And we are to our final team yet to play.
Tokoha Kikugawa faced a surprisingly weak schedule to the title. No Shizuoka, no sister school Tokoha Tachibana. Instead they had to survive teams like Itou Shougyou, Mishima and Kikugawa Nanryou to win the title. To be honest, not a really strong resume.
And this comes off a senbatsu where they won their first two games before losing to Kochi.
Ace Hotta returns and yes, if you see below he has a twitter account.
Anyways, he throws average velocity with 4 different pitches - slider, curve, change, fork. Will not strike out batters, and is just as stingy issuing free passes.
Arita Kougyou got the lucky draw (lucky in that they don't have to play Osaka Touin, that is.). They also got fortunate against Oogaki Nichidai when they were able to get to ace starter Takada and reliever Hashimoto. Because for the first 6 innings they didn't look good at all at the plate.
Ace Furukawa wasn't that bad on the mound, and did suffer from a small bit of bad luck. But if they're going to try and outlast an opponent, I don't think they can do that and be successful in the long run.
Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
CF Toji Keisuke
1B Sakakibara Takato
SS Endou Kouhei
C Matsuki Daisuke
3B Oonishi Yuuki
2B Kuwahara Tatsuki
RF Kaneko Hisashi
P Hotta Tatsuya
LF Maekawa Naoya
Arita Kougyou (Saga)
2B Hyakutake Shoutarou
LF Kishigawa Yui
RF Senba Kouya
P Furukawa Yuri
1B Kawamoto Sora
SS Kuwahara Kousei (#5)
C Kusano Yoshihiko
3B Yamaguchi Yuuji (#14)
CF Fukuda Kousuke
13:35 - First Pitch
Furukawa falls behind a bit to start, pumps in 2 strikes and gets Toji to ground to short.
Settles down quickly, has Sakakibara chase a changeup outside for the 2nd out.
Tries to work the outsides to Endou, but winds up walking him.
Morishita-kantoku sends Endou! Kusano fires to 2nd, and he's dead meat! Side retired!
Hyakutake with a liner to 2nd, Tatsuki shoestrings it for the first out.
Kishigawa with a liner to Maekawa for the 2nd out, and then Senba first pitch grounds to 3rd and the inning is over that quick.
Matsuki gets another chance at the plate, but much like Sakakibara, chases the changeup away and heads back to the dugout.
Oonishi comebacker off of Furukawa and deflects to the left side. Kousei correcting but just gets the throw in late.
Apprently, Morishita-kantoku doesn't use signs? He's leaving it up to the players?
Tatsuki going after a changeup outside, but this time he pokes it through the left side for a base hit! Tokoha with a chance here in the 2nd!
But Furukawa uses the slider to get way ahead of Kaneko.
Kaneko singles past Kawamoto into right! Oonishi comes around to score, Tatsuki heading for 3rd as the throw comes in, and on the throw Kaneko takes 2nd! 1-0 Tokoha Kikugawa!
And now he hits Hotta to load the bases?! Uematsu-kantoku calls for time.
No help!! Maekawa with drive to right center! Fukuda back near the wall, falls in! Tatsuki scores! Kaneko scores! Hotta holds up at 3rd, whoops!!
Maekawa doesn't see Hotta at 3rd and had to turn tail! But it's too late and he's run down for the 2nd out. Still has a timely double to make it 3-0!
Furukawa gets Toji to chase a fastball outside this time and the side is retired. But early on, the movie looks awfully familiar...
Furukawa sends a ball to center, Toji charging in, dives... and makes the catch! He flips the ball to his throwing hand as the umpire calls out!
Kawamoto inside outs a fastball and puts it into center for a single.
Bust-and-run! Kousei makes contact, but it's right to Kaneko! With Kawamoto running, he's easily doubled off to end the inning.
Sakakibara deep bomb to center! Fukuda going back to the wall. Makes the catch right at the wall for the 1st out.
Endou taking an awkward swing on a slider low and pops out to Hyakutake.
Matsuki to give it a go, but has the same luck. Furukawa puts a changeup on the outside corner and the side is retired.
Kusano with a grounder to the gap in short. Endou dives and cuts it down! Throw to first not in time, but good effort!
Uematsu-kantoku has Yamaguchi bunt the runner over.
And now Fukuda with a safety bunt! Oonishi charges in makes the throw to beat a diving Fukuda.
Hyakutake does it! Lines the slider back into center! Kusano scores and Arita Kougyou is on the board! 3-1!
Hyakutake presses the action going for 2nd, throw from Matsuki...
Out! The 2nd base ump takes an extra look after the dust has settled and calles Hyakutake out! Side retired!
Not sure what you'd be able to discern with an extra look, but ok.
Oonishi plunked in the shoulder blade with a fastball. Needs a moment, then heads to 1st.
No bunt from Tatsuki - just as I thought they don't bunt. Meanwhile, Tatsuki spoiling pitches.
Tatsuki with a big swing to right. Fukuda and Senba converging on it... heading to the fence... Fukuda tries to leap onto the padding..
Tatsuki booms a 2-run HR and Tokoha Kikugawa leads 5-1!
Furukawa trying to get back on track gets the 2-seamer back over the plate for strike 3 on Kaneko.
Maekawa with a drive down the right field line... just foul!!
He grounds to 2nd on the next pitch, but Tatsuki doubles his team's lead!
Kishigawa with a liner, but Endou makes a small leap to secure it for the out.
Senba with a chopper to 3rd. Oonishi there to field it, throw to 1st... Senba's already there! The throw was wide, but he probably wouldn't have gotten him anyways!
Furukawa with a drive to deep left center! Maekawa and Toji converging...
It's off the metal fence! The fielders have to run it down as it deflects back towards home! Senba scores on the RBI triple, it's 5-2!
Uematsu-kantoku goes for the squeeze immediately! Kawamoto lays down a beauty! Hotta goes home, but it's way too late! Matsuki goes to 1st and gets the out, but Arita Kougyou gets the 2-run HR back! 5-3!!
Kousei pops out to Hotta to end the inning, but this Arita Kougyou team is hanging in there!
Meanwhile Furukawa looks to run a quick inning to get the bats back up. Toji skies a popup that Hyakutake takes for the first out. Then he takes a grounder from Sakakibara for the 2nd out.
Furukawa wants in on the outs and as such uses a high slider to retire Endou for a 1-2-3 inning.
Hotta too looks to clamp things down after the 2-run inning.
Kusano with a soft liner that Oonishi fields for the first out
Yamaguchi tests him again with a grounder, and he's still probably feeling the effects of the deadball as he one bounds the throw to 1st.
Fukuda flies out to right and we hit the break with Tokoha Kikugawa holding a tentative 5-3 lead against a game Arita Kougyou!
Matsuki on his way to the golden sombrero. Looks silly swinging on slider buried by Furukawa.
Oonishi with his 2nd out, taking a slider outside the other way for a base hit.
Tatsuki takes another big swing, but this time it's just a towering fly to right.
Something brewing for Tokoha as Kaneko hits a hanging slider to left center for a single.
Hotta taking a ball the other way, but Senba runs it down near the pole for the 3rd out.
Hotta quickly working through the Arita lineup now as he just needs 10 pitches to retire the side.
Furukawa doing the same here in the lucky 7. Maekawa flies out to left, Toji just watches a fastball on the outside corner.
But not a 1-2-3 inning though as he winds up walking Sakakibara.
He takes off for 2nd, throw from Kusano... OUT!
Sakakibara seems to express displeasure on the call (and I think he may be right) in being called out. But he is and the side is retired.
Arita batters just flummoxed on the offspeed pitches from Hotta. Furukawa way ahead of a slider and grounds to short. Kawamoto tries to reach out, but can't reach the forkball for the 2nd out.
And perhaps in an attempt to hit anything that's a fastball, Kousei chases a high one and flies out to center.
Endou with a leadoff single to left, brings up Matsuki, who is not bunting and will swing away.
Makes contact! But it's right to Hyakutake! He starts the 4-6-3 double play!
Oonishi up, drive one to deep left, but there's room for Kishigawa for the catch.
Arita Kougyou running out of time, but unable to solve Hotta.
This time around he needs just 6 pitches to retire the side, including #15 Nagamatsu who hit for Fukuda.
#16 Sakamoto comes in for PH Nagamatsu and takes over in CF.
Tatsuki with a drive to left! Kishigawa back to the wall and has to play it off the padding! He's in with a double!
Now Furukawa hits Kaneko and they're in a bit of a jam late...
Hotta showing bunt for the first time for Tokoha Kikugawa! He lays it down and now a a base hit can add some insurance runs.
Maekawa though grounds to short! Kousei with the ball looks the runners back and goes to 1st for he 2nd out!
Toji up to try and get the runs in.
Liner, caught by Kousei!! Side retired!
Top of the order for Arita Kougyou..
Hyakutake behind 1-2 can only ground out to 2nd.
#13 Urano to hit for Kishigawa, but swings on the first pitch and grounds out to Endou.
2 down and Senba is their last chance. Hotta trying to get Senba to chase a ball outside, but Senba continues to make contact...
And now he hits one to the gap in short! Endou runs it down, but Senba quick as he is dives in safely!
Douten runner coming to the plate in ace Furukawa!
Hotta giving him nothing in the middle, getting called strikes on offspeed pitches at the edges.
Grounder up the middle! Endou there, flips to Tatsuki... game set!! Tokohawa Kikugawa holds on to defeat Arita Kougyou 5-3!!
Man, Arita Kougyou should get a lot of credit. For a first time team, they played with no quit, and a lot of fire. When it looked like it could be a blowout early they found a way to respond to stay in it. They may have lost, but they should be proud.
For Tokoha Kikugawa, it's pretty much status quo. A lot of swinging, quite a few Ks, but a lot of hits to go along with it. It's great to see the the bottom of the lineup performing, but perhaps a little concerning that the top of the lineup didn't really produce.
But that's for another game as they draw Day 10, Game 3
Hotta Tatsuya (Tokoha Kikugawa) - CG, 3 ER, 6 H, K
Senba Kouya (Arita Kougyou) - 2-4, R
Furukawa Yuri (Arita Kougyou) - 1-3, 3B, R, RBI
Hyakutake Shoutarou (Arita Kougyou) - 1-4, RBI