Now that we're finally underway, our 2nd game features 2school coming from a fairly decent hiatus.
Sakaide Shougyou's last appearance was back in 1994, and while it's been 20 years since they've been to Koushien they had reached the finals before. Of course being in Kagawa nowadays, teams like Eimei, Sangawa, Jinsei Gakuen and Kagawa Nishi have taken over at the top.
Sakaide Shougyou won the title without having to face any of those schools, with their best competition (and closest games) coming in the quarterfinals (5-4 win over Kannonji Chuo), and in the finals (5-3 over Ootemae Takamatsu).
As can be the case with schools that kind of win out of nowhere, there is little information on the school and I can't even find video on their ace Kanemaru Tomoya.
Tsuruga Kehi comes back after a 5 year hiatus having defeated Fukui Koudai Fukui soundly 10-2 in the finals. Yet it was the semis where ace Hiranuma gave up a 4-1 lead with his offense saving him with a pair in the bottom of the 9th.
Their offense can score runs it seems with a BA of 0.438, but with the slipup in the semifinals, I think the focus would be put on ace Hiranuma Shouta. But I can't find much on him other than that he can supposedly go up to the low 140s on the fastball.
Neither team comes from a strong prefecture, and both put up strong offensive numbers. My guess is that Tsuruga Kehi will advance, but there isn't much information out there to base it off of.
Sakaide Shougyou (Kagawa)
2B Yokoi Keita
SS Uenaka Hiroki
3B Kawataki Ryouhei
RF Kanaoka Yuuta
1B Kakegami Koutarou
P Kanemaru Tomoya
LF Matsuura Tuuichirou
C Sawai Takumi
CF Araki Shinya
Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui)
1B Shinohara Ryou
3B Shimomura Takamasa
SS Asai Kouya
C Okada Kouta
CF Mine Kentarou
RF Oyana Shou
P Hiranuma Shouta
LF Yamamoto Akihiro
2B Nakamoto Takahiro
13:05 - First Pitch!
Before I can get even settled in, the Sakaide Shougyou batters run themselves in to 3 outs on just 7 pitches.
Things get worse for Sakide as a base hit just out of the reach of Uenaka goes into the outfield and Matsuura whiffs surprising Araki who also whiffs. As a result, Shinohara ends up at 3rd! Two batters later, Asai flies one to center, scoring Shinohara to make to 1-0.
Then Okada drives one over RF Kanaoka for a double.
Mine hits one to deep left center... the fielders go back towards the wall, but they're looking up!
Mine with a 2-run HR and much like the 1st game a team is trying to run away with it in the 1st! It's 3-0 Tsuruga Kehi!
Mineo with a single to center and this looks really bad. No conferences yet so far as I can tell. After a base hit on a curve, Miyatake-kantoku calls time.
But it seems whenever Kanemaru goes to his off-speed pitches, Tsuruga Kehi is just poking them to the outfield.
Yamamoto does the same thing and drives in a run to make it 4-0...
Kanemaru finally gets out of the inning when Nakamoto chases a ball in the dirt, but Sakaide Shougyou looks to be in a lot of trouble already...
And their swings look like they're lost at the plate. Two weak swings after being fooled, and two groundouts.
Kanemaru seems to be seeing the ball better compared to the rest, but gets all twisted on a slider inside for strike 3 to end the inning.
What isn't helping either is that Kanemaru's fastball seems to be in the mid-high 120s! Now that worked for Obihiro Ootani last year, but I think that was because there was no tangible speed difference between his pitches. Kanemaru's does.
Shinohara and Shimomura seem to be testing how far they can hit the ball as they both quickly fly out. Kanemaru might get a short inning, but that was until Asai hit one sharply to 3rd, going off Kawataki and into foul territory for a double.
Okada flies out to Matsuura sprinting into foul territory to end the inning. It's a 0, but the offense needs to show more than what we've seen to consider any chance for a comeback.
That's more like it. Matsuura with a hard shot to short, Asai seems to be in between on how to play it and instead it bounces off of him into the outfield for a base hit. Sawai bunts him immediately to 2nd.
Wow, down 4, Miyatake-kantoku goes for the hit and run, Araki fouls off the first one, but the 2nd one goes up the middle where Asai goes to 1st for the 2nd out.
Yokoi can't bring him in though as he pops out to Asai to end the inning.
Kanemaru goes inside to Mine, but he's still able to get around and bloop it into left for a base hit. He's bunted to 2nd.
Hiranuma's bounder up the first base line is whiffed by Kakegami and goes into right. Mine scores easily from 2nd and it's 5-0 Tsuruga Kehi.
Kakegami gets the next bounder from Nakamoto to end the inning, but it's yet another run to make up for the team from Kagawa.
Sakaide Shougyou's half here in the 4th comes and goes. They can't get make good contact (if at all) and the ball doesn't leave the infield in a clean frame for Hiranuma.
Shinohara somehow gets around a ball that's way inside, puts it into right, and not only that for a hustle double as well.
Tsuruga Kehi will tru to play add on as Shimomura bunts the runner along.
Asai hits a ball hard up the middle, but Kanemaru manages to find the ball and hold the runner for the 2nd out.
He's not out of the woods just yet as he can't get the call on a slow curve at the bottom of the zone. It's not until Mine gets under one and Matsuura secures it that they can hang up the 0.
Hiranuma continues use the mix of his pitches (slider, curve, change and cut ball) to completely befuddle the Sakaide batters. There's nothing much to note as he goes 1-2-3 here in the 5th as he has faced 1 more than the minimum.
Matsuura makes a great attempt on a blooper from Oyana. He actually gets there, but can't quite put the glove on the ball. It deflects to the foul line and Oyana is in with a double. Hiranuma bunts him over.
Yamamoto tries to poke one, but it's right to short for the 2nd out.
Tsuruga Kehi adds on another as Nakamoto finally gets his 1st base hit with a gapper for a double, making the score 6-0.
Oh boy... Shinohara with a drive to right. Kanaoka goes back, but gives up before the fence.
That's another HR, and it's 8-0.
Shimomura flies out to center, but as we hit the break, it's obvious that Kehi will be moving on while Sakaide Shougyou will at least get to celebrate making it to Koushien.
Sawai gets frozen on a changeup inside. And perhaps sensing the same thing, captain Yamagami is sent in to PH for Araki. He pops out to right.
Yokoi goes around on a ball way inside and singles to right, but Kaminaka grounds to 2nd on the next pitch for the 3rd out.
#11 Ishidzuka comes in for Yamagami to take the hill. Kanemaru goes to center.
Asai pops one up to shallow left center, but Uenaka loses track of where it is and it falls in for a base hit.
Ishidzuka though retires the next 3 batters, partially thanks to a great stop by Yokoi up the middle and the misplay to start the inning doesn't hurt the team.
It's not that Sakaide Shougyou isn't trying, it's just that they're outmatched. 3 groundouts from the 3-4-5 batters and Tsuruga Kehi is 6 outs away from the 2nd round.
After a leadoff walk to Hiranuma, Azuma-kantoku is getting some of his bench players some work as #17 Matsuoka comes in to hit for Yamamoto. He dribbles one to the left side, but both Kakegami and Yokoi go for the ball, leaving Ishidzuka to scramble to the bag. He gets there a step late and everyone's safe. After #15 Miyamoto comes in to run, Nakamoto bunts the runners along for the top of the lineup.
Shinohara gets his 4th hit of the day, a double down the right field line scoring 2 to make it double digits for Tsuruga Kehi. 10-0.
Things completely falling apart for Sakaide Shougyou now as Ishidzuka hits Shimomura and Uenaka boots a ball from Asai.
Okada with a ball that hits off the top of the padding down the left field line, 2 runners score and it's 12-0.
Mine and Oyana both fly out to right to end the inning, but not before Kehi continues to pile on.
#18 Oda comes in for Miyamoto to play LF.
Hiranuma gives up his first walk to Sawai with 2 down. That allows Miyatake-kantoku to send in #13 Takagi to hit for Ishidzuka, ending his day on the mound.
But he strikes out looking to retire the side.
#15 Nishiguchi comes in to take the hill.
After recording the first out, he loses Oda after getting ahead 0-2, then PH Inoue takes the first ball back up the middle for a base hit, and then after a couple of bunt attempts, Shinohara gets his 5th hit, a single through the left side.
Oy. Shimomura's base hit up the middle is whiffed by Kanemaru, he has to double back as all 3 runners score on the 2-base error. 15-0 Tsuruga Kehi.
Sac fly from Asai makes it 16-0.
Okada with his 3rd base hit, a single that eats up Kawataki.
The inning finally ends with Mine grounding to 2nd, and mercy can soon be had for the team from Kagawa.
#14 Nakai comes in to play 2nd for PH Inoue.
Yokoi with a good strike, but right at Shinohara. With 2 down #12 Tamaki gets an AB. He hits one hard to 3rd, the throw from Shimomura one hops Shinohara and he can't secure it.
That gets #17 Kiuchi an AB, but he goes down swinging to end the game.
There's not much to say. Sakaide Shougyou earned the right to be at Koushien, but sadly were no match for Tsuruga Kehi. I think it's a sign of respect to keep going, but then you end up with scores like this. It's just part of the game, and I hope it doesn't crush them for the fall.
For Tsuruga Kehi, they need to be careful that this game doesn't derail the next. It usually happens when a team blows out another unnecessarily, they struggle in the next game.
Hiranuma Shouta (Tsuruga Kehi) - CG, SHO, 3 H, 7 K, BB
Shinohara Ryou (Tsuruga Kehi) -5-6, 4 2B, HR, 4 R, 4 RBI
Okada Kouta (Tsuruga Kehi) - 3-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Matsuuura Yuuichirou (Sakaide Shougyou) - 1-3
Yokoi Keita (Sakaide Shougyou) - 1-4
Tamaki Yuu (Sakaide Shougyou) - 1-1