Wednesday, November 20, 2013

44th Meiji Jingu Tournament - We have a champion!

So we have a champion, and perhaps in doing so endorses one of my theories about the urban super-regionals not perhaps trying as hard...

Day 3
Ryuuokudai Heian's ace Inudzuka couldn't get past the 2nd inning as he failed to record an out giving up 5 runs in the 3rd to Nihon Bunri which included a solo HR by opposing pitcher Iidzuka.  That erased an 2-0 early lead and forced Heian to chase.

That they did though as a sac fly in the 4th, followed by timely doubles from Ootani and Kawai in the 5th tied the game at 5-5!

But already on their 3rd pitcher, Tanaka was asked to go in long relief.  However, in the 7th Kodachi delivered a double to push ahead what would be the eventual winning run to end Kinki's hopes of having a 2nd bid!

The second game between Komadai Tomakomai and Okinawa Shougaku was marred by errors.  So much so that in a game that wound up 5-3, only 1 run was earned!!

In the 1st, a throwing error by 3B Tamaru with 2 outs continued the inning, and it was punished by Okishou with hits from Irabu and Fuchigami for a 3-0 lead.  Fuchigami would feel bad about scoring on the error, so he had one of his own in the top of the 2nd allowing Komadai to take 1 back.

That run would be given back to Okishou as in the 3rd SS Ogasawara would make an error of his own to make it 4-1.  Akamine Ken would get the only RBI of the game as he would get a hit to center extending the lead to 5-1.

More errors would get Komadai within 2 in the 8th, but that would be the closest they would get in the mistake-filled game.

Day 4
Day 4 was anti-climactic for semifinal matches.  Imabari Nishi and Nihon Bunri trade a run in each of the first 2 innings, but then after a run in the 3rd, Nihon Bunri blows up for 4 runs in the 4th.  Errors did not help Imabari's cause either has eventually would be mercy-ruled 10-3 in 7 innings.

It was worse for Iwakuni.  Errors put them behind 2-0 early, as Okinawa Shougaku put up runs in every inning culminating in back-to-back-to-back doubles in a 7-run 4th.  The game would only last 4.5 innings as Okishou mercy-ruled Iwakuni 11-1.

Day 5 - Championship
Nihon Bunri had the opportunity to be the first Hokushinetsu representative to win the Meiji Jingu tournament since Seiryou in 1991.  More importantly, it would mean a bid in all likelihood for Chikyuu Kankyou.

Okinawa Shougaku was looking to give Kyushu their 4th title and 1st since Yanagigaura back in 2004.  Chinzei would be able to breathe a sigh of relief as their main competitor for the final bid in Souseikan would be given the Meiji Jingu bid.

And it was one of those game you just couldn't believe, even if we told you...

Hoshi starts the game off for Nihon Bunri with a leadoff HR to right.  In the 3rd, Kamakura would hit a 2-out solo HR to left, making it 2-0!  Ace Iidzuka would blast his 2nd of the tournament to right in the 4th, extending it to 3-0!

Higa-kantoku tried to stop the bleeding as he sent in Kubo from RF to switch places with ace Yamashiro Daichi, but the power output didn't stop there. In the 5th, back-to-back doubles by Kobayashi and Kamakura were paid off by Yamaguchi's 2-run double of his own.  Even a failed send home of Yamaguchi didn't stop the inning as Iidzuka would his 2nd HR of the game to center making it a 7-0 game!!!

And cleanup batter Ikeda had had enough of everyone else going yard, and blasted one to left in the 6th giving Nihon Bunri a commanding 8-0 lead!!

Facing elimination in the bottom of the 7th, Okinawa Shougaku went to work - and made this already crazy game into a comeback for the ages.

With one down, Iidzuka would plunk Irabu.  Kaneshiro would hit for Fuchigami and hit a double to right.

And that's when ace Yamashiro Daichi (yes, he returned to the mound in the 7th) would keep his team alive with a 3-run HR to left center!  While the next 2 batters would be retired, Okishou was still in the game at 8-3...

Now the 8th inning.  Kubo starts it off with a triple to right.  Nishihira plates him with a single to center... 8-4.

Anzato booms a 2-run HR to left-center... It's now 8-6.  And still Ooi-kantoku doesn't send in someone like Kodachi, or last game's starter Fujita, instead sticking with ace Iidzuka...

Uehara flies out to right for the first out, but Irabu singles to left.  Now with 2 out, Yamashiro Daichi singles to left.

The inning looks to be over after Sunagawa hits one back to Iidzuka, but something goes horribly wrong and he throws it away allowing Irabu to score making it 8-7...

With Ooi-kantoku leaving Iidzuka on the mound even still, it sealed Nihon Bunri's fate.  He would walk Akamine Ken, sending up Kubo for his 2nd AB of the inning.

And he wouldn't miss.  Kubo would hit one to right, scoring both Daichi and Ken to complete the comeback. 9-8.  In a minor way, Okinawa Shougaku did what Nihon Bunri couldn't do in 2009.  (Sorry Nihon Bunri, but while I like you, until you can win a big game final, it will always come back to that game...)

So, with Okinawa Shougaku's victory Chinzei can rest easy.  With the Meiji Jingu bid, Souseikan will be invited and Chinzei can hold onto their last Kyushu bid (or technically vice versa).  Sadly for Chikyuu Kankyou, Nihon Bunri's collapse means that they will be on the sidelines watching senbatsu from home...

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