Monday, March 31, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 10 - Quarterfinal 4 - Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma) vs. Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)

Our last game may just be a formality now.  With the rest day gone, in order for Kiryuu Dai-ichi will have to win an unprecedented 5 games in 5 days, having already played 24 innings in those first 2 steps of that feat.

And given the fact that in the replay they went with ace Yamada again - it lends itself to not if, but when his arm will finally collapse.  With the team's offensive struggles to boot their prospects don't look too good, not that they were anyways but at least got an extra game in.

Heian has looked rather impressive, dispatching the Tohoku champs in their most recent game (though Kousei didn't look like they showed up to play).  What is also noteworthy is that they have used a different pitcher for each of the first two games, allowing his staff to pretty much get rest - especially since it's 3 games in 3 days for the title now.

There's nothing that would indicate that Heian won't advance to Best 4 today.

Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma)
LF Yoshida Ryuuto
2B Ishii Shouta
RF Yanagiya Sansuke
1B Yamada Tomoki (#1)
C Onoda Toki
CF Kubo Shunsuke
3B Kubota Shinji
SS Takahashi Shoukei
P Toumiya Mao (#11)

Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
CF Tokumoto Kentarou
RF Ootani Tsukasa
2B Himeno Taisei
1B Kawai Taisei
LF Nakaguchi Daichi
3B Tsune Hitoshi
SS Ishikawa Takuya
C Takahashi Yuuya
P Motouji Reiji (#18)


15:19 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Motouji on the mound again for Heian and he's off and running.  Strikes out Yoshida looking on a slider.

Ishii with a ball to the gap in short, Tsune ranges to field it, but it bounces off his glove and into the air!  It goes behind Ishikawa for a base hit!

But Yanagiya hits a grounder to short!  Ishikawa starts the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning!

Bottom 1st
Going to Toumiya for Fukuda-kantoku probably can't be helped with Yamada going 24 innings in 2 days.  He's at first, so if Toumiya struggles (which his peripherals suggest), he might yet still enter.

And it indeed is a shaky start as Toumiya walks Tokumoto to start his campaign.

But Tokumoto has the twichy foot and takes off for 2nd too early!  Toumiya starts the rundown and there's 1 out!

Again a deep count to Ootani, but he flies out to left.

Looks like it's going to be a lot of near walks as Himeno goes to 2-2.  But Toumiya puts over the slider for strike 3!!

One down, 8 to go...

Top 2nd
Yamada leads off with a clean single through the left side!  Onoda puts down the bunt, but Kawai elects to go to 2nd!!  His throw is high and Ishikawa can't secure it!  All safe!

Kubo now looking to bunt as well, but winds up fouling a couple off.  2 strikes, and he's still bunting!  He lays it down and successfully advances the runners!

Kubota with the first pitch single to center!  Yamada scores and it's Kiryuu Dai-ichi that takes the early lead! 1-0!

Shoukei up now to perhaps extend the lead with a sac fly or base hit.

Chopper to 3rd!  Onoda has to scramble back, and Tsune goes to 2nd!  They get the runner there and keep the force at either 1st or 2nd.

Toumiya to try and help his own cause with a base hit.

Drive to left!!  Nakaguchi going back, going back!! Makes the, NO!!

Nakaguchi tries to make the basket catch, but can't finish it!  Onoda scores!  Shoukei running all the way from 1st, he scores!!  Kiryuu Dai-ichi is up 3-0!!

Yoshida grounder to 1st.  Kawai makes the tag, AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ball somehow gets knocked out of Kawai's glove and that means Yoshida is safe!  Even more important, Toumiya scores from 2nd and it's 4-0 Kiryuu Dai-ichi!

Ishii flies out to right, but this is certainly a surprise!

Bottom 2nd
Of course, it's back to the nail-biting game that is Toumiya.

He walks Kawai to lead off the inning, and is bunted over.

Tsune with a single to left!  Yoshida tries to go home with the throw, but it's not in time and it allows Tsune to take 2nd!  4-1 Kiryuu.

(Hint to Yoshida - keep the force on.  You know Toumiya isn't that great, but you're putting him an bad position)

Case in point, Ishikawa grounder to short would have been an inning ending double play.  Instead, it's 2 outs, runner on 3rd for Yuuya.

No harm this time though as Yuuya flies out to right.  But Heian is taking the slow road back to douten.

Top 3rd
Yanagiya becomes the 2nd K victim as he goes after Motouji's slider.

Meanwhile, Yamada has Kawai on his backside as he scorches a grounder to right.

But Onoda too chases the slider, and Kubo grounds to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd
Toumiya going after Motouji, despite him being a hitting pitcher.  But he gets him all twisted on a fastball inside for the 1st out.

After getting ahead of Tokumoto 1-2, the count runs full, and he misses inside for his 3rd walk.

And it gets even more hairy when Toumiya plunks Ootani on the back.  Fukuda-kantoke calls time as #18 Takano warms up in the bullpen.

Toumiya still can't find the zone, falling behind 2-0 to Himeno as well...

DOUBLE STEAL!!!  Onoda fires to 3rd, but not in time!  And it's 3-0 to Himeno!

Toumiya puts one over, Himeno takes.  And another!!

Himeno with a ball to deep right!  Yanagiya near the foul pole makes the catch, and Tokumoto can walk home to make it a 4-2 ballgame!  Ootani advances to 3rd on the play.

Kawai up, and Toumiya falls behind him 3-1...  Gives up yet another walk...

Finally, Toumiya gets ahead for a change, 1-2 on Nakaguchi...

Liner down 1st base line, foul, but he's perhaps timing things up now.

Kawai takes off for 2nd, but it's a slow curve from Toumiya and Onoda has no throw.  Now a base hit can tie the game!

Toumiya wins!  He gets Nakaguchi to fly out to center and he yields only the 1 yet again.  He can't keep doing that though...

Top 4th
Tsune makes a great stretching catch on a liner from Shoukei on what looked like a clean inning.  But a small hiccup as Motouji walks Toumiya.

Yoshida though makes that hiccup look a bit bigger after Yoshida singles to right, putting runners at the corners!

But Ishii gets under one and flies out to center.  Tokumoto secures it for the the 3rd out.

Bottom 4th
Fukuda-kantoku will try to piece together this game on the mound.  #15 Itoi comes in to pitch and occupies Toumiya's spot in the lineup.

Good start as Tsune swings and misses on the slider for the first out.

Ishikawa with a ball back up the middle, Ishii tries to make the sliding catch, but it gets through.

Now Ishikawa getting in on stealing act!  He takes off on the 1-1 count and beats the throw!

Once again though, Itoi pulls the string on the slider, striking out Yuuya for the second out.

Itou successfully puts up the bagel as Motouji grounds to 3rd to end the inning.

Top 5th
One down and Yamada booms a ball to dead center!  Tokumoto sprinting back, makes the catch near the fence for the 2nd out.

The clean inning is ruined when Motouji walks Onoda, but that's the extent of the things as Kubo strikes out looking to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Tokumoto finally gets to put the ball in play, but flies out to right.  Instead it's Ootani who gest a single back up the middle.

But Itou gets ahead of Himeno 0-2...  and then throws the ball away on a throw to 1st!  Now Himeno has a chance to get back yet another run.

Himeno gets more life afer Kubota can't catch a foul fly!  Will that come back to haunt them?

NO!  Himeno swings and misses on the slider and there's 2 outs!

Onoda goes out to have a word with Itoi before pitching to Kawai.  Once again, Itou is ahead of Kawai 1-2 before the pseudo-pitchout.  And another ball wide fills up the count.

Ball 4!  They elect to go outside, but he doesn't do anything.  Douten runner on base for Nakaguchi.

But Nakaguchi hits one off the end of the bat!  Kubo in cengter to field it and the inning is over!  We hit the break with Kiryuu Dai-ichi nursing a 2-run lead over Ryuukokudai Heian!

Top 6th
Harada-kantoku makes a change before the 6th.  Motouji leaves the mound and in steps ace number Nakata.

And he's working quickly on the mound.  Against the bottom of Kiryuu's lineup, he gets Kubo to foul out to Kawai and Shoukei to ground to 2nd.  He then emphatically heads to the dugout as he rings up Itou on the slider.

Bottom 6th
?  Itou walks Tsune, but that pitch even though it didn't hit the framed glove still came over for what I thought was a strike.

Tsune takes off!  Onoda fies to 2nd... OUT!!

Onoda finally wins the battle as he guns down Tsune!

But Itoi puts the runner back on 1st as he hits Ishikawa.

Ishikawa takes off for 2nd, but Onoda can't secure the ball to make the throw!  Heian is running roughshot on the basepaths!

Whatever was working for Itoi isn't as he falls behind Yuuya 3-1 before finally getting a swing.

SANSHIN!!!!!  Yuuya strikes out looking on a fastball inside!

Well, Nakata was in for his 1 inning as #17 Iwashita comes in to hit for him.  And now Fukuda-kantoku sends in sidearmer #18 Takano to counter!

And Iwashita is all crossed up!  He falls behind 0-2, but manages to take a couple to level the count.


Iwashita feebly swings at the curve and Heian is held off the board!

Top 7th
#10 Takahashi Keiji enters the game now presumably to finish the game.  This as ace Yamada warms up in the bullpen!

As for Keiji, his inning is rather short. Just a grand total of 7 pitches and he retires the top of the Kiryuu lineup.

Bottom 7th
Fukuda-kantoku things he's gone far enough.  Ace Yamada takes the hill as #3 Hayamizu enters the last spot in the lineup and takes over at 1B.

Tokumoto greets him with a single to right.  And then he takes off for 2nd!  Onoda double-clutches and this throw is way late!

Ootani grounder to short, AHHHH!!!!

Shoukei can't field the ball and everyone's safe!!!  Fukuda-kantoku quickly calls for time...

Himeno up, looking to bunt the runners along.

AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yamada throws to 2nd, but no one's covering!  Shoukei is late and it goes into center!  everyone advances a base on the error!

Yamada makes that error effectively a bunt as Himeno strikes out on a slider outside.

Kawai up to try and possibly tie the game.  Gives the ball a rip, but foul.

Grounder to 3rd!  Kubota bounces the ball home!  Onoda's tag is late as a result and it's 4-3!

Nakaguchi with a liner to right!  Yanagiya makes the catch, Ootani tagging up!  Yanagiya's throw home... not in time!!  Heian has jumped on Kiryuu's miscues and has tied the game in their lucky 7!

Top 8th
Now how will Kiryuu respond now that their lead is gone?

After such a good start at the plate, Yamada is retired for the 2nd time chasing the slider outside.

2 down for Kiryuu, Kubo gets Kiryuu's first hit since the 4th with a single to right.

Kubo takes off for 2nd!  No throw from Yuuya!  Kiryuu with a mini-chance as they walk Kubota on 4 straight.  Harada-kantoku calls for time.

Keiji gets ahead of Shoukei 0-2, but Shoukei levels the count.

Shoukei gets one off the handle and towards 3rd!  Tsune makes the throw to 1st, 3 out!

Bottom 8th
Is this the final stanza for Kiryuu Dai-ichi?  Yamada hits Tsune to start off the inning.  Ishikawa bunts him along.

Yuuya with ball to deep center!  Kubo makes the catch, but Tsune advances another 90 feet.  It'll be up to Keiji to try and drive the run in.

Rip down the 1st base line.. Foul!!!!!

Now with 2 strikes, he starts fouling off anything close.  1, 2, 3 foul balls.  Yet another foul...  Ball 2...  Ball 3!  The top of the lineup looms large!

Grounder to short!  Shoukei up with it!  Throw to 1st.. 3 out!  Yamada sneaks out of one as we head to the final inning of regulation!

Top 9th
Hayamizu in for his first AB.  Winds up flying to center for the 1st out.

Yoshioka with a liner to right, but it's right to Otani for the 2nd out.

And Kiryuu will have to play for enchousen as Ishii lines to 2nd  for the 3rd out!

Bottom 9th
Chopper to short by Tokumoto, quick throw to 1st... in time!  But not by much!

Full count to Ootani, but he flies out to right.

Himeno pops it up!  Onoda secures it for the 3rd out.  We're headed to enchousen again!

Top 10th
Yanagiya singles to left for a base hit!  Yamada in to bunt, lays it down.

Onoda can't drive him in!  Popup to center too shallow to even advance the runner.

SANSHIN!  Kubo can only turn and head back to the dugout after being rung up!

Bottom 10th
Comebacker from Kawai hits Yamada in foot and deflects toward the right side!

Wild pitch!  Kawai advances to 2nd!  And now 3rd as Nakaguchi bunts him along.

Time from Fukuda-kantoku as the sayonara run is 90 feet away!

They will not walk Tsune and Yuuya to load the bases.  Or so I thought. Depsite getting 2 strikes, they wind up waking Tsune, and then walk Yuuya to indeed load the bases.

Wild pitch!!!!  Kawai sprints home and Heian comes back to win 5-4 in 10 innings!

(Final writeup tomorrow as I am falling asleep)

86th Senbatsu - Day 10 - Quarterfinal 3 - Sano Nichidai (Tochigi) vs. Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)

Meitoku Gijyuku as expected has reached the Best 8 with still a chance to win senbatsu. However, their road has perhaps been too rough for them to finish the race.

Ace Jyunichirou Kishi, already under stress from his weak offense, had to survive 15 innings against Chiben Wakayama.  That one game has already had implications as in their last game versus Kanto Dai-ichi as he did not look as sharp - despite the fact they still went on to win the game.  They day off they were supposed to get, they got yesterday, so it'll be 27+ innings for Kishi going forward to win.  He may win this one, but it doesn't look like he'll hold out.

Sano Nichidai's first big test in Chiben Gakuen almost ended in disaster.  Out to a 4-1 lead, unforced errors allowed Chiben to get back into the game and force enchousen.  They pulled it out in 10, but those mental errors will prove costly.  In addition, their offense hasn't been all too impressive either, which may be a relief to Kishi.

The saving grace is ace Tajima who has looked more than serviceable in his 2 games.  There was the hiccup late against Chiben Gakuen, so perhaps stamina might come into play though like Kishi the day off should help.

Sano Nichidai (Tochigi)
SS Takemura Ritsuki
CF Nagasawa Yoshitaka
2B Yoshida Toshiki
LF Inaba Kousei
RF Koizumi Keita
1B Tamura Kaito
3B Kakizawa Fumiya
P Tajima Daiki
C Sagawa Shou

Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
3B Ozaki Yuuto
RF Sanada Kazuto
LF Tada Tougo
1B Nishioka Souta (#11)
P Kishi Jyuunichirou
SS Yasuda Takayuki
2B Mori Shouma
C Mizuno Katsuya (#13)
CF Ootani Yuuki


13:15 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Before the siren can even finish, Takemura hits a single into center!  Nagasawa bunts him over.

Yoshida with hit to right, the ball gets by Sanada and goes to the wall!  Takemura already in, but Yoshida advances to 3rd on the error!! 1-0 Sano Nichidai!

Mabuchi-kantoku calls for time.

Inaba up to tack on another run, but his fly to left is too short!  Yoshida holds up.

Koizumi flies out to left to end the inning, but a couple of base hits give Sano Nichidai the early lead!

Bottom 1st
Grounder to short from Ozaki, Takemura fumbles with the ball, his throw to 1st is high but Tamura makes the tag!

Ah.. but he's hurt.  He may have landed funny and is taken off for treatment.  It's taking quite a while too, might have been really serious...

It's also really quiet in the stadium right now...

And he emerges to take his position!  But how will his mobility be?

More importantly, the break may have affected Tajima a bit as he walks Sanada.

Tada pops up a short bunt that falls in.  Tajima goes to 1st to just get Tada for the 2nd out.  Meitoku will play for 1.

Nishoka with a slider to left center!  Sanada rounds 3rd and will easily score to tie the game at 1-1!

Kishi gets grazed by Tajima and the 2-out rally continues.  I think we have the home plate umpire that will call go-arounds and HBP easily.

Tajima gets Yasuda to hit one off the end of his bat back to him.  Goes to 1st for the 3rd out, but we're back level.

Top 2nd
One down for Nichidai and Kakizawa gets one off the end of his bat, but pokes it to left center for a base hit.

Tajima shows bunt early in the AB, but is hitting after the count hits 2 strikes.

It's a hit and run, but Tajima just kind of dumps it to Kishi.  It's pretty much a bunt as Tajima is retired.

Sagawa working the count on Kishi, runs it full... and hits a ball to right center!  Ootani has no chance at it as Kakizawa comes around to score on the double!  Sano Nichidai retakes the lead at 2-1!

Takemura tries to poke a ball for a base hit, but flies out to Tada for the 3rd out.  Considering that Kishi has given up a run in each of the first 2 innings he does not to appear to be 100% stamina-wise.

Bottom 2nd
And this is Meitoku's problem.  If they get into a scoring affair with Sano Nichidai, they will lose as their offense is not capable of scoring a lot of runs.

And as the bottom of the order goes down in order with little resistance, Kishi needs to draw the line and soon.

Top 3rd
It's not necessarily that Kishi is leaving pitches in the zone.  They're just hittable.

One down and Yoshida takes it the other way, just out of the reach of Ozaki for a single.

Hit-and run!  Kishi this time leaves it over and Inaba hits a hard grounder to the left side!  Yasuda sprinting over, and it's off his glove!  He has to chase it down as Yoshida takes 3rd!  Nichidai threatening again!

Koizumi with yet another fly to left, but it's too shallow and Yoshida has to hold.

Tamura with a grounder to the right side, but a diving Nishoka can't get to it!  Yoshida scores and it's 3-1 Sano Nichidai!

Kakizawa with another groudner to the right side, Mori going over, slides... and doesn't come up with it!  Inaba scores and it's 4-1!

Kishi finally gets out of the inning, but it's only because Ozaki fielded the hot grounder from Tajima and could just step on the bag at 3rd for the out.

Kishi's speed doesn't look too terrible, but he was already looking a bit out of sorts in the prior game, and it's just worse here...

Bottom 3rd
That and they don't really have the offense to play a barnburner game like this might be headed towards.

Still, Tajima doesn't attack the batters and walks Sanada to lead off the inning.  Tada tries to bunt, but Kakizawa comes up with it quickly and fires to 2nd to get the lead runner.

Mabuchi-kantoku goes for the hit and run instead, but Nishoka can only advance the runner with a groundout to 3rd.  A pop up by Kishi ends the inning.

Top 4th
One down for Sano Nichidai and they get yet another runner as Takaemura singles to center.

This time around though, Kishi retires both Nagasawa and Yoshida (who had been 2-2) and gets his first bagel of the game.

Bottom 4th
Meitoku continues to have issues at the dish.  Mori's fly out to to right get sandwiched by Tajima's first 2 K's of the game for his first 1-2-3 inning.

Top 5th
Sano Nichidai's batters suddenly change tack as both Inaba and Koizumi both swing early and are retired.  Tamura's flyout to center makes it a 7 pitch inning.

Bottom 5th
Ootani searching to get on base, swings early in the count and grounds to short.  Tajima has had his moments, but he looks better this game than in his last.

Ozaki hits a hard liner right at Tamura for the 2nd out... and Sanada looks befuddled as Sagawa's pitch frame goes back over the plate on a ball down the middle for strike 3.  Another victim of changing location after the batter takes a peek down to see where they're going with the pitch.

And so we hit the break with Sano Nichidai holding onto that early 4-1 lead.  Meitoku will be hard pressed to find a way to score 3 runs given their offense, and while Kishi has leveled off from his poor start, there's no guarantee he can hold on for the whole game.

Top 6th
Kishi has indeed settled down with yet another short inning of routine stuff.  Kakizawa grounds out to short, Tajima strikes out swinging and Sagawa hits a lazy fly to left in a grand total of 9 pitches.  He's keeping his team in it, but it may be too late.

Bottom 6th
Tada with a chopper to short, Takemura has to wait for the hop, but his throw to 1st beats a diving Tada for the out.

Nishioka comes back and lines a ball to right for a base hit.  Kishi follows that up whipping the bat around and shoots a ball through the left side for a base hit.

And now Yasuda with a grounder through the right side!  Nishoka holds at 3rd and it's manrui for Meitoku!  Where did this come from?  Matsumoto-kantoku calls time.

Mori with a single through the left side!  Everyone advances a station and it's 4-2!

Now 5 straight hits from Meitoku!!  Mizuno with a ball to right center!  Kishi scores!  Yasuda coming around, he scores!! WE'RE TIED UP AT 4-4!! WTF?!

Matsumoto-kantoku calling time again, as I'm sure he's as shocked as I am about Meitoku's explosion at the plate.

Ootani grounder to short!  Takemura goes to 2nd for 1, throw to first... not in time!!!  Ootani's slide beats out the throw and that means Mori scores from 3rd to give Meitoku the 5-4 lead!!

Ozaki flies out to right to end the inning, but out of nowhere Meitoku has put a big inning together and not only closed the deficit, but taken the lead!!

Top 7th
Now can Sano Nichidai play from behind?  Top of the order due up.

Takemura fly ball to left, Tada slips!  He gets back up and charges in making the running catch.  But afterwards #3 Oonishi comes out to replace him at LF.

But Nagasawa drives a ball to left center!  Ootani runs it down but not before Nagasawa has a double!

And now Mabuchi-kantoku intentionally walks Yoshida??  I can understand if it's the 9th, but here in the 7th?


Mizuno fires to 3rd, but Nagasawa slides in time and the walk backfires as there are 2 runners in scoring position now for Inaba!

Kishi still fighting though, gets the count to 2-2...  but they it goes full after a pitchout.

Flyball to left!  Oonishi with it and Nagasawa comes home!  Throw in is up the first base line and Mizuno's tag isn't in time!  We're back tied at 5-5!!

Mabuchi-kantoku calls time again as Koizumi steps in.

Count at 2-2, Mizuno goes out to talk with Kishi and it's a rather long chat.

They try to go inside to Koizumi, but it's just too much inside.

They double up and Koizumi hits one to center!  But it hands up and Ootani tracks it for the 3rd out.  The intentional walk was still a bit questionable, but regardless we're tied up again!

Bottom 7th
It looks like Meitoku is back to normal after that power inning.  Sanada grounds back to Tajima, new LF Oonishi can't check his swing, and Nishoka just flat out misses the ball to end the inning.

Top 8th
So if Meitoku's offense is back to normal, and the game is tied, Kishi cannot afford to give up another run.

Tamura with a liner to center!  Ootani late going back, leaps!  And makes the great contorting catch!  Not sure how he did that, but he makes the desperate leaping catch!

More defensive work as Ozaki smothers a hot shot from Kakizawa and makes the strong throw to 1st for the out.

And Tajima challenges Ootani again with a shallow ball to center, but he's up for it as well, making the diving catch to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
Not the best time for Tajima to lose the strike zone... he walks Kishi to lead off the inning!  Yasuda bunts him over for Mori.  Can he deliver the go-ahead shot?

Chopper to 3rd. Kakizawa with it, looks Kishi back and goes to 1st for the 2nd out!  It'll be up to Mizuno to drive in the run now.

Mizuno pops it up!  Sagawa going near his dugout, makes the catch!!  And tumbles into his dugout!  He holds up the glove with the ball, and the side is retired.  He also looks to be ok, which is good considering that was a good spill he had there.

Top 9th
Sadly Sagawa can't turn that into something at the plate as he grounds to short.

Back to the top of the lineup and Takemura, down 0-2, fouls off several balls before he can inside out one to left for a base hit.

Nagasawa butns the ball, Kishi slips while fielding the ball, throw to 1st.. SAFE!!!  Nagasawa slides in ahead of the throw and now Kishi is in a pinch!

This with Yoshida up to bat!

Kishi jams him!  It's a grounder to 1st.  Nishioka's only play is to 1st and they go ahead run is 90 feet away!

But Inaba pops it up!  Mori secures the ball and the side is retired!

Bottom 9th
Can Meitoku avoid another enchousen game?

#9 batter Ootani leads off the inning, but goes down swinging on the slider.  Back to the top of the order and Ozaki.

But Ozaki extends out to hit an outside pitch and flies out to Koizumi for the 2nd out.

Down to Sanada to keep the inning going.  They really can't afford to have it go to extras.

SANSHIN!!  Tajima's pitch supposedly catches the outside edge and we are indeed headed to enchousen!

Top 10th
Kishi will have to make the best of it.  He gives the outside forkball to Koizumi and he chases it.

After Mori takes a trip to the outfield to make a catch, Kishi collects yet another K as his slider is waved at my Kakizawa.

Bottom 10th
Apparently Oonishi isn't much of a hitter as he tries the safety bunt to get on base.  Doesn't quite work.

Nishioka with a hard shot goes into right for a base hit!

Kishi with a ball to the gap in short, and Takemura playing to his left, has to scramble over to get it.  Makes the sliding grab, but has no play!  Matsumoto-kantoku calls time.

What's this??  Yasuda singles to center!  Nishioka has to hold at 3rd, but it's manrui with just 1 out!

Mori gets extra instructions before heading up to bat.  Any decent fly could end this.

Goes after the first pitch, fouls it off!

Grounder up middle!!!  Takemura goes towards 2nd, dives... makes the stop!  Steps on 2nd, throw to 1st... IN TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Takemura saves the game with the 6-3 double play to end the inning!!!

Top 11th
Can Sano Nichidai turn that momentum into a run?

One down for Nichidai, and Sagawa singles to right center!  Mabuchi-kantoku calls time as Nagasawa steps in.

AH!!!  Kishi hits Nagasawa to bring up Yoshida!!

They're being extra careful with him, but do you really want to walk him?  Count goes to 2-0...

3-0! Are they really?? They are!!  They walk him to go after Inaba!!  This despite the fact it loads the bases!

But Kishi goes after him and he's quickly up 0-2.  After a pitchout, they try the slider but he doesn't bite!

Slow chopper to the left side!  Yasuda has it, but has no throw!  Sagawa scores and the strategy blows up in Mabuchi-kantoku's face!

Koizumi with a single to left!  Nagasawa scores!  Yoshida sent home!  Throw from Oonishi... in time to get Yoshida!

But 2 runs score on a backfired strategy and Meitoku will have to scramble to get back into the game.

Bottom 11th
Which is something they're not really accustomed to doing, despite the 4-run 6th.

Mizuno grounds out to 3rd... So does PH #14 Takahashi.

Already down to Ozaki... and he hits a fly to center!  Nagasawa over to field it... Game set!  Sano Nichidai wins in 11 7-5!

But perhaps instead of the fact that Kishi had to play another extra inning game, or that the offense somehow found a way to get back in the game, the focus and deserved criticism will be placed on Mabuchi-kantoku who decided with 3rd base "open" to walk Yoshida for the 2nd time to face Inaba in a same-handed matchup.  That plan backfired and cost his team the game.

Surely there comes a point where you can manage to give your team the best ability to get out of the inning, but walking to put the go-ahead run on 3rd base - even with 2 outs - is just plain mismanagement.

About the only good thing about this is that Kishi doesn't have to throw anymore.

For Sano Nichidai, they find themselves fortunate to advance despite blowing a 3-run lead.  Needless to say, despite falling into the doldrums of the middle innings, they woke up late and did what was necessary to win the game.  They may have trouble in the semifinals as the pitching is still suspect, but they can rejoice in the face that I believe this is their first time ever in the Best 4 of any Koushien.

Notable Players
Tajima Daiki (Sano Nichidai) - 11 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP
Inaba Kousei (Sano Nichidai) - 2-5, R, 2 RBI
Yoshida Toshiki (Sano Nichidai) - 2-4, R, RBI, SB, 2 IBB
Kishi Jyunichirou (Meitoku Giyuku) - 11 IP, 7 ER, 15 H, 3 K, BB, 2 IBB
Nishioka Souta (Meitoku Giyuku) - 3-5, R, RBI
Kishi Jyunichirou (Meitoku Giyuku) - 2-3, R, BB, HBP
Mizuno Katsuya (Meitoku Giyuku) - 1-5, 2 RBI

86th Senbatsu - Day 10 - Quarterfinal 2 - Toyokawa (Aichi) vs. Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)

Toyokawa has not been intimidated all senbatsu so far.  A gutsy opening game versus Nihon Bunri, and then easily handling Ikeda (and the history behind it).

Tanaka Sora is the lynchpin in this team.  His dominance on the mound is what has helped this team reach the quarterfinals in their first ever appearance.  The only question will be - now that the schedule has changed to play 3 games in 3 days, can he hold out until the end?

Okinawa Shougaku's last win of 8-1 is a bit deceiving as the game was tied at 1-1 before they pulled away in the 2nd half.  The offense can take advantage of weak pitching perhaps, but may not get that benefit here.  In that, fist half of the game though, they had just 3 hits - and all in the 1st inning.

I'm not sure they were expecting Toyokawa when the brackets first came out, but I wonder if perhaps they would have rather taken that revenge matchup versus Nihon Bunri instead...

Toyokawa (Aichi)
3B Nakamura Kazuya
CF Sugiura Kenta
C Himi Taisuke
SS Takakuwa Heishirou
1B Itou Tappei
RF Takeichi Keishi
LF Yamada Daichi
P Tanaka Sora
2B Shima Kairi

Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)
CF Akamine Ken
2B Kubo Shuuto
LF Nishihira Daiki
3B Asato Takeru
1B Uehara Kouta
SS Sunagawa Osamu
C Irabu Shouta
P Yamashiro Daichi
2B Nakamura Masaki (#13)


10:48 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Kazuya pops a ball down the left field line, fair!  He's on with the leadoff hit.  Sugiura bunts him along.

AH!  A pitch low gets away from Irabu and Kazuya advances to 3rd!

Himi with the looper falls into center and Toyokawa quickly strikes! 1-0!

Takakuwa with a ball down the right field line, and that's fair!  Himi goes to 3rd, and Takakuwa takes 2nd as Kubo gets the ball in!  Yamashiro in big trouble early!

Itou liner opposite way, over a leaping Asato!!  Himi scores from 3rd, Nishihira has trouble fielding it and Takakuwa comes home!!  Throw is cut off and Toyokawa leads 3-0 now!!

Higa-kantoku quickly calls time.

Takeichi just out in front of the slider and pops it up for the 2nd out.

Yamashiro finally gets out of the inning with Yamada's groundout to short, but Okinawa Shougaku have dug themselves a hole early!

Bottom 1st
Well, that's new.  Tanaka doesn't seem to getting some of those borderline calls and he walks Akamine to start the game. It continues with Kubo, though he lays down the bunt.

Nishihira hits a comebacker to Tanaka who catches Akamine off 2nd, but in trying to run him down Nishihira goes to 2nd... so it's a wash with a lot of effort expended (unless Nishihira is slower than Akamine).

Doesn't matter though as Asato just dribbles a ball back to Tanaka for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
The bottom of Toyokawa's lineup seems to provide Yamashiro no trouble as he gets Tanaka to groundout to 1st and Shima to chase the slider.

It's the top of the lineup that gives him fits.

Kazuya painting the lines apparently as he grounds a ball past a diving Uehara down the 1st base line for a double!

Then he hits Sugiura (it was a full count) to put runners on for Himi who already has a timely hit.  Can he add one more?

YES!!  He singles to right!  Kazuya rounding 3rd, throw coming in for Kubo up the 3rd base line, and it gets away from Irabu!  He scrambles to get it and Sugiura is waved home!  Irabu looks home, but no one's home!  Sugiura comes in uncontested and it's 5-0!

Takakuwa grounds to 3rd, and after Asato makes a great grab (the ball looked like it wanted to spin a different direction), the side is retired.

But for the Meiji Jingu champs, this looks real bad.

Bottom 2nd
Uehara singles to center to leadoff the inning, and it looks like Higa will play a run at a time as Sunagawa bunts him over.

But Irabu grounds back to Tanaka, and Yamashiro chases the slider for the final 2 outs, stranding him at 2nd.

Top 3rd
In an attempt to shake things up, Higa-kantoku sends Kubo in to take the hill. Yamashiro goes to replace him in RF.

Man the umpire today has a narrow strike zone.  I swear that 1-2 pitch to Itou was on the corner.  And if it was, it cost him as Itou hits a ball to the left side.  Sunagawa gets to the gap, but boots the ball away!  Base hit for Toyokawa!  Takeichi bunts him along to 2nd.

Oh dear.

Yamada takes one the other way into the right center field gap!  Itou can stroll home and it's 6-0 Toyokawa!

Kubo gets the last 2 batters out, Toyokawa is putting the foot down on Okishou's throats right now...

Bottom 3rd
Tanaka is having some control issues, but nothing serious to be worried about yet.  He strikes out 2 more batters en route to his first 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th
Kubo perhaps settling down in relief as he gets Kazuya and Sugiura on grounders.

I say that and then Himi goes off and doubles into left center.

Takakuwa with a drive to left center!!  Akamine going back to his right...  still going...

Makes the catch near the wall for the 3rd out!  They finally get a donut on the board, but it still took a bit of work.

Bottom 4th
Nishihira with a ball off the end of the bat going like a bunt up the 3rd base side.  Nakamura charging in, his throw is late and one hops Itou and up in the air!  Shima backs up the play though.

Asato not bunting here as perhaps they're a bit too far behind now with the game almost half over.

But he hits a grounder to 3rd!  Nakamura smothers it, looks to 2nd then fires to 1st, just beating out Asato.

Uehara takes one the other way!  Takakuwa can't get to it and it goes to left! There's no throw home on the play and Okishou is on the board thanks to Uehara! 6-1.

Sunagawa his one back to Tanaka!  Goes to 2nd for one, AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Both Takakuwa and Shima are there at 2nd, but neither one get the ball!!  It goes to center as everyone is safe!  E6 and that gets Imai-kantoku to call time.

Irabu chopper up middle!  Takakuwa shovels it to Shima, who goes to 1st for the inning-ending double play!

The error by the middle infielders don't cost them any more runs, but Okinawa Shougaku is on the board, and in some ways that's just as important.

Top 5th
Kubo outside of the 3rd has done outstanding in relief.  Toyokawa's batters are still making contact, but nothing like what they were against Yamashiro.

Bottom 5th
After that shaky bit, Tanaka gets to feast against the bottom of Okishou's lineup.  And much like the 3rd he racks up 2 more K's in a 1-2-3 inning.

Tanaka has looked a bit more hittable against the middle parts of the lineup, but has only given up the 1 run.  Okishou can at least be comforted that Kubo is doing a great job in emergency relief.

Top 6th
There's a breakthrough in the 8-9 batters as Shima gets a one-out single to left center.

But Kubo again doing some fine work.  Kazuya chases the high curve and grounds into the 4-6-3 double play.

Bottom 6th
Tanaka gets two consecutive groundouts from Kubo and Nishihira, before serving one over that Asato takes back up the middle for a basehit.

Uehara hits a ball into left center, Sugiura racing to his right... makes the running catch to end the inning!

Top 7th
Kubo walking Sugiura on 4 straight gets a timeout from Higa-kantoku.

And Himi, who's 3-3 on the day, lays down the bunt!  It's successful, but he's also 3-3 today!

Kubo gets one of the 2 outs he needs when Takakuwa plays golf and pops out to short.

Ama-chan plays with the ouen dan in full voice.

Sanshin!  Itou chases the slider inside for the 3rd out.

Bottom 7th
2 quick outs for Tanaka, and Yamashiro's day is officially done.  #10 Kinjyou comes to hit for him and gets hit himself.

But Nakamura grounds to short and Okishou fails to gain any more traction.

Top 8th
Kinjyou stays in to play RF.

Toyokawa's bats have fallen to a murmur against Kubo.  Once again he records a clean inning to at least given them a chance at a comeback.

Bottom 8th
Akamine with a rip over a leaping Nakamura down the left field line!  He's in with a leadoff triple!

Imai-kantoku calls time as a graphic has him at 101 pitches.

Kubo swings on the first pitch and hits a chopper to 3rd.  Akamine holds as the out is recorded at 1st.

Tanaka leaves one over the plate and Nishihira drives that over Yamada's head and to the wall!  Akamine scores on the double to make it 6-2.  It's a start, but there's a ways to go.

SANSHIN!!  Tanaka goes with the slider outside instead of the shuuto and Asato misses for the 2nd out!

Uehara trying to continue the inning, falls behind 1-2.  Tanaka runs off the mound on what he thinks is strike 3, but the ump perhaps squeezes him.

But Uehara hits a soft grounder to 2nd.  Shima makes the out at 1st and Okishou is limited to just the 1!

Top 9th
Shima, after a slow start, hits a seeing eye single through the right side!

Kazuya with the buster hit, hits one to the left side.  Asato has no play as he was crashing in, and by the time Sunagawa gets to it, he has no play!

Sugiura instead shows the bunt late and moves the runners along for Himi.  It's another chance situation for him.  Can he deliver a 3rd time?  Will Okishou even let him?

Kubo pitching him outside.  Might just put him on.

But no, they catch the outside edge for strike 2.


They go with the change and Himi bites!  He's finally retired!

Takakuwa with a ball to center, but Akamine is there to make the catch for the 3rd out.  Kubo's done his part giving up just 1 run over 7 innings of work.

Bottom 9th
Now, can the offense dig deep and find something?

Sunagawa scorcher to the left side, Nakamura with the diving stop.  Quick throw to 1st... Short hops Itou and he can't secure it!  Leadoff batter on for Okishou.

#4 Fuchigami in to hit for Irabu...

Fouls off a couple and the count is at 2-2.

Grounder up middle!  Takakuwa to 2nd for 1, Shima to 1st... double play!  Okishou down to their final out!

Kinjyou the last chance...

Kinjyou low shot right to Shima, has to play the in between hop and it goes off his glove into right!  There's still some life for Okishou.

And now Nakamura gets his first hit at the right time, with a ball back up the middle for a base hit.  The dream continues.

But it does come to an end.  Akamine grounds to 2nd.  Shima gathers it and goes to 1st to end the game!  First timers Toyokawa moves on to the Best 4 with a 6-2 win!

Toyokawa never gave Okinawa Shougaku a chance to be in this game.  The opened the scoring early, expanded the lead, and in some ways crushed Okishout's spirit.  Kubo kept them in the game, but the offense could never get themselves right after that start.

And once again Okinawa Shougaku falls short, despite their successful fall campaign.  They'll have to right the ship once again for the summer campaign.

Toyokawa meanwhile is the team no one wants to face.  Riseisha will get the honors tomorrow.

But there are some cracks.  The 3-4-5 batters for Okishou were 5-12, and while that's not enough to create offense per se, it is an indicator that perhaps he's a bit more vulnerable than we thought.  And remember that they'll have no rest going forward, so how will his arm hold up?

Still, they're a scary team.

Notable Players
Tanaka Sora (Toyokawa) - CG, ER, 8 H, 6 K, BB
Himi Taisuke (Toyokawa) - 3-4, 2B, R, RBI
Nakamura Kazuya (Toyokawa) - 3-5, 2B, 2R
Itou Tappei (Toyokawa) - 2-4
Yamashiro Daichi (Okinawa Shougaku) - 2 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, K, 0 BB, HBP
Kubo Shuuto (Okinawa Shougaku) - 7 IP, ER, 6 H, 5 K, BB
Nishihira Daiki (Okinawa Shougaku) - 2-4, 2B, R, RBI
Uehara Kouta (Okinawa Shougaku) - 2-4

86th Senbatsu - Day 10 - Quarterfinal 1 - Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto) vs. Riseisha (Osaka)

Our opening match on quarterfinal day is a regional affair.  And yet, Fukuchiyama Seibi and Riseisha did not play each other in the super-regionals.

Fukuchiyama Seibi has not been challenged at all so far just putting pressure on their opponents right off the bat and cruising from then to victory.  I would be interested so see what would happen should they be involved in a tighter game as these easy wins can get someone complacent. Ishihara hasn't been dominant per se, but he has been useful enough to allow his team a chance to win - and that can be good enough.

Riseisha won with brute force in their last game.  Down 6-2, they relieved Mizota and sent in #10 Nagatani.  He did almost nothing but present a mid 140 fastball to the Komadai hitters and dared them to hit it.

They didn't.

And that allowed Riseisha to claw their way back in against spot starter long reliever Itou Harumi who had starter their first game.  And having gone through 2 pitchers already, I'm not sure they had anyone left - although they did have relievers in name on the bench.

I don't think brute force will work, so the pitching needs to figure itself out soon, because it will be a matter of when it all comes crashing down on themselves...

Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto)
SS Nishida Tomonori
RF Kimura Noritsugu
C Sano Yuusuke
3B Maeda Ryouta
1B Nishimoto Masaki
LF Fujita Taisei
2B Oomura Ryou (#12)
CF Kimura Soutarou
P Ishihara Takeji

Riseisha (Osaka)
2B Inoue Kazuya
3B Tsuji Motomasa
SS Yoshida Yuuki
LF Nakayama Shouta
RF Nishimura Takahiro
C Hatta Natsu
1B Kinuta Shouta (#14)
CF Tateishi Satoshi
P Mizota Yuuto


08:33 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
First pitch, Nishida pops it right up.  Yoshida behind 2nd makes the catch.

Hm... Mizota falling behind Noritsugu 3-1.  Has his location struggles continued to today?

Well, Noritsugu attacking after that, fouling a couple off before flinching on the fastball down the middle for the 2nd out.

He does seem to be having issues, but has been throwing mainly fastballs though we finally see a slider to Sano.  Still, he gets a hold of another fastball but flies out to right.

Bottom 1st
Ishihara having his own issues early, falling behind Inoue 3-0 before finally walking him 2 pitches later.  Now, Ishihara appears to be barely missing low, which is really fine because there's other places you could miss that could be much worse.

Tsuji bunts him over to 2nd for Yoshida.

Yoshida blasts one to center!  Soutarou drifting back, now running!!  He leaps at the wall, but the ball bounces off of the top of the padding! It's bounces off of Soutarou before he can pick it up, but Yoshida's in with a stand up RBI triple!  Riseisha leads 1-0!

Nakayama up to try and add to the lead with any type of deep ball or base hit.

But Ishihara pulls out the changeup and gets Nakayama swinging for the 2nd out.

Ishihara throwing more offspeed stuff to Nishimura, but he's having trouble locating them, eventually walking him.  Control seems to be a slight issue on both fronts.

Hatta though goes after the first pitch and softly pops to to Oomura for the 3rd out, but Riseisha has the first strike!

Top 2nd
Grounder to 2nd for Inoue, he has a bit of a time securing it, but throws to 1st, AH!

He throws it high and wide!  Kinuta tries to make the swipe tag, but Maeda is already by!  E4 puts douten runner on.  Nishimoto lays down the bunt, and Mizota almost throws it away himself, but Kinuta saves it with the stretch.

The pitching gremlins come out again versus Fujita and Mizota walks him on 4 straight.

Oomura with the liner up the middle, but Yoshida catches it behind 2nd and beats Maeda back to the bag for the double play!  Almost nothing you can do about that, but it's bad luck for Seibi.

Bottom 2nd
Kinuta gives Riseisha another leadoff runner with a single back up the middle.  Tateishi bunts him over.

There's quickly 2 outs when Mizota flies out to center.

But then Ishihara can't find the zone again and walks Inoue for the 2nd time!

That's compounded when Tsuji singles to right, leaving it manrui for Yoshida.


Yoshida blasts yet another ball to center!  Soutarou having to sprint back again, leaps, but can't make the catch!  That'll clear the bases as he is in with another triple!  It's 4-0 Riseisha and Yoshida has all 4 RBIs!!

Nakayama wants to get in on the act and singles to right, scoring Yoshida to make it 5-0.

That's 4 hits in a row now after Nishimura singles to center!  #10 Adachi is scrambled to the bullpen, but it's way too late now.

Hatta sharp liner, but right to Maeda for the 3rd out.  Ishihara clearly in trouble as Rieseisha takes a commanding lead!

Top 3rd
Soutarou grounder to the left side, Yoshida slides over and makes the stop!  But his momentum affects his throw and Soutarou beats it out!

What's this?  Mizota wants to make it hard on himself?  He walks last batter Ishihara to put two runners on with no outs?

Nishida liner to right side, caught by Inoue!  Ishihara was running on contact and is doubled off!  It wasn't a hit and run, but Ishihara should have known better than to run immediately on a liner.

Noritsugu flies out to center and that's the inning.  Looks like it's going to be one of those games.

Bottom 3rd
Ishihara is not on at all as he walks Kinuta on 4 straight.  I'd ask if there were other options beside Ishihara, but I'm not sure any of them are actually viable.

Tateishi tries to bunt him along, but bunts himself into a K.

The misplays continue as Sano's throw to 1st is wide can't be handled by Nishimoto and it goes into right, advancing Kinuta.

2 down, and Inoue finally puts a ball in play, hitting a deep fly to right that Noritsugu has plenty of time to get to to make the catch.

Top 4th
Maeda gets a 1-out single to right.  After Nishimoto goes down on 3 straight, Fujita gives Seibi a small chance when his grounder up the middle takes an irregular hop over a diving Yoshida.

Mizota gives himself some trouble falling behind Oomura 3-1, but he comes back to full up the count and Kimura gets under a pitch and flies out to right for the 3rd out.

Bottom 4th
Ishihara finally retires Yoshida.  He only hits a flyball to deep right center that Noritsugu has time to get under.

But because of that Ishihara hashist 1st clean 1-2-3 inning of the game.

Top 5th
Seibi's batter are either missing Mizota's pitches just under or they have huge uppercut swings.  I say this because outside of Ishihara's grounder (and he's probably a pitcher's batter), Soutarou and Nishida hit very high pop flies.

Bottom 5th
Nishimura gives Riseisha their 4th leadoff runner with a hit to center.  He's bunted over to 2nd, and then a great foul catch from Noritsugu allows him to advance to 3rd.

Ishihara gets out of the mini pinch with a flyout to right, but as we hit the break, it seems to be all Riseisha today.

Top 6th
Nortsugu goes down looking for the 2nd time today, this time on a changeup inside.

Sano with a ball up the middle, Inoue successfully reaches the ball, but can't field it cleanly.  Base hit for Sano.

That's wiped out. Maeda grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to retire the side.

Bottom 6th
Ishihara gets 2 quick outs, but ruins it when he walks Tsuji.  It proceeds to get worse as Yoshida singles to right.

...and then Nakayama singles to center, scoring a run to make it 6-0.  Nishimura grounds to 2nd to end the inning.

Top 7th
Despite the lead, Riseisha not playing a clean game.  After Nishimura makes a great diving catch on a dying ball from Fujita into right center, Yoshida shorthops the throw to 1st on a Oomura grounder.

Tsuji makes up for it a bit when he makes a good stop on a ball up the 3rd base line from Soutarou and the strong throw to 1st retires the side.

Bottom 7th
After this half inning, I think many would wonder where was this pitching the entire game.  He strikes out 2, and then gets a groundout from Tateishi to end the inning.

Top 8th
Ishihara's day is done as #14 Tadokoro comes in to hit for him.

And delivers a gapper to right center!  He's in with a double!  #17 Horie comes in to run for him.

Nishida pops out up to left.  Nakayama coming in, but the ball drops in!  Horie advances to 3rd, but Seibi can prevent the shutout.

Now #18 Nakajima comes in to hit for Noritsugu.  Anything to get the offense going now.

Ball deep to right!  Nishimura goes to the foul pole.... FOUL!!!  Oh, that was close.

Single back up the middle!  Horie scores and Seibi is on the board at 6-1!

That's going to be it for Mizota.  #10 Nagatani comes into the game with that heater mentality.

Sano challenges it immediately, but grounds to 3rd.  Tsuji chooses to go to 2nd for the out.

Maeda works the count full, taking some borderline pitches, but he pops it up!  Tsuji in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out.

And Nishimoto hits a grounder to 2nd, AHHHH!!

Inoue whiffs on the ball and it goes to the outfield!  Nishida scores on the error and it's 6-2!  Still a bit of a ways to go though.

Nagatani continues to challenge with the fastball, and Fujita falls behind 1-2...

SANSHIN!  Nagatani climbs the ladder on Fujita and ends the inning.  Seibi gets a pair of runs, but it's not nearly enough at this point.

Bottom 8th
Nakajima stays in to play LF, Fujita goes to RF.  and #10 Adachi comes in to pitch in the #9 spot.

And Adachi pitches a clean 1-2-3 inning in relief with no hiccups.

Top 9th
#13 Kanaoka comes in for Nakayama to take over in LF.

Last ups for Seibi, and they're taking their hacks.  Oomura chases the outside fastball.  Soutarou for some reason can't pull the trigger on the fastball and goes down for the 2nd out.

#13 Umeno the last chance for Seibi as he hits for Adachi.

But he goes down on 3 straight and that's the game.

Fukuchiyama Seibi just didn't feel competitive the entire game.  Yes, they were unlucky as well, but some things might have been preventable as well.   There will be plenty of things to shore up for the summer campaign.

As for Riseisha, their hitting continues to... well, continue.  It was muted a bit later on, but they still gave themselves opportunities.    In addition, the errors didn't hurt them today, but that won't necessarily be the case going forward.

The bigger question will be ace Mizota.  He seems to be getting less and less consistent on the mound, and I'm not sure how much they can ride reliever Nagatani. That will remain to be seen in the upcoming days.

Notable Players
Mizota Yuuto (Riseisha) - 7+ IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 3 K, 2 BB
Nagatani Nobuaki (Riseisha) - 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 4 K, 0 BB
Yoshida Yuuki (Riseisha) - 3-4, 2 3B, 4 RBI
Nakayama Shouta (Riseisha) - 2-4, 2 RBI
Ishihara Takeji (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 7 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 5 K, 5 BB
Tokoro Koutarou (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 1-1, 2B
Nakajima Ryousuke (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 1-1, RBI

Sunday, March 30, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 9 - Replay - Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima) vs. Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma)

So remember when I said we didn't know anything about these teams because they blew out their opponents in the first round?

Well, we still don't know anything about these teams - because I could barely keep up with the action as the teams apparently wanted to set some type of record for shortest 15 inning draw in history.

2 hours, 24 minutes.

And because I was blogging, tweeting, and scoring - I could barely discern anything from the game.  Not that I think I could mind you even if I was paying attention considering they'd hit every first pitch into play if they could have.

Kidding aside, the fact that they weren't hacking away from the 9th inning onwards suggested they wanted to play a sudden death type of game.  But it'd be rather improbable to have both teams actually planning such a strategy.

I'd almost want to reiterate what I said in jest yesterday.  I don't think these teams thought they had a shot at winning senbatsu, so they decided - let's play to a draw, and then we get to play again all by ourselves!  We'll have the limelight all to ourselves!

All the other 7 qualified teams would also be thanking them because all their teams get an extra day of rest.

Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)
SS Nakabayashi Kouki
LF Tanaka Takuya
2B Nishijima Haruto
CF Sakagaki Kazuya
3B Okuda Shingo
RF Nikaku Taiyou
1B Kumata Jyunpei
C Tanaka Keisuke
P Yamaoka Shuuya

Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma)
LF Yoshida Ryuuto
2B Ishii Shouta
RF Yanagiya Sansuke
P Yamada Tomoki
C Onoda Toki
3B Kubota Shinji
CF Kubo Shunsuke
1B Hayamizu Takanari
SS Takahashi Shoukei


15:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Both aces are out to start again. No relief starts for the replay!

Nakabayashi takes 3 pitches!  It's a miracle!  He does groundout to short though.

Takuya also taking pitches, goes to 2-2 before he makes contact.  Shot to 3rd, but Kubota has it and goes to 1st for the 2nd out.

And I think we're going to have a normal game because while all 3 batters are retired in order, they are taking pitches.

Bottom 1st
That being the case, which ace will run out of gas first?

Yoshida for Kiryuu hitting a ton of pitches foul.  Finally gets the ball into play and bloops a single to left center!  Takuya has the ball go off the soft ground (it rained quite a bit) and off his glove, and that allows Yoshida to go to 2nd!

Ishii with the bunt to move him over, and it takes a great play from Okuda on the bare-handed throw to just get him out.

Yanagiya single to center!  He delivers a first pitch single to center and Kiryuu Dai-ichi leads 1-0!

Yanagiya takes off for 2nd!  Throw from Keisuke... not in time!  Kiryuu trying to leave no doubt this game!  Yamada does the right thing - hitting a grounder to the right side to advance the runner.

Yamaoka leaves it at 1 though as Onoda chases the slider, but it's Hiroshima Shinjyou that must chase the run!

Top 2nd
Hiroshima gets the douten runner on after Yamada hits Sakagaki.

Hit-and-run!  Sakagaki takes off, and Okuda hits a sharp liner... caught by Kubota!  Sakagaki is helpless as he's doubled off at 1st for the double play!

Nikaku grounds out to end the inning, but hard luck for Hiroshima there.

Bottom 2nd
Other than the Yanagiya single, each AB so far has gone at least 3 pitches.  Kubota is no different as he goes 2-2 before hitting a weak grounder back to Yamaoka.

Kubo works count full before missing on the cutter.

But Hayamizu drives a ball to center!  Sakagaki running back to the wall... slips and falls!  The ground wreaking havoc for Hiroshima!  I don't think he would have gotten to it anyways, and Hayamizu doesn't take an extra base.

The small chance for Kiryuu evaporates as Takahashi pops one up.  It's still a bit of an adventure in the outfield, but Nakabayashi makes the catch for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Kumata breaks trend and swings on the first pitch, but hits a weak ball back to Yamada.

Keisuke getting ahead of Yamada 3-0, but Yamada comes back to fill up the count and throws a ballsy slider inside that just catches the inside edge.

Hiroshima taking pitches, but having no additional success at the plate.  Yamaoka grounds to short and they're still hitless.

Bottom 3rd
Yoshioka first pitch lines a base hit just onto the outfield grass in left.  Once again, Ishii bunts him along.

Yanagiya blooper to short center!  Takuya charging in, but it drops in!  Yoshida had to hold up, but the top of the order for Kiryuu is threatening yet again!

Looks like Hiroshima will play for the DP instead of the back home with Yamada coming up.

Yanagiya taking off for 2nd!  It's a pitchout!  Yamada strikes out swinging, but Keisuke double clutches and the throw is late!  Now a base hit from Onoda could score 2!

But instead it's a grounder to 3rd!  Okuda comes up with it, goes to 1st, and that's the 3rd out!  Yamaoka getting into trouble again, but only has yielded that one run!

Top 4th
Still nothing going for Hiroshima...  Nakabayashi and Takuya both ground out.

Nishijima with a hard grounder to 2nd, but Ishii can't field it cleanly!  Throws to 1st... not in time!  A diving Nishijima beats out the throw!

Sakagaki with a ball down the right field side.. fair!  Nishijima off on contact makes it to 3rd!  Douten runner on 3rd!

Okuda grounder to 2nd!  Hayamizu can't get it!  Ishii backing up the play gets the ball, but finds no one at first!  Yamada scrambles as Ishii throws to 1st...

And Yamada steps on 1st just beating out Okuda for the 3rd out!

Bottom 4th
Kubota starts off the inning with a walk from Yamaoka who actually threw behind him on the full count.  Kubo bunts him along for Hayamizu.

Yamaoka careful with Hayamizu, mainly working away. But he leaves one over and Hayamizu drives one to right!  Nikaku is there to make the catch, but Kubota tags up to 3rd.

But once again Yamaoka gets out of the pinch!  Takahashi pops it up on the 1st base side and Keisuke makes the catch in foul territory for the 3rd out!

Top 5th
Hiroshima's hitters can't even get the ball in the outfield to challenge the fielders' ability in the wet.

Yamada gets 2 more groundouts before Keisuke finally hits a ball to the outfield.  But it's a high fly and Yoshida has plenty of time to get to it.

Bottom 5th
Yamaoka finally retires Yoshida on a grounder to 2nd.

Ishii though, finally able to swing the bat, hits a ball back up the middle!  Yamaoka stumbles to field it as the ball bounces off the mound and into center for a base hit!

How does the saying go? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

Well, it's not quite that, but Ishii tries to pull a Yanagiya and steal 2nd, but this time Yamaoka has him picked off!  Ishii is run down 1-3-6 for the 2nd out!

And with everything all out of sorts, Yanagiya goes down on 3 straight pitches, just watching the fastball down the middle for the 3rd out!

So Yamaoka has allowed baserunners every inning, but yielded just one run.  Unfortunately, his team has 2 hits total...

Top 6th
Apparently, Hiroshima's batters got the message about hitting the ball in the air.

But they can't be too routine of a fly...

Yamaoka hits one almost right to Yoshida, and then Nakabayashi pops one up next to home and Onoda makes the catch.

Takuya hits a popup to left, but it's in foul territory where the astroturf is, and Yoshida is free to make the sliding catch near the fence for the out!

Bottom 6th
Kiryuu Dai-ichi making a change in strategy possibly, trying to shorten the game. Yamada and Onoda both get out on the first pitch.  Kubota tries to keep Yamaoka's pitch count rising, but eventually grounds to 1st.

Top 7th
Nishijima one of the few batters having success against Yamada today, collects his 2nd hit with a grounder past a diving Hayamizu.

Despite it being late in the game, Sakoda-kantoku does not elect to have #4 batter Sakagaki bunt.

Hit and run!  Sakagaki hit it down the left field line!  Yoshida running over from his position in left proper... still running into foul territory... dives... and makes the catch!  Yoshida with his 2nd great catch of the game!

#18 Toometsuka comes in to hit for Nikaku.  Sharp grounder to the right side, smothered by Hayamizu!  Goes to the bag and a leadoff hit goes begging!

Bottom 7th
Toometsuka stays in to play RF.

Kubo scooter down the 3rd base line, past the diving Okuda for a leadoff single!

Hayamizu swinging away, ball back up middle for a seeing-eye single!  Are things falling apart for Yamaoka?

Takahashi with the bunt, Okuda charging in, AHH!!

The ball takes an irregular final bounce and Okuda can't adjust!  All safe! Oh boy, things are not looking good for Hiroshima now..

Yoshida puts the bat out on the ball and hits a soft liner to right for a base hit!  Kubo scores to make it 2-0!

Ishii tries to get the sac fly, but it's too short and everyone has to hold.

Yanagiya with a hard grounder to 2nd, *sighs*

The ball bounces high off of Nishijima's glove and into right scoring another run to make it 3-0.  Nishijima looks a bit distraught about the error...

Yamada tacks on another run with a sac fly before Onoda grounds out to end the inning.  But it's a 4-0 lead and I just don't think Hiroshima has it in them for a comeback.

Top 8th
#11 Sasaki comes in to hit for Kumata, but goes down swinging.

And while Yamaoka gets on base due to an error, Nakabayashi pops out to 2nd to make it a relatively quick inning.

Bottom 8th
Sasaki stays in to play 1B.

Yamaoka with 2 quick outs, but then Hayamizeu hits a ball to left center.  Takuya sells out on the sliding catch, but he's unfortunately no Yoshida and the ball gets by him.  Sakagaki backing up gets the ball in, but not before Hayamizu's in with a triple.

Yamaoka finishes his Koushien performance freezing Takahashi on a fastball.  At least he gets that memory, if nothing else.

Top 9th
Credit to Hiroshima Shinjyou though, they're not just trying to hit the first pitch - they're still trying to get on base.

But unfortunately it's the same old story.  3 up, 3 down for Hiroshima as Sakagaki chases the slider for the final out.

While it did not have the frenetic pace of their first game, they still finished this game in 98 minutes.

Both pitchers did not look the worse for wear, so it perhaps would be which ace could hold out the longest which would determine the game.

It would be apparent though that Kiryuu Dai-ichi had all the chances in the game though, and finally pulled away in the 7th.

While the issues for Kiryuu Dai-ichi are apparent, they have to time to rest.  They'll play their 3rd game in 3 days tomorrow when they play Ryuukokudai Heian!

Notable Players
Yamada Tomoki (Kiryuu Dai-ichi) - CG, SHO, 3 H, 3 K, HBP
Yoshida Ryuuto (Kiryuu Dai-ichi) - 3-4, R, RBI
Yanagiya Sansuke (Kiryuu Dai-ichi) - 2-4, RBI, K, 2 SB
Hayamizu Takanari (Kiryuu Dai-ichi) - 3-4, 2B, 3B, R
Yamaoka Shouya (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - 8 IP, 2 ER, 10 H, 6 K, BB
Nishijima Haruto (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - 2-4
Sakagaki Kazuya (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - 1-3, HBP

Saturday, March 29, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 8 - Game 3 - Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori) vs. Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)

The last game to finish up the Best 8 could be considered a matchup saved for the semis or finals.

Ryuukokudai Heian was put on its heels by a spunky Ooshima squad.  However, Ooshima's spunkiness lead to errors which bailed them out and allowed them to eventually pull away.  If that first half was to shake out the cobwebs, the Kinki champs surely will give any team what for - though their beating of reliever Maeyama should be taken with the smallest grain of salt.

Kousei Gakuin, thankfully, put down a Yokohama squad that in my opinion didn't deserve to be there - and from their performance, certainly proved to be so.  From their performance though, there are still some questions regarding their pitching as ace Nakagawa looked a bit average to my liking.

It's not going to be easy going for Kousei, but for whomever team advances, they will get a tired out squad no matter who it ends up being.

Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)
3B Houjyou Hiroyuki (#6)
SS Adachi Yuuya (#14)
LF Moriyama Hiroki
2B Fukae Taisei
1B Sai Seiu
RF Arai Katsunori
CF Arai Katsutaka
C Chiba Ryou
P Satou Shun

Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
CF Tokumoto Kentarou
RF Ootani Tsukasa
2B Himeno Taisei
1B Kawai Taisei
LF Nakaguchi Daichi
3B Tsune Hitoshi
SS Ishikawa Takuya
C Takahashi Yuuya
P Takahashi Keiji (#10)


14:32 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Keiji with the high leg kick, whips out the changeup and rungs up Houjyou for the 1st out.

Adachi goes after the curve and hits a weak grounder back to Keiji.

And Keiji finishes out the frame getting Moriyama to chase a slider away for the 3rd out!  Yuuya finishes the play at 1st and it's a great start from the spot starter.

Bottom 1st
Satou's first slow curve goes over everything.  Oy.

He settles down enough as Tokumoto golfs one to left for the first out.

But Satou's control doesn't look very good to start.  He runs the count full on Ootani before getting a groundout... and then goes and walks Himeno on 4 straight.

 #11 Nakagawa already warming up in the bullpen.

Hit and run!  Himeno takes off, but Kawai fouls it off.

Himeno with the straight steal!  Throw to 2nd from Chiba, not in time!

Kawai no looking for a base hit to open the scoring, fouls pitch after pitch working the count full.  He draws the walk!  And it's a wild pitch from Satou so Himeno goes to 3rd.  Satou in a big pinch to start the game.

Nakaguchi with a ball back up the middle!  It's off Satou and to the left side!  Everyone's safe as Himeno scores to make it 1-0! Runners still at the corners for Heian.

Nakaguchi takes off for 2nd!  It's a feint!  Kawai takes off for home and Adachi's throw back home is late!  2-0 Heian and Nakaguchi gets to 2nd!

Things are going from bad to worse as Tsune singles through the left side!  Nakaguchi comes around to score and it's 3-0!

#11 Nakagawa warming up, but Nakai-kantoku not putting him in yet it seems.

He's paying for that decision!  Ishikawa blasts a ball to deep left center!  That'll get all the way to the wall!  Tsune scores, Ishikawa heading to 3rd.

And the throw to 3rd goes awry!  It winds up in foul territory near the Kousei dugout!  Ishikawa can stroll home and the error makes it a 5-0 ballgame!  Kousei is imploding upon themselves!

Still no sign of relief for Satou as Yuuya hits a single to Adachi!

Thankfully for Satou, Keiji grounds to 3rd to end the inning.  But Heian goes through the entire lineup and Satou spots his team 5 runs right off the get go!

Top 2nd
Despite the 5-run lead, Keiji nibbles with Fukae and winds up walking him!  Sai bunts him to 2nd.

Katsunori first pitch swings, but flies out to right and quickly there's 2 down for Katsutaka.

It's a clean single for Katsutaka!  Fukae getting the green light home, throw from Nakaguchi goes to 2nd and Kousei gets a run back at 5-1.

Chiba grounds to 2nd, but it's a long road to slog for Kousei.

Bottom 2nd
Satou doesn't get an AB or more than 1 IP as #11 Nakagawa comes in to the game.

His control isn't that great, but it's better than Satou.  Top of the order, and Tokumoro can't buy a hit.  He grounds to 2nd.  Neither can Ootani as he too grounds out.

Himeno completes the trio of groundout and Nakagawa has a clean inning!

Top 3rd
New P Nakagawa welcomes Keiji with a ball down the left field line for a leadoff double!

Houjyou takes a ball the other way and beats the shift!  Tokumoto has to go back across center to field it and Nakagawa sprints for home after waiting for the ball to fall in!  The relay throw home is not in time, and Kousei has a 2nd run! 5-2!

Adachi tries the safety bunt, but it just ends up being a bunt.  Still a decent fly from Moriyama can tack on another run.

But Keiji denies him!  He challenges with a fastball down the middle and Moriyama swings and misses!

Bottom 3rd
Kawai hits a blooper to left, Adachi and Moriyama converge, but Moriyama has to play it on the hop!  Heian, sensing that 5 runs might not be enough, bunts him to 2nd.

Tsune with another base hit!  It's a line shot to right and Kawai has to hold up.  But they're threatening again!

And now he takes off for 2nd!  Throw from Chiba is way high and Adachi had to stretch to make the catch.  Oddly enough, there's no double steal this time around.  Now a base hit can erase the runs from Kousei!

But he hits a grounder to 2nd!  Fukae goes home and Kawai is caught in no man's land!  He's run back to 2nd, but it's Tsune who there on 3rd who is called out (the person originally occupying the base has priority when it's not a force).

Yuuya grounds to Sai to end the inning and Nakagawa gets out of the jam!

Top 4th
If Kousei was trying to play a gambit with Heian, it's a risky one that's for sure.  Because you have to pretty much score every inning to get back in this game.

Sai flies out to left for the first out, and after that Katsunori and Katsutaka get retired soon afterwards for a clean inning from Keiji.

Bottom 4th
Keiji with a grounder to the left side.  Adachi runs it down, but can't pick it clean when he gets there!  His throw is late and Heian has the leadoff runner on!  Tokumoto bunts him along.

Ootani still looking for his first hit works the count, trying to find his pitch.  But instead Nakagawa gets him to chase the changeup away for the 2nd out!

However, it feels like every AB for Kousei is a battle.  Such is the case with Himeno who gets ahead 3-1 before drawing a walk.  Heian threatening again until Kawai finds himself out in front and hits the ball off the end of his bat to Moriyama to end the inning.

Top 5th
Apparently with Satou gone, Chiba was soon to follow.  #17 Ishiguro comes in to hit for Chiba.  Expect Baba to join his classmate in the battery.

Ishiguro can't make anything of his AB, chasing the fastball outside for Keiji's 4th K.  Neither can Nakagawa replicate his first AB either as he pops out to Kawai.

Houjyou though gets his 2nd hit, a liner whizzing back up the middle for a single.  But with 2 outs he's stranded when Adachi just gets under one and flies out to center.

Bottom 5th
As expected #12 Baba enters the game for Ishiguro to take over catching duties.

Nakaguchi continues the trend of leadoff batters getting on when he singles through the gap in left. Tsune tries to bunt him along, but winds up down 0-2.

Hit and run!  Tsune puts a ball past Sai into right and Nakaguchi easily makes it to 3rd!  Runners on the corners and nobody down!

Ishikawa though can't bring the runner home!  He hits it right to Adachi, who holds the runners before going to 1st.

Yuuya connects on a ball left over by Nakagawa and lines to center!  Katsutaka is there to make the catch, but Nakaguchi comes in to score making it a 6-2 ballgame!

And Nakagawa's throw to 2nd goes right to center!  Tsune goes to 3rd!

And now Nakagawa hits his counterpart on the ankle!  Nakagawa with back to back unforced errors.

Tokumoto with a ball to shallow center!  Katsutaka charging in... makes the sliding catch to end the inning!  But we hit the break with Heian leading by 4, and Kousei Gakuin looking just discombobulated.

Top 6th
Kousei at least not giving up it seems.  Moriyama with a single back up the middle past Ishikawa.  Down 4, Fukae isn't bunting.

Instead, Fukae with a clean single to right!  Moriyama stops at 2nd and does Kousei have something cooking?

Sai doesn't look like he's bunting either.  And he gets ahead 2-0 before the slider goes over for a strike.  And Sai gets fooled on another one to even the count!

Keiji tries to go back to the well, but is wide and the count fills up.

Fastball in, and he just fouls it off.

But he can't do anything with the slider inside!  He flies out to Ootani for the first out!

That slider Katsunori has is giving Katsunori fits.  Instead, he tries for the fastball, but chooses a high fastball and winds up popping out to Tokumoto.

And the runners are left stranded!  Katsutaka just rolls a ball over to 2nd.  Himeno is waiting there, goes to 1st and both runners are stranded!

Bottom 6th

Foul tip from Ootani hits Baba, well... you know.  He's on his side in obvious pain.  Both dugouts bring out the itai spray, but both just kinda stand there, because I'm not sure it works there...

Don't these people wear a cup?

Perhaps out of pity, Ootani strikes out on the next pitch.

Of course it's just a one batter reprieve as Himeno slices one down the left field line!  Moriyama chases it as it rattles around, but it's a double for Himeno.

Perhaps to create a force, Nakagawa winds up walking him on 4 straight.

It works!  Nakaguchi hits one back up the middle.  Adachi tosses to Fukae and he goes to 1st to complete the double play!

Top 7th
Kousei running out of innings, but they're just spinning their wheels.  Baba may have been unlucky on a low strike call for home plate ump Nishigai.  Nakagawa doesn't lift the bat either when the fastball apparently catches the black of the plate for the 2nd out.

Houjyou up again with 2 outs draws a walk, but with 2 outs you can do very little.  Adachi grounds to 3rd and that's the inning.

Bottom 7th
Nakagawa gets two easy out, then decides he needs more strife in his life.  He walks Yuuya on 4 straight and then Keiji singles back up the middle.

Tokumoto follows that with a liner to left, scoring Yuuya to make it 7-2.

And knocking Nakagawa out of the game.  #18 Goya enters to try and finish the game.

But Goya throws one in the dirt that Baba can't handle and the runners advance.

Ootani though remains hitless when Goya puts one by him to end the inning.

Top 8th
I suppose Heian can wrap things up in the final 2 innings.  Ootani's reward for striking out 3 times, being replaced in RF by #17 Iwashita.

Kousei perhaps thinking the same thing.  Moriyama and Fukae take their hacks and go down swinging.

Sai flies out to center and this game is all but in hand.

Bottom 8th
Nakai-kantoku does a similar thing for Moriyama.  With 3 Ks on the day, he replaced at LF by #16 Kitamuki.  Also Goya's stint on the mound was 1 batter as #10 Ogawa comes in to pitch.

Even Houjyou, who had been reliable is not immune.  Himeno hits a routine grounder to him, but Houjyou throws it short and it goes into the camera well.  Kawai advances him to 3rd with a deep fly to right, and Nakaguchi brings him in with a base hit to left.  8-2.

Perhaps to show mercy to Kousei, the baseball gods do them a favor.  Tsune hits a ball back up the middle.  Adachi boots the ball, but it deflects right to Fukai covering the bag.  He goes to 1st for the double play.

Top 9th
Katsunori draws a walk and is replaced by #13 Bessho.  Katsutaka is pinch hit for by #15 Takaku but grounds back to Keiji.

In order to get Nakata some work as the closer, he enters the game to get the last 2 outs.

Nakai-kantoku completely empties the bench sending in #5 Fujita for Ogawa.  He draws the walk, but Houjyou grounds out to 3rd to end the game.

Kousei Gakuin never really got started in this game, and could never get any traction to get back on track.  Ryuukokudai Heian advances with a 8-2 win and gets the benefit of a day off thanks to the 1-1 draw the prior game.  Harada-kantoku has mixed and matched his spot starters well so far.  How far can he manage this staff to?

Notable Players
Takahashi Keiji (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 8.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 3 BB
Tsune Hitoshi (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 3-5, R, RBI
Nakaguchi Daichi (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI
Nakagawa Masashi (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 5.2+ IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 K, 3 BB, HBP
Houjyou Hiroyuki (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Nakagawa Masashi (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 1-3, 2B, R

86th Senbatsu - Day 8 - Game 2 - Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma) vs. Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)

Both Hiroshima Shinjyou and Kiryuu Dai-ichi breezed through their first round games with both teams giving up a combined total of 5 hits.  Hiroshima Shinjyou defeated Hokushinetsu runner-up Toukai Dai-san while Kiryuu Dai-ichi defeated Shikoku champs Imabari Nishi.  Both teams from weaker regions, but Imabari Nishi theoretically might have more pull.

In reality though we don't know any more about these teams then we did before save for maybe a little in regards to the pitching.  Hiroshima Shinjyou's ace Yamaoka clearly dominated his opponents more than his counterpart, but then again Toukai Dai-san may have been the weaker team of the two.

So really, we don't know anything at all...

Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma)
LF Yoshida Ryuuto
2B Ishii Shouta
RF Yanagiya Sansuke
P Yamada Tomoki
C Onoda Toki
1B Hayamizu Takanari
CF Kubo Shunsuke
3B Kubota Shinji
SS Takahashi Shoukei

Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)
SS Nakabayashi Kouki
LF Tanaka Takuya
2B Nishijima Haruto
CF Sakagaki Kazuya
3B Okuda Shingo
RF Nikaku Taiyou
1B Kumata Jyunpei
C Tanaka Keisuke
P Yamaoka Shuuya


11:35 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Yoshida hot shot to 3rd, bounces off of Okuda and towards the camera well!  E5 to start the game.  Ishii bunts him over (and almost is safe!).

But Yanagiya can't even move the runner 90 feet as he grounds the other way to short.  In fact, he's stranded when Yamada grounds right to Kumata at 1st.

Bottom 1st
Yamada off to a good start, striking out Nakabayashi on an outside fastball, and then having Takuya sky a ball to center.

Nishijima ruins the clean inning with a single past a diving Takahashi.  Yamada compounds things by hitting Sakagaki (though really he didn't try that hard to get out of the way).  He's redeemed when Shingo hits a lazy fly to left for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
Onoda's bid for a base hit goes begging as his liner is snagged by a leaping Nishijima.

After that, it's smooth sailing as Hayamizu whiffs on the outside fastball, and Kubo quickly grounds to 1st there after.

Bottom 2nd
Yamada gets a real HBP when he plunks Nikaku on the back.

But instead of a bunt, Nikaku takes off for 2nd!  Onoda with the strong throw, but Nikaku just slides in ahead of the tag!

Kumata lays down the bunt, and Yamada goes to 3rd!!  Safe!!  Nikaku slides in ahead of the throw, and Yamada puts himself in to a big pinch as Fukuda-kantoku calls time.

Keisuke with a fly to left!  Yoshida camps, ready to throw home, and makes the catch!  Nikaku races for home, relay throw... not in time!  The hit batter comes around to score and Hiroshima Shinjyou leads 1-0!

Sakoda-kantoku has last batter Yamaoka bunt the runner along to flip the lineup back to Nakabayashi.

And all of a sudden, Yamada is struggling.  He walks Nakabayashi on 4 straight!  Though to be fair, he looks to have been squeezed a bit.

Now Takuya with a liner to right for a base hit!  Kumata stops at 3rd and it's manrui for Hiroshima!

Yamada can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  Nakajima hits a grounder to 2nd, and Ishii goes the short way for the 3rd out.  Early on though, Yamada is not helping his own cause.

Top 3rd
That should help! Takahashi with one down hits a streaking grounder past the glove of Okuda for a single.

Yoshida with the safety bunt!  Okuda charging in, but he's coming in from a ways away and his throw is late!  All safe!

And Takahashi takes off for 3rd!  No throw from Keisuke!!  Douten runner 90 feet away!

Ishii with a pop fly to right.  Nikaku coming in, makes the catch... and Takahashi has to hold up as Nikaku's throw forces him to hold up!

Yamaoka gets out of the jam!  Yanagiya pops one up!  Takuya comes in and secures the ball to retire the side!

Bottom 3rd
Yamada gets a quick out as Sakagaki fouls out to Hayamizu.  A well placed slider the causes Okuda to pound one in the dirt to 2nd...

And it's a quick 1-2-3 inning as he goes exclusively outside to Nikaku and he swings and misses on the fastball for the 3rd out.

Top 4th
The pace seems to be going very quickly in this game.  I can barely keep up with the outs.

Yamada first pitch swings and chops one to 2nd for the out.  Then Yamaoka decides that he too wants to go outside and gets Onoda to chase a ball for the 2nd out.

He caps it off with a routine comebacker from Hayamizu for his 2nd clean inning.

Bottom 4th
Any rattling I thought Yamada had after that 2nd inning seems to have disappeared.  2 groundouts and a "I think I should swing" swing from Yamaoka mark Yamada's 2nd consecutive clean inning.

Top 5th
Kubo with a fly foul down the left field side, Takuya going towards the fence.. makes the catch in front of the Kiryuu ouen-dan.

After Kubota goes down swinging on the changeup, Takahashi flies out to left for yet another 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 5th
This quick play is generally doing nothing but generating outs.

Nakabayashi first pitch grounds out to Takahashi.  Takuya takes a whopping 5 pitches before he flies out to center.

And Nakajima lines one sharply right to Hayamizu for the 3rd out.

5 innings in 50 minutes with the teams combining for 4 hits an a run.  It's like the teams have somewhere to be at later, or they saw the first game running slightly late so they're trying to get back on schedule.

Top 6th
Another one pitch out.  Yoshida grounds out to short.

Yamaoka quickly gets ahead of Ishii 0-2, and gets him to hit a ball back up the middle.  Nakabayashi gets that one too for the 2nd out.

There's a small breather as Yanagiya gets ahead 3-0 before Yamaoka fights back to fill the count.  But once again, another grounder to short.  Nakabayashi picks up 3 assists in another quick half inning.

Bottom 6th
Sakagaki actually showing a modicum of patience at the plate, gets rewarded as his ball up the middle sneaks by Ishii for a leadoff hit.  Okuda moves him along.

Nikaku with a bounder to the left side, gets by Kubota!  But Takahashi backs up the play and fields it! Fies to first, beats out a diving (and rolling, and tumbling) Nikaku.  He does advance the runner.

But Hiroshima Shinjyou back to swinging away and Kumata grounds to 2nd to end the inning.

Top 7th
Yamada with a grounder to 2nd, and Nishijima boots it!  Kiryuu with their first runner since the 3rd inning!

AH!  Yamaoka throws it away!  His pickoff throw goes into foul territory as Yamada races to 2nd.

He's heading for 3rd!!  Kumata fires from at the fence... and it reaches Okuda on the fly!!  Yamada can only walk back to the dugout after being thrown out trying to press the initiative.

Which is a real shame beacause Onoda hits a clean single through the left side!

But once again the early swings come back on Kiryuu.  Hayamizu and Kubo fly out on just 3 pitches and Kiryuu is literally swinging themselves into oblivion,

Bottom 7th
Dear Lord, I'm about a full half inning behind the game.  Keisuke and Yamaoka get retired on just 2 pitches each before Nakabayashi pokes a ball to center for a base hit.

And then to try and help the offense, he gets a great jump and steals 2nd!

But already behind 0-2, Takuya hits a short liner to left where Yoshida is waiting.

Top 8th
Kubota gets another leadoff runner for Kiryuu as he lines a ball to right!  Takahashi bunts him along.

Yoshida with a chopper to the wrong side.  Nakabayashi times the bounce, catches and fires to 1st... In time for the 2nd out!

Ishii with a huge chop off the ground!  Nakabayashi charging towards 2nd... catches, throws... but a diving (WHY?) Ishii beats it out!  Now a base hit can tie the game up!

Yanagiya up and just hacking away.  Fouling off pitch after pitch.

After several sliders, Yamaoka challenges with the fastball, and Yanagiya makes him pay! Clean single to left and Kubota can just walk home to tie the game!  It's 1-1!

Yamada quickly flies out to center, but the constant hacking finally produces some results!

Bottom 8th
Nishijima with a hard grounder to 1st, Hayamizu loses track of it!  Yamada scrambling to cover the bag gets there in front of a diving (AGAIN WHY?) Nishijima for the 1st out.

2 down now and Okuda hits a blooper to right center!  Wait, it's not a blooper, it's a gapper!  Yanagiya there to field it, but not before Okuda reaches 2nd!  Small chance for Hiroshima!

That is quickly snuffed out.  Nikaku hits a foul fly that hangs up en enough for Yanagiya to catches near the bullpen for the 3rd out.

Top 9th
Yamaoka falling behind leadoff batter Onoda 3-0 before firing 2 fastballs in to fill the count.  Now Onoda starts fouling pitches off.  Yamaoka wins the battle with a groundout to 3rd.

Hayamizu with a grounder to short, bu it takes a final bad hop that bounces off of Nakabayashi!  He makes a bad decision forcing the throw to 1st.  It's late and high, and fortunately for him not in the camera well.

With the gyakuten runner on, Fukuda-kantoku will play for the one shot.  #17 Onaga comes in to run for Hayamizu and is bunted over by Kubo.  So 2 down for Kubota.

Interestingly, Kiryuu Dai-ichi chooses now to start taking pitches.  Kubota working the count full.


Yamaoka fires to 2nd and they pick off Onaga!  Inning over!

I get to see the replay, and it appears that while Nakabayashi gives him the bag, when he goes for the tag with the glove, it collides with Onaga's arm for the out!

Bottom 9th
Onaga stays in the game in CF, Kubo goes to 1B.

In fact Hiroshima Shinjyou also is taking more pitches (slightly) here in the 9th as well.  It's like both team disposed of the first 8 innings and wanted to play sudden death ball.

Still, both Kumada and Keisuke pop out, while Yamaoka feebly swings at the fastball outside to end the inning.

So the teams get what they wanted.  Sudden death ball.

Top 10th
Kubota gets another full AB against Yamaoka, but goes down swinging.

Takahashi with a grounder to 2nd, and Nakabayashi even with taking his time, throws it into the dirt pulling Kumata off the bag!  Kiryuu will play for the one-timer again as Yoshida bunts him along.

Ishii first pitch singles to shallow right!!  They're sending Takahashi home!  Nikaku fires... it's on a rope!  Keisuke has it and Takahashi is thrown out at home to end the inning!

Bottom 10th
In the 90 seconds my internet goes wonky, Nakabayashi and Takuya have managed to get themselves out and I get to see Nishijima ground out to 2nd.

Top 11th
Yanagiya gives Kiryuu the gakuten runner as he singles to right.  But Yamada isn't bunting!  And he flies out to right instead!

That's okay though as Onoda singles to right!  Kiryuu with something brewing here.

But Onaga first pitch grounds to 2nd!  Nishijima goes to 2nd for 1, but Nakabayashi's throw to 1st is late.  Gyakuten run 90 feet away.


Onaga gets caught off 1st by Yamaoka!  He's run down 1-3-6 and the inning is over!  That's the 2nd time he's been caught on the basepaths!!

Bottom 11th
Now it's Hiroshima Shinjyou's turn!  Sakagaki lines one past Takahashi to center!

Okuda bunts the runner along. AHHH!!!

Kubota short hops Kubo and everyone's safe! And after Nikaku's bunt, the sayonara run is 90 feet away!

And so they rightly walk Kumata to load the bases.

Keisuke with a chance to end the game with a decent fly ball.

But instead it's a grounder to 1st!  Kubo goes home for 1, Onoda goes to 1st... double play!  Keisuke dives into 1st (WHY, WHY????!!!)  grounds into the 3-2-4 double play and the inning is over!

Top 12th
Kubo with the dribbler up the 3rd base side, Okuda fire to first beating a diving Kubo.

Kubota takes 4 pitches but pops out to Kumata.  And Takahashi chases the fastball outside for the 3rd out.

Bottom 12th
Yamaoka tries to draw the walk, but in his attempts to foul off pitches with the count full he swings an a pitch eye high and grounds to 3rd.  Nakabayashi and Takuya are retired on 1 pitch each and we're already headed to the 13th.

Top 13th
2 flyouts to center and I can take a breather as Yanagiya starts taking pitches.  Eventually, after fouling off a couple, he runs the count full...


This is news people!  With all the swinging away, this is the first walk issued by Yamaoka!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled game, already in progress.

And we move to the bottom of the 13th as Yamada has grounded to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 13th
It's more of the same.  Nishijima gounds to 2nd, Sakagaaki grounds to 3rd.  Okuda changes things up with a strikeout on a forkball.

Top 14th
So apparently the strategy is, first batter work the count to get on base.  If they don't, hack away.  If they do, bunt, then hack away.

Onoda works the count full, but grounds to 3rd.  So 3 pitchers later, the side is retired.

Bottom 14th
Nikaku blows that theory out of the water swinging on the first pitch.  Kumata takes 2 pitches to grounds to 3rd.

Keisuke with a grounder to 2nd to end the... no, wait. Ishii boots the ball, then can't field it at all so it's an E4 and the inning continues.

What, what?

Keisuke must have read something wrong because he just takes off for 2nd!  Yamada calmly goes to 2nd ant that's the inning!

Top 15th
We are already at the last inning!

Nakabayashi almost throws away the grounder from Kubota but Kumata keeps the foot on the bag.

Takahashi quickly then grounds to 1st. Kumata's toss to Yamaoka is a bit high, but Yamaoka emphatically steps on 1st for the 2nd out.

And Yoshida just waves on the slider for the 3rd out.

Bottom 15th
So the best Kiryuu Dai-ichi can play for is a draw.

And with the endgame at hand, Sakota-kantoku rightly pinch hits for Yamaoka.  #17 Fujimoto gets those honors.

But he follows the game plan and quickly grounds out to 1st.

Nakabayashi making things interesting!  He singles back up the middle!  Hiroshima Shinjyou with the sayonara run on base!

After a bunt by Takuya, Fukuda-kantoku calls time.  Nishijima looking to end it here in the 15th.

Fastball over the middle for strike 1.  Nishijima goes after the 2nd pitch and is behind 0-2

Ball way out and up... 1-2.  Yamada with the token turn to 2nd.

Popup!  Kubo ranging to his right, still going, still going... Makes the catch!

The game in a neat 2 hours and 24 minutes ends in a 1-1 draw! (That has to be a record)

I have no idea what either team's strategy was other than just to swing away.  The best I can come up with is that these teams know they won't win Koushien. So, instead of having a winner and loser, how about playing another game for free?

Not to mention the fact that all other teams get one extra day of rest.  Meitoku Gijyuku approves.

So, Kiryuu Dai-ichi and Hiroshima Shinjyou will do it again tomorrow as the only game of Day 9 at 13:00 JST.

Notable Players
I'll do this after the conclusion of games today.  A lot of not very much to go through.