Our middle game features yet another 1st timer school.
The cardiac kids of Nishiwaki Kougyou didn't need the defibrillator as a very partisan crowd saw them win just about wire-to-wire over Iwami Chisuikan.
Ace Outa scattered 7 hits while striking out 8, with the lone run being scored in the 1st - the only inning Iwami Chisuikan had more than 1 hit. Their offense scored all 4 runs in just 2 innings, thanks in part to some sketchy defense behind Iwami ace Itou. Murakami had some booming hits, including the 2-run double in the 1st. But otherwise production is rather sketchy.
But speaking of sketchy, there's Kisaradzu Sougou. Against another first time team Ueda Nishi, they collected 5 of their 7 hits and all 7 of their runs. Outside of that inning their offense was brutal.
Ueda Nishi managed a late comeback to make it close, but really they had chances all game with a runner in scoring position with less than 2 out in 5 of their 9 innings with ace Chiba for Kisaradzu Sougou gave up 8 hits and walked 5.
Sketchy run production from both sides could mean a close game as long as the aces don't fall flat. Of the two it would seem that Nishiwaki has the advantage.
Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)
CF Azuma Tatsuya
3B Okada Yuuhei
LF Saruta Mizuki
RF Tanida Ryou
1B Sagae Kaito
2B Sakasai Shou
SS Himura Atsushi
C Akiba Kouta
P Chiba Takao
Nishiwaki Kougyou (Hyogo)
CF Imai Tetsuya
RF Takami Naoki
2B Yamanaka Shunpei
P Outa Masaki
LF Murakami Kouhei
1B Morishita Ikuya
C Nishizawa Jyun
SS Hieda Taisei
3B Ishii Tomoki (#15)
11:55 - First Pitch!
Crowds are out in force to support the hometown team. Azuma heads of a pitch, grounds to Ishii.
Okada has a couple of fastballs blow by him, but gets enough of one to bloop it into center for a base hit.
Saruta on a fork for Outa to 3rd, under the glove! Ishii can't field or block it and it's to left! Murakami throws to 3rd and that allows Saruta to advance to 2nd! Nishiwaki in trouble early!
And Tanida flies a ball to left! Murakami under it and Okata comes home! Throw cut off and he scores! 1-0 Kisaradzu Sougou!
Sagae grounds to 2nd, but the 2nd year veterans get the first strike!
Chiba going with 2 slow curves to start the game.
And another?! 2-1, but this seems odd....
4 straight? What's going on? #10 Oikawa is warming up as he tosses what looks like another slow curve.
Eh? It seems to work. Ishii goes down swinging on another slow curve. But something is definitelty wrong...
And Gojima-kantoku pulls him for #10 Oikawa! Yeah, something definitely happened.
Takami with a grounder to the right side... Sakasai sprinting out to the outfield, makes the pick and throw to 1st for the 2nd out!
Yamanaka with a booming hit down the left field line... FOUL!!!
It just goes foul!
But Yamanaka goes down looking! Oikawa gets the inside strike to retire the side!
A bit of a weird half-inning there, but Kisaradzu none the worse for wear.
Himura with a one out hit back past a diving Yamanaka into center.
Uh oh! Akiba gets the high fastball and singles in front of Takami.
Oikawa grounder in front of Ishii and the runners advance on the out at 1st, a base hit could open things up...
Azume base hit to left! Himura scores, Akiba coming home! Throw goes to 2nd and it's 3-0 Kisadarzu Sougou!
Okita flies out to center, but Nishiwaki Kougyou in even more trouble now.
Nishiwaki Kougyou looking to swing out of the deficit, instead swings to 3 outs in just 4 pitches.
Outa trying to stop the bleeding in the 3rd jams Soeda into a grounder at 2nd. Tanida chases a forkball down for Outa for his first K...
Sagae though prevents the 1-2-3 inning with a single to center.
But that's all he can do as Outa goes up and in on Sakasai who is all tied up in his swing to end the inning. More importantly, a donut on the board finally.
Nishizawa with a ball down the right field line, down for Nishiwaki's 1st base hit! Hieda showing bunt, stabs his first attempt. Down 2-2, lays down the bunt, but it's too hard and Oikawa goes to 2nd to cut down the lead runner!
And now Ishii is bunting with 1 down? How bad is the bottom of the lineup?
Ishii swings and singles through the left side! See?
Lineup turns over back to Imai.
SANSHIN!!! Imai chases a buried slider and there's 2 down for Takami.
Liner to left! That falls in for a hit!
Hieda coming home, Saruta's throw over everyone! Oikawa backing up play makes the catch, fires to 3rd as the runners take off, but both are safe! It's 3-1 and both runners are in scoring position!
Yamanaka grounder to short! Himura loses the ball! Gets it, throws to first... in time!
Oikawa gets out of the inning with some minor damage.
Now its Outa who is settling down it seems. Himura and Akiba both chase high pitches from Outa and are retired.
Oikawa staying at the plate a little longer, gets the count full, but is ahead of a forkball and grounds to 2nd for Outa's first 1-2-3 inning.
Outa with a liner, but right to Sakasai for the first out.
Oikawa making effort to pitch Murakami outside, rings him up on fastball that catches the edge.
Morishita with a dive to center, Azuma going back! Ah, bu it looks like he got under it and Azuma makes he catch for the 3rd out.
Azuma with a base hit back up the middle.
Eh? Outa called for a balk and now he's in scoring position!
Okada laying down the bunt. Outa on it quickly, fires to 3rd... they get Azuma for the out! 1 down!
Saruta with a ball to 1st. Morishita with it goes to 2nd, AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
He throws it wide and it leaks away from Hieda! Okada takes 3rd!
Tanida up looking for a timely hit...
SANSHIN!!! He chases a forkball for the 2nd out!
And Outa does it again! Sagae goes after the slider and the side is retired!
Oikawa mowing down batters..
Nishizawa gets tied up on a slider inside...
Hieda getting that same slider chases it on the outside for another K.
Ishii fares better though, getting ball 4 and cycling the lineup.
Ishii singles past Sakasai for a base hit! Ishii takes 3rd!
Ah, but Takami swings on the first pitch and grounds to Sakasai. He tags Imai and we head to the break.
Nishiwaki Kougyou has had some chances, but are struggling against Kisaradzu Sougou and find themselves behind by a pair of runs.
Outa locating his pitches better now, and getting outs.
Sakasai waves at a fork for Outa's 5th K. Hieda chases the high fastball and flies out.
The clean frame is spoiled when Akiba singles to left, but that's the only blemish as Oikawa grounds to 2nd.
Oikawa feeding Yamanaka a diet of nothing but sliders and gets him twisted into a weak grounder to Okada.
Outa fares no better going after a slider in the dirt for the 2nd out.
It's a clean inning for Oikawa as Murakami flies to center. Himura and Saruta converge, but it's Azuma who makes the catch for the 3rd out.
Azuma almost gets pegged by Azuma's liner back up the middle. Okada bunts him along to 2nd.
Saruta a liner to center! Imai charging in... makes the shoestring catch! Goes to 2nd and Azuma can't do anything as he's doubled off to end the inning!
Morishita with a foul back , Okada running over to get it, goes full bore into camera well!! Looks like he wants to hang with the cameramen and get a drink before coming back onto the field.
After the delay, Morishita goes down swinging on what else, a slider.
Nishizawa and Hieda quickly go down thereafter and it looks like they may be done for.
#17 Adachi comes in for Morishita and takes over at 1B.
Tanida liner to left, Murakami charging in. Dives...
Makes the sprawling catch for the 1st out!
And much like Oikawa, Outa retires Sagae and Sakasai in quick order and they're back on the bats again!
#13 Asao to hit for Ishii, hits dribbler up 3rd base side. Okada charging, makes throw to 1st.
Imai first pitch swinging, another ball right to Okada, throw to 1st, 2 down.
Takami flies out harmlessly to right, and we're quickly to the 9th.
Outa's done what he can given the runs he gave up early. He racks up 2 more K's as he retires the side in order...
But they're down to their final 3 outs.
Yamanaka inside outs a slider to right field for a base hit. It's a start, as the douten run can step in in Outa.
But he goes right after the first pitch. He's way to far out in front of it and flies out to right. Murakami up...
He goes down swinging on a slider way away, and there's 2 down.
Last chance belongs to Adachi.
He's surprisingly patient at the plate, takes ball 2.. ball 3....
Ball 4! He walks and the douten runner is on base.
Now is Nishizawa going to exhibit that patience?
Doesn't look like it. 1-1 pitch, chases a short slider...
Ball gets away from Akiba and the runners advance! Douten runner in scoring position! Now you can get excited as Gojima-kantoku calls time.
Another wild pitch! But Akiba is quick to recover and the runners hold. Full count!
Ball 4!! The ball gets away again, and Chiba is quick to it as Nishizawa takes his base.
Hieda up now...
Spins away from a ball, and he goes to a knee knowing he could have been hit.
Check swing, but he's called going around...
Slider low, 2-1...
Swings! But grounder to 1st!
Sagae with it, goes to 1st and the game is over!
Oh, just when you thought they were done, the cardiac kids come back to life for a half inning. It winds up being not enough as Oikawa in emergency relief brings his team to victory.
It really did look like Nishiwaki Kougyou was dead to right. With nary a hit since he 5th inning, you thought they finally had it.
And yet, they do what most teams don't do when trailing with their final outs - get on base any way possible. They took 2 walks and perhaps could have had a 3rd if Hieda had turned the right way (and by right I mean into it).
But their ending gives a lot of respect to the first timers from Nishiwaki. They may have lost, but darned if they didn't play their baseball until the end.
The injury to Chiba may hurt them in the long-run. Looks like he initially hurt himself during the prefectural taikai. But Kisaradzu Sougou probably carries the most pitchers on the staff. We may see a lot of them in the near future...
Also their runs came quickly early on, and while they had some hits the rest of the game, their scoring chances were few and far between...
Oikawa Shouta (Kisaradzu Sougou) - 8.2 IP, 5 H, 8 K, 3 BB
Azuma Tatsuya (Kisaradzu Sougou) - 3-4, 2 RBI
Akiba Kouta (Kisaradzu Sougou) - 2-4, R
Outa Masaki (Nishiwaki Kougyou) - CG, 3 ER, 9 H, 7 K, 0 BB
Takami Naoki (Nishiwaki Kougyou) - 1-4, RBI
Ishii Tomoki (Nishiwaki Kougyou) - 1-2, BB