Nichidai-san was the other half of the Tokyo taikai that was just a complete bloodbath. Generally Sanko is a powerhouse team in Tokyo to begin with, but out of nowhere it seems they took it to another level (much to the pleasure of some of my friends). All but 1 game was ended via mercy-rule and that was the finals against Hino, where even though they only won 5-0, all 9 innings are played no matter what anyways.
Despite the entire offense firing on all cylinders, the lynchpin of the offense is probably Oota Kazuki. On the mound, Ooba Ryoutarou has given up no more an 1 run in any of his outings in the natsu taikai. He's a righty who throws low 140s with a slider and curve. Oddly he doesn't strike out a lot of batters for the higher than average velo.
Nichidai Yamagata returns after several years away from Natsu Koushien having ceded the spot to Yamagata's mainstay Sakata Minami. This year they emphatically took it from Sakata Minami, and dominated Yonezawa Chuo for the title.
Ace Shouji Yutaka despite having upper 130s-lower 140s stuff was prone to giving up several runs in a game, so the pressure might go to the offense, which against Nichidai-san... good luck. If they are going to do it, they'll need production from their 3 & 4 batters Mineda and Okumura, but they can't afford to go through lulls in their lineup because Sanko will put pressure every inning.
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
Nichidai-san (Nishi Tokyo)
2B Kawatsu Kazuya
CF Inami Yuuki (#17)
LF Mori Ryouma
1B Sasaki Yuu
3B Oota Kazuki
RF Igarashi Masahiro (#6)
P Ooba Ryourtarou
C Yumoto Yuuki
SS Funayama Takahiro (#16)
10:45 - First Pitch
Uh, what? Nakano comebacker to Ooba, who soft tosses over Sasaki for an E1 and Nakano ends up on 2nd.
And now a ball gets away from Yumoto allowing Nakano to 3rd? Boy that seems sloppy.
Mineta with a short looper that Funayama backs up and catches for 2nd out. Looks like Ooba will get out of the jam.
Okumura with a ball to deep center. Inami backing up, slowing down at the wall. Backs into it?!
Okumura hits a ball that just gets over the fence in center right for a 2-run HR. 2-0 Nichidai Yamagata?!
Yoshioka now with a grounder to 2nd, and that's booted by Kawatsu! Yoshioka safe, and Ogura-kantoku calls for time.
Asanuma strikes out to retire the side, but color me surprised (at least to start).
Kawatsu with a heck of an AB versus Shouji. Continuously spoils balls that he puts on the outside. 11th pitch of the AB makes a bid for a single with a ball to the right side, Nakano sprints over to cover turns and fires to just get Kawatsu for the 1st out.
Inami up, gets hold of a fastball. Takeda running back to the fence, tries to leap onto the padding...
Well, that was quick. Shouji hangs fastball, gets penalized for a run. 2-1 Nichidai Yamagata.
Mori follows that with a ball to right center. Takeda runs that down to limit it to a single.
But it looks like the HR has rattled Shouji because not only does he walk Sasaki, but Oota as well.
Manui for Sanko with Igarashi up... and Shouji cannot throw a strike. #11 Satou is warming up early.
Igarashi gives him an assist chasing a high ball and fouling out to Yoshioka.
Thar brings up Ooba to help his own cause. Fouls off a couple of pitches...
SANSHIN! A changeup (I think?) freezes Ooba to leave the bases loaded! But Sanko gives notice that a 2-run 1st won't phase them.
Defensive change already for Sanko. #8 Ishida in for Igarashi and goes to CF, Inami goes to RF.
Much more regular inning for Ooba on the mound. Takeda with a soft pop to Sasaki, Shouji fails to check his swing, and Itasaka grounds to 3rd. A quiet 2nd inning which means...
Sanko can get back on the bats that much faster.
Yumoto cues a grounder to 1st where Yoshioka beats him to the bag for the out.
Shouji then issues his 3rd walk to Fujiyama and the lineup turns over for Kawatsu.
Kawatsu with a grounder to short. Okumura to 2nd for 1, Nakano with a weird turn towards 1st, but there in time for the double play to end the inning!
Aoki with popup around the mound, no one really calling for it until Fujiyama finally catches it.
Nakano rips one up the 1st base line, but Sasaki lunges and makes the snag! Goes to 1 for the 2nd out.
And another 1-2-3 inning as Mineta hits easy grounder to 2nd to retire the side.
Shouji gets back at Inami for the HR by freezing him on a curve for his 2nd K.
Mori grounds to short for the 2nd out, but when Shouji tries to go for the curve with 2 strikes to Sasaki he just says thank you and lines it to center.
But Shouji gets Oota to swing and miss on a... well, I'm not sure what. It looks like something that comes back on a RHB, but no clue what it is (maybe I'm just seeing things). Anyways, side retired.
Okamura with ball to 1st, takes high hop but Sasaki leaps and secures it, goes to 1st for the first out.
Asanuma finally breaks the 9 straight retired by Ooba. He singles past a diving Funayama into center.
Ooba one strike away from getting out of the inning and Ooba runs one in on Takeda to push Asanuma into scoring position for Shouji.
Shouji with hard ball, but right at 3rd. Oota goes to 2nd to retire the side, hit hard, but not in the right place.
There's that pitch again. What looks like a sinker or something like that gets Ishida frozen for the first out.
Ooba swings on the first pitch and flies out to Aoki in center.
Yumoto with a two out single to left, but Yoshioka snares a Funayama liner for the 3rd out!
Itasaka with a drive to left!! Mori running back, still running back... over his head! He plays it off the wall as Itasaka has a double!
But Yamagata goes backwards on the basepaths when Aoki's bunt goes to 3rd to cut down Itasaka.
And Yamagata goes even further backwards as Aoki breaks for 2nd... and is thrown out.
Which becomes a shame because Nakano singles past Kawatsu, and then on the next pitch Mineta singles to center. Which if they didn't do the initial bunt would be at least 1 run.
Instead Okumura chases a slider for the 3rd out and Nichidai Yamagata gets nothing and will have to like it.
Kawatsu with grounder to gap in short. Okumura runs it down, slides, throws strong looping ball to get a springing Kawatsu!
But then he gets careful with Inami and walks him.
Mori with a deep drive to center, but Aoki ranging to his left catches it with some room to spare at the wall.
Sasaki up and once again Shouji is careful and winds up walking him for the 2nd time.
The walks don't come back to bite him as Oota grounds to short to end the inning.
We hit the break with Nichidai Yamagata surprisingly in the lead at 2-1. but it's been Sanko who's had the chances as of late.
Yoshioka looking rather silly sticking his butt out trying to bend down and hit a change he can't hit.
Asanuma catching the ball off the end of the bat and grounding right to Kawatsu for out #2.
Takeda also chasing outside pitch, meekly grounds to short and Ooba back to 3 up, 3 down.
#10 Saitou warming up in bullpen as Araki-kantoku might make change in next inning or two (since he did that in the prefecturals).
Meanwhile, Shouji continues to record outs.
Ishida and Ooba go back to back grounders to Itasaka, and Yumoto flies out to right.
That's Shouji's first 1-2-3 inning. but he's still preserving a razor thin lead.
Shouji with a single through the left side. Chances are Itasaka will bunt... and he shows it.
But he takes a strike and then just whiffs on an attempt. Still showing bunt and takes a ball. They still seem committed to it as he takes another ball to fill up the count.
Buster hit! Chopper back up the middle, off Ooba's glove! Funayama has to change course, but by that time everyone's safe! Another bad break for Sanko!
Aoki up and he's bunting... but he too can't lay it down and falls behind 0-2.
Still committed, takes ball 1.
Aoki hitting, goes down to hit a slider and sends it through the right side for a base hit! Ogura-kantoku calling time as a pitcher warms up in bullpen.
Nakano up with no-out manrui. Not showing squeeze, but not surprised if it comes out.
No, swinging and fouls one off to fall behind 1-2.
Nakano in a repeat of the last AB, goes down again and lines a ball to right! Itasaka being waved around as Inami fires home! But the throw is late and 2 runs score on the timely! 4-1 Nichidai Yamagata!!
Now Araki-kantoku calling for the bunt??!
Mineta lays it down and Ooba throws slightly high but beats a diving Mineta.
And with 1st open, Sanko says thank you and intentionally walks Okumura to get to Yoshioka who is hitless on the day.
And still hitless. He pops it up. Funayama on the 2nd base side makes the catch for the 2nd out.
Asanuma jammed on the first pitch! Blooper to the right side, Kawatsu sprinting back and to the 1st base line, dives...
And it falls in!!
2 runs score on the blooper and it's 6-1 Nichidai Yamagata!?
That's it for Ooba as #10 Ogino comes in for him. He didn't pitch badly, just got rather unlucky it seems.
Takeda single through short and another run scores! It's 7-1!?!
Ogino finally gets out of the inning with a groundout by Shouij, but Sanko is in a world of hurt right now. But there's still some time to claw back.
#13 Tadokoro in to hit for Funayama.
Full count pulls off a blooper for his own just out of the reach of a diving Nakano. He's replaced by #14 Arai.
Grounder to 2nd. Nakano to 2nd for one, Okumura spins and throws to 1st, double play!
Wow, that looked good.
Once again Shouji goes around Inami and walks him for the 2nd straight AB.
And maybe a small bit of karma, Shouji and Asanuma try to sell the 2-2 pitch for strike 3, don't get call, then give up walk. Which brings Sasaki who they've walked twice already. If convention holds, they aren't going to pitch to him.
But they are?! AND THEY GET HIM SWINGING, ON 3 PITCHES, WTF?
I do not understand this at all. When it looks like they've been going around Inami and Sasaki they decide to after him now and it works?!
Arai stays in to play SS.
Itasaka ahead 3-0, tries to walk to 1st twice, gets called back... twice. After a foul ball he can finally walk to 1st when Ogino's offering went wide.
After a sac bunt, Ogura-kantoku replaces Ogino with #11 Kugimiya.
He starts off jamming Nakano into a dribbler to the left side that he takes and throws to 1st.
Mineta apparently thinks that's a cool thing to do and basically carbon copies it to end the inning.
After Oota grounds out, #9 Watanabe comes into hit for Ishida and I hear Zankoku na tensha no teeze.
He pops out to Itasaka.
#15 Doi hits for Kugimiya, and flies out to center to end the inning.
Doi stays in to play CF, #18 Miwa comes in for Watanabe and takes the hill...
Throwing upper 140s - though with no control as he walks Okumura.
He settles down after that with Yoshioka flying out to center, Asanuma a failed bunt attempt that Yumoto catches, and Takeda goes down swinging.
Ogura-kantoku with #12 Suzuki hitting for Yumoto completely empties the bench. That's an indicator that they know they're done.
And in fact, the side is retired so quickly I can't even type it. Itasaka secure the last popup from Kawatsu and Nichidai Yamagata wins 7-1!!
Well, I don't know if anyone saw that coming. I sure didn't. Nichidai Yamagata under the excellent pitching of Shouji completely shuts down a team that seemed on fire coming in.
I really have no explanation for this. None.
About the only reasoning I can give is that since the only opposition they faced was 2nd tier Souka followed by 3rd tier Hino, the nubmers were inflated....
...But to this extent? Impossible.
The only other explanation is Araki-kantoku wanted to take the bat away from Inami and Sasaki and force the other players to drive in runs, which they couldn't. It that's the case, I applaud them because it worked.
Shouji Misaki (Nichidai Yamagata) - CG, ER, 5 H, 5 K, 7 BB
Okumura Hiromu (Nichidai Yamagata) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB
Nakano Takumu (Nichidai Yamagata) - 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
Itasaka Hiroki (Nichidai Yamagata) - 2-3, 2B, R
Itami Yuuki (Nichidai-san) - 1-2, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB
Sasaki Yuu (Nichidai-san) - 1-2, 2 BB