Our sandwich game pits the Kanto winners Hakuoudai Ashikaga (whose trip to Senbatsu is their first!) and unknown Touryou.
Hakuou's stats do not look stellar, but given their competition it's possible there is very little adjusting to do unlike many of the other schools because of inflation against weak teams. If that's the case, then they don't look as bad of a team.
Touryou gets no breaks here in their first game. Their pitching looks very shaky given their high walk rates allowed and they had shaky games against weaker competition. The lineup has holes in the oddest places as well, so it's hard to buy their story. But we'll find out soon enough if what they're trying to sell is the real deal or just a lemon.
CF Yamazaki Seigo
2B Shibata Yuusuke
SS Kudou Kakeru
C Itou Takuto
1B Itou Shouya
3B Shiraishi Masatsugu
RF Umeki Masaya
LF Kobayashi Issei
P Satou Kouga
Hakuoudai Ashikaga (Tochigi)
CF Shuutou Takahito
2B Nakajima Kenjyu
LF Ooshita Seiichirou
1B Naoi Shuuta
3B Onodera Yuuya
RF Oogawa Yoshihiro
SS Shimokado Hikaru
P Higa Araki
C Ogawa Masaki
11:37 - First Pitch!
First pitch from Higa is grounded to 1st for a quick out.
Shibata though turns on a ball and pulls it down the right field line for an easy double! That's a great way to start for Touryou!
But Kudou can't even move him over as he flies out to right.
AHH!! A pickoff attempt by Higa goes into center and Shibata goes to 3rd! Base hit can score a run here.
Ah, but Takuto can only hit a grounder to 2nd and that's the inning.
Shuutou with a grounder to 1st, gets through Shouta and deflects behind a covering Shibata! An inauspicious error to start the game for Touryou's defense. Nakajima bunts him over.
Ooshita with a scorcher down the 3rd base line... fair past a diving Shiraishi! Shuutou easily scores from 2nd as Ooshita beats the throw in for a double! 1-0 Hakuoudai!
Naoi puts in a productive out, grounding to 1st to advance the runner. But Satou strands him there as he gets Onodera to wave at a fastball high and away for the 3rd out. Not before Hakuoudai gets on the board though!
Nothing doing for Touryou's offense this inning it seems. Shouya falls behind quickly and grounds out to 1st. Shiraishi on the next pitch hits a routine fly to right. And Umeki, though he decides to work the count, watches a fastball down the middle to end the inning.
Shimokado rips one down the 3rd base line, Shiraishi with a great diving stop! Throws to 1st, but Shouya can't pick it off the bounce! That's goes in as a base hit.
Fujita-kantoku will go for the one-time shot as Higa bunts the runner along. But Ogawa can't do anything as he grounds to short to end the inning.
Higa doesn't throw particularly hard, high 120s-low 130s with either a slider or changeup around 120.
After a groundout by Kobayashi, Satou sneaks one past a diving Nakajima into right for a base hit.
2 down now, and Shibata, not finding anything to his liking, walks on 4 straight prompting a visit to the mound from Ogawa.
Kudou though hits a ball right to Shuutou in center, and the side is retired.
Satou appears to be around the same velocity as Higa, with a slider and changeup in the upper 110s.
One down and Nakajima lines one past a lunging Kudou for a base hit.
Ooshita all over Satou's pitches! He takes a slider the other way into the gap! Nakajima heading for 3rd, being waved home! The relay throw... not in time! Nakajima scores all the way from 1st on the double and Hakuoudai leads 2-0!!
And now Naoi singles past Shibata! Runners at the corners as Chiba-kantoku calls time.
There's one out as Onodera is jammed and fouls out to Takuto behind the plate.
But Satou just can't find the zone against Oogawa and walks him to load the bases for Shimokado!
Buckling down, Satou pumps in 2 strikes... and gets Shimokado to hit a grounder to short. Kudou goes to 2nd to end the inning, but Hakuou tacks on another run.
Shouya gives Touryou their 3rd hit with a 1-out single back up the middle into center.
Shiraishi tries to lay down the bunt twice, but it just rolls foul both times. He then swings and misses on the slider for the 2nd out.
Umeki pops out to 2nd to end the inning.
Thanks to my connection crapping out on me, I missed out on this entire inning, I'll have to get back to it late, but Hakuou scores 4 to make it a 6-0 ballgame.
Well, back to watching the action, and just in time to see Touryou do nothing sadly.
A Kobayashi strikeout, followed by 2 groundouts by Satou and Yamazaki continue the relative futility of their offense.
Shimokado continues the apparent hit parade with a solid single to left. Higa bunts him along to scoring position.
Ogawa delivers with a liner over a leaping Shibata for a base hit and a 7-0 ball game as the throw home is cut off.
Satou manages to limit the damage as Shuutou grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, but the game already seems out of reach for the Tohoku runner-ups as we head into the break.
Touryou's offense continues to scuffle. Grounder after grounder to the infield defense. Kudou robs himself of a hit when he dives into 1st as his team goes 1-2-3.
Satou struggling on the mound as Nakajima doubles down the right field line to start the inning. Chiba-kantoku figures it's time and sends in #10 Okamoto to relieve him.
After a bit of nerves, falling behind Ooshita 3-0, he works the count full and induces a grounder to 1st. Nakajima advances to 3rd on the play.
And we can close the book on Satou as Naoi singles to left scoring Nakajima to make it 8-0.
2 down now, and a wild pitch from Okamoto allows Naoi to advance into scoring position. And now a passed ball right under Takuto's legs moves the runner to 3rd...
Okamoto though gets out of the inning after he snags the comebacker from Oogawa.
Much like basketball, I think I'd like to see the Touryou bench empty.
I say that and Shiraishi lines a slider to left field for a 1-out single. And then Umeki takes a slider through to right, and Touryou finally has something cooking. Fujita-kantoku calls for time.
Ah, but Kobayashi winds up grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning...
1 down, Shouya for Touryou makes a great diving stop on a bid for a base hit by Higa. Shovels to Okamoto to complete the play.
Okamoto almost gets the clean inning, but he walks Ogawa with 2 down.
But another comebacker, this time from Shuutou, ends the inning.
Okamoto providing a spark on both sides as he gets the bat under the changeup and finds the gap in right center for a leadoff double!
Yamazaki does it! He singles back up the middle! Okamoto is waved home, and the throw is cut off! Touryou gets on the board at 8-1!
However, after an attempt at a safety bunt, the next two batters are retired.
Ooshita gets a little lucky with his hit towards center as Yamazaki gets fooled and comes in late to field it as Ooshita slides into 2nd.
Okamoto then strikes out Naoi, but the ball gets away from Takuto and Naoi reaches base.
Onodera with the sac fly makes it a 9-1 game as PH Hiraga grounds out to end the inning thereafter.
#13 Asahina in for PH Hiraga to play RF.
Last ups, and Shiraishi gets his 2nd base hit with a solid knock to right. However, the next two batters are retired, including PH Aizawa to end the game.
Touryou certainly did their best for a while, but Hakuoudai Ashikaga turned on the afterburners in the 4th and never looked back. They can at least be proud to have reached the Tohoku final, and reached Koushien though.
Hakuoudai Ashikaga will need to prep for Okinawa Shougaku next, and like Okishou that game will not be anything like this one.
Higa Araki (Hakuoudai Ashikaga) - CG, ER, 8 H, 3 K, BB
Ooshita Seiichirou (Hakuoudai Ashikaga) - 4-5, 4 2B, R, 3 RBI
Nakajima Kenjyu (Hakuoudai Ashikaga) - 3-2, 2B, 2 R
Naoi Shuuta (Hakuoudai Ashikaga) - 3-5, 3B, R, RBI
Satou Kouga (Touryou) - 5+ IP, 7 ER, 13 H, 2 K, BB
Okamoto Naoki (Touryou) - 4 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 K, BB
Shiraishi Masatsugu (Touryou) - 2-4, K
Okamoto Naoki (Touryou) - 1-1, 2B
Shibata Yuusuke (Touryou) - 1-3, 2B, BB