year had been unable to break through. This year they did it while having to not only defeat Kousei Gakuin, but Aomori Yamada (who is also rebuilding).
Their offense against the stronger teams will not wow you, so it'll be up to ace Ono and 1B Ichinohe to shoulder the burden.
2B Fujimoto Ren
LF Uniwa Shoutarou
1B Ichinohe Shou
CF Narita Takuya
3B Moriyama Hiroto
C Wajima Koutarou
SS Sasaki Shimon (#15)
RF Kitabatake Kanto (#16)
P Ono Norio
Tamano Kounan (Okayama)
CF Kawakami Rui
RF Kikkawa Tooru
SS Fujimoto Taku
1B Satou Romoya
3B Kashino Takuya
LF Kouso Kensuke
P Hoshi Kei
C Hatou Shigeo
2B Saitou Ruse
13:45 - First Pitch!
First pitch Fujimoto grounds to Satou before siren even ends.
Looks like the guns were slow (or I adjusted too far down). Hoshi throws upper 130s, though control is a bit off.
But it's good enough to get Uniwa to chase a high fastball for the 2nd out.
Captain Ichinohe quickly pops out to Fujimoto and the side is retired.
Kawakami gets under an 0-2 offering from Ono and flies out to Kitabatake.
Kikkawa on a 2-2 pitch waves meekly at an outside pitch and in an unusual gesture floats and snipes the bat in slight annoyance for swinging at that pitch.
Ono's sidearm deliver plunks Fujimoto, but ends up being of no consequence when Satou grounds to Sasaki who takes it himself to the bag for the 3rd out.
Narita first pitch hits a solid single to right. Moriyama tries to bunt, but can't and he falls behind 0-2.
Chopper to Hoshi, but it's off his glove! It deflect to the gap in short and Fujimoto is out of position! Everyone's safe!
Wild pitch from Hoshi as he puts one right in front of Hatou and it bounces away! Runners advance 90 feet!
Wajima liner to 1st! Satou makes the catch, fires to 3rd... double play!! Oy, don't runners know the saying, "liner wait for it to get past the infield"?
Oh, and that's a shame as Sasaki hits one to center! Kawakami coming in but it lands in front of him! Moriyama being sent home, throw from Kawakami... Safe!!
It could have been 2 runs, but they'll have to settle for one as Sasaki delivers! 1-0 Seiai!
Kitabatake flies out to Kouso and the inning is over.
Ono's tempo is rather quick as Kashino flies out to center, and Kouso chases a slider away.
Hoshi up with two down puts a ball up the 3rd base line that Moriyama oles, but again, no damage done as Hatou flies out to shallow left.
Hoshi certainly a contact pitcher inducing two groundsout from Ono and Fujimoto. Ono's grounder was hard hit and Kashino almost threw the ball wide.
Hoshi though does have a K victim, and actually doubles him up as Uniwa just takes a ball on the inside half for his 2nd K of the game.
Saitou with no luck against Ono, hits a towering popup that Moriyama takes behind the mound.
Kawakami checks in with a hit through the left side, and Tano-kantoku calls for Kikkawa to lay down the bunt - which he does.
2 down and looking for the timely from Fujimoto.
But he's having trouble sizing up the ball and falls behind 0-2.
And as a sidearmer he actually goes up the latter on Fujimoto who just kind of waves at the ball for the third out.
This game whizzing along quickly as both pitches work fast.
Ichinohe with a ball to center right. Kawakami running back near the wall, backs up...
Kawakami backs into the wall as it lands in the first row! 2-0 Seiai, though that didn't seem like it was going t go out considering the swing.
That's the 19th HR this Koushien! I think they're using juiced balls because this seems like an inordinate amount so far.
Hoshi sits down the next three batters with relative ease, but a surprising HR by the Seiai captain doubles the lead!
It looks like Ono despite going sidearm either pitches low at the edges or up when in the zone. Which is rather strange if you ask me.
Ono issues his first walk to Satou here in the 4th. Tano-kantoku has him bunted him along to 2nd, but Kashino bunts it too hard. Ono makes a strong, albeit high, throw to cut down the lead runner.
Unable to advance the runner via bunt, Kashino takes off with 2 down during Hoshi's AB! Throw is over everyone, but Kashino trips over the bag and can't advance - not that he'd be able to with Narita covering.
However, Hoshi grounds back to Ono who goes to 1st to retire the side.
Hoshi hasn't been that terrible so far. Here in the 5th he's hitting relatively most of his spots, and getting ground balls. Sasaki grounds one back to him, Kitabatake a routine grounder to 2nd, and someone not named Uniwa strikes out when Ono swings and miss on an outside pitch.
Tamano Kounan going aggressive early in the AB looking for success, but has had none.
Hatou grounds out to Moriyama, Satou flies out to center, and Kawakami despite fouling off a couple chops one to short and gets himself out diving into 1st.
3 outs and the game is moving along rather expediently. Hoshi hasn't pitched badly for Tamano Kounan, but a wild pitch followed by a timely and then an unexpected HR have been the difference at 2-0.
Ono isn't all that spectacular as a sidearmer, but he's getting the job done right now though pitching up in the zone as a sidearmer still seems weird to me.
Full count to Fujimoto and you can hear the "あああああああああ....." from him as the changeup plunks him on the back of the leg. He's ok, and some itai spray will help too.
Uniwa glad to do something other than strike out, lays down excellent bunt to move Fujimoto along for captain Ichinohe.
Apparently now Hoshi is trying to prove me wrong in that he's not doing badly, because a wild pitch puts Fujimoto at 3rd.
Hoshi throws a 57' pitch that Ichinohe somehow manages to foul off.
And then gets paid off when he takes an outside pitch the other way for a base hit. Fujimoto strolls home to make it 3-0.
Narita with a ball to the right side, fair! It says fair down the 1st base line! Ichinohe thinks the ball is sill in the infield (or foul) and hesitates a bit. But the ball is in right and he finishes coming home to make it 4-0. Narita ends up at 2nd though just.
His stay there is rather short as he gets picked off by Hotou. Moriyama grounds out to end the inning, but a dead ball plus timely hitting double Seiai's lead!
Ono is making the Tamano batters swing at his pitches. Kikkawa skies a ball to left, Fujimoto reaches out and meekly grounds a ball to short, and Satou hits a silo HR to Sasaki for the 3rd out.
Changes for Tamano Kounan, #10 Nakagawa comes in for Kikkawa and takes over on the mound. Hoshi goes to LF and Kouso goes to RF.
Wajima hits a ball to the new RF, Kouso charging in makes the diving catch for the first out. But then Nakagawa plunks Sasaki who must have initially thought he wouldn't get awarded 1st.
Apparently for those who can run, they have the green light. Sasaki takes off and easily beats Hatou's throw.
Kitabatake can't get his first hit as he flies out to center.
Nakagawa looks like another average lefty. After first pitch, there's a long conference on the mound, not sure what they're talking about.
Whatever it is, it didn't help! Ono with his first hit laces one to center! Sasaki walks home and it's a 5-0 lead for Seiai!
Apparently no relief is to be had. Nakagawa walks Fujimoto.
And in response to Uniwa's ineffectiveness, #11 Sotogawa comes in to hit for him. He makes contact, but lines out to a charging Kawakami. But Seiai continues to add to their lead.
Sotogawa says in to play LF.
But Tamano Kounan still struggling with Ono. Kashino with a fly out to center.
Perhaps something promising, Kouso gets Tamano's 3rd hit with a ball to right.
Hoshi hits a ball to deep left, and Sotogawa has to back up and make a backpedaling catch for the 2nd out.
Kouso advances to 2nd on a balk, but while Hatou makes very good contact on a hard liner, Kitabatake charging in makes the catch.
The gods are apparently not with Tamano Kounan. One out, Narita hits a grounder to 2nd, but on the last bounce, it takes a hop triple of the last one and Saitou can only watch as it goes over his head for a base hit.
The gods give it back when Moriyama grounds into the 5-4-3 double play. And from the looks of that play, Moriyama is not fast. Not at all.
Saitou takes a ball coming back in to him and turns it back around through the left side for just their 4th hit.
Kawakami up, and he completely chases a ball out of the zone, still makes contact, but grounds to short.
#15 Matsuoka coming in to hit for Nakagawa, his day is done.
Ono with a wild pitch of his own and Saitou advances to 3rd.
But once again Ono climbs the ladder and Matsuoka strikes out! 2 down for Tamano.
Fujimoto takes an outside pitch the other way, but flies out to right to end the inning. The shutout continues.
#18 Genma comes in for PH Matsuoka and takes the hill. Good start as Wajima hits a comebacker for the for the first out.
Sasaki with a fly ball to right. Kouso coming over to his right... misjudges it and it goes over his head! Kawakami backs him up but Sasaki has a double!
And wouldn't you know it #17 Kase, who comes in to hit for Kitabatake, takes the first pitch and lines it fair down the left field line for back-to-back doubles and a 6-0 lead. Genma then walks Ono and it's all sorts of bad for Tamano Kounan.
But Genma retires the next 2 batters, with some help with a nice play from Fujimoto.
Defensive changes for Seiai. #6 Ishizawa comes in for Moriyama and goes to SS, Sasaki shifts to 3B, and #9 Itagaki comes in for PH Kase to play RF.
Ono meanwhile completes his efficient performance finishing the game under 100 pitches as he retires Tamano Kounan in order for a 6-0 shutout.
I'd have to say I'm rather surprised by this. I didn't expect necessarily a Seiai win, much less a dominating shutout. However, Tamano Kounan never adjusted to a simple strategy from ace Ono - pitch up in the middle of the zone, low on the edges and outside (or so it seemed).
And so the first timers advance to the next round! Some of Tamano Kounan's players (especially Kouso) are taking it pretty hard, probably perhaps because of the result. But they got here and that at least means something.
Ono Norio (Seiai) - CG, SHO, 4 H, 5 K, BB, HBP
Ichinohe Shou (Seiai) - 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI
Narita Takuya (Seiai) - 3-4, 2B
Sasaki Shimon (Seiai) - 2-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, HBP
Saitou Ruse (Tamano Kounan) - 1-3
Hoshi Kei (Tamano Kounan) - 1-3