After a day off due to rain, we're reaching the halfway point of the tournament (timewise anyways), and the first round will finally end with the second matchup I was dreading (Nihon Bunri-Toyokawa was the other).
Yokohama did not look like a special squad, even by Yokohama standards. A team that never scored more than 6 runs even in early round games, and an ace who does limit hits but on the other hand gives up a lot of walks.
Kousei's ace Satou looks to be stronger than Yokohama's, and he got promoted to the ace number after his fall efforts (though he probably had that already secured before then). The problem will be with their offense. Against supposedly stronger competition, the strong numbers they exhibited apparently disappeared... and so did their run production.
Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)
3B Houjyou Hiroyuki (#6)
SS Adachi Yuuya (#14)
LF Moriyama Hiroki
2B Fukae Taisei
1B Sai Seiu
RF Arai Katsunori
CF Arai Katsutaka
C Baba Ryuusei (#12)
P Goya Kai (#18)
CF Asama Daiki
RF Nemoto Kouta
3B Kawaguchi Ryou
SS Takahama Yuuto
1B Watanabe Yoshiaki
P Itou Masashi
LF Kasugai Jinto (#16)
C Kuraya Kouhei (#13)
2B Matsuzaki Kanzou
09:00 - First Pitch!
Watanabe-kantoku already playing games as before the game startes, he sends out #7 Oono to replace Kasugai in LF. It's a pure R for L switch as Goya, not Satou is starting.
One down for Kouei and Adachi rips a ball through the right side for a base hit. But while Moriyama isn't bunting, Itou gets the call on the outside corner for the 2nd out.
Fukae lifts a ball to right, and outside of the base hit and a rip foul by Moriyama, a decent start for Itou.
Interesting that Nakai-kantoku goes with lefty Goya against the LH heavy lineup, we've seen this one before.
Well, it's not off to a great start as Goya hits leadoff batter Asama on a slider. Nemoto bunts him over.
Interestingly, despite throwing a lefty to face same handed pitching, they're actually pitching inside to the LH! 2 balls to Kawaguchi inside, instead of perhaps going outside. It works though as he pops up to Sai in foul territory.
Uh oh. (The righty) Takahama clubs a pitch left over by Goya into center! Katsutaka running back to the wall. Looking up!
It falls in at the base of the wall! (Couldn't he have caught that?) Asama can walk home as Takahama gives Yokohama the 1-0 lead!
Watanabe grounds to short, and Sai makes a great stretch to keep his foot on the bag, but Yokohama jumps on the spot starter!
Sai jumps on the first pitch and drives it to center! Asama going back... still going back... stops in front of the wall, and makes the catch for the 1st out. Just got under that one.
Itou missing outside on all his pitches, walks Katsunori to give Kousei a runner. But they're deciding to go with the bunt? At 1-1 though he pulls it back, so which is it?
It's the bunt. So they're going to go with Baba to get the base hit?
Well, that helps, Kuraya kinda gets lazy backhanding a ball and it gets away! Katsunori advances to 3rd on the play.
And that proves costly! Baba indeed gets his base hit, a solid knock through the left side to level the score at 1-1!
Goya very choosy in his pitches, even taking a borderline pitch for a ball. However, the forkball gets him as he grounds to Watanabe for the out. Still, we're all tied at 1 after a passed ball leads to the tying run!
Hm, Oono to face Goya stretches down and lines the fastball just outside the glove of a diving Houjyou. Righties are now 2-2 early against Goya.
Despite being a RHB, Kuratani bunts him over to 2nd - where he is left after Matsuzaki grounds to 2nd. Fukae has to make a charging throw and just gets the out, but Goya does his job.
Houjyou up for his 2nd AB, and rips the fastball down the 3rd base line for a leadoff double.
Watanabe-kantoku calling time as Takai comes out to talk with his team.
Adachi up, already showing bunt. Pulls back on the first pitch. Maybe he's like me in that you have to do the buster technique to hit the ball.
He does! Liner to center, but it's right at Asama for the 1st out.
And Kousei gets another gift! This time it's on Itou's end as he throws one in the dirt that gets away from Kuraya! Houjyou goes to 3rd.
Ahead 0-2, Itou entices Moriyama to chase 3 sliders in the dirt, but he doesn't bite once. Fastball outside... but just a bit too much! Runners at the corners for Fukae,
Itou is all over the place. None of his pitches are even close for Fukae and he's behind 3-0. Kuraya goes out to talk with Itou.
It's another walk! After the leadoff double, Itou has walked the bases loaded!
Still missing with his pitches, he finally gets a strike after Sai goes after the change low.
Itou leaves a slider up! Sai laces that to center for a base hit! Houjyou scores to make it 2-1!
Katsunori up looking to break open the game. Turns on the low slider and lines one to right! Nemoto is there for the catch, but Moriyama can walk home to make it 3-1.
Itou trying to catch every edge it seems, but not quite doing so consistently. As a result he goes full on Katsutaka.
And he walks Katsutaka too! His changeup isn't even close, and it's manrui again for Kousei, with who else but Baba up to bat!
First pitch a clean single through the left side. Up a station for everyone and it's 4-1!
Goya up to help his own cause, probably will do his best to get a walk. He soon finds himself down 0-2 though and has to defend. Luckily, Itou's next two pitches are close, but not close enough to get rung up.
Goya swings! Its a grounder to the left side.. Kawaguchi can't get to it! And neither can Takahama! Sai scores, Katsutaka being sent home! Throw in from Oono... Katsutaka slides around the tag and is safe! It's 6-1 and Itou is immediately pulled! #10 Higure comes in from Oono and takes the hill while Itou goes to LF.
Houjyou unfortunately swings at the first pitch and grounds back to Higure, but Kousei bats around and takes a big lead early!
Asama must be wondering what he did to Goya, as he gets hit for the 2nd time (though it was on an offspeed pitch again).
Goya has an apparent double play when Nemoto hits a ball back to him, but he short arms the throw and it goes past Houjyou. E1, and Yokohama is building something.
Kawaguchi bunts the runners along, but with 1st open, Goya doesn't have to go after Takahama and he walks him on 4 straight to load the bases. They'll go after Watanabe, but not Goya. #11 Nakagawa comes in relief.
But Nakagawa is missing too. He falls behind 2-0, but gets it back level 2-2. Slider in the dirt, but he checks his swing says the 3B umpire.
Ball back up the middle! Nakagawa deflects it and Houjyou has to change direction! He goes back to his right, flips to 2nd for 1, but Fukae's throw to 1st isn't in time. 1 run scores and it's 6-2 now.
Hmmm... but Nakagawa is still having location issues, not even close to the plate at times, and he walks Itou to load the bases again!!
SANSHIN!!! Luckily for Nakagawa, Higure isn't a very good hitter and he chases the slider away for the 3rd out. Yokohama isn't able to do as much as Kousei, and still find themselves behind by 4.
Kousei gets a baserunner right off the bat as Adachi is hit by Higure. Moriyama moves him over to 2nd.
Fukae can't bring him home as he quickly flies to right.
Sai with a liner to right! Nemoto charging in, slides... and makes the catch for the 3rd out!
I like the fact the home plate umps aren't giving the HBP like candy. Kuraya gets hit, but doesn't make an attempt to move, so it's just a ball. He winds up rolling a slider to 3rd.
Matsuzaki doesn't really move either, but it's a fastball inside, so I'll give that one to him. But we're now back to the top of the lineup.
Nakagawa with the snap throw to 1st, and they get Matsuzaki! 2 out!
And that really hurts Yokohama because Asama scorches a fastball down the 1st base line for a double!
Nemoto with a base hit to left! Moriyama goes home with the throw, but it's not nearly in time and Yokohama climbing back in it with the score at 6-3 now.
Nakagawa gets out of the inning as after a bevy of fastballs, Nakamura pulls out the change and Kawaguchi gets under it. Houjyou near the camera well, makes the catch for the 3rd out, but Yokohama chips away at the deficit.
Yokohama isn't going away quietly, so Kousei should continue to put pressure whenever possible.
Katsunori check in with a base hit as he laces a single down the right side. Katsutaka's bunt is too hard and Higure goes to 2nd to cut down the lead runner. Which is a shame as Baba steps in.
He turns on a pitch inside, but just doesn't get enough of it. Itou makes it slightly interesting as he has to make a small jump to get it, but there's 2 down.
Nakagawa is even less of a hitter than Higure it seems, going down on 3 straight to end the inning. Higure doing a nice job in relief.
The internet giving me fits again, but from what I was able to tell, Takahama pulled a ball weakly to 3rd. After a first pitch single to left by Watanabe, Itou flied out to shallow left, and Higure also pulled an outside pitch to the left side - this time Houjyou fielding it for the 3rd out.
We hit the break with Kousei leading Yokohama 6-3, but the game is far from decided at this point
Higure struggling with his control a bit here post-break Houjyou works the count full, but goes after the slider low. Adachi catches a bit of a break when his ball back up the middle is stopped by Matsuzaki, but he can't quite find the handle on the ball.
Moriyama hits a hard grounder to 1st. Watanabe there to flip to Higure and there's 2 outs.
Fukae crushes a ball to left! Itou going back, but he's not sprinting! In fact, he's slowing down!!
Fukae just tatooed that hanging slider about 10-15 rows up! In one swing Kousei retakes their largest margin here at 8-3!!
Sai with a single to right, and that'll be it for Higure. Itou retakes the hill as #18 Suzawa goes into LF replacing Higure.
Sai tries to take off for 2nd, but is thrown out and the inning is over. But Kousei answers the questions about letting Yokohama back into the game. For now at least.
This is probably about as settled as you're going to get with Nakagawa. Not enough control to be an ace, but enough to be slightly above replacement level.
He gets 3 groundball outs and Yokohama looks to be in bad shape with 3 innings to go.
If it wasn't clear that I was unhappy about Yokohama getting selected over Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku, it will be now.
Katsunori blasts a ball to right. Nemoto goes to the foul pole, but he can only watch as it goes out for another HR!!!!! Kousei making Yokohama look bad as it's now 9-3.
After 1 official AB, back Itou goes banished to LF. #11 Oda comes in the game.
Baba continues to confound every Yokohama pitcher as he gets his 3rd hit of the game. After a sac bunt my Nakagawa, Houjyou goes down swinging to end the inning.
With one down Adachi stops a Kawaguchi hit in the gap and despite the looping throw, Sai does the splits and beats out the diving Kawaguchi for the 2nd out in a clean inning for Nakagawa.
Adachi with a gapper to left center for a leadoff double. At this point Nakai-kantoku is having the top of the order swing away. Moriyama chases the changup in the dirt, and Fukae hits an off-balance grounder to short.
Sai hits a liner to left, but Itou can't make the catch! Adachi is sent home, but Itou gathers the ball quickly and fires home just in time to make the tag.
Watanabe leading off the 8th here with a ball to left center. Katsutaka ranging over, chances the dive and misses! Moriyama has to chase it down, but it's still only a double for Watanabe. Nakai-kantoku calls time.
Kousei is happy to give up the run if it means out. Itou grounds out to 2nd, and #2 Takai in for Oda grounds to 2nd scoring the run to make it 9-4 with 2 down.
Watanabe-kantoku emptying the bench as #15 Ono hits for Kuraya and hits a single past a diving Adachi.
Matsuzaki pops out to Houjyou in foul territory and that's the inning.
Watanabe-kantoku empties the bench. #17 Yamaguchi comes in for PH Takai and takes over in LF, #12 Yamada comes in for PH Ono and takes over at C, and #14 Kurashima comes in for Matsuzaki and takes over at 2B. Itou takes over on the hill.
Katsutaka gets a 1-out hit, but Baba is retired for just the 2nd time today as Itou induces the 6-4-3 double play.
Asama gets a leadoff hit for Yokohama and then steals 2nd. But Nemoto goes down swinging, and Kawaguchi flies out to right not soon after.
Takahama tacks on another run as his single back up the middle makes it 9-5.
However, Watanabe grounds out to 2nd, and his head first slide ends the game.
Yokohama did make things close early, but by the 2nd inning it seems a bit clear who had more opportunities. The 5-run 3rd pretty much set the pace for the rest of the game, though to be honest Kousei's pitching is still a bit sketchy for my liking (well, at least Goya to some extent and Nakagawa to an even bigger one). Still, the offense was still able to tee off on Yokohama's pitchers and keep the game at arm's length.
I didn't think Yokohama deserved to be here and from this performance they certainly didn't. And now we'll never know how Nissougakushadai Fuzoku would have done had they been invited.
Kousei Gakuin will advance to play Ryuukokudai Heian, and their pitching might need to be shored up a little before then.
Goya Kai (Hiroshima Gakuin Kousei) - 2.1 IP, ER, 2 H, 0 K, BB, HBP
Nakagawa Masashi (Hiroshima Gakuin Kousei) - 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 K, BB, HBP
Baba Ryuusei (Hiroshima Gakuin Kousei) - 4-5, 2 RBI
Adachi Yuuya (Hiroshima Gakuin Kousei) - 3-4, 2B, R, HBP
Arai Katsunori (Hiroshima Gakuin Kousei) - 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB
Asama Daiki (Yokohama) - 2-3, 2B, 4 R, SB, 2 HBP
Watanabe Yoshiaki (Yokohama) - 2-5, 2B, R, RBI