Monday, March 24, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 4 - Game 3 - Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) vs. Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)

Chiben Wakayama and Meitoku Gijyuku have weaknesses and strengths that cross.  That is, Chiben Wakayama's pitching is suspect, but so is Meitoku Gijyuku's offense.  Ace Kishi for Meikoku Gijyuku is certainly their strong point, but so is Chiben's offense.

Given that, as mentioned in the quadrant writeups, the game will hinge on Kishi to keep his team in the game.

Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
SS Oohata Tatsuya
2B Tanaka Hiroaki
CF Yamamoto Ryuuga
C Osa Issei (#7)
LF Katayama Shouta (#9)
1B Nishiyama Touma (#16)
RF Haruno Kouki (#18)
3B Ooishi Kaito
P Saitou Yuuta (#11)

Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
3B Ozaki Yuuto
LF Oonishi Kazumasa (#3)
RF Tada Tougo (#7)
1B Nishioka Souta (#11)
P Kishi Jyuunichirou
SS Yasuda Takayuki
2B Mori Shouma
C Mizuno Katsuya (#13)
CF Ootani Yuuki


13:56 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, Kishi starts of the game well, with a fork ball outside that Oohata swings and misses for his first K.

Tanaka turns back to the dugout even before being punched out when Kishi's fastball finds the inside half.

Yamamoto avoids the the 3rd K, but grounds to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 1st
There are problem with Saitou's delivery as his hitch at the top of his delivery is a bit too much.

It doesn't seem to bother him as Ozaki pops out to shallow left.  Oohata and Katayama almost collide, but Oohata makes the catch.

Oonishi too gets under a ball and pops out to Oohata.  And Tada is early on a ball, tries to extend his swing by lunging forward, but just flies out to left.

Top 2nd
The big red "C" makes its appearance again in the ouen-dan as Osa stands in.

First pitch, big cut, popout to Mizuno behind home plate.

The first hit for Chiben is a big one as Kishi out of character leaves one over the plate and Katayama puts it into deep center for a double!

Nishiyama with another rip on a fastball again left over the plate, sends it through the left side.  Mabuchi-kantoku sends out #15 Namura to settle the team.  But that's 2 pitches Kishi has just served on a platter.

In stands Haruno, and he really stands in.  He's 184 cm and 90 kg.

And man can he whip that bat, fouling off a pitch Kishi puts inside...

Kishi uncorks a wild pitch and Katayama takes off for home!  Throw from Mizuno is high, and Kishi is late with the tag! It's 1-0 Chiben Wakayama!

Kishi finally retires Haruno as on the 10th pitch his curve gets grounded to short.

Ooishi continues the barrage on Kishi.  Yet another ball over the plate, another base hit for Chiben Gakuen...

Saitou flies out to left, but if this is any indicator Meitoku is in a lot of trouble...

Bottom 2nd
Saitou doing his job so far negating the left-heavy lineup of Meitoku.  Though Kishi is right-handed.  And with 1 out, Saitou wants nothing to do with him and walks him.

The strategy might be working as Yasuda is jammed and flies to right for the 2nd out.  Once again, he's very careful with righty Mori and walks him as well to bring up Mizuno, who is also a righty.

But Saitou decides to attack against Mizuno getting ahead 0-2 before getting him to chase a fastball outside and rolling it to 2nd for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Kishi still struggling with his command.  He's leaving his fastball high and in the zone, though at least for Oohata he gets him swinging on those pitches.

Tanaka and Yamamoto just miss those pitches and both pop out. But Kishi isn't looking all there.

Bottom 3rd
Meanwhile, Saitou continues to confound the lefties.  Ootani and Oonishi make bad contact, while Ozaki's liner goes right to Nishiyama.

Top 4th
Man, Kishi starts off Osa with two piches way up and in before Osa makes contact on one and pops out to Mori behind 2nd.

Katayama rips a ball at 1st, but Nishoka makes a nice stop.  But then he leaves a ball over the plate again and Nishiyama puts it down the right field line for a double, and right after that goes high and in on Haruno and plunks him.

And then turns around again with the slider and makes Ooishi twirl like a ballerina for the 3rd out.

Bottom 4th
A lefty finally has success against Saitou! Nishioka squares up the curve and singles to center!  Ah, but Yamamoto flubs fielding the ball and Nishioka takes 2nd on the error!

This brings up a chance for Kishi with a runner in scoring position!  And he hits a booming ball to left... but it's just a towering fly ball as Katayama makes the catch for the 2nd out.

And back to a lefty now, Yasuda continues the struggles as he grounds out to 2nd.  If the lefties can't figure out Saitou, they're toast.

Top 5th
Kishi looks better this inning as he gets 3 groundball outs.  Nothing too solid, but it's a start for him to settle down.

Bottom 5th
Yamamoto having troubles in center apparently as a routine fly by Mori is dropped.  That's his 2nd fielding issue this game.

Mizuno, despite being a righty, is being asked to bunt.  Not sure if that's wise, but Mizuno lays it down.

Ootani delivers!  He turns a ball and lines it over a leaping Tanaka into center!  Mori is sent home and Yamamoto's throw is nowhere near home! Ootani with the douten timely, and we're at 1-1!

Ozaki again with a grand fly to left, but again Katayama has time to back up and catch it.

Oonishi is way ahead of the slider and just pushes the ball to 2nd where Oohata steps on the bag for the force.

Well, we're at the break and Meitoku's lefties are finally having some success against starter Saitou.  Meanwhile, Kishi might be finally starting to settle down, but it's still inconclusive.  They've got 4 inning to play to figure things out (in regulation at least).

Top 6th
Yamamoto putting in work in his AB after the errors, fouling pitch after pitch after pitch trying to improve his 1-2 count.  5 fouls balls before Kishi finally wins the battle with a flyout to center.

Osa on the other hand likes the first pitch and singles through the left side.

Takashima-kantoku puts on the hit-and-run, and it works to perfection!  Katayama lines a single to right and Osa easily makes it to 3rd!  Chiben Wakayama threatens again!

Nishiyama hits a ball to 3rd, and Osa was going on contact!  He's run down eventually, but not before both runners advance to 2nd and 3rd!  Great job by Osa on that rundown, though it was also poor rundown skills by Meitoku.

With first base open, Kishi gives the unintentional intentional walk to create a force at all bases as Ooishi steps in, already with a hit on the day.

But Kishi misses with his first 2 pitches (just) before finally getting one close that Ooishi fouls off.

Kishi wins!  He gets Ooishi to hit a ball to 2nd and Mori flips to Yasuda for the 3rd out!  The strategy works and the game remains tied!

Bottom 6th
Tada having some success in making contact and fouling pitches off, but gets caught looking at a pitch outside just too close to take.

Nishioka attacks the first pitch from Saitou, but pops it up.  Tanaka moves over to foul territory and makes the catch for the 2nd out.

With 2 outs there's no need to go after Kishi and Saitou rightly walks him again.

But then Saitou can't find the plate against Yasuda and walks him too!  That brings up righty Mori!

Saitou catches a break! He leaves a ball over the plate, but Mori pops it up!  Nishiyama under it and makes the catch to retire the side

Top 7th
Momentum I think is starting to swing Meitoku's way here ever so slightly late.  Kishi has settled down quite a bit since the early innings and despite the hits from Chiben Wakayama in the 6th, he's spotting the ball well.

He works ahead of each of the batters here in the lucky 7, forcing them to defend the plate - well except for Saitou who swung on the first pitch and grounded to 2nd.  Oohata and Tanaka's defensive swings wind up in flyouts.

Bottom 7th
However, any gains they have are muted because they're still struggling with starter Saitou.  Mizuno, Ootani and Ozaki cannot make good contact, and all are retired in order.

Top 8th
Kishi's changeup makes Yamamoto look silly as he becomes Kishi's 5th K.

Osa with a drive to center!  Ootani racing back!  Still going!  And he makes the catch in front of the fence for the 2nd out!

Katayama with a routine fly to center and that's the inning.  Kishi gets a scare from Osa, but survives.

Bottom 8th
Is Mabuchi unfurling his strategy now?  #12 Yamagata (a righty) comes in to hit for Oonishi.  Unfortunately he skies a ball to Tanaka.

Perhaps not.  Tada hits a soft liner to Ooishi for the 2nd out bringing up Nishioka.  To which Saitou jams him and forces a grounder to short.  Oohata makes the play and we're heading to the last inning in regulation all square!

Top 9th
#9 Sanada comes in for PH Yamagata to take over in RF.  Tada goes to his numbered position in LF.

Kishi has bottled up Nishiyama after his first two ABs as Nishiyama grounds out to 1st.

The one person though that has given Kishi fits is Haruno.  He's walked him twice.

And now given up a base hit!  Haruno singles to center as he gives his team the guts pose!  But that momentum is quickly lost as Ooishi's bunt deadens right in front of home, allowing Mizuno to fire to 2nd - just nailing Haruno for the 2nd out!

That leaves it to Kishi's counterpart Saitou to keep the inning going.  Instead he grounds out to short.  Yasuda flips to Mori and now all Saitou can do is to play for enchousen!

Bottom 9th
And worse yet, Kishi leads off the 9th inning!

Perhaps they should have walked Nishioka to make Kishi bat in the 8th instead of leading off the 9th?

Is Saitou going after Kishi?  He is!  First pitch strike, then a foul by Kishi and Saitou's ahead 0-2!

SANSHIN!!!! Oh, that's some balls by Saitou!  He throws the slider and Kishi is completely fooled!  One down!

Has Saitou found another gear?  Yasuda pretty much falls victim to the same pitch!  He's doubled his K's from the first 8 innings!

Uh oh!  Mori connects on a fastball inside and inside-outs it down the right field line!  He's in with a double!

Despite Mizuno being a righty, they're choosing to go after him.

Popup!  Saitou gets Mizuno to pop up!  Uh oh!  Oohata and Katayama are converging again... they collide!  But fortunately for Takashima-kantoku, Oohata makes a catch.  Oh, that could have been disasterous.

We're headed to enchousen!

Top 10th
Oohata gets the bat around on a fastball inside, but it's still a soft liner to right.

2 down and when Kishi doesn't get a strike call on 2-1 to Yamamoto, he leaves the next pitch just a little too much over the plate and Yamamoto turns it for a single to right.

Yamamoto takes off for 2nd! Kishi's ball is in the dirt, but Mizuno makes a great pick and throw, but the extra time allows Yamamoto to reach safely!

No matter though, because Kishi goes back to the slider and Osa can only twist in the wind as the side is retired.

Bottom 10th
One down, and Ozaki finally checks in with his first hit with a single up the middle.  Mabuchi-kantoku plays for the sayonara timely as Sanada buts him over leaving it in Tada's hands.

Tada with a ball to the right side.. Tanaka with some type of pick, throws to 1st and they get a diving Tada for the 3rd out!  Tanaka saves the game right there!

Top 11th
Kishi missing the plate completely with his pitches and he walks Katayama on 4 straight!!  Nishiyama puts him in scoring position with the bunt.

Mabuchi-kantoku calls time as guess who... Haruno steps into the batter's box.

And it looks like it's an intentional walk this time around.  That's 3 walks for Haruno now, but it creates the force, and brings up Ooishi... no wait, it's #17 Takimoto to hit.  Will Mabuchi-kantoku's strategy backfire?

Kishi gets quickly ahead 0-2... SANSHIN!  Kishi pulls the string with the slider and Takimoto falls right in!  2 down!

Takashima-kantoku will stick with Saitou though.

First pitch swinging!  Grounder to 2nd, and Mori flips to Yasuda for the 3rd out!  Kishi out of another jam!

Bottom 11th
Takimoto stays in at 3B

One down, Kishi with a drive to center!  Yamamoto going back, going back.... flattens out and makes the catch in deep center!  Just didn't get enough on it.

And with Yasuda's foul fly to Katayama, we head to the 12th!

Top 12th
Kishi at 142 pitches through 11.

Oohata with a liner just over the leaping Mori for a leadoff hit!  Jock Rock warms up as Tanaka shows bunt.

But he pops it up!  Kishi over to get it, but he drops the ball!  Now Chiben is in a mess as Kishi goes to 1st for the force!  Oohata fails to run back on the throw and he's run down!  2 outs and Takashima makes the "aww man" face.


Kishi with a mistake!  Yamamoto pumps his fist in their air right away as that ball just leaves the yard!!


After what seemed like something completely unlucky for Chiben Wakayama, Yamamoto gets it all back with interest!  2-1 Chiben Wakayama!

Ozaki snags a scorching liner from Osa and Meitoku will be down to their final 3 outs!

Bottom 12th
Mori already gets Meitoku on the road to douten with a first pitch single through the right side!  Mizuno moves him over to 2nd.

Ootani with a ball to the left side, that's just out of the reach of a diving Oohata!  Ootani rounding 3rd.. held up!

And that's it for Saitou.  Ace Azuma comes in to try and close it out.

Ozaki up, not showing squeeze here as he takes a couple.


Ozaki lays down the perfect squeeze bunt and Azuma can only go to 1st!  Mori scores and we're all tied again at 2-2!!

Sanada grounds to short, but the game continues on with just 3 innings left!

Top 13th
One down, Nishiyama with a shot down the 3rd base line.  Ozaki makes the great diving stop in foul territory, and makes the strong throw to 1st to complete the great play!

Two down, and Haruno continues to get on base with a single, but Takimoto can't do anything with it grounding into a fielder's choice.

Bottom 13th
The problem now is, Azuma is a righty against a left-heavy lineup.  Will that matter?

Well, after falling behind 2-0 he works it to 2-2 and then gets the 144 fastball off Tada's bat and into Nishyama's glove for the out.

But right before Kishi, he walks Nishioka on 4 straight to bring up Kishi!!

But Kishi shows bunt?!!!  And does the bust-and-run??!!  He chops the ball and advances the runner at his own expense, but is that really the way you want to use Kishi??!!

That means Kishi is leaving it to Yasuda to bring the sayonara run in...

But again Azuma is being careful with Yasuda being a lefty...

Yet on a full count he goes after him!  Yasuda pops it up and Takimoto makes the catch carefully on the bullpen for the 3rd out!

Top 14th
We're running out of innings as both teams scramble to find the winning run.

Azuma in for his first AB, pops out to Yasuda.  Oohata tries to put a ball past Kishi, but he makes the pick off the ground for the 2nd out.

Tanaka flies out to center, and Chiben Wakayama has just 3 outs to play with...

Bottom 14th
Meitoku should realize that this game cannot go to a tie.  It'll almost be like a loss because Kishi will have to pitch another 9 innings (at least!).

Mori leads off with a first pich single to right!  Mizuno, after 2 failed bunt attempts rightly goes for broke and bunts with 2 strikes, successfully laying it down, and setting the groundwork for Ootani again.  Can he deliver one more time?

Azuma may not give him that chance.  He goes inside on all his pitches and walks him, and since his run doesn't count, it's fine.  It creates the force, and it brings up righty Ozaki.

One batter down, Ozaki gets under Azuma's slider and pops out to Haruno.

But it still leaves righty Sanada...

He hits a small liner to the left side, and Oohata runs it down for the 3rd out!  We're down to the last ups for both sides!

Top 15th
The Chiben ouen-dan gets louder now with all at stake.  Yamamoto makes contact, but it's a short liner that Sanada runs down.

Osa with a ball to the left side, Yasuda makes a great sliding stop in the gap, but his throw right off his hand is high!  Nishioka can't get it and it goes to the camera well advancing Osa into scoring position!

Mabuchi-kantoku calls time as Katayama steps in...

Comebacker to Kishi!  He snags it out of the air! Osa is caught in between and gets rundown!  But again, he stays alive long enough for Katayama to reach 2nd.  But there's 2 outs now for Nishiyama.

This is dangerous.  Kishi falls behind Nishiyama 3-1 with Haruno on deck!!!

Fastball low, Nishiyama fouls it off.  At least Kishi has run it full...

BALL 4!!  The fastball is outside and now Haruno is up!  And he's only been retired once in his 6 plate appearances!!

And Haruno delivers again!  First pitch single to left, but Katayama has to hold at 3rd!  Manrui for Chiben with Takimoto at the dish!!

TAKIMOTO SWINGS AT THE FIRST PITCH! It's a grounder to 2nd and Mori is up with it!  Goes to 1st and Kishi survives!  Now all Chiben Wakayama can play for is a draw!

Bottom 15th
And Meitoku Gijyuku must sell out for the win.

Tada gives his best to get on base, but winds up grounding to short.  2 outs to go.

Nishioka with a ball off the end of the bat, goes up the middle for a base hit!  No way Kishi is bunting here, no bust-and-run either.  Just "swing away", as it were.

Though Kishi is still being selective at the plate taking pitch after pitch and getting ahead 3-1.

BALL FOUR!!!  Azuma walks Kishi moving the sayonara run into scoring position!

It'll be up to Yasuda again to try and end it here...

Yasuda with a flare up the middle... just over a leaping Oohata!!!  Nishioka has to hold at 3rd, but Meitoku with a big chance!!


Azuma throws a wild pitch and is helpless as Nishioka walks home for the sayonara 3-2 win...


It's a good walk completely spoiled really.  For both teams to have fought tooth and nail, for it to end like this is just heartbreaking really. I'm not necessarily a fan of Chiben Wakayama, but when I saw that Takashima-kantoku had brought out 6 pitchers, I wondered if even being an older kantoku, he was learning some things.  And perhaps it seemed like he was.  But you just don't plan for a 15 inning affair, nor the pressure of having to play for just a draw while the opposition can sell out for the win.

I do feel bad for Chiben Wakayama. They did deserve better - even a "better" loss would have been ok really.  Just not... that.

Notabale Players
Kishi Jyuunichirou (Meitoku Gijyuku) - 15 IP, 2 ER, 12 H, 7 K, 4 BB, HBP
Mori Shouma (Meitoku Gijyuku) - 3-5, 2B, R, BB
Ootani Yuuki (Meitoku Gijyuku) -  2-5, RBI
Nishoka Souta (Meitoku Gijyuku) - 2-6, R, BB
Saitou Yuuta (Chiben Wakayama) -11.1 IP, ER, 6 H, 3 K, 4 BB
Azuma Yuusuke (Chiben Wakayama) - 3 IP, ER, 3 H, K, 3 BB
Haruno Kouki (Chiben Wakayama) - 3-4, BB, HBP
Katayama Shouta (Chiben Wakayama) - 2-6, 2B, R, BB
Nishiyama Touma (Chiben Wakayama) - 2-5, 2B, BB

No comments: