Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 6 - Game 3 - Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) vs. Hikone Higashi (Shiga)

Hanamaki Higashi once again makes their appearance at Koushien, and as long as Sasaki-kantoku is there, the team will have a lot of grittiness attached to them. They did lose Ootani Shouhei but interestingly got to Koushien when they couldn't with him last year.

Hanamaki Higashi has had to be the most confusing team as of late as their uniforms do not match their positions.  #1 Kishisato who would normally be an ace plays LF. Their main starter is Hosokawa Toshiki who wears #17.

As usual, I can't really find information on the players which means it's a team that plays as a team - again not surprising for Sasaki's squad.

They will face a game Hikone Higashi squad who had to play Kita-Ootsu and then Shiga Gakuen early before defeating Oumi Kyoudaisha for the title.  The offense will probably be more like playing against the former an latter teams mentioned. Not a lot of hits and a low-scoring game.

Ace Hirao Takuya looks to be your average lefty with mid 130s stuff.

So I expect that it will be a close game because that's the type of game Hanamaki Higashi likes playing, and against ace Hirao I don't see any hindrance to that.

Hanamaki Higasahi (Iwate)
2B Yagi ? (#14)
CF Chiba Shouta
LF Kishisato Ryousuke (#1)
C Yamashita Hayato
3B Tadano Shouta (#3)
RF Oota Ryousuke
SS Mogi Kazuo
1B Terui Nozomu (#12)
P Nakazato Yuusuke (#11)

Hikone Higashi (Shiga)
CF Kawabata Masahiro
3B Tanizawa Tsubasa
SS Yamanaka Shunsuke
RF Oozawa ?
1B Fujitani Kouhei
LF Tanaka Ryou
C Takeda Keita
P Hirao Takuya
2B Tsuji ?


13:30 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, expected start as Yagi works count full, but strikes out looking on a high fastball.

Chiba grounds to short, beats out throw to 1st like gritty team should.

Except that Kishisato strikes out swinging and Chiba is picked off 1st by Takeda.  Doh.

Bottom 1st
Nakazato's inning less interesting. Kawabata pops out to Mogi on the first pitch, Tanizawa watches a slider on outside corner for strike 2, and Yamanaka grounds out to short.  Man, he works fast...

Top 2nd
One down and Tadano singles through the right side.

Oota with liner over Fujitani down the 1st base line, fair!  Oozawa has to run it down at the wall and Oota is in with an RBI triple! 1-0 Hanamaki Higashi!

Mogi with a single up the middle, Oota scores and it's 2-0!

Terui singles through short! This isn't gritty, this is just smacking a fish at your opponent's face!

To which Muranaka-kantoku calls time.

That seems to do the trick, at least for now as Nakazato flies to left, and then Yagi goes down on 3 straight to end the inning.  But no grinding out a run, Hanamaki Higashi just smacked their way to them!

Bottom 2nd
Oozawa goes down swinging on an inside fastball for out #1.

Fujitani goes full on Nakazato and draws a walk...

Only to have Tanaka unable to check his swing for a K, and Yamashita throw to 1st to pick off Fujitani. What the...

Top 3rd
There's the grittiness I was looking for. Chiba with 2 strikes, fouls, fouls, fouls... and on the 13th pitch... earns a walk!

Kishisato not so gritty, swings on 2nd pitch, flies to center.

Yamashita grounder to 3rd, goes to 2nd for one... and Tsuji runs to the dugout! There's only 2 outs and now the inning continues!

Tadano with a ball to right center!  Oozawa running it down, but flubs the ball! Yamashita waved home as Tadano takes 2nd and the brain fart costs Hikone Higashi a run! It's 3-0!!

Oota grounds to short, but Hanamaki Higashi extends their lead!

Bottom 3rd
4th K for Nishizato with a slider inside that Takeda can't get around on.

After Hirao grounds out to short, Tsuji too succumbs to the slider and the inning is quickly over.

Top 4th
This isn't the Hanamaki Higashi team I'm used to. Mogi with a drive to left, over Tanaka's head for a leadoff double!

Terui bunts, Hirao throws the ball into the ground! Is that because he was trying to hold onto the ball to go to 2nd since Mogi was scrambling back?  Either way it looks bad, and everyone is safe.

Nakazato tries the bunt, but this time Hirao fields it and goes to 3rd for the force.

Yagi with a single through 2nd and Terui comes in to score. 4-0 and runners at the corners.

Chiba steps in and you know it's going to be a long AB.

Sure enough 7 pitches, and he chops one to short. Yamanaka with no play but to 1st, and it's now 5-0.

Kishisato flies out to left, but tack on 2 more for Hanamaki Higashi.

Bottom 4th
Kawabata with a quick grounder to 2nd for the first out.

Tanizawa attacks early, chops ball past Nakazato's glove into center for a base hit - their fist one of the day!

I can't get a word in on Nakazato's pitching because Yamanaka grounds to short and Mogi starts the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning! (Biiiiig stretch from 1B Terui).

Top 5th
Yamashita opens the inning checking in with his first hit a single through to left.

Tadano, despite being 2-2, tries to bunt the runner along, but winds up in a fielder's choice.

And then Oota grounds to 1st, Fujitana steps on 1st, then goes to 2nd where Yamanaka tags Tadano for the 3U-6 DP!

Bottom 5th
Oozawa with a blooper down the right field line, both Terui and Yagi try to converge on it, but it falls in fair! Oozawa in with a leadoff double!

Ok, about Nakazato. low-mid 130s with a slider in the low 120s and a slow curve in the high 90s-low 100s.

Down 5, no bunting from Muranaka-kantoku.

But Fujitani is called out on not holding his swing (sure looked like he did from the video).

Tanaka with a slow grounder to the left side, but it somehow finds its way past both Tadano and Mogi!  Oozawa coming home and the throw is cutoff!  5-1 now!

Takeda going down drives a ball to deep right center!  Chiba playing in, has to run back to the ball!  Takeda in with a RBI triple and its 5-2 now!

That gets Sasaki-kantoku's attention as he calls for time.

It's Hikone Higashi exhibiting grittiness as Hirao earns walk.


But what's this! Nakazato with the ball and Takeda stops and goes back!  Nakazato immediately goes him and Yamashita starts the rundown, tagging Takeda for the 2nd out! What happened there?

And now #17 Hosokawa comes in to replace Nakazato on the hill.

Kawabata with deep drive to right, but Oota is there for the 3rd out.

But Hikone scratches through a couple of runs and the deficit is much more manageable as we head into the break!

Top 6th
Mogi hard liner, right at Tanizawa for the out.

Terui chases a buried slider and there's 2 down.  Hosokawa can't check his swing and Hikone Higashi quickly returns to the dugout.  These inning are now going really fast.

Bottom 6th
Defensive change for Hanamaki Higashi.  Tadano goes to his numbered position at 1B, #5 Mihara comes in for Terui and goes to 3B.

Hosokawa back to shutting down the Hikone offense. Tanizawa quickly grounds to short.  Yamanaka chases a sinker outside.

Oozawa with a comebacker off of Hosokawa and defects to right side for base hit.

But he's ok and gets Fujitani to spin like a top to retire the side.

Top 7th
Yagi tries to go after Hirao (no, not really) with a comebacker up the middle for a base hit.

Chiba showing bunt, predictably (from Hanamaki Higashi) bust-and-runs easily putting a ball through the gap in left.

Kishisato finally able to do something - bunt the runners along, for cleanup batter Yamashita.

Yamashita with a chopper to the right side! Tsuji looking home... thinks, goes to 1st! Yagi scores to make it 6-2!

Tadano goes down on 3 straight, but they're look to be in control of the game.

Bottom 7th
Tanaka swings and misses on a changeup for the first out.  Takeda quickly grounds to short thereafter.

Hirao gets a hit off of Hosokawa blooping one the other way.

Hosokawa doesn't seem to be anything interesting.  A southpaw, he throws upper 120s-130 with a slider, sinker and slow curve.

Tsuji sofly flies out to Yagi for the 3rd out.

Top 8th
One down for Hanamaki Higashi, Mogi goes down and dives a ball to left. Tanaka actually heading back towards the foul pole??!!

It's off the fence!  Mogi heading for 2, but Tanaka's throw goes over the cutoff man!  Mogi breaks for 3rd and gets there without a throw!

But once again, a bunt sends a team backwards.  Mihara with the safety bunt, but Mogi goes too far and is run down. Mihara goes to 2nd on play.

Hosokawa hard ball to short. Yamanaka blocks it, but can't field it for a throw.

Yagi takes advantage with a ball to center for a base hit scoring Mihara to make it 7-2.

Kawabata tries to cut down Hosokawa at 3rd, but he's called safe (that was close) and Yagi takes 2nd.

Chiba with a base hit past Yamanaka. Hosokawa in, Yagi being waved around!  Throw from Tanaka, not in time and it's 9-2 Hanamaki Higashi!

That's the end for Hiaro as #10 Tanabe comes in. He gets Kishisato to ground to 1st and the inning is mercifully over for Hikone Higashi.

Bottom 8th
Kawabata leads off the inning by going on a curve and hitting a soft liner to center for a single.

Tanizawa fouling off a couple, then hits grounder to short. Mogi goes to 2nd, AH!!!

Yagi drops the ball!  All safe!

And now Kawabata breaks for 3rd!  Yamashita looks to 2nd for the trail runner, but he's not going!  Now runners at corners for Yamanaka.

Grounder to AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ball gets to Mogi so fast it goes 5 hole and into left center!  Kawabata scores and it's 9-3!

Sasaki-kantoku calling time...

Oozawa liner to left!  Kishisato there for the catch, but Tanizawa can come in to make it 9-4!

Ah, but Fujitani just can't help the cause as he strikes out looking on a fastball.

But Hikone keeps going! Tanaka with a base hit to right! Yamanaka coming around, he scores and it's 9-5!!

Takeda with a hard grounder to 3rd! Mihara stumbles, spins, throws... gets the 3rd out!

That must be some relief to Hosokawa, but Hikone has gotten all those runs back.

Top 9th
Tanabe an over-the-top thrower hits high 130s on the gun, has at slider and forkball.

Yamashita can't catch up to the fastball and strikes out swinging.

Tadano... can't catch up to the fastball and strikes out swinging...

Oota... yep, can't catch up to the fastball and strikes out swinging. Yikes, where was this earlier?

Bottom 9th
 #15 Suzuta to hit for Tanabe.

But chases a ball away and is retired for the first out.

#16 Masuda to hit for Tsuji, but grounds out to 2nd.

Last chance at the top of the order and Kawabata.

First pitch flies out to left, and that's the game.

First, I apologize for the lack of details at times this game. While the game lasted a normal 2 hours, both pitchers' tempo were rather fast and sometimes it was hard to keep up.

The stand full of supporters clad in red cheer the effort of Hikone Higashi, and it was a great effort, especially the rallies at the end.

But it came late, especially since Hirao was left on the mound to give up 3 runs - the same 3 runs that they got back in the bottom of the inning.

Still, they actually exhibited grittiness that I would associate with Hanamaki Higashi, and for that, I am appreciative.

For Hanamaki Higashi, this was a mostly dominating win from start to finish. Yes, they did so some of the things that they're famous for. But in this game they hit and hit often combine that with grittiness and it could be a good combination.

The pitching is not at the level of Ootani, but it seems to be getting the job done for now.  They'll get a couple of days off to plan for their next game.

Notable Players
Chiba Shouta (Hanamaki Higashi) - 3-4, 2 RBI, BB
Mogi Kazuo (Hanamaki Higashi) - 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI
Yagi ? (Hanamaki Higashi) - 3-5, 3 R
Oozawa ? (Hikone Higashi) - 2-3, 2B, R, RBI
Tanaka Ryou (Hikone Higashi) - 2-4, R, RBI
Takeda Keita (Hikone Higashi) - 1-4, 3B, R

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