Well, while the opener perhaps wasn't as exciting or unexpected, perhaps things will pick up in the 2nd game today between two experienced squads in Fukuchiyama Seibi and Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku.
But the stats on paper suggest we have the same type of game at hand. Fukuchiyama Seibi has the run-production issues while Yamanashi Gakuindai's staff can't help but put runners on base.
The difference is that these teams are from stronger super-regions, so one team isn't handicapped if you will. It may though give a bellwether on the other teams in their regions though.
Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku (Yamanashi)
CF Kinjyou Tsutomu
RF Watanabe Takumu
SS Kikuchi Kaito
3B Inaba Kousuke
1B Uehara Susumu
C Kasahara Masaya
P Yamaguchi Daisuke
1B Tomiyama SHouki
2B Tanaka Kouki
Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto)
SS Nishida Tomonori
RF Kimura Noritsugu
C Sano Yuusuke
3B Maeda Ryouta
1B Nishimoto Masaki
LF Fujita Taisei
CF Kimura Soutarou
2B Kondou Shouki (#15)
P Ishihara Takeji
13:10 - First pitch!!
Well, Kinjou scorched a ball right at Nishida. All he does is slow it down with the glove as it trickles into left for a base hit. Watanabe moves him quickly to 2nd.
And now Kinjyou takes off for 3rd! Throw from Sano is way late and Yamanashi has a great chance to start.
Kikuchi sensing blood still exhibits a modicum of patience as he works the count and draws a walk bringing up the cleanup batter Inaba who goes up hacking. The doesn't fit him well against Ishihara who gets him to chase a ball up for the 2nd out.
Uehara with 2 down also goes up swinging, going after two high pitches and falling behind 0-2.
Ishihara can't keep the ball down as almost everything to Uehara is up. Which is apparently fine with him as he continues to swing.
But it's a good slider down that Uehara puts in play and grounds to short for the 3rd out.
Curve in at 108 for Yamaguchi to start versus Nishida.
Is that a fastball in the low 120s? Nishida grounds it to short where Kikuchi's throw one hops Tomiyama, but he secures it for the out.
Not quite, but apparently Yamaguchi can't go any faster than the high120s and his slider and curveball are 10 kph descending.
And so it's no surprise that Noritsugu can foul pitches off until he sneaks one between Tomiyama and Tanaka for a base hit.
Tadokoro-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, and Sano hits one right to Inaba. In a little, he catches the short hop in front of his face and goes to 1st for the 2nd out.
But Yamaguchi puts pressure on himself as his curveball comes up short and Kasahara loses it allowing Noritsugu to advance to 3rd. Not wanting anything to do with the #4 batter, he walks Maeda on 4 straight. Yoshida-kantoku calls time.
And now it's Yamaguchi who can't keep the ball down, falling behind Nishimoto 2-0. And I stand corrected, there's a fastball at 133. But another ball and he's really asking to put himself in a bind.
But Nishimoto is jammed and dribbles one to the right side. Tanaka comes in and makes the play at 1st to retire the side.
Ishihara meddles with a 96 slow curve before he gets Kasahara to fly out to center.
Yamaguchi tries to inside-out an inside pitch, but winds up grounding right to Maeda. And promoted 1B Tomiyama looks at a slow curve to strike out on 3 straight to end the inning.
Yamaguchi looked to have been a little squeezed there when perhaps Kasahara didn't frame a pitch right, but snags the chopper by Fujita for the 1st out.
But he falls behind Soutarou 3-0, and despite the high strike call, walks him.
Yamaguchi's going to his off-speed stuff, but it's not in the zone and the batters aren't swinging. And with the slow pitches, Soutarou takes off for 2nd and a double clutch allows him to reach easily.
Kondou keys in on the fastball, but gets under one. Tanaka, Kinjyou and Watanabe all converge, but it's Watanabe who's finally tasked to catch the ball for the 2nd out.
Last batter Ishihara looks to try and turn over the lineup, and his patience allows the count to go full. But he immediately turns back to the dugout when he lets a fastball go for the 3rd strike.
Tanaka tries to surprise with the drag bunt, but it goes foul.
Despite throwing in the low 130s, Ishihara likes to throw that slow curve in for a strike. Tanaka takes a hack, but weakly flies to left.
Kinjyou gives a fastball a rip, but Maeda makes the nice pick of the bounder and retires Kinjyou for the 2nd out.
Watanabe up and he's given 2nd life when a popup in foul terrirtory drops in between Sano and Maeda. It proves costly as on the next pitch Ishihara just misses low for a walk.
It's not too bad though as 2 pitches later, Kikuchi grounds to short to end the inning.
It certainly looks like Yamaguchi will be running the counts deep the entire game with his pitches. He jams Nishida, but Nishida gets enough on it to drop it in front of Kinjyou for a base hit.
Noritsugu tries to bunt him along, but winds up behind 0-2. And Yamaguchi gets one right on the outside corner to record his 2nd K.
Sano with a ball to 3rd, Inaba with a great grab, goes to 2nd for 1, throw to 1st... not in time! Sano hustles and beats out the throw.
Maeda liner back up the middle off Yamaguchi's glove! It deflects to Kikuchi, but he has to stop to prevent overrunning it! All he can do is block it as the runners reach base. Slightly bad break there for Yamanashi.
And Nishimoto winds up in front of a slider and grounds it to 2nd to end the inning.
Inaba goes after the first pitch, but it's a routine grounder to short.
Ishihara gets the first pitch fastball in for a strike and goes immediately to the curve. After a couple of those, Uehara goes on the high fastball and hits it to 1st. Nishimoto has to shovel to Ishihara who barely beats out Uehara for the 2nd out.
One more grounder from Kasahara and it's a 1-2-3 inning.
Fujita lines up Yamaguchi's slider and shoots it past Inaba for a leadoff single. Soutarou looking to bunt, pulls it back and singles past Tanaka into right.
And now a bouncing ball by Yamaguchi allows lead runner Fujita to advance to 3rd!
Kondou with a grounder to 3rd! Fujita has to hold up as Inaba goes to 1st!
Inaba's throw is short and Tomiyama can't pick it! Fujita charges home and there's no throw! Seibi opens the scoring on the error, it's 1-0! Yoshida-kantoku calls time.
Ishihara lays down the bunt, Yamaguchi quickly considers going to 3rd, but goes to 1st instead.
Nishida with a ball through the drawn in infield and Soutarou scores as Uehara gets the ball in. It's 2-0 now for Seibi!
Noritsugu tries to bloop one into left, but a charging Uehara makes the shoestring catch. To which Sano discards all pleasantries and takes the first pitch past a diving Kikuchi into left. Kondou scores to make it 3-0.
Maeda with swinging bunt up the 3rd base line! Yamaguchi charges in, throws to 1st, but it's too high and glances off of Tomiyama's glove! Nishida scores to make it 4-0 now.
And now a wild pitch from Yamaguchi puts both runners in scoring position... Fujita will get a 2nd AB in this inning as Nishimioto walks on 4 straight to load the bases.
Fujita with a sharp shot to 3rd, Inaba makes the diving grab! His throw take a couple of hops... but Tomiyama secures this one to end the inning! But Yamaguchi is in a whole lot of trouble as hot bats and errors compound for 4 runs.
Yamaguchi manages to work the count full, but takes an abbreviated swing and grounds to short. Tomiyama can't buy a vowel as he chases a fastball away for his 2nd K in as many ABs. Ishihara does the same to Tanaka who is late on the ball and it's another 1-2-3 inning for the Kyoto ace.
Seibi meanwhile is letting Yamaguchi come to them, and Soutarou draws the walk as Yamaguchi continues to jump around the zone. Kondou moves him into scoring position.
Ishihara follows that strategy going from behind 0-2, to level at 2-2, and then full. Fastball shoulder-high means the #9 batter walks. The lineup turns over as Yoshida-kantoku makes a change, sending in Uehara from left while Yamaguchi goes to left.
Uehara right off the bat throws 2 quick strikes to Nishida, and almost gets strike 3 when his shuuto goes a bit low. Never mind though as Nishida goes on a slider and flies to right.
Uehara supposedly has a curve and change to go with his low 130s fastball. But the more important thing is that he appears to be able to locate.
Noritsugu hits a slow grounder up the middle that Kikuchi runs down, he steps on 2nd for the 3rd out, and we hit the break with Fukuchiyama Seibi taking advantage of Yamaguchi to the tune of 4 runs.
Meanwhile, Yamanashi's batters are having a devil of a time between his low 130s fastball and his 90s curve. Kinjyou for his part work the count full after falling behind 0-2, then lasers one to left for a leadoff single. Watanabe tries the drag bunt, but it goes foul up the 1st base line. He does lay it down, and perhaps a tick hard as Nishimoto considered going to 2nd, but took the sure out at 1st (good job).
Kinjyou advances another 90 feet when Kikuchi flies out to Soutarou in RCF, but there's 2 outs now for Inaba.
And perhaps Yamanashi is finally getting it because Inaba squares the fastball over Nishida's head and into the LCF gap for a double! Kinjyou scores to make it 4-1!
Uehara just gets ahead of one and pulls it foul, but then he takes the fastball the other way! Fujita charging in towards the line, but it falls in! Inaba scores to make it a 4-2 ballgame!
Kasahara pulls out the slider (finally) and gets Kasahara on 3 straight, but the top of the lineup comes through with some hits and cut the deficit in half!
Perhaps I jinxed Uehara as Sano takes the shuuto that goes back across the plate through the right side for a base hit. Cleanup batter Maeda actually bunts the first pitch, and it goes foul. And now, Uehara's missing all over the place. Guess I did jinx him.
Uehara comes back to strike Maeda out looking on the shuuto, though Maeda will take that as Sano steals 2nd on the pitch.
Nishimoto helps out a little more, going after a very high changeup and pops out to Kikuchi behind 2nd base.
Fujita gives Uehara quite the bit of trouble fouling off several pitches before finally striking out on the change to end the inning. A little shaky there, but still putting up 0's for his team.
Well, now it looks like Ishihara's looking for his command, though I think the ump may have squeezed him on the last pitch to walk Yamaguchi. Tomiyama tries to bunt the runner along, but it's too short and Sano fires to 2nd and gets the lead runner. In fact, they almost get 2 if Nishimoto could pick the throw from Nishida.
Despite the respite, Ishihara goes and walks the #9 batter Tanaka on 4 straight, prompting a mound visit by Tadokoro-kantoku.
Kinjyou goes after the first pitch, but can't get level on it and flies out to right. Tomiyama advances 90 feet, but again there's 2 outs.
Watanabe standing his ground on the mound, gets ahead quickly 2-0 as #10 Adachi warms up on the bullpen. Ishihara gets an inside fastball for a called strike, then levels the count on a foul ball. Ishihara pulls the slider out and Watanabe goes down on 1 knee swinging to end the inning.
While they've managed to make the deficit manageable, they're running out of time.
Soutarou looks more like a leadoff hitter than an #7 hitter. He draws his 3rd walk of the match, and has a single in his only official AB. Kondou does his duty and bunts him along.
Uehara has excellent control at times, it might get better if he was converted into a pitcher.
Ishihara takes quite a few pitches from Uehara, then slices one past him into center for his first hit of the game. Runners at the corners for leadoff batter Nishida.
Nishida taking his time with Uehara, gets the count full as Uehara just misses the outside corner.
And speaking of which, Uehara backed into one leaves one over the plate as Nishida singles through the left side, scoring Soutarou to make it 5-2. Looking for the KO, Tadokoro-kantoku has Noritsugu bunt the runners into scoring position for Sano.
But Uehara gets Sano to hit the ball off the end of his bat to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Kikuchi on the first pitch goes to center for a base hit! Inaba too goes on first pitch, but flies out right to Fujita.
Yamanashi is going on early pitches, and making decent contact, but not good enough. Uehara and Kasahara are retired quickly and Saibi is looking dormy with a 3-run lead.
Maeda gets his 2nd hit as he singles back up the middle. Nishimoto moves him over to scoring position.
With the game perhaps out of reach, Yoshida-kantoku sends in #11 Ushioku to take the hill, taking Tomiyama's position in the lineup. Uehara goes to 1B.
Ushioku's delivery isn't fast, but he goes right over the top on his pitches, for better or worse. He bounds one in front of Kasahara allowing Maeda to reach 3rd. Fujita then lines a ball to right in front of Watanabe to make it 6-2.
But the downhill works when Soutarou grounds right into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning. Not too bad, but their time is just about up.
Ishihara is left out to finish the game, but begins by walking Yamaguchi. #13 Hagikura comes in to hit for Ushioku, and promptly send the first pitch right to Soutarou for the 1st out.
Meanwhile, that curve is not going over for a strike anymore, so if the batters can key in on something else, it might help.
Sadly for Tanaka, Ishihara gets the slider on the outside corner for the 2nd out.
Kinjyou gives the ball a run, but very foul. Then takes it the other way... also foul. Sadly, when he does put it in play, it a soft pop to Nishida to end the game.
Once again, it's the team with pitching issues that suffers the loss as Yamaguchi struggled with the Seibi lineup up until he was pulled. By that time it would be too late as the dramatic change in speed by Ishihara (and control) help up long enough for the win.
Fukuchiyama Seibi will advance to face Kamimura Gakuen in the next round 5 days from now.
Ishihara Takeji (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - CG, 2 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 5 BB
Maeda Ryouta (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 3-4, R, BB, K
Nishida Tomonori (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 3-5, R, 2 RBI
Kimura Soutarou (Fukuchiyama Seibi) - 1-2, 2 R, 3 BB
Yamaguchi Daisuke (Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku) - 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 4 BB
Uehara Susumu (Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku) - 3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 K, BB
Kinjyou Tsutomu (Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku) - 2-5, R
Inaba Kousuke (Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku) - 1-4, 2B, R