Our 5th Super-Regional champ has been determined, and it was almost an upset.
Toyokawa had a dream run in the super-regionals, defeating teams such as Tokoha Tachibana, Oogaki Nichidai and Shizuoka. Standing in front of them was Mie, yet another Koushien team that is known for their grittiness.
Toyokawa jumped right on Mie early as leadoff batter Nakamura would open the game with a triple to right center. 4 batters later, he would finally be driven in by Itou. Nakamura would return the favor in the 2nd with a timely hit of his own and suddenly they led 2-0.
Mie's Imai would settle down after that, while Toyokawa's Tanaka continued to keep the Mie offense off the board, despite giving up a fair share of hits.
In the 8th, Nakamura would come up clutch again, delivering another timely hit extending the lead to 3-0, and the game perhaps seemed in hand.
But Mie's captain Nagano seemed to have the answer for Tanaka's slider and with that information got to work. One run already in and now bases loaded with 2 out, a hard grounder by Yamamoto to 2B Shima caught him in-between and it would go off his glove allowing one run to score.
That error opened the gates as the next batter Sada would hit a slow roller to short. SS Takakuwa would charge and make an errant throw to 1st allowing 2 runs to score giving Mie the lead. Imai closed the door in the 9th and they claim just their 4th title and 1st in 19 years!
Given Toyokawa's performance, I do expect them along with Mie to make it to Haru Koushien.