Saturday, March 22, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 2 - Game 1 - Souseikan (Nagasaki) vs. Komadai Tomakomai (Hokkaido)

We're underway as the schedule goes back to the 9 AM start time (thankfully for me), and we start off with a matchup between teams on opposite sides of the map.

Komadai Tomakomai returns to Koushien thanks in part to a down year in Hokkaido.  Their numbers aren't as impressive compared to other years considering the competition, and given the already weak state of the region relative to the other super-regions, it could be an issue.

Soueseikan gets here thanks to Okinawa Shougaku.  Their pitching appears to be very good, but has to be a bit muted considering the competition.  They scored a bunch of runs, but it wasn't based on the usual inflated BA.  How much of it is actual ability is hard to say as of right now, which makes handicapping this game all that much harder though Kamimura Gakuen's performance yesterday gives some backing for Souseikan.

Souseikan (Nagasaki)
CF Haraguchi Fumiya
1B Noguchi Haruku
SS Makino Shinya
3B Onoda Yahiro
LF Washizaki Jyun
2B Euchidani Koudai (#14)
RF Mine Shouta (#11)
C Oota Keisuke
P Hirowatari Yuuki

Komadai Tomakomai (Hokkaido)
CF Itou Yuuki
1B Sakai Ryuusuke
2B Yasuda Daisuke
LF Wakamatsu Daichi
RF Kamaya Taiki
3B Suzuki Shouya
C Niiyama Keita
SS Tamaru Yuusuke
P Itou Hiromi (#15)


09:01 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, Hiromi is chosen to start today, and is rudely interrupted as Haraguchi lines a slider down the left field line for a leadoff double.  Noguchi isn't bunting and tries to get a HBP, but didn't move so the ump doesn't buy it  Instead, he can't check on a changeup and goes down for the 1st out.

Hiromi has a low 130s fastball, with a slider, change and curve.  Control isn't that bad as he gets ahead of Makino 0-2 before he swings at a change and grounds to 2nd.  Haraguchi goes to 3rd with 2 down.

Hiromi works away on cleanup batter Onoda, and although he goes full, a 139 fastball up and away gets Onoda to chase ending the inning!

Bottom 1st
Hirowatari earns the ace number and takes the hill, although it is said that Washizaki may have been injured leaving Hirowatari to take the reins.

His delivery might make the ball explode from his hand as it just appears from behind him.

Yuuki seems late on the ball and hits it right to Makino for the first out.  But control might be a slight issue though as Sakai draws the full count walk, though it's negated when Yasuda hits into the textbook 4-6-3 DP to end the inning (Yasuda dives into 1st...).

Top 2nd
Hiromi isn't throwing particularly hard, but Souseikan's batters aren't really able to hold up on the balls outside.  Washizaki gets called going around on such a ball inside and Hiromi has his 3rd K.

What's this?  Niiyama appears to have been injured and has to go in the back for treatment.  Wonder what happened with his hand...

About 5 minutes later he pops out looking ok and the game resumes.

And it looks like this will be a game where Hiromi will be going deep into counts and high on the pitch count...  Euchidani stays in until the count goes full where he then grounds right to Yasuda for the 2nd out.

Mine too takes several pitches, and while Hiromi's fastball can go awry at times, his slider works just fine and Mine whiffs on it to retire the side.

Bottom 2nd
There's a new song from Komadai that I haven't heard before as Wakamatsu steps in.

Hirowatari has a forkball to go with his standard slider and curve.  Wakamatsu is a bit late on a fastball and while Noguchi races to the fence on the 1st base side the wind moves it around and away from him.

Wakamatsu gets jammed and hits a grounder back to Hirowatari for the first out.  Kamaya tries the first pitch instead and hits a HR (if we played in a silo) where Noguchi catches it for the 2nd out.

Suzuki stepping in goes back to the waiting game drawing another walk from Hirowatari.  But he's left stranded there when on a hit-and-run Niiyama punches it right to Mine for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Oota with a quick groundout to Yasuda for the first out.  I like what I'm seeing from Harumi.  He has decent enough control and misses in the right places (so far).

And it's a sped-up version of Erin's song from Touhou for Hirowatari! (I like that)  More importantly though he manages to get a walk on the full count.

But on the first pitch he's caught off 1st!  Niiyama goes to 1st, but Sakai is off balance!  His throw to 2nd is offline and slow and Hirowatari is safe!  Oy, that was a mess.

Once again, Harumi goes on the fastball away and Haraguchi's bat just can't reach it and there's 2 down!

Harumi gets out of the jam!  He goes inside on Noguchi and jams him!  Yuuki makes the catch in center to end the inning!

Bottom 3rd
I'm having a hard time determining if it's Hirowatari being good or the Komadai offense being bad, but so far, just 2 walks and no hits so far. If nothing else they're taking pitches on Hirowatari.

When they do swing, though not much happens.  Tamaru grounds to 1st.

Of course I say that and I'm proven wrong immediately! Harumi brings the stick as well, driving a ball way over the drawn in outfield!  Haraguchi has to run back as Harumi gets a triple!

Yuuki with a grounder to the left side!  The drawn in infield can't get it and Harumi scores to make it 1-0 Komadai!

Yuuki puts on the pressure even further as he takes off and steals 2nd!  Chance for Sakai to extend the lead with a base hit, but he's jammed by Hirowatari and pops out to Niguchi for the 2nd out.

What???!!  Yuuki breaks for 3rd!  It's a pitchout!!  Oota goes to 3rd, but Yuuki is safe! WOW.

Yasuda trying to get him in, gets the green light 3-0, but fouls off two pitches.  They go for the slider inside, but it's too far in and Yasuda doesn't bite!  That brings up #4 batter Wakamatsu!

It looks like we're going to get more going around swings and less of the high strike this game as Hirowatari's 1-0 pitch is just called a ball.

Sasaki-kantoku goes aggressive as Yasuda breaks for 2nd, but there's no throw knowing that Yuuki can come home.

Even with 1st base open now, Hirowatari goes after Wakamatsu - first with the fastball inside which he fouls off and then the curve which he too fouls off.  Another curve, another foul.

And his 7th pitch is just high and it's manrui for Komadai!!  Wasada-kantoku quickly calls time.

Kamaya now swinging the bat so far, and Hirowatari digs himself into a deep hole as his 2-1 fastball is way high!!

Oshidashi!! Kamaya doesn't go for the curveball and it's low!  Yuuki finally scores from 3rd and it's 2-0 Komadai!!

Hirowatari finally gets out of the inning when Suzuki learned nothing from the last 2 ABs, swings at the first pitch and grounds to 2nd for the 3rd out.  Still, a booming triple and Yuuki's havoc on the base paths gives Hirowatari the jitters leading to a 2-0 deficit for Souseikan!

Top 4th
Makino makes what sounds like good contact, but Yuuki doesn't have to move to catch the ball.

Onoda gets some head music when a fastball meant to be up and in goes a little too close for comfort and hits off the grip of the bat.  It still serves its purpose as the slider down and away catches the corner for Hiromi's 6th K.

Washizaki grounds to 1st.  Sakai flips to Hiromi and it's Yuuki's 2nd 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 4th
Hirowatari looking to get back on track, puts the curve right on the outside corner to get Niiyama.  But a fastball left up to Tamaru goes back up the middle for a single, bringing up Hiromi.

Hiromi actually shows bunt and gets hit, but isn't given the dead ball.  He does lay down the bunt on the next pitch with some good bat control to move Tamaru along for Yuuki.

Hirowatari plays Yuuki carefully, not messing around in the zone for the most part.  And he wins the battle as Yuuki is way ahead of the curve and grounds to Onoda for the 3rd out.

Top 5th
Euchidani gives Souseikan their first hit!  He turns on a fastball right at Suzuki who can't go to his right quickly enough as it deflects into foul territory.

But Mine can't bunt him along and instead pops up to Niiyama instead!

Wasada-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run and Oota tries to pull the ball but it's right at Suzuki who this time secures it and goes to 1st.

Sanshin!  Hiromi's slider gets another one as Hirowatari can't make contact and becomes the 7th K!

Bottom 5th
Hirowatari with just his 2nd K as Sakai gets all twisted on a forkball inside.

Yasuda likes the first offering and hits it back up the middle, but Hirowatari makes a nice pick off the ground and gets his 2nd out.

He almost gets a clean inning, but Onoda sees Wakamatsu's grounder into, and out of, his glove.  He chases it down towards 2nd, but has no play.

That has immediate effects as Kamaya singles sharply through the right side for a base hit, prompting a mound visit from Wasada-kantoku.

Which then leads to a wild pitch from Hirowatari moving both runners into scoring position...

Even still, he gets ahead of Suzuki 1-2 and almost makes him miss on the forkball.

But instead of a slider outside, he leaves it over the plate and Suzuki takes it past a diving Onoda for a base hit!  Onoda's error comes back to haunt him as Komadai takes a 3-0 lead!

Sasaki-kantoku, looking to play add on, goes for the hit-and-run, but Niiyama grounds right to Onoda.  This time he finishes the play to retire the side.

But it's apparent that Komadai is having the upper hand and Souseikan's offense really is that bad...

Top 6th
3 runs in 4 innings doesn't seem too bad one would think.  But Souseikan's managed just 2 hits...

Hiromi racking up the pitches as Haraguchi and Nogichi go 3-1 before grounding out.

Oddly, after 2 clean outs, Sasaki-kantoku calls time?  Wonder what for other than Makino is coming up...

Perhaps it was to tell him to go after him with the 3 run lead.  Seems to work as he gets Makino to get ahead of a slider and fly out to Wakamatsu in left center for the 3rd out!

Bottom 6th
One down, and apparently Yuuki's first AB is a fluke as he goes golfing on a curve inside and flies out to Mine.  Same goes for Yuuki as outside of the 3rd inning he's been silent.  He flies out to center for a clean inning.

Top 7th
Onoda avoids the K, but gets fooled when Hiromi goes top shelf back-to-back and grounds back to Hiromi for the out.

Washizaki makes contact, but not off the sweet spot and it's a lazy fly to right.

Yuuki misses his fastball over the place, but Euchidani can't take advanage, popping up to Suzuki to retire the side.

Bottom 7th
#9 Kawajiri comes in for Mine and takes over in RF.

Hirowatari using the slow curve more here in the late innings, sets up Sakai on the slider outside for the K.

Yasuda flies out to left, and after a bit of a stubborn AB by Wakamatsu he gets the comebacker for the 3rd out.  2nd straight 1-2-3 inning, but the the offense needs to step up.

Top 8th
Mine can't break the futility at the plate, as he goes on a high fastball and grounds it to Yasuda.

Two down and Hirowatari's day is done.  #4 Nakashima comes in to bat for him.  He hits a hard grounder to short, but Suzuki secures it and makes the play for the 3rd out.

Bottom 8th
#10 Tachibe comes into the game for PH Nakashima and takes the hill.

Tachibe throws in the high 130s, but control is a bit of an issue.  Still, he hits a grounder to 2nd, but Euchidani with all the time in the world throws it away!  Wasada-kantoku calls for time.  Suzuki lays down the bunt to move him along.

Souseikan almost commits another error when Niiyama's grounder up the middle is bobbled by Makino, but Niiyama gives him an assist by diving into 1st.

Tachibe's long inning ends when Tamaru weakly grounds to Noguchi for the out.

Top 9th
Last ups for Souseikan who have a grand total of 2 hits on the day...

Noguchi makes it 3 hits when he turns a 3-2 fastball to right center for a 1-out single.

But Makino hits it right to Suzuki!  He snocones it, but holds on and starts the game ending 5-4-3 double play!

Well, I knew that Souseikan's offense was probably not great, but I wasn't expecting just 3 hits.  Limited to that it didn't really matter what Hirowatari did, never mind that he too struggled on the mound.  But, give credit to Itou Harumi, he did a fine job on the mound stifling what little offense Souseikan had not to mention throwing in a triple to boot.

But Komadai Tomakomai will have their work cut out for them in Riseisha next.

Notable Players
Itou Harumi (Komadai Tomakomai) - CG, SHO, 3 H, 7 K, BB
Itou Harumi (Komadai Tomakomai) - 1-2, 3B, R
Itou Yuuki (Komadai Tomakomai) - 1-4, R, 2 SB
Hirowatari Yuuki (Souseikan) - 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 5 BB
Haraguchi Fumiya (Souseikan) - 1-4, 2B, K
Euchidani Koudai (Souseikan) -1-3

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