Just 7 more spots left in the Round of 16, and for the teams playing today, even less as 3 spots in Day 11 are reserved for tomorrow's winners.
Seikou Gakuin back on Day 2 defeated Aikoudai Meiden 4-3. However, they trailed for most of the game until the finally got to ace Azuma in the 7th.
Before that though, Seikou had just managed just 3 hits in the first 5 innings, two of them from RF Yaoita. That has to be concerning because it means either you're waiting for the pitcher to break down, or you're taking that long to adjust (usually the former).
As for starter Ishii, Meiden had repeated chances against him, but more than often aggressively used the bunt to their detriment. Ace Kon did not fare much better, allowing baserunners in every inning he pitched.
Fukui Shougyou could have gone down on the wrong side of history. Arguably facing one of the slowest pitchers in Koushien history, they could manage just 1 meager run for 7 innings. They couldn't figure out starter Satou and more often than not took awful swings.
Now, they did manage to outlast him and once that happened, the expected result occurred. Certainly they'll do better against more standard pitching, but one wonders by how much.
Ace Nakamura is nothing to really write home about as he walked/hit quite a few batters and gave Obihiro more than their fair share of scoring opportunities. Reliever Hasegawa did okay in relief, but seemed to get a bit sketchy when under pressure.
So there are a lot of unknowns in this game, and one even wonders if the winner will be able to answer them.
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)
SS Nishimura Daiki
2B Ishino Yuuta
CF Yaoita Hyuuma (#9)
1B Sonobe Satoshi
LF Yokomizu Kazuto
RF Sakatani Ryou (#8)
3B Ihara Takashi
C Hirose Kazumi
P Ishii Naru (#10)
Fukui Shougyou (Fukui)
CF Yamamoto Takuma
C Nakamura Tatsuya
3B Seki Ryouma
LF Ooishi Itsuki
RF Yasuda Atsuki
1B Hayashi Katsumi
P Hasegawa Ryouta (#10)
2B Nakaya Masato
SS Miyazaki Masaya
08:00 - First Pitch!
Seikou perhaps picking up on Hasegawa work the count on him hard as each one goes deep versus the starter.
But for now, it's just probing him as each of the first three batters fail to leave the infield in a 1-2-3 inning.
Meanwhile, Ishii giving Fukui Shougyou a good start by hitting Yamamoto. Yonemaru-kantoku takes the opportunity to bunt him along.
Seki though can't bring him home, much less advance him as he grounds to short. Up to cleanup batter Ooishi.
He gets one off the end of the bat, slices it into center for a base hit! Yamamoto rounding 3rd, throw home... up the first base line! 1-0 Fukushou!
Yasuda line up the middle, caught by Nishimura! 3 out, but the hit batter comes back to hurt Seikou!
Nakaya getting a lot of work as he field another popup, this time by Sonobe on the right field foul line.
Yokomizu with a ball back up the middle, Nakaya scrambling makes a great diving stop, glove tosses to Miyazaki, but there's to play at 1st.
With one down, there's no bunt. But Sakatani flies one quickly to left, and Ihara hits a ball up the first base line at Hayashi for the 3rd out.
More troubles for Ishii as he walks Hayashi to lead off the inning. Hasegawa immediately bunts him along.
But neither Nakaya or Miyazaki can bring him in. In fact both wind up early on the ball and hit comebackers to Ishii to end the inning.
Hasegawa gives up his first leadoff runner when Hirose earns a walk.
Ishii tries to but him along, but pops it up. Hasegawa there, but winds up dropping it! Not a problem though as Hirose is an easy out at second having gone back on the perceived catch.
Nishimura tries the safety bunt, but it's a routine play for Seki, though Nishimura almost gets to the base despite diving.
Ishino though gets under a high fastball, and Hayashi secures it in foul territory for the 3rd out.
Ishii making life really hard for himself. Walks Yamamoto on 4 pitches. Tatsuya once again lays down a bunt setting the table for Seki.
But then Ishii comes back to get Seki all turned around on a fastball inside. He stumbles after the swing and heads back to the dugout.
Ooishi ball to the left side! Nishimura into the gap, gets to the ball, but the throw to 1st is wide and late! This time though Yamamoto doesn't score. However Saitou-kantoku calls for time.
Ooishi takes off for 2nd, no throw from Hirose!
Now a base hit can open the game up for Fukushou.
But bad luck for Fukushou! Yasuda with check swing inadvertently hits the ball into fair territory! Ishii goes to 1st and the side is retired!
Seikou meanwhile cannot get a level swing on the ball from Hasegawa it seems. Yaoita pops out to Nakamura at home. Sonobe grounds to Seki.
Yokomizu the only hitter seemingly about to get to Hasegawa as he lines one over a leaping Seki for a base hit.
Sakatani first pitch swinging, single past Nakaya into right! Yokomizu heading to 3rd! Throw from Yasuda...
His throw take a couple of bounces but is on line and gets Yokomizu to end the inning!
Ishii finally retires his first leadoff batter when Hayashi grounds out to short.
Hasegawa with a ball back up the middle. Nishimura over to get it, slides, but it's off his foot and into center for a base hit!
So Ishii prevents the leadoff runner, but not a runner altogether.
Yonemaru has Nakaya lay down the bunt for last batter Miyazaki.
Comebacker up the middle! It goes off Ishii's knee! But it goes right to Ihara! He throws to 1st and the side is retired!
Ishii with a bit of a limp heading to the dugout though... will he be ok to continue?
Ihara with routine grounder to 1st and Hayashi makes the putout.
Hirose tries it again, with a little more effort and this one goes off Hayashi and off towards 2nd for a base hit.
Ishii with the bunt, but it's right to Hasegawa, goes to 2nd for 1, throw to first, and Ishii is slow up the line and is out for the double play! Sure looked like the deflection affected him there...
Ishii leaves a slider over the plate and Yamamoto singles to left! Tatsuya continues to have 0 AB's as he bunts Yamamoto along.
Seki with a grounder to the right side. Sonobe with it, flips to Ishii... just beats Seki to the bag! Man Ishii is just really not running as fast right now.
But he's still on the mound pitching to Ooishi.
Ooishi with a ball to right! But Ishii finally retires him as Sakatani is there to make the catch!
We hit the break with the only difference being a leadoff dead ball for Fukui Shougyou as that runner would come around to score giving them the 1-0 lead we currently have.
As expected, both teams have had their share of scoring opportunities but have been unable to capitalize against the relief starters outside of the 1st.
Top of the lineup still having issues with Hasegawa as both Nishimura and Ishino remain hitless on the day.
Yaoita ball to right side, Hayashi dives and has it! No! It dribbles under his glove! Nakaya covering, but no play at 1st!
Sonobe with a ball off the end of the bat to center. Yamamoto going back, still going back! Leaps!
Yamamoto collides with the wall, ball goes back towards the field! He gets up and throws it in, but Sonobe heading for 3rd, gets in safely! Yaoita scores and we're tied at 1-1!
More importantly, is Yamamoto ok? The 2B umpire comes out to him and he's taken back to the dugout. Can go under his own power and only looks a little dazed.
After a couple of minutes, he's out and we're back to playing.
Hasegawa gets Yokomizu to fly out to right, but we have a new ballgame!
Ishii continuing to allow baserunners as Hayashi singles to center with 1 down. But he continues to find a way to strand those runners.
Hasegawa chases a fastball outside for the 2nd out, and Nakaya 2 pitches later flies out to right, and that's their 7th runner stranded.
Sakatani has to take a moment after fouling a slider inside off his ankle. Hasegawa figures he likes that pitch, throws it again and this time gets Sakatani for his 1st K.
Ihara with a strong grounder to 1st, but Hayashi fields it easily for the 2nd out.
Bottom of the lineup attacking early in count, but to no results. Hirose flies out to center and they're back out on the field
With the end of regulation fast approaching, both teams look to be pressing. Fukui Shougyou goes down harmlessly in just 8 pitches.
Ishii getting on the board with a hit to left. But Saitou-kantoku elects not to bunt.
Puts on the hit-and-run though! Nishimura makes contact but it's to right for the 1st out.
Tries it again with Ishino, but again fouled off!
Once more with effort!
And Ishino flies out to left. 2 down.
Meanwhile Hasegawa has gone to his 2nd straight 3-0 count...But a strike and a uncalled for swing fill up the count.
Yaoita with a drive to center, but Yamamoto is back there early enough and makes the catch for the 3rd out.
Seki gets Fukushou their first leadoff baserunner since the 5th with a single to center. Cleanup batter Ooishi bunts him along to 2nd.
Yasuda remains hitless on the day as he gets under a fastball and lifts it to left for the 2nd out.
Ball gets away from Hirose! Seki heads to 3rd and it's crunch time!
Ishii puts a slider on the outer edge for strike 2! That's followed by a waste pitch to level the count. And again even though they're trying to buy a strike.
Hayashi with blooper to right! Ishino running back... but he won't get to it! It falls in and Seki scores to make it a 2-1 ball game!
Hasegawa makes it back-to-back hits for Fukushou with a single to center! That gets a mound conference for Saitou-kantoku.
Perhaps this is the end of Ishii? He has the count run full on Nakaya.
Grounder to short, high hop!! Nishimura leaps, makes the grab, and goes to 1st! Throw wide, but Sonobe makes the swipe tag for the 3rd out!
Nice recovery by Nishimura, but his team is down 1 with just 3 outs to go!
But if you want someone up, it's Sonobe. First pitch popup! Tatsuya going back but it's out of play.
Hasegawa gets to 2-2, but throws waste pitch to fill up the count...
Ball 4! Hasegawa doesn't give in though and he walks him on a low slider!
Yonemaru-kantoku calling time, but what's this??
Saitou-kantoku is pulling Yonemaru who's 2-3 and putting in #18 Saitou! Why on earth would you do that unless...
Yep, he's there to bunt the runner along. Which he does.
Sakatani up first pitch grounds to 2nd. Sonobe heads to 3rd.
Last chance as #17 Itou hits for Ihara...
Gets behind 1-2 on a fastball outside.
Fly ball to left! Ooishi under it and makes the catch to end the game! Fukui Shougyou wins 2-1!
Fukui Shougyou gets very fortunate in the bottom of the 8th when Ishii makes a great pitch but Hayashi just gets enough to put it in the grass. He's crying, along with many of the others, but they've got nothing to be ashamed about.
If nothing else, blame can be rightly placed on Saitou-kantoku who pinch hit for his only batter to hit Hasegawa for someone who could bunt. If it were anyone else in the lineup, maybe I'd understand. But that PH call is inexcusable. It may not have mattered in the end, but in that situation you have to reassess the situation.
Fukui Shougyou fortunate to win this game, and it's obvious the offense needs to pick it up or else it'll be an ugly 3rd round game.
Hasegawa Ryouta (Fukui Shougyou) - CG, ER, 7 H, K, 2 BB
Hayashi Katsumi (Fukui Shougyou) - 2-3, GW RBI, BB
Oonishi Itsuki (Fukui Shougyou) - 2-3, RBI
Ishii Naru (Seikou Gakuin) - 8 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 2 BB, HBP
Yokomizu Kazuto (Seikou Gakuin) - 2-3
Sonobe Satoshi (Seikou Gakuin) - 1-3, 3B, RBI, BB