The question now becomes coming into this game - how the heck did Mie defeat Toyokawa considering that they sent out Tanaka Sora faced them? Is Mie that good to have gotten 10 hits off of him?
Both teams have a dearth at the bottom of the lineup, though Chiben Gakuen's is a little more stark. But with Mie's offense holding up more deeper into the tournament, that's a significant plus for Mie. This combined with the fact that Mie's pitching also held up better against stronger competition means that perhaps Mie might have the edge in this matchup.
Chiben Gakuen (Nara)
SS Yoshioka Fumiuya
CF Oonishi Ryouta
3B Okamaoto Kazuma
RF Hirooka Taishi
LF Takaoka Yuuichi
1B Oonishi Ritsuki
2B Iwata Taku
C Yoshida Takaaki
P Oda Kyouhei
SS Nagano Hayato
3B Uchida Ren
2B Utsunomiya Touma
1B Nishioka Musashi
CF Seko Ren
RF Inaba Ryuuya
LF Yamamoto Youma
P Imai Shigetarou
C Nakabayashi Kengo
09:00 - First Pitch!
Imai working around the plate, gets the first 2 batters out via the grounder.
But Okamoto connects on a slider and drives it to center! Seko running back, at the fence looks up...
Okamoto gives Mie the quick 1-0 lead with a HR to dead center!
Hirooka strikes out to end the inning, but Mie will start from behind!
Mie perhaps getting their feet under them as Nagano unexpectedly freezes on a ball down the middle for the first out.
2 down now for Mie and Utsunomiya does a half swing, punching the ball the opposite way between 1st and 2nd for a base hit.
And now Nishioka hits a grounder to Okamoto that he oles! That's an E5 and Mie has a small opportunity!
But Seko is a little ahead and on top of the slider, chopping one over Oda! Yoshioka is there to back him up and makes the play at 1st to end the inning.
Takaoka leads off the inning with a ball back up the middle. But he tries to steal 2nd, and is just thrown out by Nakabayashi.
That's winds up being costly as 2 batters late Iwata would double down the right field line. Takaoka could have scored from 1st had he waited.
Instead with 2 down and a runner on 2nd, Yoshioka bombs one to deep left, but the park holds it as Yamamoto catches it near the fence by the foul pole for the 3rd out.
Mie's lower part of the lineup attacking Oda's pitches. Inaba and Yamamoto make solid contact, but not good enough as both fly out to Hirooka in right.
Imai just kinda twirls the bat at a slider outside and pops out to short to end the inning.
Imai getting his K of the inning early as Oda whiffs on the slider for the 1st out. To be honest though, it's due to the Chiben batters not being disciplined enough.
Yoshioka and Ryouta are retired quickly enough thereafter and outside of the HR, Imai hasn't done badly - just hasn't really impressed either.
Mie's bats are getting strong contact though. Last batter Nakabayashi crushes one to left, but it's just short as Takaoka makes the backpedaling catch just in front of the fence.
Nagano gets rung up by the umpire on a pitch that end up in the border of the opposing batters box.
And with the seemingly expanded strike zone, Uchida goes after a ball outside and flies to right. I think we have an umpire that has the expanded strike zone, and is quick to call a go around on a check swing.
Okamoto leading off the inning, quickly turns the first pitch around and past a diving Nagano into center. Hirooka gets luck when he reaches out and punches the slider through the hole in left for a base hit. Kosaka-kantoku has Takaoka bunt the runners into scoring position.
Ritsuki can't drive him in as he continues to chase the slider time and again into the ground.
Jock Rock meanwhile plays in the Chiben Gakuen ouen-dan.
With 2 down, Iwata steps in and the same people are beating up in Imai! Iwata crushes one down the left field line and it goes off the padding! Both runners will score on Iwata's double and it's 3-0 Chiben Gakuen!
And now a wild pitch, followed by a Yoshida blooper into center scores Iwata and it's 4-0 Chiben. Yoshida unwisely tries to turn it into a double, and is thrown out to end the inning, but Mie is in a hole yet again.
Utsunomiya can't pull the trigger on a fastball inside and goes down looking.
Nishoka crushes a curve! Takaoka goes back, but he's looking up! Yep, no doubt about it...
Mie doesn't seem to turn on the jets until they've fallen behind, so now's a good time as any for Nishioka to make it a 4-1 game.
Seko and Inaba both are retired thereafter, but don't be surprised if Mie works their way back into this game.
Well, that was quick. 3 groundouts in 7 pitches, finished off with a poor safety bunt attempt by Ryouta.
Defensive changes as Okamoto goes from 3B to 1B, and #15 Shimizu comes in for Ritsuki and takes over at 3B.
2 quick outs for Mie, and what is Nakabayashi doing at the bottom of the lineup! He clobbers a ball this time to right center and right between both Oonishi and Hirooka in front of the wall! Nakabayashi winds up with a sliding triple!!
I say this because Nagano, who has been pretty useless at the plate with 2 K's looking steps in.
Nagano makes contact, but lines to left! Takaoka makes a small jump, but makes the catch for the 3rd out! So we hit the break with Chiben Gakuen holding a 4-1 lead, but Mie certainly seems to have the bats to make up that difference.
Ah, well then...
Imai figures Mie needs more grit in their comeback, so he pitches to Okamoto, who promptly obliges with a no doubt HR to left that goes up about 15 or so rows. 5-1 Chiben Gakuen.
The next 3 batters are no problem for Imai, so perhaps Imai thinks this is good for Mie to come back from.
Sadly, that grit seems to not be coming as Mie is routinely retired in order. Of note though, Nishioka was jammed and flied out to left. But Takaoka still had to go back to field it. Yikes.
Top 7th-Top 8th
So, while I lose connectivity again thanks to MBS (not CenturyLink like I first though), Imai holds the line at 5 runs for Chiben, despite a 2-out walk to Oda.
In the bottom half of the inning, Seko gets a leadoff hit, but unfortunately for him and Mie, Inaba grounds out into a 4-6-3 double play. Yamamoto strikes out to end the inning.
Imai perhaps on his last legs gives up a double to Ryouta. That is the end for him as #10 Tsujimoto comes in. He actually goes to Inaba's spot while #17 Nakamura comes in for Imai to play RF.
Back to live action (for me anyways), and Okamoto finally gets retired when he skies one to 2nd for the first out. However, he can't stop Hirooka, who singles through to right. Ryouta scores, but Nakabayashi fires to 2nd and get Hirooka trying to advance on the play. 6-1 Chiben Gakuen.
That for Mie at least prevents another run as Takaoka hits a double to left center. Shimizu grounds out to end the inning.
New RF Nakamura starts off the inning with a single to center. A flub by Oonishi allows him to take 2nd. After being moved over to 3rd on a grounder, Nagano scores him with a sac fly to center to make it 6-2. PH #14 Sada ends the inning with a K.
Sada stays in the game at 3B.
Tsujimoto records 2 outs and looks to have a clean inning, but then he just misses strike 3 on Oda, giving up a walk. Then Yoshioka blasts one over Yamamoto's head for a double scoring Oda to make it 7-2. Ryouta strikes out to end the inning.
Nishioka tries to jumpstart one final rally with a single through the left side. But Seko's drive to left is caught by Takaoka, who has to stretch up to make the catch.
Last chance goes to #15 Kan, who is sent in to hit for Tsujimoto.
Kan gives it a rip, but flies out to center and that's the game.
I'm slightly disappointed in Mie, considering they defeated Toyokawa. And they even had many solid hits. But they found the opposing fielders. In addition, the Mie staff figured it was a good idea to pitch to batters like Okamoto and Iwata, so there's that too.
Chiben Gakuen moves on, but despite the offensive output, Mie did make good contact on the ball. If it was better contact, they would be in trouble. Though next game it's against Sano Nichidai, so they may get one more break.
Oda Kyouhei (Chiben Gakuen) - CG, ER, 6 H, 5 K, 0 BB
Okamoto Kazuma (Chiben Gakuen) - 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
Takaoka Yuuichi (Chiben Gakuen) - 2-3, 2B
Iwata Taku (Chiben Gakuen) - 2-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI
Imai Shigetarou (Mie) - 7+ IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 4 K, BB
Nishioka Musashi (Mie) - 2-4, HR, R, RBI
Nakabayashi Kengo (Mie) - 1-3, 3B
Nakamura Isayo (Mie) 1-1, R