Kanto Dai-ichi's will get a big test in Misato Kougyou - something that they hadn't really experienced in the fall until they played Okinawa Shougaku at a seemingly home field advantage. And now they play the runner-up in the Kyushu super-regional who themselves defeated Okishou.
The good news is that Misato Kougyou's offense is not as strong as Okishou's, so they won't necessarily be routed. But the lack of offense and pop makes Kanto Dai-ichi one of the paper tigers in this tournament despite the Tokyo Super-Regional win.
Misato Kougyou (Okinawa)
RF Miyagi Ryouta (#7)
CF Kamida Daiki
1B Hanashiro Wataru
3B Takaesu Hiromu
SS Ishiara Kyouji (#18)
P Iha Tomokazu
LF Sunagawa Ryuunousuke (#17)
C Yonamine Shou
2B Nishikuratou Shou (#6)
Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo)
CF Kumai Chihiro
1B Oogawa Kouki
3B Itou Masato
LF Yamaguchi Taisei
RF Moriyama Shou (#14)
C Ikeda Hiromu
2B Shinoda Taisei
SS Igarashi Masahiro
P Haketa Akihiro
11:20 - First Pitch!
Koushien gets twice the whistling as there are 2 Okinawa schools here.
Haketa looks like your run-of-the-mill pitcher as Miyagi and Kamita are retired in short order. But Hanashiro waits on him and takes a pitch inside for a full count walk.
The 2 balls to Takaesu appear to be mechanics related as they're not even close. But he spots a fsatball on the outside corner for the 3rd strike.
Well, Iha settles in quickly as Kumai flies out to left, and Oogawa turns back to the dugout as Iha puts one back over the plate after C Yonamine framed outside.
Ama-chan plays as Itou steps in.
Small timeout as Yonaime comes out to the mound, but afterwards Itou chops one up the middle for a base hit!
And again Yonamine comes out after Iha falls behind Yamaguchi 2-0. He draws a walk and Iha has himself in a mini pinch.
But Moriyama almost goes to a knee and golfs one to right. Miyagi is there to make the catch for the final out.
Ishiara with a ball to left! Igarashi goes over to the foul line, slides... but he can't there and it bounces over his head! He scrambles back to the ball, but Ishiara is in with a double!
Iha not bunting, and winds up as frozen as a popsicle when Haketa's change goes over for strike 3.
Sunagawa succeeds in at least moving Ishiara over with a grounder to 2nd, but that effort goes for naught when Yonamine chases a fastball outside to end the inning.
Ikeda struggles with Iha's split as he chases one in the dirt for Iha's 2nd K.
Oddly, he doesn't gow with his out pitch, and that means Shinoda can inside-out a fastball to the left side past a diving Ishiara for a base hit.
Hit-and-run for Kanto! Igarashi chops one up the middle, and as both Nishikuratou and Ishiara both coverge, Nishikuratou tries to field it, but boots it! Everyone's safe!
AH! Haketa pops up his bunt, Hanashiro makes the catch and goes to 2nd for the easy double play to end the inning.
Miyagi with a sharp liner to center quickly flies over Kumai's head! He's in with a 1-out double!
And now Kamida singles to right! Miyagi holds up at 3rd and Misato Kougyou is threatening! Yonezawa-kantoku calls for time.
Ama-chan plays as Hanashiro steps in, already with a walk on the day. And despite Haketa's attempts to nibble, he's not biting. Haketa falls behind 3-0 before having to pitch in the zone. Hanashiro thinks he has ball 4 on the 3-1 change, but the home plate umpire unflinching calls a strike.
Which is fine because Hanashiro puts the next pitch back up the middle! Igarashi tries to make the stop, but it's off the end of his glove and into center! Miyagi scores and Misato opens the scoring! It's 1-0!
Takaesu with another ball almost in the same place! This time Igarashi does make the stop, flips to 2nd, and Shinoda finishes the double play to end the inning, though not before that booming double by Miyagi comes around to score!
Iha was on his way to a clean inning, after 2 quick outs, he plunks Itou to bring up Yamaguchi. The walk doesn't hurt as Iha gets a swinging 3rd strike on a fastball way too far outside again.
Haketa breaks out the slow curve this inning, on his way to 3 straight groundouts. His control still seems not all there as he seems to fly his pitches (especially the fastball) high.
Bench starter Moriyama whips his bat around the high fastball and sends it straight to right. Ikeda's bunt is quickly anticipated by Iha and he manages to cut down Moriyama at 2nd.
Guess it doesn't matter as Iha gets called for a balk for failing to step towards first.
Shinoda gives it right back as he fouls out to Yonamine for the 2nd out, and a grounder to 3rd by Igarashi ends the threat for Kanto Dai-ichi.
One down and Nishikuratou with a shallow hit to left. Yamaguchi almost makes the shoestring catch, but the ball slips out as he brings the glove back up!
Two down, and Kamida for some reason on 1-1 tries the safety bunt. And then at 1-2, the pitch gets away from Ikeda and Nishikuratou advances to 2nd! But Kamida winds up watching strike 3 on the outside half, and that's that.
Haketa gets punched out by Iha when he thinks twice about a ball that tails back to the outside corner.
Fast foward a batter, and Oogawa 5-holes Iha for a base hit. He's left there when Itou lifts a slider to right for the 3rd out.
We hit the break with Misato Kougyou leading 1-0, but it certainly looks like they can string hits together, while Kanto Dai-ichi is getting their knocks, but not really coordinated.
Post break, and this time Haketa's getting pop flies. Two straight to start the inning anyways.
After his control issues reappear in a 4-pitch walk to Ishiara where nothing was close, Iha fouls tips an outside fastball into Ikeda's glove for the 3rd out.
Yamaguchi tries to drive a base hit to left, but Sunagawa tracks it down before it gets by him.
2 down, and Ikeda makes solid contact and drives it to right center, but he gets under it just a little too much and Miyagi is able to run it down.
Sunagawa checks in with a base hit, taking a fastball the other way for a leadoff single. Yonamine bunts him along.
Nishikuratou with a ball to shallow left, but Yamaguchi is playing in and makes the catch.
Miyagi base hit through the left side! Sunagawa being waved around... throw home from Yamaguchi... not in time! Miyagi gives Misato Kougyou the 2-0 lead!
Itou makes a great pick on a ball from Kamida to end the inning, but Kanto's deficit got enormously bigger.
Kanto Dai-ichi can hit the ball, but the best they can seemingly do is drive it high for the fielders to catch. Igarashi hits one such ball deep, but Sunagawa has enough time to run it down.
Haketa's day comes to a close as #9 Usui comes in to hit for him. But he never swings the bat as Iha walks him on 4 straight.
Kumai catches a break when his comebacker to Iha goes off his glove and trickles behind the mound! Ishiara can't assist in time and Iha's late as well by the time he picks up the ball!
While still 2 outs, Kamiya-kantoku calls for time.
Oogawa being patient and taking pitches, has the count go 2-2 before fouling a fastball inside off his foot. Iha tries to go to the well again, but Oogawa takes to fill up the count.
Iha does it again, this time on the slider, and Oogawa rolls it up the 1st base line, and it stays fair! Hanashiro goes to the bag and that ends the threat!
#10 Abe comes in the game now to relieve Haketa. He comes in Oogawa's spot, as Usui stays in at RF, and Moriyama goes to 1B.
Abe actually makes short work of the middle of the Misato order, I'm actually impressed.
Itou gets them started with a base hit though the right side.
And now Yamaguchi actually sizes up a ball and lines it to center! Kanto Dai-ichi with some solid hits here in the 8th.
And #17 Oouchi is in to hit for Moriyama? He tries the safety bunt, but while he's thrown out he does advance the runners.
But Ikeda takes an ill-advised swing on an inside fastball and pops out to Hanashiro for the 2nd out.
And now #18 Sei comes in to hit for Shinoda as Yonezawa pulls out all the stops.
Interestingly, Iha doesn's really come close with his pitches, and while it's manrui (and #13 Maeda comes in to run for Sei), Yonezawa-kantoku is out of left-handed batters as Igarashi has to bat.
Igarashi with a desperate swing on a slider outside, bloops it to right! Miyagi charging in, but has no chance! Itou scores! Yamaguchi being waved home... throw in... not in time! Igarashi's bloop single ties the game at 2-2!!
Usui with a drive to left! Sunagawa has no chance at the ball as it carems off the wall and back towards center! Maeda scores! Igarashi comes in all the way from 1st on the triple and Kanto Dai-ichi now leads 4-2!! Iha completely missed on his location there and left it over the plate for Usui!
Kumai flies out to left to end the inning, but what a turn of events!!
Oouchi stays in to play 2B, Maeda over at 1B...
Iha tries to start the long road back with a single to right! But immediately thereafter, Sunagawa hits a grounder to 3rd! Itou goes to 2nd for one, relay from Oouchi... in time!! Double play and Misato Kougyou is down to their final out!
And Yonamine hits a fly to left! Yamaguchi under it, secures it tightly and that's the game!
Kanto Dai-ichi comes back with 4 runs in the 8th to defeat the Kyushu runner-up and first timers Misato Kougyou!
It all happened out of nowhere. The 3-4 batters for Kanto Dai-ichi get on base, Iha gets 2 outs thereafter and looks to get out of the jam. But after working around lefty Sei, he got to have a same-handed matchup. And yet Igarashi gets lucky with his timely and then Usui comes out of nowhere to with a game winning triple!
Certainly you have to feel bad for Misato Kougyou having gotten so far and on the verge of winning the game, and yet in the span of 3 pitches it all went awry. But they're not a bad team at all. They had their chances, just couldn't capitalize on them.
As for Kanto Dai-ichi, they must find themselves fortunate to walk away with a win. With their part of the bracket looking the way it is, looking for a cardiac kids type game every time will not work. The offense will need to get started earlier on if they want a chance to make a deep run.
Abe Takeshi (Kanto Dai-ichi) - W, 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 K, 0 BB
Haketa Akihiro (Kanto Dai-ichi) - 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 6 K, 2 BB
Igarashi Masahiro (Kanto Dai-ichi) - 2-4, 2 RBI
Usui Kouhei (Kanto Dai-ichi) - 1-1, 3B, 2 RBI, BB
Itou Masato (Kanto Dai-ichi) - 2-3, R, HBP
Iha Tomokazu (Misato Kougyou) - 8 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 3 K, 3 BB, HBP
Miyagi Ryouta (Misato Kougyou) - 2-4, 2B, R, RBI
Hanashiro Wataru (Misato Kougyou) - 1-3, RBI, BB