Our opening matchup of Day 5 might be an even matchup, but not necessarily in a Nihon Bunri-Toyokawa kind of way.
Hiroshima Shinjyou's offense seems to be rather good, but put in the context of Iwakuni finishing first in Chuugoku could put an even bigger damper than normal regression would. Take that one step further and ace Yamaoka's walks become even more concerning.
For Toukai Dai-san, I had been interested in seeing them at Koushien (along with the Ueda schools), and they're made more interesting with their ace Takai Julian. That not withstanding, his peripherals look rather good, so it's possible they will hold up for the most part against tougher competition. He certainly looks to be the key in this matchup.
Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)
SS Nakabayashi Kouki
LF Tanaka Takuya
2B Nishijima Haruto
CF Sakagaki Kazuya
3B Okuda Shingo
RF Nikaku Taiyou
1B Sasaki Akita (#11)
C Tanaka Keisuke
P Yamaoka Shuuya
Toukai Dai-san (Nagano)
CF Kobayashi Kenji
SS Tanada Yuuta
C Hara Yuushi
RF Urano Masaya
1B Hara Hirotaka
2B Aoki Koudai
LF Ikeda Shouta
P Takai Julian
3B Ide Hayato
09:02 - First Pitch!
Julian's velo appears to vary. The fastball is anywhere from about 134-139 and the slider can be in the upper 120s, so there can be a smaller gap between the two.
Nakabayashi gets the better of him in the opening AB as he reaches out and pokes a ball above Tanada into left.
Takuya has the oddest stance, ducking as if to shorten the strike zone. They try the hit and run, but on the full count, he pops up and just hacks at the pitch striking out. Nakabayashi though successfully steals 2nd.
There's quickly 2 outs as Nishijima hits a hard grounder right at Hirotaka.
It looks like Hiroshima Shinjyou might play the waiting game with Takai as #4 batter Sakagaki works the count full again this time drawing a walk.
Okuda takes full advantage! He hits a clean single through the left side and Nakabayashi can walk home! Hiroshima Shinjyou takes the 1-0 lead!
Nikaku follows that with a liner to center, but it hangs up just enough for Kobayashi to come in and catch it. Inning over, but Takai already apparently having issues.
Yamaoka looking to get on a better start, striking out Kobayashi on a slider inside then follows that with a fastball outside to get Tanada swinging.
Yamaoka completes the trifecta when he pulls out the changeup that Yuushi is way out in front of.
Oh dear, this might not be as close as I thought...
Sasaki pounds a ball into the ground but is thrown out by Ide who charges in on the chopper.
Julian seems to be doing better against the bottom of the lineup as Keisuke grounds out as well and Yamaoka just whiffs on the slider. But his test will be next inning when the lineup flips back up to the top.
Oh, this is bad. Urano chases the changeup into the dirt and that's 4 Ks in 4 ABs so far.
Well, that's good. The first ball in play is a base hit as Hirotaka takes a fastball back up the middle for a base hit.
And that's something you don't see everyday. Grounder to 2nd, the runner Hirotaka actually takes out Nakabayashi who is making the throw, causing him to send it wide and allowing Aoki to go to 2nd.
Ikeda though with a soft liner to Okuda in foul territory for the 3rd out.
3rd inning starts promising enough for Takai anyways. Nakabayashi gets one off the end of the bat and pops out to Hirotaka.
Takuya's stance weirds me out. How you're able to generate any power bent down like that is beyond me. If nothing else, he's fouling off pitches.
And apparently a base hit as he just punches one to shallow left - out of the reach of a sliding Ikeda.
Hirotaka does the right thing as Nishijima's ball hit to him he steps on 1st first, then goes to 2nd to catch Takuya for the 3-6 DP to end the inning.
Takai gets in his cuts against Yamaoka, but again falls to the changeup. Ide hacks away, early but works hard afterwards filling up the count... only to succumb to the high fastball.
A bit uncharacteristic of Yamaoka as he plunks Kobayashi.
It's a small respite as Tanada goes down for the 2nd time, and that's 7 Ks for Yamaoka... Yikes.
Julian was seemingly on his way to a quick inning when he retired Sakagaki and Okuda on 3 pitches. But Nikaku works the count, and on the full count singles to center.
Nikaku then takes off for 2nd, and easily beats the throw from Yuushi.
Sasaki though grounds to 3rd for the 2nd time and ends the inning.
#3 Kumada comes in for Sasaki to take over at 1B.
Urano breaks the streak of K's with a slow grounder back to Yamaoka, but it's little consolation as Hirotaka grounds out to 2nd. They're really struggling at the plate.
And now it's Hiroshima Shinjyou back on the bats. Back-to-back-to back hits by Yamaoka, Nakabayashi and Takuya puts the bases loaded for Nishijima as Fujii-kantoku calls time.
Doesnt help as Nishijima sends one to left! Ikeda trying to deke, but has to scramble back as it's over his head! Yamaoka and Nakabayashi score to make it a 3-0 game, and still only 1 out...
Julian gets the 2nd out, getting Sakagaki to chase on a slider, but Yuushi throws it away trying to snap throw to 1st and the runners advance. He finally gets out of the inning after a long AB versus Okuta, but it's not looking good.
This game looks officially one-sided now. The side is retired in order, including #16 Tominaga pinch-hitting for Takai meaning his day is done... 10 K's through 5.
Takai is holding his shoulder in the dugout, so was there an injury issue? #10 Nakamura comes into the game to pitch.
After a quick out, Nakamura plunks Kumata. After that Keisuke singles through the right side, and Nakamura gets unlucky when a comebacker gets slowed down by his glove and Tanada has no play when he can finally scramble to the ball. Shibata scores from 3rd and it's 4-0.
Nakamura gets himself into further trouble, walking Nakabayashi to load the bases, but gets out of it when he successfully field a comebacker to start the 1-2-3 double play.
Ide gets a slow ball back up the middle that sneaks through for a leadoff hit - just the 2nd of the day.
But that's all they get. The next 3 batters record an out and they're back on defense just as quickly.
Well, Nakamura settles down in his 2nd inning of relief, retiring the 3-4-5 batters in order.
Sadly, there's not much for Toukai Dai-san here. No more Ks at least, but 3 groundouts.
Ide in a losing battle chases a foul ball from Keisuke, actually leaping into the camera well. Sure, if the game was close I could see that, but there's no need to hurt yourself on that.
Aoki though makes a nice pick on a ball from Keisuke up the middle and records the 3rd out.
Ikeda with a sharp liner to left, but right at Takuya.
#13 Tanaka Hiromu comes in to hit for Nakamura, gets his cuts in, but becomes the 11th K.
And Ide flies out to right.
#11 Hirabayashi will get a chance on the mound to finish out the game.
Hirabayashi almost gets a clean inning, but gives up a 2 out walk to Takuya. He promptly steals 2nd, and winds up scoring when Nishijima's base hit to left goes under Ikeda's glove and back to the wall for a 2-base error. 5-0.
That'll be it for Hirabayashi as #18 Fukuzawa comes in to get the final out.
Sakagaki lines a single to center to make it a 6-0 game. Fukuzawa does get the final out as Okuda grounds to short.
Yamaoka racks up 2 more Ks en route to a 2-hit shutout.
Well, right off the bat, the game appeared one sided. Julian kept his team in it for a while, but perhaps burdened with an injury he falters in the 5th and leaves the game. While the relief staff couldn't fare much better, it didn't quite matter as the offense could no nothing against Yamaoka.
I don't think this will be the indicator for Hiroshima Shinjyou as it was apparent that Toukai Dai-san was outmatched, so we'll have to wait until next round to perhaps see their true ability.
Yamaoka Shuuya (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - CG, SHO, 2 H, 13 K, 0 BB, HBP
Nishijima Haruto (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - 2-5, R, 2 RBI
Nakabayashi Kouki (Hiroshima Shinjyou) - 2-4, 2 R, BB, SB
Takai Julian (Toukai Dai-san) - 5 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 3 K, BB
Hara Hirotaka (Toukai Dai-san) - 1-3
Ide Hayato (Toukai Dai-san) - 1-3