We're finishing up round 2 with 3 teams awaiting their opponents. The winners will dread making the random draw as its possible that they may draw Yokohama.
Okinawa Shougaku wound up surviving a 9-round right against Fukuchiyama Seibi. They didn't have the disastrous first inning, but the triumvirate of Okishou pitchers still were still rather ineffective with no pitcher giving up less than 2 runs in their stint. Their best hitters that game were #5 and #6 batters Akamine and Taira who were 7-9.
So they advanced, but did not come out looking very pretty at all.
First time participants Seiai completely dominated Tamano Kounan 6-0. Ace Ono spun 9 innings of shutout ball, but did so via contact as he only struck out 5. He did so while not pitching low in the zone like most pitchers do, but going up instead to get contact. As Akitashou's ace's could tell you, doing that is fine - so long as you continue to keep it up there.
Offensively, much like Okishou, their offense came predominantly from captain Ichinohe and cleanup batter Narita with Sasaki checking in with a late double.
Seiai's offense as a whole feels a bit weaker than Okinawa Shougaku though against Okishou's pitching they might stand a better chance.
Okinawa Shougaku should have the edge in the game, but there's always senbatsu that will nag me about their team until they can really prove otherwise.
Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)
SS Moromizato Takumi
CF Chinen Yuuya
LF Naka Shouji (#9)
1B Shibahiki Yuuma
RF Akamine Ken (#17)
2B Taira Yuuki
3B Kubo Shuuto (#16)
P Higa Kenichiroi
C Gushiken Hideki
LF Sotokawa Kazumi (#11)
2B Fujimoto Ren
1B Ichinohe Shou
CF Narita Takuya
C Wajima Koutarou
SS Sasaki Shimon (#15)
3B Moriyama Hiroto
RF Kitabatake Kanto (#16)
P Ono Norio
09:29 - First Pitch!
Moromizato goes after an outside offering and grounds to 1st to open the action.
Chinen somehow gets under a regular slider from Ono and foul out to Wajima.
Naka grounder to the left side. Sasaki runs it down in the gap, spins throws to 1st... not in time!
Shibahiki drives a high curve from Ono to deep left center! Sotogawa and Narita converging, Sotogawa dives.... just out of his reach! Narita doubles back to get the ball in, Naka being waved around 3rd. He scores!
Well! Okinawa Shougaku jumps on Ono early and take the 1-0 lead!
Akamine flies out to left to end the inning, but how will Seiai respond?
Sotogawa leans in and pulls n outside pitch to left... but Naka is right thee for the catch.
Fujimoto ahead of the Higa slider and pops it up to shallow center. Taira going out to field it...
Misses it!!! Fujimoto, running out of the box goes for 2nd and gets there safely. Seiai threatening to tie the game.
Ichinohe with with another shallow fly!! Akamine charging in won't get to it! Fujimoto running from 2nd scores and just like that we're tied at 1-1!
Narita's helmet comes off as a Higa offering goes off the bottom of the helmet. He goes into a crouch as Harada-kantoku comes out to see how he is. He's taken to the dugout as Sotogawa comes in to run for him.
Higa settes down after that thankfully and retires the next two batters to retire the side. But Seiai volleys back a shot and we're back to level!
Narita comes out for the top of the 2nd, glad to see he's ok.
Okinawa facing the same problems Tamano Kounan did though, trying to get a level swing on a high pitch over the plate. Moriyama winds up retiring all 3 of Okishou's batters, including Kubo who fouled off several attemps, off bad contact and Seiai goes back on the offensive.
Moriyama after making 3 outs, hits a slow ball back up the middle, Morimizato runs it down, but misses the snag. Leadoff runner on for Seiai.
But Kitabatake is swinging and gets ahead of a slider! Taira starts the 5-4-3 double play and there 2 out!
Ono undaunted hits a ball to shallow center for a single bringing up Sotogawa.
Grounder to short, AH! Ball goes 5-hole on Moromizato and Seiai's inning continues!
Fujimoto back up the middle, past Taira and into center! Ono's being waved home!! Throw in from Chinen...
Gushiken gets the swipe tag on Fujimoto and Chinen's throw keep the game tied at 1!
Defense on both sides struggling as a grounder from Gushiken bounces off Moriyama and to Sasaki. His throw is way late and Okishou has the leadoff runner on.
Morimizato tries to bunt him along, but it just goes foul both times.
SANSHIN! He chases a high slider for the 1st out!
Chinen not seeing anything on the inner half or down in the zone.
He's late on the fastball and grounds to 3rd! Sasaki starts the 6-4... 3 double play! Side retired!
One down, Narita feeling no effects of the dead ball (for now anyways), singles to left!
And he takes off for 2nd, no throw from Gushiken! Wajima in position for an RBI with a timely.. but he slowly chops one up the middle. Moromizato fields and goes to 1st for the out, 2 down Narita at 3rd.
Sasaki thinks he has ball 4 on the 3-1 pitch, but can't toss his bat away quite yet according to the ump. He does though, one ball later.
1-2 pitch to Moriyama and Gushiken pops up as Narita is in no mans land! He's run down and the inning inexplicably ends for Seiai on that note.
Naka becomes just Ono's 2nd K as he watches a slider catch the outside corner for the 1st out.
Akamine though he winds up losing on 4 straight. And now he can't find a strike to Taira, falling behind 2-0!
Taira with a grounder to 2nd, Fujimoto tags Akamine on the move for the 3rd out.
Moriyama with yet another hit for Seiai and what feels like a ton to center which means they're timing Higa well.
Kitabatake tries to bunt the runner over but goes behind 0-2.
He goes back up the middle! It just gets by Higa and clears into center! Yet another ball squared up.
2 on, no out and Harada-kantoku has Ono bunt the runners along.
Sotogawa rips one down the 3rd base line... past a diving Kubo and down the line! Moriyama and Kitabatake both score on Sotogawa's timely double! Seiai leads 3-1!! The Seiai offense is completely KOing him here.
Sure enough, Higa-kantoku pulls him and puts in Ura.
He gets Moromizato to quickly ground to 2nd for out #2.
Ichinohe with a ball to left center! That will fall in the gap! Sotogawa scores and it's a 4-1 ballgame!
Narita grounds to 2nd to end the inning but Seiai has taken back the lead!
Ono walks his 2nd batter in Ura with one out, Gushiken bunts him to scoring position.
But Morimizato chases the high slider and pops up to Moriyama to end the inning!
And now Ura plunks Wajima to start the inning.
Kitabatake with the bunt, Gushiken quickly fields, throws to 2nd.... cuts down Wajima for the 1st out!
Suzuki caught leaning the wrong way! Ura goes to 1st and he's picked off!
Moriyama pops out to Moromizato to end the inning. But an avalanche of hits has given Seiai the lead!
Chinen grounder to the right side, great diving stop by Fujimoto! Finishes the play to 1st, one down!
Higa-kantoku changing things up hoping for a different result, but #15 Nishihira repeats the same story grounding to Sasaki.
Shibahiki too goes after a fastball on the inner half and grounds out to end the inning.
Nishihira stays in to play LF.
Different pitcher, same result. Kitabatake with yet another base hit back up the middle. Ono bunts him along for the top of the order.
Kitabatake breaks for 3rd! Ura fires over and they get him for the 2nd out. I can't tell if that was a bad read or they actually were trying to straight steal 3rd. But there 2 down.
Make that 3 as Sotogawa chops one to Kubo for the last out.
Akamine quickly down 0-2 swinging at a couple of ball, works it level before Wajima buys a strike for the 1st out
Taira with a ball to right. Kitabatake back to the wall?!
That's a line drive of a HR if I've ever seen one, but it's a HR all the same as he makes it 4-2!
Kubo though continues to struggle like the rest of the team, skying one in front of home. Wajima nd Ono converge, no one really calling it. Wajima making the basket catch as Ono pats him on the helmet.
#14 Uehara to hit for Ura, but a good charge into one, but flies out to right to end the inning.
More changes for Okinawa Shougaku. #5 Sunagawa comes in for Kubo to play 3B, #12 Yamashiro in for PH Uehara takes over on the mound.
Fujimoto with a hard liner, but right to new 3B Sunagawa for the out.
And Yamashiro is able to do what the other two pitchers couldn't - get a 1-2-3 inning! Both Ichinohe and Narita ground out to Shibahike and can the tide be turning for Okishou late in the game?
Ono falls behind Gushiken 3-0 before tailing a ball over the plate for a strike.
Gushiken attacks the next and that will find the gap! Sotogawa chasing it to the wall and there's a leadoff double!
Moromizato ball back up the middle! They're sending Gushiken! Throw from Narita... not in time! 2 hits into he 8th and it's a 1-run ball game!
4-3 as Harada-kantoku calls time for damage control.
Chinen up to bunt goes behind 0-2 to the whistle of "Haisai Oji-san".
SANSHIN! Chinen misses the three bunt and there's 1 down!
Nishihira, grounder to 3rd! Moriyama with a superb pick to his right, goes to 2nd for one, throw to first...
OUT!!!!!!!!! The 1B umpire emphatically punches out a diving Nishihira and he pounds his helmet on the base in frustration. (Though if you ran good sir, instead of diving, you might be safe).
Wajima with Seiai's first hit off of Yamashiro, a single off the end of his bat to right. Sasaki tries to bunt him over, but misses his first two attempts. Show bunt again, takes it back... but is punched out! 1 down!
Moriyama, 2 hits early on, can't find the magic again as he flies out to right.
But Kitabatake does! Single through the left side and Seiai has a mini chance here to get that insurance run back as Higa-kantoku calls time.
Ono ahead of a slider and flies out to center! Yamashiro has held the line for Okinawa Shougaku...
...Can his offense mount the counter-attack in the waning moments?
Shibahiki will start it off for Okishou as Ono fires a slider inside for a strike.
Chopper to short, takes a high bounce but Sasaki is there to field it, leans back for the throw... offline but Ichinohe makes the tag! 1 down!
Akamine first pitching swinging comebacker to Ono! He walks it over to 1st and makes the toss for the 2nd out!
But with Taira up, Ono gets skittish! Despite Wajima going out to talk to him, he walks him on 4 straight.
#18 Asato comes in to hit for Sunagawa..
Grounder to 3rd! It's slow and Moriyama charges! Throw...
Asato dives, and the throw beats him to end the game!!
Ah, the guts dive into 1st may have cost them the game!
Ono faded late as evidenced by the HR by Taira and the back-to-back hits in the 8th may have signified a change in momentum.
But Nishihira ends the inning with a double play where he dives into 1st on a close play, and then in the 9th Asato does the same. And so their rally runs short here in the 2nd round.
For Seiai, it is 2 strong efforts now, now adding the fall Kyushu champs to their board of victims. Not bad for a first time team. They weren't cheated at the plate at all as many of their hits were back up the middle - the sign of a team in the zone. And they got hits often too.
But there are weaknesses showing. Ono faded late giving up 2 of his 3 runs in the final 3 innings. And then when Yamashiro came in throwing upper 130s, the offense completely shut down. If they face a pitcher like that at the beginning, they could be in a bit of trouble.
For now though, they can enjoy the victory and a spot in the 3rd round.
Ono Norio (Seiai) - CG, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 3 BB
Kitabatake Kanto (Seiai) - 3-4
Fujimoto Ren (Seiai) - 2-4, 2B
Ichinohe Shou (Seiai) - 2-4, 2B, RBI, SB
Sotogawa Kazumi - 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Taira Yuuki (Okinawa Shougaku) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB
Gushiken Hideki (Okinawa Shougaku) - 1-3, 2B, R