Saturday, March 29, 2014

86th Senbatsu - Day 8 - Game 3 - Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori) vs. Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)

The last game to finish up the Best 8 could be considered a matchup saved for the semis or finals.

Ryuukokudai Heian was put on its heels by a spunky Ooshima squad.  However, Ooshima's spunkiness lead to errors which bailed them out and allowed them to eventually pull away.  If that first half was to shake out the cobwebs, the Kinki champs surely will give any team what for - though their beating of reliever Maeyama should be taken with the smallest grain of salt.

Kousei Gakuin, thankfully, put down a Yokohama squad that in my opinion didn't deserve to be there - and from their performance, certainly proved to be so.  From their performance though, there are still some questions regarding their pitching as ace Nakagawa looked a bit average to my liking.

It's not going to be easy going for Kousei, but for whomever team advances, they will get a tired out squad no matter who it ends up being.

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 Chiba Ryou
P Satou Shun

Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
CF Tokumoto Kentarou
RF Ootani Tsukasa
2B Himeno Taisei
1B Kawai Taisei
LF Nakaguchi Daichi
3B Tsune Hitoshi
SS Ishikawa Takuya
C Takahashi Yuuya
P Takahashi Keiji (#10)


14:32 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Keiji with the high leg kick, whips out the changeup and rungs up Houjyou for the 1st out.

Adachi goes after the curve and hits a weak grounder back to Keiji.

And Keiji finishes out the frame getting Moriyama to chase a slider away for the 3rd out!  Yuuya finishes the play at 1st and it's a great start from the spot starter.

Bottom 1st
Satou's first slow curve goes over everything.  Oy.

He settles down enough as Tokumoto golfs one to left for the first out.

But Satou's control doesn't look very good to start.  He runs the count full on Ootani before getting a groundout... and then goes and walks Himeno on 4 straight.

 #11 Nakagawa already warming up in the bullpen.

Hit and run!  Himeno takes off, but Kawai fouls it off.

Himeno with the straight steal!  Throw to 2nd from Chiba, not in time!

Kawai no looking for a base hit to open the scoring, fouls pitch after pitch working the count full.  He draws the walk!  And it's a wild pitch from Satou so Himeno goes to 3rd.  Satou in a big pinch to start the game.

Nakaguchi with a ball back up the middle!  It's off Satou and to the left side!  Everyone's safe as Himeno scores to make it 1-0! Runners still at the corners for Heian.

Nakaguchi takes off for 2nd!  It's a feint!  Kawai takes off for home and Adachi's throw back home is late!  2-0 Heian and Nakaguchi gets to 2nd!

Things are going from bad to worse as Tsune singles through the left side!  Nakaguchi comes around to score and it's 3-0!

#11 Nakagawa warming up, but Nakai-kantoku not putting him in yet it seems.

He's paying for that decision!  Ishikawa blasts a ball to deep left center!  That'll get all the way to the wall!  Tsune scores, Ishikawa heading to 3rd.

And the throw to 3rd goes awry!  It winds up in foul territory near the Kousei dugout!  Ishikawa can stroll home and the error makes it a 5-0 ballgame!  Kousei is imploding upon themselves!

Still no sign of relief for Satou as Yuuya hits a single to Adachi!

Thankfully for Satou, Keiji grounds to 3rd to end the inning.  But Heian goes through the entire lineup and Satou spots his team 5 runs right off the get go!

Top 2nd
Despite the 5-run lead, Keiji nibbles with Fukae and winds up walking him!  Sai bunts him to 2nd.

Katsunori first pitch swings, but flies out to right and quickly there's 2 down for Katsutaka.

It's a clean single for Katsutaka!  Fukae getting the green light home, throw from Nakaguchi goes to 2nd and Kousei gets a run back at 5-1.

Chiba grounds to 2nd, but it's a long road to slog for Kousei.

Bottom 2nd
Satou doesn't get an AB or more than 1 IP as #11 Nakagawa comes in to the game.

His control isn't that great, but it's better than Satou.  Top of the order, and Tokumoro can't buy a hit.  He grounds to 2nd.  Neither can Ootani as he too grounds out.

Himeno completes the trio of groundout and Nakagawa has a clean inning!

Top 3rd
New P Nakagawa welcomes Keiji with a ball down the left field line for a leadoff double!

Houjyou takes a ball the other way and beats the shift!  Tokumoto has to go back across center to field it and Nakagawa sprints for home after waiting for the ball to fall in!  The relay throw home is not in time, and Kousei has a 2nd run! 5-2!

Adachi tries the safety bunt, but it just ends up being a bunt.  Still a decent fly from Moriyama can tack on another run.

But Keiji denies him!  He challenges with a fastball down the middle and Moriyama swings and misses!

Bottom 3rd
Kawai hits a blooper to left, Adachi and Moriyama converge, but Moriyama has to play it on the hop!  Heian, sensing that 5 runs might not be enough, bunts him to 2nd.

Tsune with another base hit!  It's a line shot to right and Kawai has to hold up.  But they're threatening again!

And now he takes off for 2nd!  Throw from Chiba is way high and Adachi had to stretch to make the catch.  Oddly enough, there's no double steal this time around.  Now a base hit can erase the runs from Kousei!

But he hits a grounder to 2nd!  Fukae goes home and Kawai is caught in no man's land!  He's run back to 2nd, but it's Tsune who there on 3rd who is called out (the person originally occupying the base has priority when it's not a force).

Yuuya grounds to Sai to end the inning and Nakagawa gets out of the jam!

Top 4th
If Kousei was trying to play a gambit with Heian, it's a risky one that's for sure.  Because you have to pretty much score every inning to get back in this game.

Sai flies out to left for the first out, and after that Katsunori and Katsutaka get retired soon afterwards for a clean inning from Keiji.

Bottom 4th
Keiji with a grounder to the left side.  Adachi runs it down, but can't pick it clean when he gets there!  His throw is late and Heian has the leadoff runner on!  Tokumoto bunts him along.

Ootani still looking for his first hit works the count, trying to find his pitch.  But instead Nakagawa gets him to chase the changeup away for the 2nd out!

However, it feels like every AB for Kousei is a battle.  Such is the case with Himeno who gets ahead 3-1 before drawing a walk.  Heian threatening again until Kawai finds himself out in front and hits the ball off the end of his bat to Moriyama to end the inning.

Top 5th
Apparently with Satou gone, Chiba was soon to follow.  #17 Ishiguro comes in to hit for Chiba.  Expect Baba to join his classmate in the battery.

Ishiguro can't make anything of his AB, chasing the fastball outside for Keiji's 4th K.  Neither can Nakagawa replicate his first AB either as he pops out to Kawai.

Houjyou though gets his 2nd hit, a liner whizzing back up the middle for a single.  But with 2 outs he's stranded when Adachi just gets under one and flies out to center.

Bottom 5th
As expected #12 Baba enters the game for Ishiguro to take over catching duties.

Nakaguchi continues the trend of leadoff batters getting on when he singles through the gap in left. Tsune tries to bunt him along, but winds up down 0-2.

Hit and run!  Tsune puts a ball past Sai into right and Nakaguchi easily makes it to 3rd!  Runners on the corners and nobody down!

Ishikawa though can't bring the runner home!  He hits it right to Adachi, who holds the runners before going to 1st.

Yuuya connects on a ball left over by Nakagawa and lines to center!  Katsutaka is there to make the catch, but Nakaguchi comes in to score making it a 6-2 ballgame!

And Nakagawa's throw to 2nd goes right to center!  Tsune goes to 3rd!

And now Nakagawa hits his counterpart on the ankle!  Nakagawa with back to back unforced errors.

Tokumoto with a ball to shallow center!  Katsutaka charging in... makes the sliding catch to end the inning!  But we hit the break with Heian leading by 4, and Kousei Gakuin looking just discombobulated.

Top 6th
Kousei at least not giving up it seems.  Moriyama with a single back up the middle past Ishikawa.  Down 4, Fukae isn't bunting.

Instead, Fukae with a clean single to right!  Moriyama stops at 2nd and does Kousei have something cooking?

Sai doesn't look like he's bunting either.  And he gets ahead 2-0 before the slider goes over for a strike.  And Sai gets fooled on another one to even the count!

Keiji tries to go back to the well, but is wide and the count fills up.

Fastball in, and he just fouls it off.

But he can't do anything with the slider inside!  He flies out to Ootani for the first out!

That slider Katsunori has is giving Katsunori fits.  Instead, he tries for the fastball, but chooses a high fastball and winds up popping out to Tokumoto.

And the runners are left stranded!  Katsutaka just rolls a ball over to 2nd.  Himeno is waiting there, goes to 1st and both runners are stranded!

Bottom 6th

Foul tip from Ootani hits Baba, well... you know.  He's on his side in obvious pain.  Both dugouts bring out the itai spray, but both just kinda stand there, because I'm not sure it works there...

Don't these people wear a cup?

Perhaps out of pity, Ootani strikes out on the next pitch.

Of course it's just a one batter reprieve as Himeno slices one down the left field line!  Moriyama chases it as it rattles around, but it's a double for Himeno.

Perhaps to create a force, Nakagawa winds up walking him on 4 straight.

It works!  Nakaguchi hits one back up the middle.  Adachi tosses to Fukae and he goes to 1st to complete the double play!

Top 7th
Kousei running out of innings, but they're just spinning their wheels.  Baba may have been unlucky on a low strike call for home plate ump Nishigai.  Nakagawa doesn't lift the bat either when the fastball apparently catches the black of the plate for the 2nd out.

Houjyou up again with 2 outs draws a walk, but with 2 outs you can do very little.  Adachi grounds to 3rd and that's the inning.

Bottom 7th
Nakagawa gets two easy out, then decides he needs more strife in his life.  He walks Yuuya on 4 straight and then Keiji singles back up the middle.

Tokumoto follows that with a liner to left, scoring Yuuya to make it 7-2.

And knocking Nakagawa out of the game.  #18 Goya enters to try and finish the game.

But Goya throws one in the dirt that Baba can't handle and the runners advance.

Ootani though remains hitless when Goya puts one by him to end the inning.

Top 8th
I suppose Heian can wrap things up in the final 2 innings.  Ootani's reward for striking out 3 times, being replaced in RF by #17 Iwashita.

Kousei perhaps thinking the same thing.  Moriyama and Fukae take their hacks and go down swinging.

Sai flies out to center and this game is all but in hand.

Bottom 8th
Nakai-kantoku does a similar thing for Moriyama.  With 3 Ks on the day, he replaced at LF by #16 Kitamuki.  Also Goya's stint on the mound was 1 batter as #10 Ogawa comes in to pitch.

Even Houjyou, who had been reliable is not immune.  Himeno hits a routine grounder to him, but Houjyou throws it short and it goes into the camera well.  Kawai advances him to 3rd with a deep fly to right, and Nakaguchi brings him in with a base hit to left.  8-2.

Perhaps to show mercy to Kousei, the baseball gods do them a favor.  Tsune hits a ball back up the middle.  Adachi boots the ball, but it deflects right to Fukai covering the bag.  He goes to 1st for the double play.

Top 9th
Katsunori draws a walk and is replaced by #13 Bessho.  Katsutaka is pinch hit for by #15 Takaku but grounds back to Keiji.

In order to get Nakata some work as the closer, he enters the game to get the last 2 outs.

Nakai-kantoku completely empties the bench sending in #5 Fujita for Ogawa.  He draws the walk, but Houjyou grounds out to 3rd to end the game.

Kousei Gakuin never really got started in this game, and could never get any traction to get back on track.  Ryuukokudai Heian advances with a 8-2 win and gets the benefit of a day off thanks to the 1-1 draw the prior game.  Harada-kantoku has mixed and matched his spot starters well so far.  How far can he manage this staff to?

Notable Players
Takahashi Keiji (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 8.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 3 BB
Tsune Hitoshi (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 3-5, R, RBI
Nakaguchi Daichi (Ryuukokudai Heian) - 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI
Nakagawa Masashi (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 5.2+ IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 K, 3 BB, HBP
Houjyou Hiroyuki (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Nakagawa Masashi (Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei) - 1-3, 2B, R

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